Grow past 'not made here' bias

Go on. Admit it. You still have a little bit of "made here" favoritism on the inside, even if it's not politically correct in today's worldwide marketplace. All things equal—or even unequal—you tend to give some extra mental weight to a national firm over another company. So powerful was my pro-U.

04/01/2006


Go on. Admit it. You still have a little bit of "made here" favoritism on the inside, even if it's not politically correct in today's worldwide marketplace. All things equal—or even unequal—you tend to give some extra mental weight to a national firm over another company. So powerful was my pro-U.S. upbringing, I still sometimes have to reverse the polarity of my mental motor to overcome those feelings. Here's why we all need to get over it.

1. It's counterproductive. Nearly everyone is in the race with almost everyone else. You're not doing people at any company here any good to select them over someone else, if others meet your criteria to a greater degree. In many respects, such bias encourages less-competitive firms not to invest in engineering, skills, and technologies that can upgrade productivity, quality, and competitiveness.

2. We're increasingly part of each other, with investments in subsidiaries and joint ventures here and abroad being made by U.S.-based firms and those in other countries. I've even heard some people suggest that global economic interdependency may be preventing World War III. (Of course, I've also heard it suggested that television is the peacemaker—whatever works, I suppose.)

Nonetheless, major automation firms are global. Yokogawa, for instance, recently dedicated a 100,000 ft2engineering, support, distribution, and demonstration facility near Houston. Control Engineering itself has links to five international editions in Europe and Asia at www.controleng.com , with two more on the way. It is also part of Reed Elsevier, which has more than 200 locations worldwide.

3. Listening to and learning from each other is a good thing. For instance, standards are becoming more global and are being applied more universally. S88, considered a "batch automation" standard by many, is branching out into packaging (with the Part 5 Make2Pack effort), and Part 1 may be revisited (to make it easier to apply to other settings, rather than make it less useful for batch). Even HART Communication Foundation, the technology owner and standards-setting body for the long-used HART protocol, recently held its first user group meeting, to learn more from those gaining network benefits.

4. With the diversity of people and cultures around us, the lives we lead are richer and more fulfilling. So, reverse your mental motor—say hello to someone new; ask where they're from and where they've traveled; and open your mind to what you might learn.

For related links, read this at www.controleng.com/archive , April 2006.

Mark T. Hoske , Editor-in-Chief

MHoske@cfemedia.com


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