As manufacturers, we continually seek ways to improve our products and develop market strategies that will provide us an edge in a global marketplace. We investigate new technology to make things faster, cheaper, and better. And we're doing a good job of it here and abroad.
However, the tsunami that hit southwest of Indonesia the day after Christmas, taking well over 160,000 lives, made me realize that manufacturers have much more in common. We are all interconnected in this small world, and we all strive to achieve a common good.
Faced with this horrific act of nature, it's time to put aside our competitiveness and bring the humanitarian side of manufacturing to the forefront. In doing so, we can also show the world how vital our industry is.
The people of Indonesia need assistance — the type of help that only manufacturers can provide. Ours is an industry of diversity, and I cannot think of a single item on the face of this earth that does not involve manufacturing in one form or another. From the vast array of products produced in plants throughout the world, manufacturers, both big and small, can help the tsunami victims rebuild their individual lives as well as their cities.
Perhaps your operation is involved with producing bottled water or canned goods. Maybe your expertise lies with the production of medical supplies, or for that matter, marine components for fishing boats. Perhaps you make equipment that can rebuild roads or farm the land. The point is that we all have something to offer. And it's up to us to extend our products to the relief effort through local government agencies and the Red Cross.
While I'm confident that many manufacturers are doing what they can to help out, I would like to applaud the efforts of one company in particular. As manufacturers, perhaps you're familiar with or use some of the many products produced by Sandvik. This company is providing aid to tsunami victims at several levels. Besides making a substantial monetary contribution to the Red Cross, Sandvik also offered assistance in the form of equipment and other aid. For example, in Thailand, Sandvik personnel are visiting hospitals to donate blood. In Singapore, employees have contributed clothing, food, and money. The company is also investigating the possibilities of helping on site with equipment that can be used in the reconstruction effort.
This is the type of activity that demonstrates the humanitarian side of manufacturing and makes this world closer than we've ever imagined.
Let's not forget that Mother Nature plays by her own set of rules and there's always a possibility of an earthquake and tsunami every bit as forceful as the one that hit the coasts of Indonesia striking the U.S., Japan, or Europe. While the thought of the manufacturing world pulling together to help others in distress may not stop such a catastrophic event, it certainly goes a long way in putting the lives of those affected back in order.