U.S. Senator (D-Ohio)
We innovate better than anybody in the world in the United States. Even though we’re losing the edge somewhat — we’re not investing in R&D [research and development] the way that much of the rest of the world, at least countries like China are — but we still do better in innovation in terms of product development.
But so often we lose that edge when the shops aren’t here. Here’s the best example: this little Dannon yogurt plant in Minster, Ohio, I visited one day. A supplier used to bring in the little plastic yogurt cups, and they’d squirt them out of these silver-looking vats that had fermenting milk, the yogurt, in them, and send them down the line and package them. And a young industrial engineer who looked to be about 12 to me, and two line workers said, “We can do this better.” And they developed a simple thing for an engineer. They developed a way to take a roll of plastic and feed it into this machine that was no more than from here to the other side of the room. Heated slowly, extruded into the shape of a yogurt cup, cooled it, packaged it and send it. And what that did was save hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars, for this plant because they did the innovation on the shop floor.
When you manufacture in this country, you get the shop-floor innovation. And that’s what we have lost in far too many cases, especially in electronics.