Michael Siegmund SMF 07′ Keynote Speech

Michael Siegmund Keynote - Southern Metal Finishing 2007
Michael Siegmund, Vice President of MacDermid, Inc.

Mr. Siegmund received his Bachelor of Applied Science degree from the Engineering School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the second generation of MacDermid V.P.s in his family – his father preceding him.
During his Keynote speech at the 2007 Southern Metal Finishing Conference in Charleston, SC, Siegmund presents issues relevant to the globalization of the Metal Finishing Industry, the effect of international competition on individual companies and job shops, and insight about how finishing operations can compete in this new flat world.

He discusses the struggle to compete with low-priced imports invading the market. He also points out that large OEM companies like General Motors and Cisco, who historically manufactured their own products, have now discontinued manufacturing and are instead purchasing their products from international manufacturers. Siegmund suggests combating this globalization through lobbying congress and making the voice of the finishing industry heard to government officials. As he points out, it seems like bad national policy to allow big, U.S. based companies to determine that countries such as China should manufacture products that will then be resold to the United States.

One of the biggest obstacles in making the voice of the Finishing Industry heard, however, is that only about 12% of US citizens are engaged in manufacturing. Since the other 88% of people who vote don’t have anything to do with it, government officials are more apt to ignore the complaints of Finishers, focusing more on the potential effect that higher prices on US produced goods will have on the economy. As Siegmund goes on to point out, however, the price of value is in fact competitive with cheaply produced goods. As many companies that outsource their manufacturing are starting to notice, they often have problems enforcing specifications, and gaining and maintaining a quality product, which often leads to failure. They generally do an inadequate calculation of their total cost, and on the negative impact these failures will have on their brand.

He emphasizes the importance of understanding how dependent we are on the supply chains we participate in, and where the decisions are made (at the OEM level). The U.S. Finishing Industry needs to change the game by getting out into the world, and start speaking on behalf of the value that it brings with its services and products. Ultimately, Finishers need to step up and take on the challenge.