Do Reality TV and Manufacturing Mix?

During our 2nd annual Tech ManufactureXPO online trade show, which was held earlier this month, Jack McDougle, outlined some of the key challenges facing American manufacturers today during his keynote presentation. McDougle is senior vice president for manufacturing at the Council on Competitiveness, a nonprofit organization that has outlined five key challenges facing U.S. manufacturers.

Among other things, McDougle believes we must take steps today to prepare the next generation of manufacturing engineers and assemblers. As I listened to his presentation, I started to wonder if a reality TV show could help spark interest in manufacturing among young people. It seems like there’s one on for just about everything these day.

While I’ve never been a big fan of the reality TV genre, I recently watched a couple of episodes of a new show called “The Pitch,” which showcases the advertising industry. Each installment depicts two competing teams of ad agencies with different personalities and philosophies battling for a client’s thumbs up.

Perhaps a reality TV show with a manufacturing theme might be worth pursuing. I envision a group of three or four people tackling a wide variety of production jobs. Each one-hour show would supply several vignettes that depict the realities of modern manufacturing.

For instance, one segment could involve the challenges of programming a robot to pick up and move a part. Another installment would require contestants to use simulation software to address repetitive motion concerns on the assembly line. Next, there would be a kaizen session to address a subassembly issue on the plant floor.

Then, finally, the cameras could follow participants as they actually work on an assembly line. The show could take place in a car factory one week and an aircraft plant the next, with a refrigerator plant, a casket factory and a pump facility mixed in for diversity. Along the way, contestants would have to address things like layout design, line speed, quality concerns, supply chain snafus, employee training and other real-world events.

Of course, there would be all kinds of logistical and legal issues to tackle behind the scenes before the cameras could role. But, other reality TV shows already have to address that kind of stuff.

Do you think the time is right for a reality TV show that’s set in a factory? Does anyone know if such a show exists in Europe, Japan or elsewhere? How many U.S. manufacturers would be willing to open up their plants to a TV crew?

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Assembly Magazine.

Recent Articles by Austin Weber

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Behind the Scenes at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant

People are the heart and soul of the 2012 Assembly Plant of the Year. This slideshow shows some of the men and women who build three different types of electrified vehicles alongside traditional gas-powered cars on the auto industry’s most flexible assembly line—Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI. Photos courtesy Ford Motor Co.


 Live from The ASSEMBLY Show, Bob Wood, president of ECI Spinnomatic, talks about his company’s newest product: a fully automated riveting cell equipped with a rotary indexing table, a six-axis robot, an orbital forming unit, and laser sensors. 

More Podcasts

Assembly Magazine

assembly may

2015 May

The 2015 May Assembly includes our cover story on Lean Lifts Assembly at Toyota plus much more. Check it out today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Trans-Pacific Partnership

Will the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement be good for U.S. manufacturers?
View Results Poll Archive


Welding: Principles & Practices

This text introduces students to a solid background in the basic principles and practices of welding.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40pxgoogle plus  

Assembly Showrooms

ASSEMBLY Showrooms