February 28, 2012
Chamber member rebuilding manufacturing in Cincinnati USA
From pottery and soap to radios and machine tools, manufacturing has played a leading role in Cincinnati’s economy. But in recent years, as manufacturing has declined both locally and nationally, many have wondered if the days of making great things in the United States are over. But one local company doesn’t believe that and is helping to make American manufacturers competitive once again.
Glovon & Clovon Engineering Consulting LLC, led by President and CEO Uche Agomuo, helps manufacturers improve their operations and realize savings of 10-30 percent, without any capital investment.
Agomuo works primarily with small and medium-sized manufacturers to help them increase profit by reducing waste and optimizing their supply chain through a proprietary LEANCEPTS™ method. Agomuo, who recently joined the Chamber’s Small Business Advisory Group, drew on decades of experience in engineering, production and quality control with GE Aircraft Engines and P&G Product Supply Engineering to develop LEANCEPTS.
“Some improvement processes are extremely cumbersome or theoretical, but what we do is extremely practical,” says Agomuo. “At Glovon & Clovon, we dig in and really understand our clients’ manufacturing processes, and then provide custom solutions that not only make a difference in the short run, but also are sustainable to provide long-term value.”
Avoiding Small Supplier Catch-22
Smaller manufacturers that supply large global companies face a real Catch-22 situation in today’s economy, according to Agomuo.
“Large global companies value their smaller suppliers because they are more nimble and less expensive, but at the same time, they want those suppliers to follow the same cumbersome procedures they have in place in order to ensure quality,” he explains. “We help smaller suppliers eliminate waste and develop standardized, repeatable processes that fit their needs, allowing them to look and act like a global company, but avoid the costly bureaucracy of a global company.”
“We need manufacturing,” says Agomuo. “Manufacturing is the only economic sector that grows the middle class in any society. There is no reason the United States can’t rebuild our manufacturing and make our supply chain as competitive as China or India or Mexico.”
He should know. Agomuo was one of the American pioneers that helped revolutionize Asia’s manufacturing sector in the 1990s.
From Africa to America to Asia
A native of Nigeria, Agomuo grew up the third of six children born to a devoted Christian couple in the country’s southeastern region. His father’s career with the College of Agriculture took the family to four different cities, each with widely differing cultures.
His family, like so many others, was devastated by the country’s brutal civil war in the late 1960s, losing everything they owned and being forced to live as refugees. He vividly remembers the bombing of their next door neighbor’s house, and seeing the bodies of his friends and playmates. An economic blockade prevented any goods from entering the country, forcing his parents to make clothes for their children out of bed sheets. Agomuo and his younger brother would go fishing every day to help feed the family. But the most devastating loss of all was the death of his oldest brother who was an army officer. Lacking any reliable communications, the family only realized their loss when the war was over and he didn’t return home.
But his parents started over, instilling in their children the importance of education and the values of hard work, integrity, respect for the law and for others. When Agomuo finished high school, it was actually less expensive to attend college in the United States. It was also easier to attend, as well, due to the limited number of places at Nigerian universities and a quota system designed to encourage enrollment from other areas of the country. Agomuo attended Southern University A& M in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, working third-shift at a convenience store while earning his degree in mechanical engineering.
Recruited by GE on campus, he moved to Cincinnati following graduation. On a trip home to visit his family, he met a young woman named Gloria, who had attended university in Paris. After a trans-Atlantic courtship, they married and began to raise a family in the Queen City. With three children under the age of five, Agomuo was recruited away from GE by P&G and moved to China as part of the company’s entry into that country.
For five years, Agomuo traveled all over Asia with P&G. Three years after returning home to Cincinnati, he retired to start G&C consulting and help Gloria realize her own entrepreneurial dreams.
Setting the World Standard Again
American manufacturing once set the global standard, and Agomuo reminds us that throughout the world, “Made in the USA” is still a mark of quality that people appreciate. And while the majority of his work is focused on manufacturers, his methods are applicable to other industries, as well.
“From banking to healthcare to government, LEANCEPTS can help an organization improve quality, productivity, and efficiency without sacrificing flexibility,” concludes Agomuo. “By applying our proven methodologies and low-cost custom solutions, Glovon & Clovon can help anybody be more competitive.”
Please note:Chamber members will have a special opportunity to learn more about LEANCEPTS on Tuesday June 19, 2012, form 9:00 am - 11:00 am. Stay tuned for additonal details.