If you’re like me, you probably know John Ratzen as Cliff Claven, the beer sodden mail man who held up the end of the bar on Cheers for many years. If you haven’t seen it, you ought to catch one of his ‘Made In America’ shows on the Travel Channel. It is ultra light weight – I don’t think John knows or could care less about lean manufacturing, or much of anything else about the meaty issues facing manufacturing management. The show just celebrates American companies making neat stuff.
It is an enjoyable half hour – actually an hour because they typically show two episodes back to back. He seems to get a genuine kick out of being in factories filled with dedicated people making everything from steel to kitchen mixers to honey. I do too.
My credentials as a manufacturing commentator are thin enough without venturing too far into the realm of television criticism, or anything else artistic in nature, but I think you can trust me on this one. Watching Ratzen is a great opportunity to just sit back and see other people who share with us the sheer fun of making a living in factories