Silo Tendencies

Every organization tends to separate itself into functions. Naturally, each of these functions tends to act as self contained as possible. The quasi-self contained units tend to operate even more independently, and to take steps to reduce interdependencies over time. The units develop the characteristics of farm silos, with inputs and outputs, but with a minimum of interdependence. It is difficult enough when the silos are a part of a common enterprise. But what if the silos are funded and directed by entirely different organizations with their own visions, goals, objectives, skills and funding sources?

This figure illustrates the point.


A common problem many businesses have is the lack of skilled workers. This is particularly true in the technical skills today in areas such as manufacturing of specialty products that are high value, exacting tolerances, and multiple design variations. There are many facets to increasing the supply of qualified workers for these jobs. Each facet is managed by one or more silos. Together, they make a very complex web. The United States and, by extension, our region can either develop the needed skills in sufficient numbers, or give high value manufacturers no choice but to look elsewhere, and perhaps move elsewhere. To the extent that our community solves the local shortages, our local area will benefit with more employment, more trade, a better economy and a better quality of life.