Impact Dakota Blog is a blog dedicated to supporting North Dakota’s manufacturing community improve People, Purpose, Processes and Performance. Entries provide information on opportunities, new ideas, quick tips, celebrations of success, and well, frankly, anything to help you become a better manufacturer.
Achieving business excellence within a company comes from optimizing a work environment to deliver desired goods and services. Lean manufacturing is a production method aimed primarily at reducing times within the production system as well as response times from suppliers and to customers. Companies employ this strategy to increase efficiency. By receiving goods only as they need them for the production process, it reduces inventory costs and waste, resulting in increased productivity and profit.
We know that the existing workforce development system isn’t working as efficiently as it could, so companies need to try every strategy in the book to retain their workers (rather than expect to replace departing workers with new ones).
Asia Dillon is not your average 15-year-old high school student in New Orleans, Louisiana. She has already made a name for herself as a manufacturer. Asia is the owner of Sassy A Cosmetics. Asia sees opportunities where others might not. For example, her younger sister suffers from eczema, which makes her lips so dry that they crack and peel. Asia’s sister didn’t like the lip balm their mother gave her. From this experience, Asia saw there was a need for a new and different kind of lip gloss. She wanted to create something that would soothe her sister’s lips – using all natural ingredients. Sassy A’s product line has grown to include lipsticks, lip creams and lip balms. With a love for science and for mixing things together, it’s easy to see how this ambitious teen ended up in the manufacturing industry.
Many manufacturing companies, in North Dakota, are having record sales and deliveries as we are digging out from under the last few years. They are getting back to “Normal”, but many still struggle with supply chain issues, workforce issues and fighting fires every day.
For more than 20 years, Rodney Reddic has been with the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC). He currently serves as TMAC’s Interim Executive Director. He has more than 30 years of experience working in the Texas manufacturing industrial base. Reddic enjoys helping manufacturers make improvements that streamline their production processes and eliminate unnecessary activities. He especially enjoys working with companies to develop new plant layouts. Improving processes also improves work quality of life for employees. Reddic feels deeply about the importance of TMAC’s mission and the work of the entire MEP National Network. He looks forward to continuing his service to TMAC and helping Texas manufacturers succeed.
Toyin Kolawole is the founder and CEO of Iya Foods, a nourishment-focused food company inspired by her African roots and located in Illinois. Toyin brought her childhood entrepreneurial life, education, career experience and home recipes together to found Iya Foods, a client of IMEC. Sharing these experiences with the world is at the very core of Iya Foods – its mission is “to share love through food.” “Manufacturing adds tangible value that truly makes people’s lives better. People have to eat, people need medicine, people need cars to get around. Manufacturing is unified in its purpose of producing items people want so they can be their best selves,” says Toyin. Toyin’s story is just one of many from across the MEP National Network that highlights the profound impact Black Americans have on the manufacturing industry. While February is Black History Month, their achievements and contributions to their communities and the country overall are seen year-round.
The pandemic and subsequent supply chain disruptions have been harsh reminders of the need for manufacturers to create or update their business continuity plan (BCP). Disruptions of some sort are likely, and manufacturers must be prepared for all types of scenarios including natural disasters, technical failures and cyberattacks. Having a BCP already in place is essential for the initial response to a disruptive event. A BCP also enables manufacturers to continue operations and can help during an extended period of time.
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Director Pravina Raghavan recently appeared on Government Matters TV, where she discussed how MEP National Network experts around the country are working with small manufacturers to revolutionize U.S. manufacturing. From 3D-printed body organs and predictive maintenance to sensors that improve supply chain visibility, the future of manufacturing is about making processes more efficient and getting people what they need when they need it. Raghavan said, “Last year alone, we helped do $18.8 billion in sales for manufacturers. These types of technology modifications ensure that manufacturers are getting what they need at the right time, and real-time inventory getting out to the public.”
For 2023, the Workforce Development Word of the Year is “Seamless.” This theme should inform all our workforce efforts. Does your hiring process seamlessly cultivate the job seeker from initial interest to engagement with your website to the interview to their first day on the job, all while giving an outstanding employee experience?
Tom Brady, a snowy owl, and a Leader of one of our vital North Dakota Manufacturing Organizations walk out of a locker/conference room having just heard the latest news…