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.

January 1, 2024

What You Should Know About the Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence NetworkThe 51 Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers that make up the MEP National Network™ work to enhance the competitiveness of small and medium-sized manufacturers within the United States. Officially launched on June 1, 2023, the Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network (SCOIN) expands the MEP National Network’s scope from working primarily with individual companies to include taking a more comprehensive approach to manufacturing supply chains. The initiative will help establish new MEP service offerings to provide manufacturers with what they need to improve existing supply chain networks and fill gaps in the supply chain. Learn more about the benefits SCOIN can provide.

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December 27, 2023

FastLane Helps Triangle Precision Increase Capacity With AutomationTriangle Precision contacted FastLane, part of the Ohio MEP and the MEP National Network™, to see how it could leverage automation to improve efficiency and provide more capabilities to new and existing clients in the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) supply chain. Leveraging the Ohio Defense Manufacturing Community (ODMC) grant, FastLane helped Triangle to automate its new three-axis CNC machine by adding an articulating arm and conveyor system. This created the opportunity for lights-out machining (a production method that requires little to no human interaction), making the Triangle team more productive. Results of this engagement included $2,300,000 in new or retained sales, 22 created or retained jobs, $243,000 in new investment and $142,000 in cost savings.

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December 20, 2023

Need a Green Workforce? Look No Further than the Manufacturing Extension Partnership45% annual growth. It’s a number that could make any workforce or economic development professional’s eyes pop out of their sockets. This is the expected annual growth rate of the demand for wind turbine service technicians. This profession is just one of many new green job industries growing throughout the United States. For the MEP National Network™, which is dedicated to nurturing and advancing the manufacturing sector, embracing the green jobs movement aligns seamlessly with our mission. Because of our national reach and close relationships with more than 100,000 manufacturing businesses, our National Network is in a unique position not only to develop more wind turbine service technicians, but also to create seamless talent pipelines for a wide range of green jobs, which have grown more than 50% since 2019.

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December 17, 2023

What is Zero Clear All About?In the digital landscape, outsiders are actively attempting to harvest your data anytime it’s sent out. This goes beyond the run-of-the-mill hackers and malicious actors. Government agencies, major private tech companies like Apple, and even nation-state actors – as seen in the allegations against TikTok for in-app browser data harvesting on behalf of China – are all part of this sweeping collection effort. This blog gives helpful tips for implementing a zero-clear mindset.

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December 10, 2023

Managing the Cyber Security Practices of IT ProvidersIncreased integration of technology into production processes and equipment has a downside: increased vulnerability to cyberthreats. Many manufacturers have turned to third-party IT providers for cybersecurity solutions. These professional services offer a range of benefits from expert technical support to cost-effective solutions tailored to your specific needs. However, like any business decision, there are also potential drawbacks to consider.

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December 7, 2023

Expanding on the Success of a Regional Registered Apprenticeship ProgramThe current talent pipeline for manufacturing is not adequate to fill existing job openings. Emerging demand for data analysts and semiconductor technicians will require a more collaborative approach to expand training opportunities and reach into underrepresented populations to widen the pool of candidates.

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December 3, 2023

Exploring Ransomware Prevention and RecoveryAmong the varied and ever-evolving challenges manufacturers face, ransomware has emerged as uniquely menacing. It’s not just a threat to individual computers or isolated systems – it’s a weapon that can paralyze entire organizations. Ransomware attacks now account for approximately 20% of cybercrime. Given this steep increase in ransomware attacks, manufacturers must act now to avoid becoming the next victim.

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November 29, 2023

Video: Heroes of American Manufacturing – Mayville EngineeringMayville Engineering Company (MEC) knows without employee commitment, no company can succeed. At this employee-owned company, the workforce is engaged because the solutions that drive the company’s success benefit them as well.

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November 16, 2023

Technology-driven market intelligence (TDMI) is a technology acceleration service developed for the MEP National Network™ by RTI International to help small and medium-sized manufacturers refine their strategic direction and market validation. This helps firms stay competitive and grow their businesses. Market research and a proper TDMI assessment require significant time and expertise you may not have in-house. Your local MEP Center has access to internal and third-party experts who can deliver this service. It has the experts that can gather, sort, and analyze data on your customer preferences, competitor activities, and technological advancements.

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November 14, 2023

Illuminating Possibilities to Achieve ISO CertificationWhen Enova Illumination Vice President of Operations Jeremy Ward contacted Enterprise Minnesota, part of the MEP National Network™, the company had been using an older quality management system (QMS) based on ISO 13485. It needed to refresh its internal documentation and processes to be compliant to the current standard and more effective for the way the business was operating today. Enterprise Minnesota consultant Ally Johnston was brought in to conduct a lean assessment of the organization and create a roadmap of opportunities for improvement as Enova Illumination sought to become ISO 13485:2016 compliant, with a future goal of gaining this valuable medical device certification. Results of this engagement included $3,000,000 in new or retained sales, 15 created or retained jobs and $250,000 in new investment.

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