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.

March 25, 2024

Rachel Camarillo: Blazing a Trail for Women in ManufacturingThis blog is part of a series highlighting women who are making an impact on the manufacturing industry. When Rachel Camarillo was a little girl growing up in Hawaii, she helped her mother and two aunts with what they called a hobby. They’d draw flowers, screen print the art onto fabric, and cut and sew the fabric meticulously into kitchen sets they’d sell at craft fairs.

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March 21, 2024

In Manufacturing, Hoarding Labor Is a Good Thing, ActuallyYour company needs not just to acquire talent but actively keep it. In an era where skilled labor is harder and harder to find, manufacturers must transform into “employers of choice” to retain their valuable human assets.

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March 1, 2024

How to Avoid 3 Common Missteps in Pursuing International SalesThe fact that about 85% of the global market is outside the U.S. should alone be a compelling enough reason for manufacturers to pursue international sales. Exporting allows manufacturers to diversify their customer base, tap into new markets, and mitigate the impact of economic fluctuations in any one region.

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February 11, 2024

Integrating Sustainability: Insights from the Wisconsin Sustainable Business CouncilIn the heartland of America, where dairy farms dot the landscape, the spirit of conservation runs deep. The Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (part of the MEP National Network™) works with strategic partners, such as the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council (WSBC), to provide additional services and information to Wisconsin manufacturers. Together with the WSBC, the MEP Center’s suite of sustainability services supports manufacturers to advance sustainability programs, increase efficiency, and get the credentials needed to integrate and operate sustainably.

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February 5, 2024

North Carolina MEP Brought Me Back Home 25 Years AgoAs Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP), Phil Mintz drives outreach to North Carolina manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders, and coordinates efforts to stimulate profitable manufacturing growth in the state. Working at NCMEP was a homecoming for him — he did his undergraduate degree at NC State. His career took a winding path for a while, away from his home state and away from manufacturing. But 25 years ago, an ad in the paper for an MEP position brought him back home. Read how it happened.

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January 31, 2024

Manufacturing Internships Expand the Talent PipelineManufacturing internships are one of the most effective methods for building your company’s talent pipeline. Small and medium-sized manufacturers may find it challenging to compete with bigger companies for students. This makes it especially important to widen the net when recruiting for internship programs. In addition to considering candidates from technical fields, also look for well-rounded students. Consider students’ social skills and look for a variety of academic majors to find potential interns who can bring fresh ideas to your company. Learn more from Mayra Ramirez of CIRAS, the Iowa MEP Center.

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January 18, 2024

Mapping Your Supply Chains Helps Prioritize Risks, ActionsAs a manufacturer you understand that supply chain disruptions happen all the time. What you don’t know is when or how they will impact your operation and business. But assessing your supply chain risks and implementing good supply chain management practices can be daunting. Fortunately, there is a great way to gain visibility into your supply chain with a reasonable investment of resources: Map the supply chain for one of your key products. In this blog we’ll look at a process for mapping your supply chain that was developed by Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS), which is part of the MEP National Network.

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January 7, 2024

Increasing C-Suite Financial Literacy for Manufacturing SuccessWithout a basic grasp of financial concepts at the C-suite (executive) level, small and medium-sized manufacturers may be limited in their ability to compete in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Building your financial literacy, beginning with your C-suite financial vocabulary, is a great way to increase your competitive edge. In this blog, Gene Russell of Manex, part of California Manufacturing Technology Consulting and the MEP National Network, illustrates the importance of financial literacy in manufacturing, including some of the most important concepts that impact your business operations.

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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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