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 25, 2021

Getting a Grip on What’s Next for Robotics in ManufacturingThe growth path for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) with robotics is increasingly focused on applications and added capabilities, not just efficiency and continuous improvement. The key to increasing adoption of robotics in SMMs is making the robots easier to use and re-use.

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January 14, 2021

Sometimes You Just Have To Go Fishing Says Manufacturing ExecutivesSometimes you just have to go fishing. Seriously. That’s one of the messages manufacturing executives from West Coast and Mountain states passed along during a conversation about their experiences handling the near-term jolt of the COVID-19 pandemic and their expectations of the future. Lucky for two of the manufacturing operations represented, consumers have opted to go fishing and embrace other outdoor activities as recreational options that allow for necessary physical distancing.

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December 28, 2020

How Daycare and Industrial Entrepreneurship Relate to Manufacturing’s RecoveryIn a conversation with manufacturing executives, their most impassioned concerns were about daycare and entrepreneurship, which they cited as key to reinvigorating the U.S. economy and sparking future growth.

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December 17, 2020

Rethinking Business Risk After the Great LockdownManufacturing leaders have told us the current health situation has really made them think about risk. They see risk in their supply chains, their workforces, their standard practices and in pulling back from innovation. Mitigating those risks, they say, comes in the form of local partnerships, long-term agreements, internalizing some outsourced supply, and automation.

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December 9, 2020

Five Simple Digital Applications That Are Changing ManufacturingBeginning the process of “going digital” doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With a little guidance and education, all manufacturers can start to implement digital manufacturing concepts in a staged approach that best fits your individual work environment. Here are our top five recommendations for digital applications that can help you get started.

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December 4, 2020

Midwestern Manufacturing Leaders Learning the Lessons of Testing TimesManufacturing leaders from several Midwestern states describe their experience since the current health situation emerged as transformational, forcing them to embrace virtual meetings, develop deeper connections to their staff and appreciate supply chain resilience.

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November 23, 2020

Where Manufacturing Is Growing (and Where It Is Not)Over the past few years, I have written more than a few blogs and papers looking at manufacturing productivity across the 50 states. I wanted to update some of these analyses to reflect more recent data, see what it tells us and examine how states were performing when looking at the change in real manufacturing GDP since the Great Recession, but before the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, how do we know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been?

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November 18, 2020

Midwest Manufacturers — Make Do, Can Do, Will DoOn Aug. 26, 2020, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) brought together manufacturers virtually as part of a series of conversations about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic impact. Their goal in hosting these listening sessions, which they call the “National Conversation with Manufacturers,” was to discern how best to support manufacturers through the current uncertainty and beyond.

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November 13, 2020

Manufacturers Share Views on Leadership from the Pandemic Shop FloorManufacturers describe the months since the pandemic started, altered daily life worldwide and threatened normal business operations as a test of leadership. This is the first of a series of conversations we call the “National Conversation with Manufacturers” about how manufacturers have been weathering the pandemic and ensuing economic downturn. This series of 11 virtual listening sessions were geared toward discerning how best to support manufacturers in the current environment of uncertainty and beyond.

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November 3, 2020

Supplier Scouting Provides SolutionsDuring this difficult time, businesses are looking for any opportunity to not only support their bottom line, but to also ramp up production of critically needed items. Enter the MEP National Network™. In FY 2019, the MEP National Network completed projects with 8,900 unique clients and interacted with 28,213 manufacturers, particularly small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs). One of the ways the Network has assisted these SMMs is through Supplier Scouting.

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