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.

May 9, 2018

The pace of digital transformation in the manufacturing industry is relentless. But as Kevin Bull, Product Strategy Director at leading digital business services provider Columbus UK explains, digital transformation is not just about deploying emerging technologies – it’s about using the data collected to create new business opportunities, better understand and meet customer expectations, and put in place a future-proof digital strategy. In this article Kevin discusses five key takeaways from the recently published Manufacturing 2020 industry report.

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May 8, 2018

In an exchange with a colleague the other day, I shared a phrase my grandmother often used to say, “nothing’s so bad it can’t get worse.” Throughout my life, I have thought about those words and how grateful I am to have never adopted such an outlook on how I lead or live my life. During my weekends, I work as a certified leadership coach and have had many people share such experiences of having been exposed to similar messages and the affect those messages have had on their lives.

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May 7, 2018

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that manufacturers added 24,000 workers in April, extending the 22,000 gain seen in March. It was the seventh consecutive month with robust growth in hiring in the sector, averaging 26,571 per month over that time frame. As such, the latest jobs numbers confirm that the labor market has tightened significantly, with manufacturers increasing employment by a rather robust 19,000 per month on average since the end of 2016. That is quite a turnaround from the sluggish job growth experienced in 2016, and it is a sign that firms have continued to accelerate their hiring as the economic outlook has strengthened and demand and production have improved considerably.

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April 26, 2018

Recently, we learned five things that surprised us about additive manufacturing for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs). These insights came from a group of MEP National NetworkTM practitioners who participated in a workshop at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and NIST Measurement Science for Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) Program staff to share research, benchmarking data and client field experiences. The primary focus was the need for standards in additive metals manufacturing.

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April 13, 2018

I’ve been on a kick lately to get all of our clients thinking about how they can use a scorecard to run their businesses better. It’s certainly made a huge difference for us at Stoneridge Software in that we have a much better idea of the key indicators and how they are performing each week. I talked to a client yesterday and they asked me the common question, “What metrics should we have on our scorecard?” How should you decide which business scorecard metrics matter the most to your company?

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April 5, 2018

As a small and medium-sized manufacturer (SMM), can you reasonably begin to adopt smart technologies through a lean transformation approach as part of your continuous improvement journey?

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April 2, 2018

As Heraclitus said, change is the only thing constant in life. In the context of manufacturing it seems that there is almost a prescribed course—a road map with regularly spaced forks, one always leading to growth and prosperity, the other to, well, you’re still here so your decisions have taken your company down the right roads, so far.

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March 29, 2018

The two extreme end of production systems are low-mix/high-volume production and High-mix/low-volume. When compared to low-volume, scheduling in high-volume is relatively simple - establishing a sufficient rate of output to meet forecasts. On the other hand scheduling in low-volume tend to be complex and concerned with trade-off between inventory, capacity, and customer service.

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March 28, 2018

Want to improve your processes with little or no investment, use a lean approach which simply means creating more value through identification and elimination of wastes and hence more effective use of resources. So the question becomes how to start and sustain our lean journey with the goal of improving our processes.

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March 26, 2018

It was during my first week in America, when I asked someone where the nearest garage (gas station) was; I went to Subway and asked for biscuits instead of cookies; I asked my barber to trim my sideboards (sideburns); I placed my first trunk call (long distance call), and I purchased my first Polo jumper (sweater).

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