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.
Improving the collaboration, cooperation and communication between MEP Centers’ workforce efforts requires two essential ingredients: data on what they’re currently doing in workforce, and information on what they want to be doing in workforce in the future. The 2022 MEP Workforce Survey conducted by America Works has two goals. First, figure out where the puck is currently, understand where it’s going, and then stay ahead of the trends with programming that supports MEP Centers on their individual workforce journeys. Second, empower the MEP Centers to connect with each other directly so they can share their best practices and lessons learned, making the Network more efficient.
Disruptions in the global supply chain have led to a new dynamic for many small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) – the need to be more strategic about “second sourcing” and reshoring. The biggest increase is in what’s referred to as second sourcing, which adds redundancies such as a second source of a supply to minimize risk while increasing options. But supply chain experts also are seeing an interest in relying long term on domestic supply sources.
In addition to building our lifesaving and world-changing products, let’s manufacture something else: inclusivity. There are hundreds of thousands of Americans with unique abilities who are either unemployed or underemployed. At a time when American manufacturing needs over two million workers, it’s time for manufacturing companies to expand their perspective.
Hendrick Manufacturing, an ISO 9001:2008 certified company, desired an external resource to assist in upgrading its quality management system (QMS) for certification in ISO 9001:2015 to ensure its quality processes and protocols met client requirements. If they did not upgrade the QMS, Hendrick was at risk of losing many of its most lucrative accounts. The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC), part of the Pennsylvania MEP and the MEP National Network™, provided a two-day gap analysis of Hendrick’s existing quality management system under ISO 9001:2008 to the ISO 9001:2015 standard in addition to employee training. Results of this engagement included $250,000 in increased or retained sales, 5 created or retained jobs and $20,000 in cost savings.
Up and down busy streets nationwide, the same six-word banners stand outside in front of hundreds of businesses. The problem? These banners aren’t working. These six words – umpteen dollars per hour plus benefits – have lost all their meaning in a world with a talent shortage and simply not enough workers. It’s time to shake up your employee recruitment banner. Six word stories have an incredible power to engage people, cutting through the clutter with a concise, poignant message. So, stop advertising your manufacturing business like a commodity and start pushing what makes manufacturing exciting.
Small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) have struggled with the time and level of expertise it takes to build and validate a simulation model, especially for those in high mix, low volume environments that are difficult to model adequately. But there is a payoff, as simulation will provide manufacturers with a great opportunity to increase their performance and meet the daunting demands to rapidly introduce new products and technology, reduce costs, and increase quality. SMMs can stay competitive by using advanced engineering tools such as simulation.
Lean principles can apply to traditional scheduling functions, finance, even sales and marketing. Bringing lean principles to your manufacturing office will save you time, and ultimately, money, by addressing common issues like non-value-added time spent on tasks, delays in communication and lack of proper information flow. There often is a huge wall that separates office functions from manufacturing operations. Each side may not understand what the other side does and how they do it. A lean office mindset will help with transparency and breaking down that wall.
For manufacturers, artificial intelligence (AI) can be a game changer. Greater efficiencies, lower costs, improved quality and reduced downtime are just some of the potential benefits. This technology is not only for large manufacturers. High-value, cost-effective AI solutions are more accessible than many smaller manufacturers realize. In the recent MEP National Network™/Modern Machine Shop webinar “Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing: Real World Success Stories and Lessons Learned,” Andy Carr of South Carolina MEP (SCMEP) and Delta Bravo Founder and CEO Rick Oppedisano discussed AI solutions that work best for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs).
Can a simple online game change the way you view your manufacturing business? Absolutely. The “Ready or Not” manufacturing simulation game developed by the Oregon MEP (OMEP) is a live, interactive experience set in a hypothetical manufacturing business that you control. The game teaches critical skills and lessons in an engaging, exciting format that delivers valuable training, team building, and insights.
Manufacturing Month may be over, but many federal agencies celebrate and support U.S. manufacturing and manufacturers year-round! If you couldn’t join the interagency Manufacturing Month series of five-webinars hosted by the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Commercial Service, Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), here’s a quick summary of how these agencies can help your company grow.