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.

August 31, 2022

8 Reasons You’re Struggling with Your WorkforceThrough a recent seminar at The City Club of Cleveland, MAGNET’s Matt Fieldman learned that there are eight simple reasons why you’re struggling with your workforce. These “social determinants of work” are plaguing most cities and towns and must be addressed. When we’re talking about millions of Americans still on the sidelines of our economy, this isn’t about individuals – this is about our systems. These factors are all outside of your employee’s control but because they have significant individual consequences, they are affecting your company and our American manufacturing industry.

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August 19, 2022

How Smaller Manufacturers Can Develop Risk Management Strategies for Their Supply ChainsThe COVID-19 pandemic brought to light a stark reality about current supply chains. In their recent MEP National Network™/Modern Machine Shop webinar “How Smaller Manufacturers Can Develop Risk Management Strategies for Their Supply Chains,” Gary Steinberg of California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC, the California MEP Center) and Chris Scafario from the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC, part of the Pennsylvania MEP) shared strategies for identifying and mitigating supply chain risks, especially aimed at small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs).

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August 12, 2022

Four Ways That Engaging With Schools Benefits Your Talent StreamThe manufacturing community has long struggled with finding skilled workers, citing, among other things, the misperceptions that manufacturing jobs underpay, are monotonous and involve working in dirty factories. With the adoption of Industry 4.0 — automation and robotics — the task at hand for the industry is as much about raising awareness and creating interest for high-tech careers in advanced manufacturing as it is about changing perceptions. That’s why manufacturers should be getting more involved with their local schools. According to Bill Padnos, workforce development manager with the National Tool and Machining Association, 64 percent of high school students choose their careers based on their interests and experiences. Engaging with students via factory tours, educational programming and interactive contests helps raise awareness in ways that will help to fill the future talent stream. Plus, the more your region knows about manufacturing, the easier it is to get people interested in manufacturing careers.

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August 3, 2022

Infographic: Reshoring and the Pandemic – Bringing Manufacturing Back to AmericaA new infographic, Reshoring and the Pandemic: Bringing Manufacturing Back to America, delves into various factors related to reshoring supply chains and shines a light on how the MEP National Network™ supports these efforts. Even before the pandemic, some manufacturers were thinking seriously about bringing manufacturing back to the U.S., as a million jobs were reshored in the past decade. Product quality, freight costs and supply chain risks were all considerations before the pandemic. Proximity to customers and markets, government incentives and availability of skilled workers also all played a role in manufacturers’ decisions to move back to the U.S. The infographic will help you learn about various considerations behind this trend. You’ll see the top countries manufacturing is returning from and the top industries coming back to the U.S.

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July 26, 2022

Lighting Up Manufacturing Workforce Development: The America Works FireWorks Conference RecapWorkforce “FireWorks” were on full display in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 22 and 23! We all know and love fireworks; who hasn’t “ooh’ed” and “aah’ed” as they light up the sky? Fittingly, these workforce programs, ideas, innovations, and collaborations had exactly that same impact, expanding the horizons of more than 70 workforce professionals from inside and outside the MEP National Network. A day and a half of networking, sharing, brainstorming, and collaborating was exactly what these professionals were looking for to illuminate their local workforce ecosystems.

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July 5, 2022

Manufacturers: It’s Time to Move from Operational Excellence to Inclusive ExcellenceWe have to ensure that the employees and team members we’re serving bring a diversity of perspectives so we can create organizations capable of solving the complex challenges of our modern world. It’s time for us to move beyond simple operational excellence — making your processes as efficient and cost-effective as possible — and start thinking about inclusive excellence, which prioritizes people above products and profits.

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June 30, 2022

Capturing New MarketsThe MEP National Network can aide in certification processes.

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June 17, 2022

Rethinking Old Hiring Rules to Achieve a Diverse WorkforceMany manufacturers have struggled for years to hire qualified workers. The outlook is for more of the same. With an aging workforce, emerging new technologies requiring more skilled talent, and the continuing decline of trades education in high schools and community colleges, an estimated 2.1 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled in the U.S. by 2030.

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June 8, 2022

Technology Transfer Acceleration by the MEP National NetworkTechnology transfer is not easy, especially when attempting to introduce a new capability or technology into the manufacturing sector. Smaller manufacturers in particular present unique environments and challenges that must be appropriately understood if the transfer is to be successful.

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May 31, 2022

Weathering the Storm: Workforce Insights from the Gulf Coast Shipbuilders ConferenceThe Gulf Coast’s shipbuilding industry is a case study in resilience. Not only have the manufacturers there survived COVID-19, but during the same two-year span they have also dealt with a hurricane, rapid inflation, and a host of other calamities that would ruin most businesses. Given that they’ve bounced back, and the shipbuilding and repair industry now employs some 400,000 people nationally, it’s no surprise that America’s maritime manufacturers have some workforce lessons to teach … and we should all be listening.

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