From MAGNET: Sauder Woodworking and MAGNET Find A Way To Innovation

Each month we’ll be featuring a blog post from our friends at MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network). MAGNET’s mission is to support, educate and champion manufacturing in Ohio with the goal of transforming the region’s economy into a powerful, global player. You can visit MAGNET online at manufacturingsuccess.org. Sauder Woodworking and MAGNET Find A Way To Innovation When Sauder Woodworking began seeing less growth and profits, the company couldn’t afford to invest in innovation, yet truly needed to explore new markets. By reaching out to MAGNET, the Sauder Company received structured guidance towards innovating a new kind of product and ensuring its financial success. In this video, you’ll learn how MAGNET helped lead the Sauder Woodworking Company to create the innovative and commercially successful WoodTrac Ceiling System. Click here to read the original post.read more >

From MAGNET: New Research Supports toe Positive Effect of Co-locating Production and Innovation

This post originally appeared on MAGNET’s  Manufacturing Success blog and is reposted with permission. New Research Supports the Positive Effect of Co-locating Production and Innovation The preliminary results of a new research report on innovation in manufacturing caught our eye here at MAGNET recently. In 2010, MIT’s President, Susan Hockfield, launched the MIT Production in the Innovation Economy (PiE) research group  to answer the question: “What kinds of production do we need–and where do production facilities need to be located–to sustain an innovative economy?” The PiE group also worked to answer these questions: “How do production capabilities here and abroad contribute to sustaining innovation and realizing its benefits within our own society?” “How did this new global economy of fragmented research, development, production and distribution come into being? And what does this mean for the future of the U.S. economy?” The group analyzed these questions in relationship to large U.S. corporations, start-ups companies that had achieved commercialization, and small- and mid-sized U.S. manufacturers (referred to as “Main Street Manufacturers”). In late February, the group released its thought-provoking preliminary report (the final report will be published in the fall). The report’s conclusion: “What’s held manufacturing in the United States…was the advantage firms gain from proximity to innovation and proximity to users. Even in a world linked by big data and instant messaging, the gains from co-location have not disappeared.” Since the U.S. share of the world market has declined from 34 percent in 1998 to 28 percent in 2010, the PiE group identifies a key danger point to be the declining weight of the U.S. in the global economy, even though the output of U.S. high-tech manufacturing is still the largest in the world. The group also reports it’s fear that “the loss of companies that can make things will end up in the loss…read more >

From MAGNET: Determined Innovators Face Risk to Reap Rewards

Each month we’ll be featuring a blog post from our friends at MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network). MAGNET’s mission is to support, educate and champion manufacturing in Ohio with the goal of transforming the region’s economy into a powerful, global player. You can visit MAGNET online at manufacturingsuccess.org. This post originally appeared on MAGNET’s  Manufacturing Success blog and is reposted with permission. Determined Innovators Face Risk to Reap Rewards Everyone wants an advantage. Relative to their competitors, all businesses want to be seen by customers as the go-to provider. My favorite race car driver, and boyhood hero, the late Mark Donohue was labeled as always having an “Unfair Advantage” by his competitors. However, if you read Donohue’s autobiography, it becomes clear that he was a member of a very innovative Penske team. They were always conceiving ways to go faster, testing them on the track and at times stretching the boundaries of the rule book. But there was also an underlying theme of hard work. They outworked most everyone else. Sweat equity, some might call it. In industry, success through innovation is the same. Coming up with innovative ideas is hard work, getting them successfully to market is difficult and always risky. The more innovative the product, the larger the uncertainty of success—but usually the higher the payoff. Managing this risk while fostering an atmosphere of innovation is a tricky balance to achieve. Many companies have a formal process to achieve this balance. But sometimes these processes end up creating barriers that squelch innovation by requiring too much to be known at the early stages of development. Really innovative ideas are almost always those that we know the least about at the beginning. Innovation Tip: Consider adapting a tried and true principle introduced by W. Edwards Deming to help overcome…read more >