Help Impact the Future of Manufacturing: 2020 Ohio Manufacturing Survey

Today we have a guest post from MAGNET (The Manufacturing and Growth Advocacy Network) organization that has a mission for helping manufacturers grow and compete in Northeast Ohio, especially the 98% of startup to medium-sized manufacturers that drive our economy. MAGNET rolls up its sleeves to provide hands-on support ranging from new product design to operations and brings education and business together to create tomorrow’s manufacturers.  MAGNET needs your help. By taking 20 minutes to complete its survey before the end of the year, you can help impact future legislative decisions, offerings and services, as well as use the survey results to help your own organization. At MAGNET, we’re inspired to drive regional impact by supporting small- to medium-sized manufacturing companies in areas of product design and development, process innovation and automation, operational excellence and engagement, and more.  But for us to supply you with the right services at MAGNET, it’s imperative that we gain insight into the current Northeast Ohio manufacturing landscape. That’s where the survey comes in. About the Ohio Manufacturing Survey This year’s survey is your opportunity to impact how key stakeholders across manufacturing make decisions for our industry’s future. By giving us 20 minutes of your time, you can: Impact how legislators and key stakeholders make future decisions Shape the offerings and services of manufacturing support organizations Use the results to benchmark how you compare to other Ohio manufacturers And as a thank you for your time and responses, you’ll get the following upon submission: Your choice of any one of 12 different business books FREE admission to one of our report rollout events—Cleveland, Akron, or Canton in February 2020 $5 to Harvest for Hunger donation made by our sponsors for every response The survey deadline is December 31, 2019. This survey is limited to businesses that produce physical goods, with production…read more >

Manufacturers: Avoid These Three Frequent Failures of a Product Launch

Today we have a guest post from MAGNET (The Manufacturing and Growth Advocacy Network) organization that has a mission for helping manufacturers grow and compete in Northeast Ohio, especially the 98% of startup to medium-sized manufacturers that drive our economy. MAGNET rolls up its sleeves to provide hands-on support ranging from new product design to operations and brings education and business together to create tomorrow's manufacturers.  Did you know 70% of all new product launches fail? While manufacturers may feel a sense of urgency to introduce a new product or service to market, testing thoroughly before launch can mean the difference between success and failure. After all, simply launching a new product will not guarantee its success. So whether you’re in the ideation phase of a new innovation, or zeroing in on your promotion plan, you’ll want to take into consideration these frequent failures of a product launch. Lack of Market Understanding Why do so many products fail? The answer is simple: failure to understand the market. Misunderstanding the market is equal to destroying a product before launching it. We’ve all heard the old adage “If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, why do it at all?” Instead of rushing to get several products to market with incomplete research, sales support, or inventory, manufacturers should consider planning for a few, well-thought out products in a given time period for higher profit margins and faster growth. Read more.read more >

3 Technology Trends Transforming Manufacturing

Today we have a guest post from MAGNET (The Manufacturing and Growth Advocacy Network) organization that has a mission for helping manufacturers grow and compete in Northeast Ohio, especially the 98% of startup to medium-sized manufacturers that drive our economy. MAGNET rolls up its sleeves to provide hands-on support ranging from new product design to operations and brings education and business together to create tomorrow's manufacturers. The widespread adoption of technology is indisputably transforming manufacturing operations. But before manufacturers jump right in and fight for technology implementation and adoption, it’s important to understand how certain techs can work, how they’re used, and what benefits they may reap. MAGNET details three common technology trends that are impacting manufacturing processes: 1. Expansion of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) 2. More Emphasis on Cybersecurity 3. Continued Push for 3-D Printing To read the entire post and download MAGNET's 2019 State of Northeast Ohio Manufacturing Report, click here.read more >

From MAGNET: Attracting and Retaining Manufacturing Talent

Each month we be feature 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. Attracting and Retaining Manufacturing Talent By Judith Crocker, Director of Workforce & Talent Development, MAGNET Recent surveys of manufacturers consistently identify one of their top three priorities as workforce issues. Companies— regardless of size— recognize that a highly skilled, qualified workforce is critical to their success. Whether manufacturers are seeking to develop new products, enter new markets, or improve overall productivity, their workforce will be key to their ability to remain competitive and achieve their goals. Companies that are successful in attracting and retaining talented people  realize they must be pro-active and become part of their workforce  solution. Fewer young people are choosing manufacturing careers. They don’t know  the opportunities or the educational requirements.  Coupling that fact with  smaller numbers of students in high school means a smaller pool of qualified candidates for employment. To overcome that obstacle, smart manufacturers are actively engaging with educational institutions in their communities, informing students, teachers, guidance counselors and parents about the many stable and well-paying jobs they have available. Starting with middle school age students, these manufacturers are sending young scientists, engineers, technicians and machine operators to visit local classrooms and talk with students about their work. Students, teachers and parents are also invited to open houses to see the inside of plants and facilities they likely drive by on a daily basis, but have no idea of what is actually taking place inside. They tour the facility, are introduced to the young professionals in the company and see for themselves what takes place…read more >

From MAGNET: How to Use LinkedIn to Promote Your Innovative Company

Each month we be feature 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. How to Use LinkedIn to Promote Your Innovative Company If you haven’t adopted LinkedIn as a means for promoting your company, now is definitely the time to do it. As of this week, LinkedIn has modified the format of company pages and this may prove to be especially beneficial for manufacturing companies. The change LinkedIn unveiled is the removal of the “Products & Services” tab of your company page in order to make way for showcase pages. Showcase pages allow you to extend your company page presence by creating a dedicated page for your most innovative products and services. On these pages, you can share content just as you would with company page status updates. The new format helps your company build long-term relationships with LinkedIn members who want to follow specific areas of your business that interest them most. In addition, it can help you attract the hard-to-reach younger workforce by presenting your company as an innovative and lively company. As many manufacturing companies have a complex and vast array of products and services, each with different audiences, showcase pages allow you to address different markets with customized content. Whether on purpose or not, LinkedIn’s showcase pages provide the ability to segment your audience and these people can choose to subscribe to any of your pages in order to receive content that’s tailored to what they’re interested in.  Keys to Showcase Page Success  Showcase pages have a lot of potential and provide an opportunity to highlight what makes your company…read more >

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: Manufacturing – It’s for Women Too!

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. Manufacturing - It's for Women Too! As the economy in Northeast Ohio continues to rebound, the demand for skilled, educated workers in manufacturing is increasing. Employers are seeking future workers from all sources and there is growing recognition of the role that women can play in these 21st Century careers. Welding is one of those careers that offers great opportunities for women.  A recent CNBC.com article illustrates the demand and potential for women in today’s modern manufacturing workplace. See the CNBC article here. Click here to read the original post.read more >

From MAGNET: MAGNET Helps SIFCO Streamline And Stay “SMART”

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. MAGNET Helps SIFCO Streamline And Stay “SMART” SIFCO Forge Group found themselves with longer-than-desired turnaround and delivery times and needed a lean program to help them reduce these times and their costs. In partnering with MAGNET, SIFCO went far beyond a typical lean program and redefined their company culture with the SIFCO SMART program. In this video, you’ll learn more about MAGNET and SIFCO’s development of SMART and how it positively impacted not just SIFCO’s bottom line but every single member of its workforce. 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: Market Diversification

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. Market Diversification: What Value Do You Bring? Part 1 By Ken Walker, Senior Business Consultant, MAGNET You’ve made “The Decision.” No, I’m not talking about LeBron leaving Cleveland—I’m talking about the decision to move your company’s products and services into a new market. Maybe it’s an allied market that uses the same type of products you produce.  Or maybe you’re selling the exact same product but to a different kind of customer, for example consumer instead of industrial. You’ve decided that, for the strategic growth of your company, you are willing to make the investment necessary. You’ve researched this new market’s key customers and key competitors.  Your organization is primed, ready and willing to conquer this new territory. However, before you go charging off, make sure the “new land” is receptive to your invading horde. In other words, in this new market, is anyone willing to buy what you are selling? Consider: Why Might Customers Choose to Change? When you decide to enter a new market, unless its an emerging technology market, it is very unlikely that you are the only supplier to the market. In most instances, existing suppliers will have been established for years. Even in markets where the barriers of entry are relatively low, it’s not easy to get customers to change without a compelling reason. Here are some important reasons why a customer might be willing to change or add to their supplier base:…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 >

From MAGNET: Addressing the Skills Gap and Improving the Bottom Line

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. Addressing the Skills Gap and Improving the Bottom Line The skills gap in the manufacturing workforce continues to be a challenge. Employers constantly bemoan their inability to get qualified workers, educators convene employers to better understand what they are looking for and develop new programs, and job seekers experience frustration when they are not selected due to lack of skills. It is time to start looking more closely at potential solutions, the role that employers can play, and the value to employers. Recently reports of successful strategies are starting to emerge. The lessons learned from these successes should be explored for replication and duplication. How do you define and measure success in a way that resonates with all the stakeholders?  Typically, successful placement in vacant positions is one clear measure. Another is assessing the Economic Impact of the placement on the company and measures that affect its bottom line. One example of a project that did both, is a training program managed by MAGNET in 2011.  The project was designed to determine if the attainment of skill certifications matched to employer requirements would result in a pool of candidates to fill current or projected vacancies in entry-level positions. Four Ohio sites were selected. The local team was headed by an educational provider and partnered with the local One-Stop that assisted with recruitment of participants.  Selected employers were involved from the beginning. They committed to providing input in the content and…read more >

From MAGNET: Fail Fast, Fail Cheap

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. Fail Fast, Fail Cheap By Robert Schmidt, Growth & Innovation Advisor, MAGNET We need to be innovative—you know, try new things! Building on those that seem to work and quickly eliminating those that don’t work out as we had envisioned. The proven method I use in this case would be the “Fail Fast, Fail Cheap” (FFFC) method. How do we go about this? Simply stop spending time and money on developing new processes, products, or  marketing messages without trying it out. You want to find out if your concept is a good one? Find out in a fast, easy, and inexpensive way. Bottom line is: The key to fail fast fail cheap is to spend minimum resources to get the concept off the paper (or your mind) and into the application so you can tell if it needs to be changed, destroyed, or finalized. FFFC follows Demings “Plan, Do, Study, Act” model. In a rapid succession of learning cycles you try out your idea, learn from that experience, modify and try again- all on a shoestring budget.  Fast trumps elegant early on. An example would be to develop a look-alike or “Frankenstein” prototype made from on-hand or commercially available materials. The Frankenstein prototype gathers critical feedback from potential customers/users. Their reactions (likes, dislikes, concerns) help you determine if investing further resources makes sense and guides your step of development. Its much like taking on an entrepreneur mindset, forcing creativity and short…read more >