Gear up for Manufacturing Month 2017!

rolls of nails by Stephen Herron

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Liz Fox, senior marketing associate, MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network)

Because 3.5 million manufacturing jobs are expected to be available by the end of the decade, manufacturers are constantly looking for new ways to involve young people in their plants. Some seek assistance from apprenticeship efforts like MAGNET’s Early College Early Career program, while others participate in outreach designed to change the perception of manufacturing from being a dirty, unsafe factory to a high-tech, exciting environment. The latter is the very thing that propels Manufacturing Day, which occurs on the first Friday of October, and, by association, Manufacturing Month (October).

Created in 2012, Manufacturing Day not only stands to celebrate the sector as a whole, but also emphasizes the idea that jobs in the field are highly skilled and take place in some of the world’s coolest facilities. To do this, companies often open their plants to showcase their best technology or hold a career fair with the purpose of informing students what potential career paths lies ahead for them in manufacturing.

According to recent studies by Deloitte, Manufacturing Day has been shown to be effective in not only engaging young people, but involving manufacturers in their communities. In fact, 89 percent of companies surveyed value participating in Manufacturing Day and Manufacturing Month events, and 71 percent of students and young people who attended a plant tour, career/job fair, or other event said they were more likely to spread the word and encourage their friends and family to seek more information about what manufacturing provides for the community, as well as what it can do for the individual.

To coincide with Manufacturing Day (Oct. 6 this year), the whole month of October is also Manufacturing Month in Ohio. As one of the fastest-growing and most innovative manufacturing hubs in the country, companies and nonprofits use this opportunity to work together to address the skilled labor shortage and steer public perceptions of manufacturing in the right direction. Not only does this include businesses from across the state, but local chapters of professional organizations, workforce specialists, and Manufacturing Extension Partnership affiliates, such as MAGNET, TechSolve, and others.

Last year, Ohio played host to nearly 200 Manufacturing Day events, beating out rich manufacturing areas such as New York, Indiana, and Texas.

One of many events kicking off Manufacturing Month this year is the 6th Annual NEO Manufacturing Symposium on Sept. 29. Sponsored by MAGNET and Cleveland Engineering Society and held at Lorain County Community College, this event addresses topics critical to manufacturing, including cybersecurity, talent pipeline, and more. Manufacturers that are looking for answers about new trends and how to lessen the skills gap are encouraged to attend (not to mention a great tour of the new, state-of-the-art Riddell facility in North Ridgeville is available after the conference wraps up at 1 p.m.!).

To find out more about what’s taking place in Ohio on Manufacturing Day (or how to put on an event of your own), visit MFGDay.org or follow @MFGDay on Twitter.

Additional details can be found by logging onto manufacturingsuccess.org or following MAGNET at @MAGNETOhio

Manufacturing undergoes renaissance and evolves its image

MAGNET [M]Power Manufacturing Assembly

On Wednesday, Oct. 19, Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET), Cleveland Engineering Society and Crains Cleveland Business hosted its third-annual [M]Power Manufacturing Assembly at the John S. Knight Center, Akron, Ohio.

The event was showcased information, stories and demonstrations that spoke to the renaissance in manufacturing, globally and in Northeast Ohio. Some of the highlights included:

  • A breakfast keynote address by John E. Skory, president, The Illuminating Company
  • A lunch keynote address by Tim Timken, Chairman, CEO & President, TimkenSteel
  • Three breakout sessions that included a choice of area manufacturing speakers and panels who covered topics such as sales and marketing best practices, turnover, innovation, Lean, risk, rapid prototyping, safety, patents, STEM programs, Internet of Things and counterfeiting
  • An exhibitor hall with representatives from education, industry, construction and engineering, agencies, and technology

According to Ethan Karp, president, MAGNET, in his opening remarks, “Ohio ranks second in the nation for new manufacturing jobs created, and small manufacturing powers 40 percent of Northeast Ohio’s revenue.”

During Skory’s keynote speech, he says, “Ohio is third only to Texas and California in the amount of electricity consumed by industry. We are working to support advanced manufacturing and industry by constantly improving systems.”

Then, I attended the morning breakout entitled “Best practices in sales and marketing: identifying and capturing your customer” presented by Dave Winar, CEO, Winar; Dan Yemma, general manager, M7 Technologies; and Craig Coffey, U.S. marketing communications manager, Lincoln Electric. Winar says his company’s motto is, “Common sense, with humor, we will succeed.” That sounds like a great philosophy to live by! He also shared the “salesman ship” graphic that hangs over his desk and says, “The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.” Coffey focused on the fact that the way people find information now is different from how they did 10 years ago; so, manufacturers need to evolve the way they approach sales as the closer, not the opener and salespeople as deal makers instead of relationship brokers. He also spoke to the importance of a digital footprint and partnering with digital influencers.

In the lunch keynote, Timken quoted a statistic from the National Association of Manufacturers, “For every $1 spent in manufacturing, $1.81 is added to our economy” and that for every worker hired four more jobs are created. You could see his passion for manufacturing when he stated that, for him, manufacturing is “the excitement of making stuff” and the ripple effect of the interconnectedness of people who make things in the region.

In my second breakout session, “Don’t just teach – inspire students: making learning relevant,” Toni Neary, partnership architect, Edge Factor, showed a number of inspiring and, sometimes, chilling videos that illustrate the art of storytelling to connect with youth who “think the world is purchased, not made.” She says that her company partners with manufacturers to show them that “this isn’t your grandfather’s manufacturing facility. It’s not dark, dirty or dangerous.”