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

An update on HGR’s 2015 manufacturing scholarship recipient

Jon Berkel Elyria Foundry
(photo courtesy of Elyria Foundry)

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Jonathan Berkel, 2015 HGR Industrial Surplus Manufacturing Scholarship recipient)

Ever since I received the manufacturing scholarship from HGR Industrial Surplus in 2015 and graduated from Elyria High School and Lorain County JVS where I studied welding and fabrication, I have been furthering my education at Lorain County Community College to earn an associate of science degree. In fall 2017, I will be transferring to The Ohio State University to earn my bachelor’s degree in welding engineering.

For the past year and half at Lorain County Community College I have been taking classes in math, science, English and general education that will transfer to The Ohio State University. These courses will prepare me for future courses that I will take in order to pursue my degree.

While attending classes, I work part-time, and I work full-time when classes are not in session at Elyria Pattern Co., since I graduated high school as a welder and a pattern maker. I do a little bit of everything. I am working on some projects for Elyria Foundry. I also have been working on frames for the base of the patterns. These frames go on the base of the pattern to give the base stronger support.

I would like wish all the 2017 scholarship nominees good luck.

Jon Berkel welding
(Jonathan welding)

Tips & tricks for implementing Lean/Six Sigma tools

Lean manufacturing

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Chris Adams MBA, Lean BB and Six Sigma BB)

Lean and Six Sigma have been methodologies I have used throughout my career, whether I knew them at that time by those names or not. Educated in Industrial and Operations Engineering “at that school up north,” The University of Michigan, and subsequently obtaining an MBA at The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, I was fortunate enough to get the strict schooling behind me and then later obtained my Lean Black Belt through the corporate Lean office of Emerson Electric in St. Louis and my Six Sigma Black Belt through Lorain County Community College via Dan Sommers who is a Six Sigma Black Belt alumni from GE Lighting.

The vast majority of my experience with Lean and Six Sigma methodologies has come through the manufacturing world. So, the first tip I would propose is to start with the Lean Journey 5S (or sometimes companies choose to use 6S to call out safety separately) if you and your organization have the wherewithal and commitment. Instituting the rigors of 5S and then maintaining are definitely a place where good standard work and an audit process pay off.

But, many an organization is too impatient to allow for the “cost” of 5S and the, sometimes, soft-cost savings to be returned. So, my second tip, Value Stream Mapping is still the way to make the current state be documented and understood as well as provide for the solid basis on which future-state Value Stream Maps can drive the profitability of an organization in the right direction.

My third tip is to use, sooner rather than later, the Value Stream Mapping process to understand back to the suppliers’ supplier and forward to the customers’ customer. I have been with organizations that have been successful in implementing and working with their suppliers and customers as a win-win in the value chain.

The fourth tip is to have a solid foundation for the process used to implement project- or process-based change. In my last two roles, I have been fortunate enough to work with organizations that were committed enough to the process of leading change that Policy Deployment (or Strategy Deployment or X-matrix) were truly practiced. An organization that waterfalls its top three to five main corporate objectives to the associate on the floor really understands what teamwork is all about.

My fifth and final tip is that, although my experience (and to this point) a significant amount of the use of Lean and Six Sigma tools have come through the manufacturing world, service industries are a hotbed where these tools can be more universally applied. In my personal experience as a volunteer at one of the most respected hospital systems in the world, we’ve learned that a process is a process and can be improved.

 

Local bolt manufacturer had its roots in WWII war effort and supplies bolts to critical applications

excavator loading dump truck at construction site

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Alex Kerr, corporate secretary, Kerr Lakeside)

Kerr Lakeside Inc., 26841 Tungsten Blvd., Euclid Ohio, was started in 1945 by Charles L. Kerr. He then organized Krafline Industries for the manufacture of a special military fastener. Once World War II ended, the company discontinued operations until 1947, when the company was renamed C.L. Kerr Industries. It regularly bought and sold products from another Cleveland company, Lakeside Machine Products Company, which led to a merger in 1958. The new company was named Kerr Lakeside Industries.

Expansion continued for Kerr Lakeside in the 1950s and 1960s as the company made additions to its facilities on St. Clair Avenue numerous times. In 1965, Kerr Lakeside moved to its present location on Tungsten Boulevard in Euclid Ohio. Kerr Lakeside continued to make expansion to this facility and invested in two buildings next door through the end of the century, as equipment was purchased and space to hold inventory was necessary. The business has remained a family-run business since the beginning, now in its third generation of ownership, under the leadership of Charles Kerr II.

Today, Kerr Lakeside Inc. manufactures hex socket screw products, precision-machined parts, and cold-headed components. The largest portion of Kerr Lakesides business is its sale of high-strength, critical application fasteners. These high-strength fasteners are produced on one of Kerr’s seven cold heading machines. This process takes a steel blank and presses it between a punch and a die to form the metal into a fastener blank. This process can reach speeds upwards of 200 parts per minute and results in no loss of material, unlike machining that removes metal to form the parts. After the fastener blank is formed, the threads are rolled between two dies that form the threads of the fastener. Both these processes allow for the part and threads to be formed with little to no material lost and provide for a higher strength part. Last, the parts are sent out locally to a vendor for heat treating to increase the strength of the fastener. All parts are then inspected at Kerr Lakeside’s in-house laboratory to ensure they meet the required specifications.

Kerr’s full line of hex socket screw products is sold through distributors across the United States and Canada. These fasteners are used in a wide range of products, including automotive, machine tools, tool and dies, heavy-duty machinery, and mining equipment. Kerr says, “The bolts can end up in critical applications, such as in vehicles and motorcycles, trucks, construction equipment, cranes, molds and dies. Bolts aren’t the most exciting thing, but they do an important job.”

One of the many challenges for Kerr Lakeside, like many other manufacturers, is the availability of skilled labor. Kerr has taken an active role in the industry’s efforts to develop its workforce going forward. Kerr is a member of a number of associations — Precision Machined Products Association, Industrial Fastener Institute, and Alliance for Working Together — that encourage manufacturing as a career path by working with students and educators of local schools. Several area community colleges, including Lakeland Community College, Cuyahoga Community College and Lorain County Community College, now offer two-year manufacturing-related programs as a result of the associations and their members.

Kerr Lakeside also supports local businesses. According to its plant manager, the company has bought a National Acme screw machine, belt sander, conveyors, shelving, motors and pumps from HGR Industrial Surplus and has sold surplus equipment to HGR, as well.

Kerr Lakeside logo