Take the Northeast Ohio Regional Manufacturers Survey and make an impact

man taking survey on phone and tablet

MAGNET: Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network is inviting manufacturers to impact the future of manufacturing in Northeast Ohio through its second-annual Northeast Ohio Regional Manufacturers Survey. To thank you for your time, you’ll be able to pick one of 10 different business books – and they’ll send it to you for free! They’ll also make a donation of $5 to Harvest for Hunger in your honor.

It will take less than 15 minutes to answer the 40 questions. Your response this year will shape legislative policies and regulations, better align the workforce development system, and much more. In late January, you will get real results on how your company stacks up against other companies in your region, and in your industry, in critical areas like workforce, operations, and growth. The survey questions revolve around workforce, operations, perspectives on growth in 2018.

Feel free to forward this to whomever in your organization that you think is the most appropriate person to fill out the survey, and feel free to share it with other manufacturing companies, as well. The more the merrier!

The final results will be shared widely, and you’ll receive an email as soon as the results are released.

 

HGR hosts MAGNET’s annual State of Manufacturing event

MAGNET State of Manufacturing at HGR

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Dale Kiefer, freelance journalist)

On Nov. 10, HGR welcomed members of the public to its headquarters to gain insights about important trends that are likely to affect Northeast Ohio manufacturers in the coming year. The third-annual State of Manufacturing event was organized by MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network whose mission is to help area companies grow and thereby contribute to the manufacturing renaissance in Northeast Ohio.

MAGNET State of Manufacturing breakfast at HGRThe morning event began with a networking breakfast that gave attendees a chance to connect with other industry professionals, including HGR associates and expert consultants from MAGNET. Ethan Karp, president and CEO of MAGNET, launched the formal part of the program with opening remarks. This was followed by an expression of thanks to HGR and all of the participants from Euclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail.

The first presenter was Joseph N. Gross, an OSBA certified specialist in labor and employment law who is also a partner at Benesch Attorneys at Law. He spoke about changes at OSHA and what manufacturers can expect when dealing with the agency in the coming year.

He was followed by Mark Wolk, the central region manager for Bank of America Leasing & Capital, who gave an overview of the equipment finance market. This included a lease versus loan benefit comparison for capital equipment.MAGNET State of Manufacturing guest speaker at HGR

The third and final speaker for the morning was Dr. Ned Hill who teaches economic development policy, public policy, and public finance at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. The focus of his presentation was Manufacturing 5.0, or the Fifth Industrial Revolution, which describes the most recent major shift in the economy’s structure. Under Manufacturing 5.0, all aspects of enterprises will see full digital integration. In this new economy, soft skills will be just as valuable and essential among the workforce as harder technical skills.

Following the presentations, the speakers opened the floor to questions. Thereafter, attendees were given a chance to take guided tours of HGR’s facility and learn more about the history of the company and the value that HGR itself provides to manufacturers. More than 40 attendees toured HGR’s 500,000-square-foot showroom and newly renovated offices.

The State of Manufacturing 2017 event was sponsored by MAGNET, The Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Benesch Attorneys at Law, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

 

What trends can Northeast Ohio manufacturers expect to see in the next year?

MAGNET State of Manufacturing 2017 held at HGR Industrial Surplus

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

Will the manufacturing industry keep growing at a healthy pace in 2018? How will government regulations and new legislation affect the industry? How will Northeast Ohio manufacturers take advantage of opportunities and face challenges in the new year? 

Find out at MAGNET’s 2017 State of Manufacturing event on Nov. 10!

Held at HGR Industrial Surplus in Euclid, this event will highlight successes in local manufacturing and address the sector’s fiscal and technological future. Following a networking breakfast, the morning will be full of insights on valuable manufacturing topics, including OSHA regulations, Industry 5.0, capital equipment, and more.

Following the event, HGR representatives will offer tours of their 500,000-square-foot showroom and newly renovated offices filled with furniture made by their customers, some of the area’s premier furniture designers.

Stay ahead of the competition by joining us at the third-annual State of Manufacturing event, and uncover economic trends that will affect your business in 2018.

Details and registration here: http://bit.ly/stateofmfg2018

For more information, contact MAGNET’s Linda Barita at 216.391.7766 or shoot us an email. Alternatively, keep up with the latest MAGNET news by following us on Twitter.

 

HGR Industrial Surplus to host MAGNET’s The State of Manufacturing 2017 on Nov. 10

MAGNET: Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network

Last year, MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network hosted The State of Manufacturing 2016 at Jergens. Click here for a recap of that event so that you can get an idea of what to expect. This year, HGR Industrial Surplus, 20001 Euclid Avenue, Euclid, Ohio, is hosting from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Nov. 10, 2017. Tickets are required and can be purchased here for $10. You also can view the full agenda on that page.

Join us for a morning devoted to economic and environmental trends affecting Northeast Ohio manufacturers led by Dr. Ned Hill, professor of public administration and city and regional planning at The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs and member of the College of Engineering’s Ohio Manufacturing Institute.

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

Additive manufacturing, 3D printing and rapid prototyping: What’s the difference?

Keyboard with 3D print key

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

If you type “additive manufacturing” into Google, thousands of results pop up, including everything from magazines to materials manufacturers to membership organizations devoted to the subject.

Many of these sites also use the terms “3D printing,” “additive manufacturing,” and “rapid prototyping” interchangeably, which brings up an important question: are these really all the same, or are crucial differences being overlooked?

Let’s start with the basics. Additive manufacturing is a methodology made up of new processes that have been developed during the last 30 years. While these vary on a technical level, all of them involve quickly building components layer-by-layer or drop-by-drop using printers and digital files. This differs from traditional manufacturing processes (such as CNC machining) because it builds up rather than takes away; thereby, constructing something from scratch instead of chipping away at existing material to form a specific shape or object.

At the root of it all, 3D printing and additive manufacturing are one and the same. While most experts prefer “additive,” “3D printing” has become a buzzword that resonates more with the average consumer, as well as the new class of makers that’s emerged in the last 10 years. Some debate this theory, but in our experience, it extends little beyond personal preference, like calling soda “pop” or vice versa.

Rapid prototyping is a different story. While additive and 3D printing describe a process, rapid prototyping is a way to use that technology, specifically in a testing environment and/or for design purposes that have little or nothing to do with service applications. The phrase “fail fast, fail cheap” often applies to this practice, as additive tech allows manufacturers to experiment with different ideas, designs, and functions without worrying too much about the cost of materials. Some options include Color Jet Printing (CJP), Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), and Stereolithography (SLA), which have been used to create things as diverse as car components, toys, and surgical implants.

Regardless of its applications, 3D printing continues to revolutionize the manufacturing sector. As current tech is improved upon and new methods are developed, these innovations are impacting companies for the better by offering a faster, cheaper alternative to using traditional processes and materials.

Check out how MAGNET is helping manufacturers harness the power of additive manufacturing capabilities in their products and processes:

For more information, call MAGNET at 216.391.7766, visit manufacturingsuccess.org, or follow us on Twitter at @MAGNETOhio!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Cornell University alumni and MAGNET partner to host manufacturing seminar

Cornell Club of Northeastern Ohio logo

On Feb. 21, The Cornell Club of Northeastern Ohio sponsored a gathering at MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network) to learn about “Manufacturing and the Future of Work in Northeast Ohio.” The event was attended by Cornell alumni, as well as interested parties from area educators and businesses.

MAGNET’s Linda Barita, director of strategic alliances, led the discussion and was joined by Mike O’Donnell, VP of operations, and Dave Pierson, lead engineer and head of additive and 3D printing. 

Highlights of the discussion revolved around data from the 2017 NEO Manufacturing Survey conducted by MAGNET and its partners, The Corporate University and Kent State University at Stark.

The survey showed that manufacturers are concerned about three main issues: rising costs of healthcare, attracting and retaining qualified workers, and government policies and regulations.

The focus of the discussion revolved around attracting a skilled workforce, with a focus on students in high school. Although traditional high school internships have been for juniors or seniors, Pierson says he now is recruiting freshman so that he can offer them training for four years prior to graduation. He states that the interns are well prepared to join the workforce after four years of training and adapt easily to their new jobs.

The question remains around training for adults whose jobs vanished during the 2008 recession. In an article The Plain Dealer, Olivera Perkins reports, “Six of the 10 occupations losing the most jobs were moderate or higher-paying. They included executive secretaries and administrative assistants; business operation specialists, including brokers; and most secondary-school teaching positions.” She continues by stating that “the two fastest-growing occupations were lower-paying: food preparation and serving workers, with a median hourly pay of $8.71, and home health aides, at $9.18 an hour.” (Perkins, 1) This problem has increased the number of “working poor” in our community.

How can we, as a community, offer adults in the community who have found themselves on the sidelines of the job market with the opportunity to learn the skills needed in today’s manufacturing environment? It will take partnerships between the manufacturing industry, educators, government, and those, like myself, who work in the field of Industrial and labor relations, to create employment opportunities that will afford an employee with the opportunity to earn enough money to support him or herself.

Works Cited

Perkins, Olivera. (2012, Sept. 3). “Jobs with mid-range pay are disappearing from the Cleveland area labor market.” Retrieved
from:
http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2012/09/decent_paying_jobs_disappearin.html

 

How do I lower manufacturing costs?

man working in manufacturing facility

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

As manufacturing shifts and grows through technological innovation and higher demand, shops are continually becoming more flexible and embracing the idea of slimming down. As a result, manufacturers are looking for ways to save money without sacrificing valuable manpower, processes, or components. If your efforts aren’t producing ideal profit margins, the following are some valuable cost-reduction ideas that should be considered in your long-term plans.

Assess and enhance your processes.

Before taking the next step toward cutting costs, you need to assess your manufacturing processes by looking at them from every angle. What details do you notice? Are there unnecessary steps or equipment? When you look at the big picture, it not only tells you where things can be improved, but gives you guidance on how to innovative so that materials aren’t wasted, labor isn’t costly, and scrap is minimal.

This can involve the following:

  • Implement additive techniques to reduce development time and use less expensive materials
  • Make better use of suppliers by evaluating and prioritizing your current needs
  • Modify designs to make them more cost-effective
  • Adopt Lean manufacturing and create a culture of continuous improvement

Go green.

Companies now are more receptive to sustainability as a key pillar of their day-to-day operations, and this means cutting back on energy consumption. With the right blend of technology, real-time data, and other resources, companies can run slower without disposing of good customer service or creating longer lead times. Take initiative by installing energy-efficient lighting fixtures, rescheduling the use of high-powered equipment, and putting together a special team to ensure all energy-oriented manufacturing costs are being managed appropriately.

Consider the cost of inventory.

Inventory space utilized for a long period of time can lead to high costs for storage, maintenance, and insurance. Take measures to make your operations more fluid, responsive, and oriented toward noted actual demand, which can help you avoid overproduction, cut the amount of waste, and substantially reduce cash spent on space for additional product inventory.

For more information, contact MAGNET at 216.391.7002 or visit manufacturingsuccess.org.

MAGNET’s 2016 State of Manufacturing address took place at Jergens, Inc.

MAGNET state of manufacturing symposium at Jergens

On Nov. 16, 2016, MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, in conjunction with PNC Bank, presented its 2016 State of Manufacturing: Important Trends Affecting Northeast Ohio Manufacturers at Jergens Inc., 15700 S. Waterloo Road, Cleveland. There was standing room only as manufacturers and service-industry representatives arrived to hear presentations by Rich Wetzel, Youngstown Business Incubator, on the state of additive manufacturing and Dr. Ned Hill, The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs and Ohio Manufacturing Institute, on manufacturing, the economy and the future.

In opening remarks, Paul Clark, regional president, PNC Bank, noted that “Thirty percent of PNC’s loan commitments in Northeast Ohio have been in manufacturing for the past 20 of 40 years.” These loans help manufacturers with new product development, new markets and acquisitions.

Wetzel, in his presentation on additive manufacturing, aka 3D printing, shared the seven main processes of additive manufacturing, with material extrusion being the most common, and says, “Northeast Ohio is becoming the capital of additive manufacturing and putting the area on the map.” He also shared that low-volume tooling is the low-hanging fruit and the easiest to implement for near-term opportunities but that the market tends to be risk averse.

Last, Dr. Hill (if I had an economics professor like this in college, I might have liked economics and learned something) talked about the current uncertainty in the market due to the election but the positive increase in interest rates. He says, “Manufacturing is looked at nostalgically by the public since it’s gone overseas, and they believe we aren’t making things.” In 2014, although China was the top nation for manufacturing, the U.S. was a close second. He shared that the largest market opportunity in the world lies in the NAFTA nations. He did a retrospective and shared that manufacturers were always in the top 10 employers in Ohio but now the reality is that part-time, low-wage jobs in healthcare, retail and food service have become the mainstay. In that reality, he says, “Midsized companies will be driving this state.”

Another trend he discussed in depth was automation. Since 1979, we lost almost 5-million factory jobs but at the same time more than doubled the value due to productivity. In addition, he shared statistics that we have lost 13 percent of factory jobs to trade and 88 percent to automation and continuous improvement, and that robotics is expected to reduce labor by another 22 percent in the U.S. He asked the audience to consider how many jobs technology has saved rather than lost. The U.S., for the first time in recent years, is a threat to China due to its quality, efficiency and improved internal supply chain. He says that when manufacturing can 3D print a die, it will save 20-30 percent and can compete with China. And, as much as we would like to believe that manufacturing powers the economy, it’s actually powered by consumers who do 70 percent of the spending. They are buying the products we manufacture!

Finally, he acknowledged the present problem of aging-out workers and the lack of a skilled workforce to replace them. He says manufacturing’s greatest enemies are parents, school counselors and OSHA, which limits workers under 20 from being on the manufacturing floor. We are losing talent to other industries. Let’s make these people our allies and work toward STEM education and a resurgence of interest in a field has evolved and shed its former stereotypical image.

 

6 reasons why you need digital marketing to expand your business

woman touching digital screen

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

Manufacturing has always been at the forefront of change and innovation, notably in creating and implementing new measures to better serve the needs of the company and its customer base. But the rapid pace of technological growth – paired with reluctance to invest in new and/or unexplored systems – has left small- and mid-sized businesses struggling to keep up in an increasingly connected world.

However, digital marketing services can be utilized for different purposes in different industries with the ultimate goal of increasing revenue and establishing credibility. The following reasons not only address the numerous benefits of incorporating digital marketing in your overall strategy, but also how different techniques can grow your business sooner rather than later.

  • Lead delivery and conversion – Lead scoring empowers companies to better track how customers are finding them. By using a marketing automation platform in conjunction with customer relationship management (CRM) software, manufacturers easily can monitor how incoming traffic gets converted to leads, followers, subscribers, and/or closed sales.
  • Reduced marketing costs – Traditional media, such as print, radio, and television, harbor high rates and are, in some cases, ineffective at getting to your target market. Digital marketing not only touches a wider range of clients, but also bears better returns on investment. In fact, according to Gartner’s Digital Marketing Spend Report, 40 percent of surveyed small- and mid-sized companies claimed they saved money by using digital means of promotion.
  • Level playing field – Now that digital marketing services are becoming more cost-effective, they are no longer exclusive to large, multinational corporations. Smaller companies are granted access to services and capabilities that can help them better compete in growing industries. Sales and marketing strategies as a whole also are subject to expansion, which enables manufacturers to compete on similar levels.
  • Better customer interaction –In today’s world, consumers are more likely to follow or purchase from companies with a personal touch, and aspects of digital marketing allow small manufacturers to reach out to their customer base with new products and updates on the company. In particular, branching out into social media – especially Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn – builds trust and credibility, which leads to substantial increases in sales and revenue.
  • Enhanced identity and brand reputation – In addition to customer interaction, active social media accounts and a comprehensive website offer brand enforcement not found in traditional media. People are more likely to trust companies that have clear messaging and a substantial digital presence, as interactive elements, such as forms, buttons and feeds, can generate excellent results.
  • IoT integration – Over the last decade, the Internet of Things has grown into a hot topic for manufacturers, and many companies are embracing the ideology of interconnected devices on the shop floor. Digital marketing can act as the first step to preparing you for this shift and, eventually, will play a larger role in how you streamline your business.

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.”