What type of employer is HGR? Buyer spotlight with Bob Buerger

HGR buyer Bob BuergerWhen did you start with HGR and why?

2004, but I moved into the buyer role in 2014. My friends and I were at a Hell’s Angels dry poker run for Ronald McDonald House. One stop was a local bar called Stingers near HGR. Since it was the last stop, we thought we’d have a beer and ended up meeting Mike Lima, HGR’s shipping manager at the time, who said they were looking for someone in the incoming department. I applied, and they hired me. I also used to shop at McKean and HGR for years, especially on Wednesdays when we could have a free lunch and shop. I thought it was the neatest place. There’s no other place I’ve come across like HGR with its enormous size, its magnitude and what it does — even in all my travels now.

What were you doing before HGR?

I managed a metal finishing and plating company and was familiar with most of Mike Paoletto’s customers that he’s bought from. I like machinery and woodworking and have always been around it.

What is your territory, and what do you do on a daily basis?

Southern Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Kentucky, 75 percent of Tennessee, northwestern Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. I live about 30 minutes from Memphis.

Monday is office day to get caught up. On average, I am away from the house overnight 1.5 days per week. I travel from company to company looking at equipment and purchase what we can, which is about 15 percent of what we look at, on average. I see about three businesses per day but have seen up to six.

What do you like most about your job?

Meeting new people and new companies. At HGR, I saw all this equipment coming in but never saw it in operation, but now I go to huge manufacturing companies and get to see extrusion lines and robots in action and realize, “Oh, that’s how it’s made.” Every day is new in learning, and the job is fascinating.

What’s your greatest challenge?

The technology. I am not a computer person. When I first took this job, the only experience that I had was as an inventory clerk at HGR putting in information. And, I had a flip phone. The owners of HGR took a huge leap of faith giving me this position. Brian said, “Let’s give this guy a chance. He’s a good worker and always on time.” I was never late once and lived 30 minutes away. Even Rick had to teach me how to copy and paste.

When did you start with HGR and why?

2004, but I moved into the buyer role in 2014. My friends and I were at a Hell’s Angels dry poker run for Ronald McDonald House. One stop was a local bar called Stingers near HGR. Since it was the last stop, we thought we’d have a beer and ended up meeting Mike Lima, HGR’s shipping manager at the time, who said they were looking for someone in the incoming department. I applied, and they hired me. I also used to shop at McKean and HGR for years, especially on Wednesdays when we could have a free lunch and shop. I thought it was the neatest place. There’s no other place I’ve come across like HGR with its enormous size, its magnitude and what it does — even in all my travels now.

What were you doing before HGR?

I managed a metal finishing and plating company and was familiar with most of Mike Paoletto’s customers that he’s bought from. I like machinery and woodworking and have always been around it.

What is your territory, and what do you do on a daily basis?

Southern Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Kentucky, 75 percent of Tennessee, northwestern Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. I live about 30 minutes from Memphis.

Monday is office day to get caught up. On average, I am away from the house overnight 1.5 days per week. I travel from company to company looking at equipment and purchase what we can, which is about 15 percent of what we look at, on average. I see about three businesses per day but have seen up to six.

What do you like most about your job?

Meeting new people and new companies. At HGR, I saw all this equipment coming in but never saw it in operation, but now I go to huge manufacturing companies and get to see extrusion lines and robots in action and realize, “Oh, that’s how it’s made.” Every day is new in learning, and the job is fascinating.

What’s your greatest challenge?

The technology. I am not a computer person. When I first took this job, the only experience that I had was as an inventory clerk at HGR putting in information. And, I had a flip phone. The owners of HGR took a huge leap of faith giving me this position. Brian said, “Let’s give this guy a chance. He’s a good worker and always on time.” I was never late once and lived 30 minutes away. Even Rick had to teach me how to copy and paste.

What’s your favorite place to eat when you are on the road?

My favorite place to eat with the best burgers is Abe’s Grill in Mississippi. It’s 100 years old with 10-15 seats.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

My wife and I bought a house that was owned by a single mom who thought duct tape fixed everything; so, I spend a lot of my free time working on the house and outside in the yard. My wife said that she would really like a pool; so, we put an in-ground pool in last year.

Who is your hero or greatest influence/inspiration, and why?

My mom and dad. Mom because she gave me a great sense of humor. She taught me to laugh at myself. Dad because he gave me a great work ethic. He was a foreman at Ford Brookpark Foundry for more than 25 years. He’d leave for work at 5:30 a.m. in a white shirt and come home with a grey shirt. He had a stretch of about 150 days where he worked every day with no time off. He also is a combat Marine Corp. veteran who served in Korea. He taught me that if you work hard in life you get benefits.

Anything I missed that you want the rest of the team to know?

At HGR, if you give 100 percent and work hard, ownership will recognize you when a position becomes available. They’re always open to give someone a chance.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

My wife and I bought a house that was owned by a single mom who thought duct tape fixed everything; so, I spend a lot of my free time working on the house and outside in the yard. My wife said that she would really like a pool; so, we put an in-ground pool in last year.

Who is your hero or greatest influence/inspiration, and why?

My mom and dad. Mom because she gave me a great sense of humor. She taught me to laugh at myself. Dad because he gave me a great work ethic. He was a foreman at Ford Brookpark Foundry for more than 25 years. He’d leave for work at 5:30 a.m. in a white shirt and come home with a grey shirt. He had a stretch of about 150 days where he worked every day with no time off. He also is a combat Marine Corp. veteran who served in Korea. He taught me that if you work hard in life you get benefits.

Anything else that you want everyone to know?

At HGR, if you give 100 percent and work hard, ownership will recognize you when a position becomes available. They’re always open to give someone a chance.

Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society donation for convention luncheon

HGR donation to Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society for annual convention luncheon
Chuck Klein, NKPHTS convention chairman, with Matt Williams, HGR’s chief marketing officer

On Sept. 28 – 30, The Nickel Plate Road Historical and Technical Society (NKPHTS) is hosting its annual convention in Cleveland, one of the stops on the Nickel Plate Road railroad, which connected New York, Chicago and St. Louis. If you missed it, you can learn more about the society in this 2015 HGR blog. HGR’s current facility was one of the Cleveland stops on the line where GM’s Fisher Auto Body Plant used the railroad to transport automobile bodies to Detroit. You can read about the history of the site on this past blog.

So, why are we talking about an event that doesn’t take place until September? Well, because pulling off a convention takes planning, and Chuck Klein, NKPHTS’ convention chairman, is running the show. On March 7, he visited HGR’s showroom in Euclid to pick up his “check” for $1,000, donated by HGR. Matt Williams, HGR’s chief marketing officer, is a member of NKPHTS. And, HGR cares about preserving the heritage of its site, which was an important part of the war effort and industrialization in Cleveland.

Williams joined the society because his grandfather worked in Nickel Plate’s Canton, Ohio, railyard, and his father, an electrical engineer, was The Orville Railroad Heritage Society’s president. While Klein, a retired optician, is a model railroad enthusiast and a committee member for the National Model Railroad Association, which is how he came by the job of convention chairman.

Klein says, “We almost didn’t do the luncheon because it wasn’t financially feasible, but with the donation from HGR to cover the room rental, we were able to pull it off.” And, pull it off in style they will do. The society is shuttling convention attendees from The Holiday Inn South Cleveland — Independence to The Terminal Tower with a special stop along the way. A visit to the tower’s observation deck also is planned. The topic of the luncheon presentation will be “From Chicago World’s Fair to Cleveland’s Public Square: the Story of the Terminal Tower.”

For lovers of Cleveland history, especially of Public Square, Klein provides a wealth of information. I learned more in an hour with him about the history of the buildings on Public Square and the Van Sweringen brothers who built them than I’ve learned in my (ahem) undisclosed number of years on this planet where I’ve lived in Cleveland since birth. He recommended the book Invisible Giants: The Empires of Cleveland’s Van Sweringen Brothers by Herbert H. Harwood Jr. It’s now on my Goodreads list!

If you are interested in joining the society or attending the convention, you can get more information on the society’s website. We’ll be at the luncheon looking for you!

 

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.

Stomp on the brakes and learn which local manufacturer stamps brake components

Ford F150

Stamco Industries Inc., 26650 Lakeland Blvd., Euclid, Ohio, was started by William Sopko (see William Sopko & Son Co. and wind energy) in 1983 when he bought the assets and building from another stamping company that closed in 1982. He chose to locate in Euclid, Ohio, because, “The City of Euclid is friendly towards manufacturing. In the 34 years that we have been located in Euclid, Stamco has made three or four plant expansions, and the city was very supportive of these activities.”

The company is a heavy-gage metal stamper. That means that it takes flat sheets of metal or metal that comes in a coil (picture the rolls of steel that you see being transported on trucks on the freeway), puts it in machine that feeds the steel into the stamping press that goes up and down with a huge amount of force to generate a component or finished product at the end of the machine.

These parts are used by the braking industry in cars, trucks, SUVs, semis, farm equipment, military equipment and aircraft. Depending on which brand of vehicle you drive, if it’s a major American brand, more than likely Stamco’s parts are in the brakes of your car or truck. Roy Richards, manager of commercial operations at Stamco, says, ““I find it very satisfying to see parts produced with our equipment in our building and to see vehicles every day that are comprised of those very parts.”

But, Stamco is a job shop, which means it doesn’t have a product of its own or actually make the brakes. It buys supplies from a warehouse that buys the raw material from a metal manufacturer. Then, it provides a service by making a component at the request of a supplier. That supplier makes the finished product (brake or brake component) to sell to another supplier that assembles it then sells it to the manufacturer who makes the vehicle. Did you know that many companies are involved in making a vehicle’s brake system that keeps you safe on the road?

The presses that Stamco uses to manufacture these parts are medium to heavy tonnage, which means they are large and powerful. For example, a Ford F-150 can carry 1.5 tons of cargo. These presses have a 3,000-ton capacity. The parts being manufactured are larger in size and weigh as much as 20 pounds each. Because of this, 80 percent of Stamco’s customer base is within 500 miles; although, it does export to Belgium, India, Mexico and Brazil. And, for the same reason, the main material that Stamco uses – steel – is purchased from local steel warehouses that purchase it from ArcelorMittal USA in Cleveland’s Flats. This creates a strategic advantage due to much lower transportation costs.

You may be familiar with the term “tool and die.” The unit put into the press to stamp the part is called a die. Stamco makes some dies, purchases others, and is provided with dies by the customer that is placing the order. Therefore, the company employs a full staff of tool-and-die makers, engineers, designers, machine operators, die setters and lift-truck drivers. “The company was developed with a teamwork philosophy. Employees learn to operate a certain press then are assigned to other presses in order to crosstrain on other pieces of equipment,” Sopko says.

With regard to the company’s forseeable future, he states, “Our greatest challenge is finding experienced engineers and tool-and-die makers, and in next couple of years we will have people retiring. I am conscious that the skilled workforce pool is smaller than it was before, and we will be looking for new people.” He shares that for Stamco, as well as other local manufacturers, 2015/2016 was slow but he believes business will pick up a bit in 2017. At the end of 2017 and into 2018, Stamco has new projects scheduled and will be busy. That’s great news for the local economy!

Interested in driving one of these?

Semi truck on the highway

Do you know someone 18 years of age or older who is looking for a career that offers him or her independence away from an office environment? There’s a gem right here in Euclid that might help – Cuyahoga Community College’s Truck Driving Academy.

On Jan. 24, The Euclid Chamber of Commerce hosted its monthly Coffee Conversation, open to chamber members and the community, at the Truck Driving Academy, currently rebranding as the Transportation Center. Attendees met Director Ian Wilson, were given a short presentation about the program, and were given the opportunity to experience a commercial-driving training simulator. Two attendees braved the virtual roads and encounters with rain, fog, snow, ice, cyclists, motorists and other hazards.

truck driving simulator at Cuyahoga Community College

Wilson explained that the college is moving away from simply being a truck driving academy and starting to offer programs in supply chain and logistics, as well as a diesel tech program in order to become a full-service transportation center. Currently, students can earn a Class A or B commercial driver’s license that allows them to drive a full truck, a car hauler, a gas truck and others, as well as a school bus or forklift.

To assist with making learning accessible, the college recently bought and modified a 53-foot semi-truck and trailer into a mobile trailer for manufacturing training. Half of the trailer is a classroom. The other half is a lab. This way, the college can take the classroom to students who may be working onsite at a manufacturing facility and are not able to get away for the day. It also can go to schools to conduct outreach demos for high-school students who may be interested in a transportation or manufacturing career.

He says, “At any given time, 200,000 trucking jobs are available, nationwide, and the industry always is looking for drivers. Trucking is integral to everything this nation does. Everything in your house was on a truck at some point.”

As Wilson explains, Cuyahoga Community College located the academy in Euclid, Ohio, as part of a manufacturing region with easy access to transportation junctures as well as local manufacturers. The academy has even trucked equipment from the college’s own maintenance department own the road to HGR Industrial Surplus for consignment.

 

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)

Stakeholders gather at Cleveland Workforce Summit to formulate a workforce-development plan

Cleveland Workforce Summit

On Monday, Dec. 12, a roomful of manufacturers, educators, political leaders, nonprofits and others gathered, according to Jason Drake of the WorkRoom Alliance Program, “to initiate a discussion about curriculum and programming in the service of workforce and to start developing a strategic plan that will help refill the talent pipeline for local companies.” He adds that “our ultimate goal is to bring as many local, state and federal assets into alignment to support an educational program for public schools that emphasizes foundational mechanical skills, career awareness and counseling, robust and diverse work-based learning experiences in career clusters with significant opportunities available in the local job market, and protocols to pave smoother pathways from classrooms to careers.”

WorkRoom Alliance Program is working to create maker spaces as neighborhood cornerstones in order to upskill and reskill youth and adults in the skills needed by manufacturers. The organization is partnering with Cleveland Job Corps, a residential training center with a capacity to house 440 students aged 16-24 where they can go for no-cost technical and academic training for two years with one year of job-placement assistance. The third partner is Dan T. Moore Companies, a portfolio of 18 R&D companies that find and solve unmet industrial needs.

Dan Moore states, “We can’t get enough qualified people with mechanical aptitude to apply for the jobs that there are. And, with manufacturing as the fastest growing component of Ohio’s economy, we need machine operators who can do advanced manufacturing, not engineers.”

The group, with a host of member companies, is seeking to put in place a plan, locally, to introduce students to the foundational skills for a mechanical mindset starting in the fifth grade and continuing through high school and beyond. Its goal is to open a training bay at Cleveland Job Corps with a manufacturing facility and curriculum that align with the local job market’s needs. Job Corps will fully fund the program if Cleveland Workforce Summit partners will supply the equipment. This program will offer pre-apprenticeship training. Students then can go to apprenticeship training programs through organizations such as WIRE-Net and/or college to earn stackable credentials.

Jack Schron of Jergens Inc. adds, “Our goal is to make Northeast Ohio the entrepreneurial maker and manufacturing capital of the country.”

If you are interested in participating as a partner in the Cleveland Workforce Summit, hosting tours for students or supplying equipment, Jason Drake can be reached at jdrake@dantmoore.com.

WorkRoom Program Alliance logo

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.

Staffing agency develops associates for skilled-trades jobs

skilled tradesman

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Karen Sating, SHRM-CP and branch/market manager at Manpower)

Tell us in 3-4 sentences what service Manpower provides and what your role is.

With offices in 80 countries, Manpower provides contingent and permanent staffing to organizations of all sizes with solutions to enhance business agility and competitiveness. Manpower helps companies manage the ever-changing talent needs in today’s world in which rapid access to the right talent is a powerful competitive advantage. With our understanding of staffing trends and our pool of highly qualified candidates, Manpower can deliver the talent, matching the right individual to the right job.

What is your experience working with manufacturers or in the trades?

For more 60 years, Manpower has developed an understanding of high-demand occupations in manufacturing. We offer proven recruitment processes to find the right candidates. Finding skilled trades workers is a major challenge for organizations in the U.S., especially workers with the knowledge and experience for a specific job. It’s also Manpower’s core competency. Manpower is staffing for project work, peak production, year-round needs, and one-person jobs with qualified workers.

What are the greatest employment challenges that manufacturers face?

We are now at a turning point in the manufacturing workforce environment in North America. There are major changes underway in the demand and supply for manufacturing workers – many driven by new technologies – that will require new strategies and tactics for both companies and employees. For the fifth consecutive year, skilled trades positions are the hardest to fill globally according to our 2016-2017 Talent Shortage Survey.

How is the fact of Baby Boomers aging out of the system affecting the employment landscape?

Due to the aging North American workforce and a lack of younger talent to fill the pipeline, a generational skills gap also exists in manufacturing. Because of declines in domestic manufacturing, productivity gains, and a weak economy, many companies have hired few manufacturing workers of any type during the last couple of decades. As a result, many existing employees are nearing retirement. This generational shift will lead to even greater demand for new manufacturing workers for the jobs that remain.

How do you find qualified candidates?

We use a number of methods to attract the right candidates for the right jobs. From targeted local recruiting techniques to technology-enhanced recruiting, we use a wide-ranging methodology to identify the best candidate pool. Additionally, we maintain a pool of available candidates in our proprietary database and will partner with our clients to further anticipate skills and usage patterns.

What types of manufacturing and industrial positions do you staff?

Manpower staffs all types of manufacturing positions from general laborers to skilled trades.

Is there training available to enhance their skills?

Manpower offers free training to our associates via MyPath. With the ever-changing demands, we consider training a key differentiator for our associates’ productivity, efficiency, and long term satisfaction.

  • Assessment tool – We are offering a preference evaluation that allows our candidates and associates to align their likes and natural drives to jobs that match those preferences, which gives them the guidance they need to accelerate their career.
  • powerYou – We provide our associates with the courses to fill any knowledge or skill gaps through this online classroom. Associates do not need to apply for this resource. They are able to easily sign up with an username and password that should occur outside of regular working hours and is non-compensable.
  • Full College Tuition Coverage Program – Manpower is partnering with Western International University to offer our eligible, actively-assigned associates who apply for a Pell Grant with the opportunity to pursue a first-time associate’s or bachelor’s degree with no out-of-pocket costs.

What advice do you have for someone seeking a job in manufacturing?

Manufacturing candidates, especially those in skilled trades are in high demand. We’ve seen a rise in the number of businesses focused on training and development to fill talent gaps. We expect to see this number grow. That’s why we support companies and individuals to nurture learnability, which is the desire and ability to learn new skills to be employable for the long term.

What advice do you have for manufacturers seeking skilled employees?

As organizations report the highest talent shortage since 2007, employers look to develop their own workforces to fill in-demand roles. More employers than ever are filling talent gaps by training and developing their own people. This number has more than doubled since 2015, from one in five to more than half.

Manpower logo

 

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

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.”

Manufacturing Day is happening this week

According to Zara Brunner on the Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s blog: “Manufacturing enables our everyday lives, drives our economy and can bring communities across the country together. This infographic represents how manufacturing is diverse, supports 18.5-million U.S. jobs and has a multitude of career opportunities, including engineers, designers, machinists and computer programmers. Just in time for this year’s Manufacturing Day on Oct. 7, it’s been updated to represent the amazing results of MFG Day 2015.”

How will you or your company be observing or celebrating manufacturing this Friday?

Manufacturing Day infographic

Thoughts from Justin: Need a reason to stay in Ohio? Look no further! It’s in the Top 3 for manufacturing.

Ohio map

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Justin Mobilian, former HGR sales & marketing summer intern)

Problem

I love social media; it’s how I stay up-to-date on trends, news, and complaints. The number one complaint? Needing a new place to move to. If you can relate and want something different, you’re in luck. I’ve researched the Top 10 states for manufacturing. And, guess what? Ohio is on the list!

1. California

The Golden State. In my opinion, I wouldn’t consider California as The Golden State anymore after losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, but that’s just me. Anyways, California can rely on its manufacturing industry to be successful since Steph Curry and his team fail to do so. California’s manufacturing GDP is currently at $255.63B, about 4.3 percent higher than last year and is expected to continue rising. Afraid you won’t be able to find a job? Don’t be. California accounted for more than 1.2 million manufacturing employees in 2015.

2. Texas

3. Ohio

Ohio. Do I really need to explain why you should move to Ohio? With a deep history in manufacturing, there’s no reason you shouldn’t consider Ohio as your next place to live and work. Last year, there were nearly 690,000 manufacturing jobs in Ohio and almost $100B in total manufacturing output. Added benefits of this beautiful state include Ohio State University, the Cleveland Cavaliers, HGR Industrial Surplus, and many more!

4. Pennsylvania

5. Michigan (‘M’s are struck through out of respect for The Ohio State Buckeyes)

As an Ohio native and Ohio State Buckeyes fan, please be smarter than moving to Michigan. I’m not saying you’ll regret the decision, but you’ll probably regret the decision. Nothing good comes out of Michigan, EXCEPT for great manufacturing. The state of Michigan accounted for more than $82B in manufacturing output in 2014, with almost 600,000 manufacturing jobs in 2015. The average annual compensation of the industry is almost $80,000. The sports in Michigan? Poor, average at best. The manufacturing industry in Michigan? Booming.

6. Illinois

7. Indiana

For decades, Indiana has been the Cleveland Browns of the manufacturing industry – depressing. However, over the past five years, much has changed. Since 2015, manufacturers accounted for 29.5 percent of the state’s total output, with more than 500,000 manufacturing employees.

8. Wisconsin

9. New York

Broadway and showbiz aren’t the only things helping drive the economy in New York; manufacturing sits up there, too. With almost $70B in manufactured goods and $22B in exported goods, more than 450,000 people are in the manufacturing business with an annual pay of more than $71,000.

10. North Carolina

Solution

If you’re a manufacturing employee and are unhappy with your living situation, you’ve hit gold by stumbling on this blog. These are the best places to move to where the manufacturing industry is thriving, but Ohio stays near and dear to my heart.

Who started Labor Day, a machinist or a carpenter?

Labor Day with American flag tool belt

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” Now, that’s something to celebrate! Hopefully, you get a day off from laboring so that you can recharge your battery and enjoy whatever it is that you love most. For many of our customers, that includes building, fixing and creating things. And, Labor Day was founded by a hardworking tradesman, but which man?

Some say that Matthew Maguire, machinist, proposed the holiday for American workers in the 1880s, but others argue that it was Peter J. McGuire, carpenter. Either way, it was a great idea, and two Fathers of Labor Day is even better than one.

Thank you, to these two gentlemen and to all of you, for the hard work that you do to keep American manufacturing going. Everything we use to make our lives easier was made by someone. Remember him or her as you use some of those products each day, especially today.