Manufacture Smarter Blog

Let the Countdown Begin: Celebrate Manufacturing Day on October 5th!

9/7/2018 By: Brian Mamo Manufacturing Day answers the question: what does it mean to be a manufacturer? If you were to ask 20 people this question, you would get 20 different answers. This is because of not only the lack of awareness of the manufacturing industry, but also the ever-changing nature of manufacturing itself. These two aspects combined make it difficult for the layperson to really grasp what it means to be a manufacturer, resulting in misperceptions and negative views of the industry. Manufacturing Day was created in 2012 in an effort to close the gap between what people think manufacturing is and what it actually is.


Apprenticeships Today, Skilled Workers . . . Today?

11/17/2017 By: Rebekah McCarter Apprenticeship is the new buzzword in today’s skills gap conversation as manufacturers face a growing shortage of qualified workers. Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national non-profit, recently hosted an event in Washington, D.C. as a kick-off to National Apprenticeship Week (November 13-17), and announced the launch of a new Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning, supported in part by a $3 million grant from Walmart. Companies who visit the website can view a variety of resources filtered by industry, program structure, program elements, population and demographics and a variety of other filters.


A Safe Approach to Buying Used Machinery

11/10/2017 By: Roger Tomlinson Manufacturers couldn’t exist without machinery, and keeping that machinery functioning and up-to-date is essential to productivity and success. While that sounds simple in theory, buying new machinery can be extremely pricey in reality. Fortunately, there is an alternative option that some manufacturers opt for: buying used machinery. Much like buying anything that is used, used machinery is often written off as being too big of a risk. However, used products have proven themselves in the past to be just as good as new products, if you don’t mind the presence of a few dings and scratches.


A Year to Go...

9/15/2017 If your organization is certified to ISO 9001:2008 (or ISO/TS 16949 or AS9100C) you have approximately 365 days left to upgrade your Quality Management System (QMS) and have your Registrar audit it. In fact, you should aim to be done and have your certificate in hand by the end of August 2018 at the latest. Meeting the Deadline To be exact, ISO 9001:2008 expires at midnight on September 14, 2018. A question I am often asked is: What if an organization wasn’t able to prepare and successfully complete their audit? The simple answer is that the Registrar would request their certificate be returned, the organization would not be able to post their certificate on their website (for example) and they would not be able to use the Registrar’s logos, etc.


Low Unemployment Means it’s Time to Get LEAN!

9/8/2017 A low unemployment rate is favorable for the economy and the general public. But, what if you’re an employer struggling to find additional staff and resources to produce and deliver a large influx of new orders? How do you fulfill your obligations with a dwindling candidate pool? You get lean! With a lean transformation, you could easily increase your output by as much as 20%. Do you know that 5S is often considered the foundation of implementing a lean program? That’s right. Creating a clean, safe, organized work environment is essential when crafting a lean strategy.


How Manufacturers Can Avoid Extinction by Using Competitive Intelligence

8/18/2017 By: Shelly Stobierski Knowledge is power, and it’s truer today than ever before. Simply consider our rapidly-evolving manufacturing environment. Revolutionary new technologies in 3D printing have emerged—shortening the amount of time it takes to develop new products. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has brought more intelligence to manufacturing operations and is enabling manufacturers to improve production processes at an impressive pace. A CMMS (computerized maintenance management system) now can track system maintenance, inspection and breakdowns, eliminating or reducing the effects of costly disruptions.


Follow the Leader

5/26/2017 (What Happens When the Leader is Gone?) By: Michael Beels In the manufacturing industry, it’s desirable for family-owned businesses to be passed down from one generation to the next. Without a proper succession plan in place, a c-level family member’s sudden death or unexpected disability can cause a multitude of problems. Fortunately, proper succession planning—which strives to circumvent these unpredictable events by having a thorough program of plans and responses in place to optimally fill key leadership positions—can help lessen the disruption and deter family infighting.


New Cybersecurity Requirements Impact Michigan Manufacturers

1/13/2017 The risks are enormous and potentially devastating. According to IBM, small and mid-sized businesses are hit by cyber-attacks about 4,000 times a day. The U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60 percent of small companies are unable to sustain their businesses over six months after a cyber-attack. As a result of increased concerns about cyber-attacks, manufacturers with contracts with the Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA) or NASA must be compliant with defined cybersecurity requirements no later than December 31, 2017.