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Our Manufacturing Blog

By Laura Lee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

Finding and hiring good people.  The problem is getting worse as baby boomers leave the workforce, taking their skills and tribal knowledge along with them, making it even more important for manufacturers to attract qualified replacements in a tough workforce environment.  But finding those good folks is only part of the issue; retaining the workers you get is even more important.  Every employee you retain is one you don’t have to replace.  And when you have gained a reputation for high employee retention, word gets out that yours is a good company to work for, making your hiring experience easier.

By Thomas Gordon, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Abstract
Taking the ISO 9001 certification as a vehicle for excellence is a path most organizations do not follow because getting to certification is an algorithmic process, probably because of the initial pressure to get certified.  Certification is not the signal to sit on the river bank with your feet in the wate, and send out for beer and pizza – certification should be the beginning of the road to excellence; otherwise it can be a very expensive exercise in non-value-added activity.  To view certification in any other way is to make bricks without straw!

By Jennifer Jarosz, Manufacturing Day Coordinator for Missouri Enterprise

Each year, Manufacturing Day℠ (MFG DAY) promotes the importance of manufacturing to our local communities and as a critical part of the American economy.  MFG DAY gives manufacturers the opportunity to reach out to their communities and show what manufacturing is, and just as importantly, what it isn’t. 

By Dusty J. Cruise
Missouri Enterprise President and Chief Executive Officer

Perhaps better than anyone, business owners and CEOs understand risk.  They deal with risk every day as they manage their companies. Their decisions, choices and actions inevitably try to mitigate risk, or at least take a given risk into account before making decisions.

By Kimberly Grizzle, Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager

Kimberly Grizzle, Missouri Enterprise’s newest Area Business Manager, serves the Joplin and Southwest Missouri areas.  She gives us some insight into her new position, what she’s hearing in the field and her excitement about the role she’ll be playing to help our Missouri manufacturers succeed.

By Bob Beckmann PE, C.E.M., Missouri Enterprise Project Manager    

Energy conservation is of course a good thing. It’s good for the environment and it’s good economically for companies implementing energy conservation projects. But, sometimes financial the return on investment is long. Missouri Enterprise is currently participating two programs which may help offset the expense of implementing energy conservation projects.  If your company qualifies for these programs, it could mean a quicker return on your investment, not to mention money on your bottom line.

Window Technology, Inc., dba WinTech, was honored on Thursday, May 18, 2017 with the prestigious Missouri impact! Award for Continuous Improvement in Manufacturing Excellence.

Missouri Enterprise created the Missouri impact! Award in 1998 to recognize the accomplishments of its business clients and associates who have excelled in continuous improvement in manufacturing, innovative technology development, environmental solutions or contributions to the success of Missouri business and community/state economic development.

Meramec Instrument Transformer Co., a Cuba, MO based manufacturer of high quality instrument transformers for the electric power industry, including the electric transmission, distribution and generation markets, has been named a “Hero of American Manufacturing” by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standard and Technology – Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP).

The company was nominated by Missouri Enterprise, the organization that manages the NIST MEP program in Missouri.

Ned Blome, Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager for Metropolitan St. Louis and Northeast Missouri takes a few minutes to tell us about his work, and what he’s hearing from manufacturers.

Q:        What do you like best about your job?

A:         That’s easy!  Every day is different, and I get to see all kinds of cool things manufacturers are doing.  I love making things and knowing how things are made, and I’m always amazed and impressed by the workings of manufacturing production.

By Jennifer Jarosz, Manufacturing Day Coordinator for Missouri Enterprise

 Manufacturing Day 2017!

 Encourage the value of careers and jobs in manufacturing!

  • Proudly show your dedication to your community!
  • Invite area Schools to see the exciting opportunities in manufacturing!
  • Show off what you do!

The event has grown tremendously each year, and as the trend continues, we expect even more Missouri manufacturers will participate this year.  I’m speaking of Manufacturing Daysm (MFG DAY), which this year officially occurs on October 6, 2017…but manufacturers can choose any day of the year to celebrate their important contribution to their community, the economy and American jobs.

By Stacey Marler, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Blueprints and technical drawings use a lexicon of terms and symbols all their own.  They contain the critical details that allow your team to produce high quality products that meet expected tolerances and specifications. 

The more people on your production team who can read blueprints, the more eyes you have overseeing quality, and the greater your profitability through increased efficiency and minimized waste.  It’s simply not enough to have “your guy” on the floor who’s in charge of interpreting the details in blueprints and overseeing production.  If everyone’s going to be on the same page…they all need to be able to read that page, don’t they?

By Tom Gordon, CFPIM [a dyed-in-the wool poststructurarlist] 1
Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

 “Those who spend too much time with their noses glued
to maps will tend to mistake the map for the territory”.2

These are exciting times in the evolution of ISO 9001; the business driving the standard rather than the standard trying to drive the business. ‘Risk and Opportunity’ are perfect examples – all businesses, whether they realize it or not, are risk averse and aspirers to opportunity.   

To many business people the traditional dysphasia of the 20 element, pre-2000 model, is giving away to the business-focused 2015 standard.  I am sure that many people reading the 2015 version for the first time underwent a similar epiphany to those seeing, for example, Picasso’s 1910 “Standing Female Nude” for the first time. They finally “got it”! 3  Looking back at the old BS5750 and earlier versions of ISO 9001/2/3 what we see are a set of rules, a half-century of formalist indoctrination, which neither created a quality product for the Customer nor a dynamic way forward for the majority of organizations.

By Kimberly Grizzle, Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager

We have all heard the saying or possibly even used it ourselves, “America is a lawsuit happy nation.” This raises the question, “Does anyone take responsibility for their own actions anymore…or is it always someone else’s fault?”

Each year, thousands of product liability cases are filed in the U.S. against companies alleged to have sold defective or unsafe products to the public. Some of these are questionable, but there are also plenty of legitimate product liability cases where the product was indeed defective or unsafe. Whether legitimate or not, any product liability action against your company can cost substantial amounts of time and money. 

By Bob Beckman PE, C.E.M., Missouri Enterprise Project Manager    

The highly technical product design and development skills that your manufacturing company needs to succeed in today’s fast paced marketplace may often exceed your everyday, on-staff capacities.  And, that may be holding you back from any number of activities that can grow your sales and your bottom line profitability.  You’re not alone.

Frequently companies find they have a new design concept, but don’t have the internal expertise and engineering support staff to bring the idea to reality.  While many smaller companies may not even know where to start, some larger companies may just need a hand to get through a few months when the workload is high, but not substantial enough to justify a new employee. 

Either way, it’s important for manufacturers to know and understand Product Life Cycles, so they can push innovation to continuously grow the company.

By LauraLee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

HELP WANTED:

Line Operator.  $9-9.50 and hour.  Candidates must be able to pass drug screen, background screens and math testing.

Engine Assembler.  Duties:  Final Inspection of Parts.  Assemble parts.  Remove engine from stand and load onto mono rail to dyno.  Work environment:  Exposure to oil, grease, dirt, chemicals, varying temperatures and loud noises.

Assembly Position.  Well established, growing manufacturing business has full time assembly position available.  Fully paid benefits, paid vacation, 401K, EOE.  NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.  Apply online at: xxx.

By Joe Bullinger, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

The Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law in 2011, with key compliance elements rolling into effect starting in late 2015 and continuing through 2018.  The changes are big, moving the emphasis from response to food supply contamination to prevention.

By Brenda Story, Missouri Enterprise, Director of Information Technology 

We hear so much about protecting our data and technology from cyberattack, that we tend to forget that even the best defenses could still be broken.  Cyberthieves and hackers are aggressively staying just ahead of the curve, continuously thwarting even some of the very best protections.  The effects of a cyberattack can range from something so simple as “a little down time”, to utter devastation that cripples an operation’s ability to function, destroying the foundation of a company’s systems.

By Mike Shew, Missouri Enterprise, Area Business Manager

One of the most significant issues facing Missouri manufacturing today is its workforce. We live in a global economy and many times it’s the effectiveness of our employees which provides our competitive advantage.

by Tom Gordon, CFPIM, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

My great-grandmother had the reputation of being a ‘spae-wife’ – meaning a physic.  She could very accurately read palms and cast horoscopes.  Many young ladies in our community relied on her for some pre-marriage guidance.  Around 1912 or so she started to see that many of our young ladies would be very quickly widowed.  She saw the future but the problem was that she could not see what it meant.

By Tracey Kelly, Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager

Earlier in this series, we spoke about how businesses can embrace the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) program to greatly improve their hiring success, and how employers can get on board to help their county become a Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC).  This final article in the series focuses on why your company should fully embrace the program and ask for the ACT NCRC® work skills credential when soliciting and hiring job applicants. (Find links to parts I and II below)

By LauraLee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager and Six Sigma Black Belt

When “Joe” walked into the office to interview for a frontline manufacturing job, he didn’t need to say a word.  His actions and body language had already spoken volumes.  He plopped into a chair, leaned back with his feet out in front of him and crossed his arms over his chest.  His posture alone answered most of the questions we were going to ask.  Yes, in the first 30 seconds, before a single question had been asked, he had earned himself a “Thanks, but no thanks” handshake, followed by “Next!”

By Tracey Kelly, Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager

The first article in this series spoke about the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) program and how businesses can embrace the program to greatly improve their hiring success.  (http://www.missourienterprise.org/blog/26-workforce/131-help-me-find-good-people-part-i)

by Jeanne Wagner, Missouri Enterprise Chief Financial Officer

Why is a CFO offering you an article on cybersecurity?  Because putting your head in the sand can be an incredibly expensive policy for your company.  If you don’t have a strict written policy and protocols in place to protect your information and systems against the threat of cyberattack, you’re running a huge risk.

by Tom Gordon, CFPIM, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Focusing upon the “House of Toyota” as the paradigm for future development and sustainability is rather like American Airlines replacing the 777 with a dirigible – it is yesterday’s thinking, anchoring industry firmly in “Mediocristan!"1

By David Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

The available employee pool has presented many of our Missouri manufacturers with a significant challenge:  Finding good people who will grow with us as we grow the business.

By Jimmy Story, Missouri Enterprise Business Program Manager

In our continuing effort to make Missouri farmers and manufacturers of grant and funding opportunities that can help them, here is another article highlighting important support resources to think about.  Yes, you’ve known Missouri Enterprise for decades as a valuable resource for expertise and services in areas such as Business Growth, Continuous Improvement, Supplier Development, Sustainability and Workforce.  But remember that we’re also an outstanding resource to help our manufacturers and farmers learn about important grant and funding opportunities that can help.  It’s another part of Missouri Enterprise’s mission to Help Missouri Manufacturers Succeed.  Here are two important programs to know about:

By Bob Beckmann, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager and Certified Energy Manager

Are you a gatekeeper who monitors and assesses ideas before you let them pass through to the next stage of development…or are you the keymaster, the one who holds all the keys and tells people “get this into production and sell it?” Both approaches can work of course, but the risks associated with option two can be far greater.

by Tom Gordon, CFPIM, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Mitigation can cover many areas.  If our business involves access to the Internet, for example, we can mitigate the risk by firewalls, anti-virus etc. , and preventing our employees from accessing questionable websites  However, even the most stringent precautions cannot be 100% effective so the only real way to completely guard against hackers is not to go online.

By Thomas Gordon, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

We have heard lately about bringing jobs back to depressed areas.  However, there is a huge difference between having a job and working.

By Rick Prugh
Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager

Thanks to the federally-funded Make It In America (MIIA) program, Missouri manufacturers are better positioned to sell more components and subcomponents to the global supply chains to construct and maintain nuclear power plants.  Missouri Enterprise managed the just-completed program to make companies aware of growing sales opportunities and provide them with the information necessary to qualify and compete in this market estimated at $700 billion between now and 2030.  Because wind and solar power cannot dependably supply baseload power, it is practically impossible for the U.S. to meet its carbon reduction goals without utilizing nuclear energy, which generates no carbon in its generation process.  

By Dusty J. Cruise
Missouri Enterprise President and Chief Executive Officer

Last month, after a comprehensive and robust vetting selection process, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded organizations in 11 states and Puerto Rico, five-year funding agreements to support the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

By Jimmy Story, Missouri Enterprise Business Program Manager

For more than 33 years, Missouri Enterprise has been helping Missouri Manufacturers Succeed by providing a wide range of specialized services and expertise. Missouri Manufacturers know us for the technical expertise and manufacturing know-how we can bring them on a project basis or in an ongoing partnership.

One way we help manufacturers succeed is by making them aware of opportunities that can help them.  Perhaps surprisingly to some, food producers and processors comprise one of the largest segments of our state’s manufacturers. In addition to helping food producers in the areas of Business Growth, Continuous Improvement, Supplier Development, Sustainability and Workforce Missouri Enterprise actively assists these companies by helping them find State and Federal program that support food producers.

By Tracey Kelly, Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager

One of the things I hear frequently on my client visits is the constant workforce issues that prevail for our manufacturers.  “I can’t find qualified, motivated, skilled workers,” they tell me.  Unfortunately, I hear it almost daily as I’m in the field meeting with Missouri manufacturers.

By David Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

I’ve worked in manufacturing for over 38 years. As a manufacturing engineer with Emerson Electric, I spent a considerable amount of time managing multi-million-dollar, new product introduction projects. As a consultant, I now work with clients managing process improvement projects.

By Stacey Marler, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

Is your website able to transform with changes?  Have you ever wondered how certain websites look great on your mobile phone but others leave you stuck zooming in and out to just view the page?  Have you ever done a web search, clicked on a displayed option, and then immediately clicked “back” because the site you selected shows up in micro-print?  In this article, we will examine the reasons you simply must look at adding “responsiveness” capability to your website.

By Brenda Story, Missouri Enterprise, Director of Information Technology 

Healthcare has become a big part of our lives.  With the advances and sharing of medical and personal health knowledge growing, we’re all aware of important lifestyle choices we should be making to protect our health.  We all know we should try to eat healthy foods and exercise more, but it’s a safe bet many of us either ignore the facts, or “cheat” every so often.

By David Felin, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Your business is priceless to you, but do you know what your business is worth to others?  How effective are the processes you use to manage your business? Where should you apply your efforts to grow your business or increase its profitability? One of the best ways to answer these questions is to perform a business valuation.

by Tom Gordon, CFPIM, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

The Ancient Mariner thought it a good idea to shoot the albatross; many organizations approach an ERP implementation in the same manner: - looking for a solution to their problems and growth in exactly the wrong way.  According to research conducted by the American Production and Inventory Control Society [APICS] only 5% of organizations achieve their expectations and return on investment [ROI] from their ERP implementations. 

By Laura Lee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

Let’s begin with a brief history of post-world war II manufacturing in the United States:  high demand for products; the rise of the middle class; the eventual advent of offshoring due to higher U.S. wages; manufacturing fell out of favor as a career.

By Stacey Marler, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

Having problems getting noticed on the internet?  Have you ever wondered how to “Get on Google”?  Google has recently simplified the way to do this and more with a program called “Google My Business”.  With Google My Business you are able to update all your company information in one easy location so potential customers are able to find you easily.

By Dave Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

If I could just get those darned employees to think on their own. If my employees would just show a little initiative. Ever muttered those words? Did you ever think that your employees were the root of all evil? Maybe they are. Then again, maybe they’re victims of incompetent management. How would you rate the overall capability of your management staff? Let’s consider the way managers are selected, their ability to communicate, and their ability to train workers.

By Curtis Lopez, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager and ISO Expert

The changes in ISO 9001:2015 are here, and they include a big adjustment in how companies view their Quality Management Systems.  You may have heard the statement, “No more quality management department!” to describe those changes.  It’s a great sentence that captures the essence of the evolution to the new ISO 9001:2015, because now, everyone is responsible for quality, from top management, to middle managers, plant people, machine operators, back-office personnel…everyone has a part to play.

by Tom Gordon, CFPIM, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

“I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”
Psalm 121

It is an established and well-documented fact that small businesses, particularly family businesses, tend to fail.

By Terry Siddens, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Every production organization needs a reliable process to plan and schedule manufacturing operations. While this seems obvious, many companies struggle to fully understand how their information process works, and this often contributes to less than satisfactory results in efficiency and profitable productivity. On its most basic level, success is fulfilling customer orders on time, ideally when the customer wants product, but at a minimum when the company promises and plans to deliver. Failing to deliver on time is a reflection on all aspects of the operation, and shortcomings in the ability to access and use critical operational information is often a culprit.

By David Felin, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

“Reliability Centered Maintenance: a process used to determine what must be done to ensure that any physical asset continues to do what its users wanted it to do in its present operating context.” – John Moubray

In the 1960s, the failure rate among first generation jet aircraft was considered unacceptable. Two engineers from United Airlines, Stanley Nowlan and Howard Heap began researching the failure causes in the air travel industry. That research lead to reliability centered maintenance (RCM). RCM was first described in a 1978 Nolan and Heap report for United Airlines. Their report began as follows,

“This volume provides the first discussion of Reliability Centered Maintenance as a logical discipline for the development of scheduled maintenance programs. The objective of such programs is to realize the inherent reliability capabilities of the equipment for which they are designed, and to do so at minimum cost. Each scheduled maintenance task in an RCM program is generated for an identifiable and explicit reason. The consequences of each failure possibility are evaluated, and the failures are then classified according to the severity of their consequences. Then for all significant items those whose failure involves operating safety or has major economic consequences proposed tasks are evaluated according to specific criteria of applicability and effectiveness. The resulting scheduled maintenance program thus includes all the tasks necessary to protect safety and operating reliability, and only the tasks that will accomplish this objective.”

By David Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager, SME Silver Certified Lean Practitioner

Over the years, I’ve talked with many manufacturing managers who’ve had bad experiences with Lean. They read books or attend seminars and rush out to the plant floor to get started on a project. They may get some positive initial benefit, however, the overall operation doesn’t improve. They conduct a post-mortem to identify the guilty parties and eventually determine that “Lean just doesn’t work here.”

by Rick Prugh, Missouri Enterprise

To help reduce the enormous capitalization costs associated with building new nuclear power plants, several companies are designing small modular reactors (SMRs). These smaller reactors are designed so that modules can be manufactured in factories and shipped to the site for assembly, which is a more cost-effective solution than constructing the majority of the power plant on site. 

by David Felin, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Lubing machinery can be a hot, thankless activity. It also happens to be an extremely important one.  Since most maintenance personnel with some degree of seniority don’t particularly want to do this job, partly because they feel their skills are better utilized elsewhere, this responsibility frequently falls to “The New Guy”. It’s a dirty job that anyone can do, right?  Not really.   

By LauraLee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager and Six Sigma Black Belt

Ask 10 different Six Sigma experts for their definition of Six Sigma and you will more than likely get 10 different answers. And none of them will be wrong. Six Sigma means different things to different people. It may be defined as a structured problem-solving methodology using Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC). Others may simply say it’s a toolbox of statistical tools which we apply to issues involving quality. And still others may simply look on it as a metric which represents 3.4 defects per million opportunities. And they’re all right.

By Dave Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Does your company practice Continuous Improvement effectively or is Continuous Improvement just another program? Is Continuous Improvement part of your company’s DNA or is it just another phrase that appears on coffee mugs and t-shirts? These are the real questions you need to challenge yourself with if you’re serious about running an effective, efficient, cost optimized manufacturing operation that maximizes bottom line profitability. 

By Rick Wilson, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Hiding deep in the tall grass of profits are opportunities to better attain more profitability. If leadership recognizes this fact, they can ensure each area in manufacturing operations contributes to overall profitability. Supply Chain can tighten relationships with ever-improving suppliers that bring competitive advantage with them. Engineering can design and execute parts rationalization strategies to reduce material and labor costs, as well as provide a quickly available outstanding product.

By Curtis Lopez, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

The new revision of ISO 9001 is scheduled to be released in the 4th quarter of 2015, and the now available Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) contains some significant changes that may seem minor on the surface, but will have deep impact on how manufacturers adopt and adhere to the standard in the future.  ISO/FDIS 9001:2015 is of course still subject to change prior to its release, but it does give a strong indication of what is coming.

by Rick Prugh, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Duck and cover!  For school students in the 1950’s and 1960’s, random civil defense drills were conducted where everyone was instructed to jump under their desks and cover their heads in the event of a nuclear bomb attack.  Those drills helped terrify an entire generation of Americans regarding nuclear power, who handed that fear down to their kids, and so on. 

By Joe Bullinger, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Food Safety rules, regulations and requirements apply to many types of companies, even some you might not think of, like ingredients and packaging suppliers, the packers themselves, warehousing and storage providers, trucking and logistics partners… every company that handles food on the journey from farm to table.  If your company handles or touches products in the food chain, or if you want to get into that industry, there are strict rules you have to play by, but they don’t need to be overwhelming.

By Al Marcus, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

There’s a big problem facing Missouri manufacturing:  The loss of the knowledge and experience that makes entrepreneurial companies survive, grow and prosper.  It’s going to result in loss of jobs and affect Missouri’s economic growth, and it will destroy the legacy of too many hard working business owners who’ve earned the right to get more out of their hard work when it’s time to transition their company to new leadership or ownership.

By T.H.L. Gordon, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

In simplest terms, “risk” can be defined as “the effect of uncertainty on objectives.”  The hard reality of business is that there is no such thing as “the future” in the singular sense.  There are only multiple, unforeseeable futures, which will never lose their capacity to take us by surprise!  The developing history of risk management is simply an attempt to minimize the dangers and accentuate the positives, preparing an organization in advance for risks that could become reality in the future.

By Bob Beckmann, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager and Certified Energy Manager

It is a New Year and time for a New Year’s resolution.  The most frequent personal resolution is to lose weight.   A company does not measure improvement by the size of its waist but rather by the size of its waste – so maybe a corporate resolution may be in order for 2016.

By Dusty J. Cruise, Missouri Enterprise

The term “global economy” often conjures up images of huge multinational corporations, with dozens of offices, moving shiploads of goods across countries and continents, electronically managing bills and collecting payments in a myriad of currencies, and of low labor costs and relatively minor regulation. These are things that seem to prevent small- and medium-sized American manufacturers from successfully competing with companies from distant places.