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Our Manufacturing Blog

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

Get the latest tips, trends, facts, and DIY ideas on how to grow and sustain your food manufacturing company. 

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 Tom Gordon, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

Following in the footsteps of others and adopting their best practices is sort of like chasing your own tail – you are hoping their way of doing things, which were specifically made for their situation or dog breed, will be the same solution for you. What if the root of the problem wasn’t that your dog didn’t respond to the training practice but that the dog you picked wasn’t the right fit for you?

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

Missouri Enterprise is teaming up with the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership to offer manufacturers who are part of the defense supply chain a low-cost and effective program to help them meet cybersecurity requirements.

By Tom Gordon, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

Real Leadership is not something that can be learned in a couple of classes, it is a state of mind, almost genetics.  The very real example of Audie Murphy springs to mind.  Although only 5’5” tall – not a John Wayne figure by any means – he was a giant of a hero, respected by all the Western Armies.  He started his military career in the ranks and ended up the most decorated, for gallantry, officer in World War II.

By Brian Lagas, NIST MEP

With the world of manufacturing evolving at a breathtaking pace thanks to developments such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), labor skill gaps, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Toyota Kata gives smaller manufacturers a lean strategy to help them grow with these developments. It empowers employees with the skills they can use to continuously improve, adapt, and generate ideas for a strategic, competitive advantage.

By Tom Gordon, (MSc., CFPIM), Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

The best way to start a fight among engineers is to bring up the subject of Bill of Material (BOM) structuring. Disagreement amongst engineers aside, BOM structuring is a subject worth exploration because a correctly structured BOM will add real value to a company’s marketing and sales activities as well as accuracy to its ERP system and will lead to increased customer satisfaction.


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 Tom Gordon, (MSc., CFPIM), Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Aristotle talked about the ‘essence’ of a thing – i.e. What makes a thing what it is?  In   marketing and sales, we distill this idea into ‘Order Qualifiers’ and ‘Order Winners’.  For example, the ‘essence’ of an automobile is that it has wheels.  You would never purchase an automobile without wheels, or come to that, without an engine or transmission.  These are all ‘order qualifiers’.  Order winners are different, not really the ‘essence’ of a product.  Why would you purchase a Porsche rather than a Volkswagen?  The ‘essence’ is the same but the ‘order winner’ is probably the desire to impress the neighbors!

Launches the Food Safety in the Heartland Program

Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, the world’s largest concentration of animal health companies, joins the cause and works to connect area companies with this education offering

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

As your number one partner and advisor in manufacturing, Missouri Enterprise works with food manufacturers to ensure the highest quality and safest products come from the Show-Me State.

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

When it comes to the millennial generation, a different set of strategies must be deployed to attract and keep them around in our companies. We are not saying they are right or wrong or that you as an employer are right or wrong. But we can all agree that we need to change to survive this workforce challenge and face the harsh reality that they will be replacing the aging workforce and previous generation. The truth is we need them. They do NOT need us (remember, they may still be living at home with their parents!).

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

Manufacturing Day will be here before we know it. To help manufacturers and business organizations get a head start with their event planning, we are partnering with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce to hold lunch and learn sessions throughout the state offering information on everything that is needed to coordinate a successful celebration come this October. 

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

Missouri Enterprise is partnering with the State of Missouri and local job centers to address manufacturing workforce shortages through a new expedited training program. Starting this month, the joint effort will lead its first Basics of Manufacturing session for unemployed area residents to kick-start their skills and interest in the industry. The curriculum includes blueprint reading, basic measuring, manufacturing processes, lean principles, team work, communications, professional behavior, and basic problem solving.

By Tom Gordon, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Matthew 6:24 tells us that you cannot have two masters, expand that idea into a dysfunctional organization without clear direction. EOS is a well-tried, and simple, approach that aims to get everyone in the organization marching in the same direction, like a platoon of Grenadier Guards outside Buckingham Palace.

By David Felin, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

In today’s world, it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon for the “Next Big Thing” that promises to revolutionize our business. Then comes the part when we have to actually implement the Next Big Thing. Frequently, once the “new” wears off, we start to look around for the next Next Big Thing.

By LauraLee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Waste in the office is often harder to spot than waste on the plant floor, because the processes are spread over many value streams and because inventory in computers is much harder to see than
parts stacked on the factory floor and more difficult to measure. But anyone who works in the “office”
can readily testify to the wasteful processes that occur there every day.

By Amy Susan, Communications Manager

From cobots, robots, to recruiting millennials, and everything in between -- we are excited to offer a lineup of workshops that arm manufacturers with workforce solutions and concepts.

By Amy Susan, Communications Manager

With the great wave of baby boomers reaching retirement age, employers throughout the nation are struggling with ways to appeal to the new generation of workers. Millennials/Generation Y and iGen are very different. They want different things from their job – and in return, they offer a completely new set of skills to their employer. We are here to help bridge the understanding and prepare manufacturers for this new generation of workers.

By Tom Gordon, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager, APICS Mentor

It has been said that we do not inherit the earth but just hold it in trust for our descendants.  However true this aphorism may be globally, it certainly holds true in manufacturing.  ISO 9001:2015 §7.1.6, coming under the general heading of §7 .1 RESOURCES, addresses “Organizational Knowledge”.  The definition of ‘Organizational Knowledge’ is knowledge that is specific to the organization, gained by experience [internal and external] and that which is used and shared to achieve the organization’s objectives.

By Adam McMurtrey, Industrial Sales Engineer of ExxonMobil, Midwest 

75% of all industrial equipment failures are linked to oil contamination. Therefore, maintaining proper oil cleanliness with the right types of filters is critical to the success of any manufacturing operation. Oil contamination from particulate accelerates the rate of component wear and can lead to premature component failure. As a result of improved filtration, studies show that improving filtration, as measured by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) cleanliness code, can extend the life of manufacturing equipment by 1.3 to 3 times or more.1 Additionally, as the oil is cleaned through proper filtration, it is common to extend the life of the oil as well.

By LauraLee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Program Manager

Not too long ago, I thought our Lean work was done. Everyone had heard about it, most had tried it, and it seemed to have run its course. We packed away our Lean 101 simulation kits and turned to try to find the “next big thing” for manufacturers. 

By Anna Haney, CEO of Noviqu

In a day and age where we focus so heavily on process improvement and being lean, it amazes me how outdated some of our processes actually are still. I can’t begin to count the number of manufacturing facilities I’ve toured with incredible automated machinery, advanced assembly lines and . . . three-ringed binders at every station. 

By Randy Greene, Production Manager of WCSW Production Services 

To the general public and to most manufacturers in Missouri, there continues to be a hidden world of Sheltered Workshops. There are approximately 80 Sheltered Workshops in Missouri. The term “sheltered workshop” has been used by the Department of Labor to describe facilities that employ people with disabilities exclusively or primarily. The term “sheltered” has been frothed with negative connotations. Most Sheltered Workshops are reworking their brands and images away from the negative stigma by using acronyms or changing their names altogether. The term “workshop” should not be confused with sweat shop. All workshops in Missouri go through several different forms of certifications in order to keep the “Workshop” status and funding. In fact, the i.e. 14C Certificate from the Department of Labor and the Certificate of Authority from the Department of Education both require Financial Audits and Safety audits. The yearly certification by DESE and the state make sure the facility and process are meeting the standards set by the state for workshops.

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

Meet our newest team member, Dale Graves. He’s had years of experience in manufacturing, specifically working for major ammunition companies. He shares three tips on improving operations processes that could result in more bang for your buck. Thanks, Dale. 

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

Is your company a Factory of the Future? Or of the past? Through this assessment, which is currently being offered at no cost, can help you take steps to prepare your business for the next wave of technology.

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

See first hand how our Lean simulation works... and then doesn't work as company team members tackle inefficiencies together.

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

This Ferguson, Mo based wood gift manufacturer is nothing short of a good tale. Like Frankenstein, sometimes you have to make your own monster of a project to get things done.

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

Missouri Enterprise is partnering with the State of Missouri to address manufacturing workforce shortages through a new expedited training program. Starting this month, the joint effort will lead its first Basics of Manufacturing session for unemployed area residents to kickstart their skills and interest in the industry. The curriculum includes blueprint reading, basic measuring, manufacturing processes, lean principles, team work, communications, professional behavior, and basic problem solving.

By Pat Toth, Computer Scientist at NIST MEP

We’re all familiar with Smokey the Bear and the “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” slogan. In 2015, Smokey got an update and the new “Receive a Bear Hug” ads ran nationwide. In the ad, Smokey runs out of the woods and gives a big bearhug to a camper for properly checking camp fire embers. The new, more huggable version of Smokey rewards campers for making responsible decisions rather than scolding them to prevent wild fires. Fear and anxiety are not always the best motivators, and many people respond better to positive motivation through awareness activities.

By Tom Gordon (MSc., CFPIM), Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

The treatment of Risk [and its bedfellow, Opportunity] can be classified in 3 areas: What we can control through mitigation, what must be accepted because there is nothing constructive that can be done and still stay in business, and what can be covered by insurance.

By Tom Gordon (MSc., CFPIM), Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

There is a beautiful series of peaks bordering the west side of the valley of Borrowdale in the English Lake District. Their names are Maiden Moor and Cat Bells. They are not particularly high as mountains go, but they are frustrating and difficult, especially in the winter snow. The route to the top of Cat Bells is by way of the peak of Maiden Moor.

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

The Missouri Chamber and Missouri Enterprise are joining forces this MFG Day to help manufacturers across the state open their doors to students and showcase manufacturing careers.

By Dusty Cruise, Missouri Enterprise President & CEO

Manufacturing Day is right around the corner and will be celebrated during the month of October nationwide. Missouri Enterprise is excited to be a part of this growing event and we look forward to highlighting many of the activities taking place throughout the Show-Me State.

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

Rick Prugh is Missouri Enterprise’s Area Business Manager for Central and South-Central Missouri. He has been with the company for almost 30 years serving in a variety of roles, mostly in program management and project development. He now enjoys interacting with Missouri manufacturers to help them with solutions for the challenges they face in becoming more profitable.

By Stan Shoun, President of Ranken Technical College

One of the most critical issues for this state (and nation) in the last 50 years is “economic and workforce development”. You cannot logically speak about one, without the other. The fact is that many of the challenges that face each of us daily: crime, poverty, income disparity, crumbling infrastructure, and even healthcare could be mitigated by simply PUTTING PEOPLE TO WORK! The #1 impediment to state growth is our inability to provide a skilled labor force. 

By Bob Beckmann, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager & Energy Expert

To provide some insight into Digital Manufacturing, let’s first establish a baseline of understanding through the analogy of your home thermostat. If you live in an older home, the thermostat may be a round dial which you rotate and set the little red pointer to the temperature you want. If you are a little more advanced, you may have a programmable unit that has the capacity to turn the thermostat to different settings based on the time of day or maybe even the day of the week. Now, the thermostat of the future is truly digital and smart. 

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

Until last month, I’d never heard of Brazen. On the last day of last month, I was honored to participate in a roundtable with a group of Brazen entrepreneurs interested in manufacturing and supply chain/distribution. 

By Dave Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Service Delivery Team Lead

If you asked 100 people to define leadership, you’re likely to get 100 different responses. Leadership is one of those things that we think we understand but have difficulty putting into words. I define leadership as the ability to influence others to obtain support in accomplishing a defined task. Although this is a very short sentence to define a very complex concept, I believe that the key words here will provide great insight into how sound leadership will aid our employee recruitment and retention efforts.

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

I’m a carnivore, or whatever the opposite of a vegetarian is. I don’t eat vegetables, with one or two exceptions: green beans out of my garden and sweet corn out of my daddy’s field. I have been overwhelmed with both in the last 24 hours.

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

This week marks the first of many where our offices will no longer be adorned by a bow tie-wearing gentleman by the name of Harold Zinn. For 15 years, Harold has graced the Missouri Enterprise halls (and the entryways, cafeterias, warehouses, offices and other meeting spaces inside many Missouri manufacturing companies) dedicating his skills and talents to build onto our state’s strong manufacturing legacy. Harold retired on June 30th and celebrated his parting with colleagues, who he calls friends, over a BBQ meal cooked up by our in-house chef and Area Business Manager Ned Blome. 

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

Jimmy Story, Missouri Enterprise Business Programs Manager that serves the state’s agriculture growers and producers, recently attended a graduation ceremony for eight individuals who completed a workforce training program and hope to soon be employed following the completion of their time at the Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston, Mo.

Ned Blome is Missouri Enterprise’s Area Business Manager for metropolitan St. Louis and St. Charles county. With a large book of long-term clients, Ned’s knowledge, experience and observational skills make him a valued partner who knows how to listen and ask the right questions that will help drive solutions. He’s constantly meeting new manufacturers and has a finger on the pulse of the manufacturing community in Missouri.

By Mar'Ellen Felin, Communications Service Provider for Missouri Enterprise

A marketing plan is a strategic document for a company’s sales, advertising, and other marketing efforts, serving as a blueprint to meet stated objectives within a specified time period. What a marketing plan isn’t: A lengthy formal document that gets filed away never to be seen again or, worse yet, an unwritten plan that resides in one person’s mind.

By Marlon Walker, Ph.D.
National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Small or mid-sized manufacturers in Missouri face many challenges in their daily operations.  Some of these challenges are technical in nature, involving processes crucial to product design, development, and manufacture.  Often, there aren’t readily available resources to help small and mid-sized manufacturers solve these issues – until now.  NIST MEP is piloting the MEP-Assisted Technology and Technical Resource (MATTR) program to better connect SMMs with the resources of the NIST laboratories.

By Curt Lopez, Quality System Lead Auditor & Project Manager for Missouri Enterprise

Three years.  That’s how long we’ve been talking about the dramatic changes involved in the transition from the soon to be obsolete ISO 9001:2008 requirements to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard.  September 14, 2018 is the deadline for transition.  That’s about 90 days away.

By Bob Beckmann, Certified Energy Manager & Engineer for Missouri Enterprise

When was the last time you read your electric bill?  I mean besides the total amount you need to pay.  Electric bills vary from month to month, so it is human nature to just put it on the stack to pay and then make out the check at the end of the month.  But your bill can hide some secrets or rather, point you to some areas where you can save.  Allow me to uncover as we go section by section.

By Dr. Sean Siebert, creator, Adopt an Innovator Program and member of the Missouri Enterprise Board of Directors

Workforce, workforce, workforce. Society’s migraine? Workforce. Where can we find people, good people, qualified people, reliable people for our jobs? Unfortunately, as a country, our workforce issues have been nearly forty years in the making. From a community perspective, to think that this matter can be resolved within ninety days is simply not rational. But, I do believe it can be addressed and show substantial progress within the next three years. To do this, we have to think differently. As I am quick to tell people, “Our processes are not organic. Getting the right people, with the right skills and education, in the right jobs, is strategic, not organic.”

By Stacey Marler, Project Manager for Missouri Enterprise & President of the Rolla Tech. Inst., Drafting Technology Board

Blueprinting is the universal language in manufacturing— because it is all about measurements. Reading and applying it correctly in your operations ensures accuracy, which ensures happy customers and suppliers. Not knowing how to read blueprints is like not understanding the language in a foreign country. Here are a few tips on how to sharpen your blueprinting skills:

By LauraLee Rose, ASQ-certified Six Sigma Black Belt  & Project Manager for Missouri Enterprise

Six Sigma is a problem-solving methodology with the purpose of reducing variation in processes to reduce defects. It’s based on the use of proven statistical tools to analyze data. Here are 3 things you need to think about if you’re interested in using these powerful quality tools in the framework of the phases of Six Sigma: define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC).

By Bob Beckmann, Certified Energy Manager & Engineer for Missouri Enterprise

We are all here in Missouri together—which means we are used to the everchanging and unpredictable weather. It rains one day, followed by a heatwave and then our week is capped off with…what…snow?! This is all pretty typical for us Missourians. We may not be able to accurately forecast the next 30 minutes of weather, but what we CAN do is offer three simple energy savings tips that you can implement today and start to see savings on your next electric bill.

By Amy Susan, Communications Manager

This year, I attended two separate business-related events. At both occasions, the workforce skills gap took much of the focus. Many speakers provided current statistics on the lack of skilled workers in the face of the growing demand from companies.  All agreed - something needs to be done. I know I’m not the only one who feels the weight of the world on my shoulders when the open-ended question “what ARE we going to do about it?” is left on the podium, with no solution in sight.

By Dusty J. Cruise
Missouri Enterprise President and CEO

It would be disingenuous of us to say manufacturers have nothing to worry about. In the current climate with all the ups and downs happening across the country and across the globe, it’s hard to keep up and nearly impossible to find stability (unless you have a magic 8 ball that works). Despite the uncertainties and unknowns, the most recent numbers we have access to tell a different story or at the very least, provide a hopeful outlook.

Curtis Mullen, the Area Business Manager for Kansas City and Northwest Missouri, is a native Canadian who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2008. His decades of experience have made him a strong representative for Missouri Enterprise, and he’s making a great name for himself and the company in his territory. Read on as Curtis offers some insights into Manufacturing in Missouri.

Judy Cromer VP, Business Finance, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership

Our economy is booming, and business owners are looking for ways to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in a growing economy. Business owners have a deep understanding of how to run their business, because they are involved on a steady basis, however understanding different funding mechanisms and how to access capital for growth can sometimes prove difficult, based on this being a periodic need.  Many times there are different types of funding sources available in different geographical areas, and in some cases different types of capital can work together to fund an expansion project in what is called a capital stack.

Ik-Whan Kwon, Ph.D,
Professor of Supply Chain Management, Saint Louis University

Transportation plays a crucial role in supply chain optimization. Someone once said that “transportation is the blood in supply chain optimization spanning from sourcing to the last miles of delivery”. The most critical component in supply chain is to bring raw materials from sources to customers for finished products on-time to improve customer shopping experiences.

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


Effective methods of improvement are essential for an organization’s growth, continued competitiveness and sustainability.  The TRIZ methodology complements other tools with a structured and disciplined approach to problem solutions.  The principles and benefits of TRIZ, and its unique characteristics, are discussed in this paper.

By David Felin, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

ISO standards are reviewed and revised on a regular basis to stay relevant to the current business environment. In fact, the 2008 revision of the ISO 9001 Standard will become obsolete on September 14, 2018, being completely replaced by the 2015 revision at that time. 

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

Amazon is making big news as it courts cities nationwide vying to be chosen for the company’s second headquarters.  As of the deadline in October of 2017, 238 cities submitted proposals for consideration, and Amazon projects it will announce its “short list” of candidates early this year.  Of course, that’s when the real negotiating will begin, with candidate communities offering incentives of all kinds, including tax breaks, infrastructure development and myriad other tempting tidbits to make them the most attractive choice for Amazon.  I read that one city even offered to change its name if that would do the trick.

By Amy N. Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communication Manager

Full disclosure, this is a "perspective" piece. After more than ten years working in government, I am fresh out and now writing for the non-profit manufacturing-focused consulting firm, Missouri Enterprise. Before working stateside, I was a news reporter. What this means… is that I promise to provide qualifiers and stats galore as well as actionable information. (close-up shot) Reporting live on the "Body Gap", Amy N. Susan, Missouri Enterprise News

By Dave Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

As a Lean Practitioner, I’ve spent considerable time working with clients applying Lean tools to improve processes within the company. We reduce batch sizes to improve flow. We enhance machine reliability to ensure that equipment is ready when needed. We improve housekeeping and organization to instill discipline, make the workplace safer and increase efficiency.

By Jeanne Wagner, US Army Veteran and Missouri Enterprise Chief Financial Officer

A soldier's view today may look a bit different compared to mine 41 years ago. Like everything else, technology has resulted in significant advancements to weaponry, logistics, communications, etc. But even though the landscape has changed as have the faces, thanks to a growing interest from females to serve our country, there are certain values that will forever remain the core of those who step into an American uniform and make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

By Michael Gantner, Principal, nthimpressions: Your Marketing Pulse

When speaking with a manufacturer about marketing, I usually begin with, “So, tell me about your company…what do you do?”.  Everyone can answer that one in great detail, often expounding on their product and service virtues for as long as I will listen to them. 

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

Abstract: Strategy without implementation has only one purpose – to convince the stakeholders that there is a future in the organization.  For Top Management to hold the “strategy” in their heads is a dangerous indulgence.  Organizations need a direction for the future that is both understandable and achievable - Let’s face facts, if you only aim for Rolla it is unlikely that you will ever sit on the beach in Hawaii! 

Gary Harrell has done everything in manufacturing from welding to fabricating to regional sales management, which serves him well in his role as the Area Business Manager for Southwest Missouri and Metropolitan Springfield.  Here are a few of his thoughts on manufacturing in Missouri, workforce and expectations for the new year.

By Jennifer Jarosz, Manufacturing Day Coordinator for Missouri Enterprise

Thank you to Missouri Manufacturers and Community Supporters!

By Tom Brown, Executive Director, Corporate Production and Sustainability, Brewer Science

Brewer Science is a global technology leader and manufacturer of innovative materials and processes used in the fabrication of semiconductors and microelectronic devices. In 1981, the company revolutionized lithography processes with its invention of Brewer Science® ARC® anti-reflective coatings, one of the many innovations we’ve produced that helps make electronic devices as small, fast and affordable as they are today. Our products and solutions are an important part of the tablet computers, smartphones, digital cameras, televisions and LED lighting that you use every day, and we run our business right here in Missouri.

By LauraLee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager (and a woman in manufacturing)

Ask any little girl what she wants to do when she grows up, and odds are that she will not say, “I want to work in manufacturing!”. (Granted, that answer may also be far down the list for little boys, somewhere behind firefighter or professional athlete.)

By Joe Bullinger, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Any company involved in manufacturing or distributing food for human or animal consumption is surely aware of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which was signed into law in 2011.  The mandates contained in FSMA hit the large food manufacturers in 2015 and 2016, and now the deadlines are looming for the smaller companies.

by Jeff Sterling, Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager

Jeff Sterling, Area Business Manager for the City of St. Louis and Northeast Missouri, talks about support for startups in Missouri and his perceptions of how many manufacturers seem to misunderstand what Quality truly means for manufacturing.

By Thomas Gordon, CFPIM, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

An earlier newsletter in this series addressed responsibility and authority, (ISO 9001:2015/AS9100D:2016 §5.3).  At a management and/or supervisor level it is straightforward to do this; however, looking at what Marx termed “the alienation of the worker from the product of labor”, it is rather more difficult to push this down to the shop floor, where the traditional structure is Operator -> Inspector.

By Rick Wilson, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

We hear about the workforce problems of Missouri manufacturers every day, as they struggle to find the skilled labor they need, and fight to keep their good people on board.

By Thomas Gordon, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Section 5.3 of ISO 9001:2015 is about the Holy Trinity of ‘Organizational Roles, Responsibilities and Authorities”.  When contemplating the underlying meaning of these words I am reminded of a common ‘trick’ question utilized by British Army instructors to sort out ‘leaders’ from ‘followers’ in a batch of young officer candidates:

By Tom Noon, President, KC Computer Support

Cyber Security myths can pose a danger to your business.  Debunking the myths can keep your company safe from cyber criminals.
Security is a hot-button issue within the IT world. Despite cyber security firms stressing the importance of keeping confidential data safe, companies seemingly fail to heed warnings. On a regular basis, news agencies are reporting significant data breaches within the network of large corporations. To stay protected, your company needs to stop falling for some of the most common IT security myths.

By Ik-Whan Kwon, Ph.D.

Ik-Whan Kwon, Ph.D is the Professor of Supply Chain Management, Director Emeritus at Center for Supply Chain Management Studies Saint Louis University and Member, Missouri Enterprise Board of Directors

Everyone talks about supply chain as if it is a panacea that will solve all managerial problems. More so for small and medium size enterprises, as they lack resources to implement the complex supply chain strategies compared with some of their big “brothers and sisters.” Implemented correctly, supply chain operations indeed create extra value for companies, according to research published in academic as well as trade journals. The same studies also shed a light on how hard it is to implement supply chain in the right way. More than half of the efforts fail for many reasons.

By Stacey Marler, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

Search engine optimization or what is commonly called “SEO” is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's unpaid results.  This is often referred to  as receiving a "natural" or "organic" search result. SEO may also include different kinds of searches, including web content, videos, news, and images.

By Dave Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

John has been a Plant Manager for just over a year. He’s proud of the productivity at his facility and the quality products produced there. Due to the focus on output, little effort went into cleaning and organization. Consequently, the workers were subjected to special cleaning sessions to prepare for visitors.

by Russell Humphrey, Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager

Russell Humphrey has been with Missouri Enterprise for over six years, and serves as the Area Business Manager for Southeast Missouri.  Russell takes a moment to share some of his philosophy on customer relationships and the value of Missouri Enterprise to manufacturers.

By Kasey Gatson

Kasey Gatson graduated in the spring of 2016 from Westminster College with a degree in Secondary Business Education. She is currently pursuing her MBA at William Woods University while serving as a graduate assistant coach for the women's basketball team. This excerpt is from a paper she wrote for her graduate economics class. 

Americans have enjoyed a stable economy since the Great Recession of 2008, but as the manufacturing industry leaders look to the horizon they cannot help but feel anxious. Unemployment topped out at 10% in October of 2009 and has been improving ever since. The unemployment rate is down to 4.5% but there remain 6 million jobs unfilled and that’s what scares manufacturers--the vacancies (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) estimates that by the year 2025 U.S. manufacturing companies alone will face 2 million job vacancies (Moody and Bolden-Barrett, 2017).  

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

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 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


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 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 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 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.  (