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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.

Q:        What’s the hardest part of your job?

A:         Time.  It’s gotta be time.  With all the manufacturers we work with, and all the services we bring them each and every day…sometimes it’s tough to schedule in all the work we have.  The manufacturers in town keep us incredibly busy.

Q:        Do you see any current trends that might be important to Missouri manufacturers?

A:         Lean manufacturing.  Continuous Improvement.  ISO.  All those things that help them improve efficiency and increase profits.  These things continue to be incredibly important to the successful manufacturers, especially as the economy is picking up.  My customers are getting much busier again, and that’s incredibly encouraging to see.

Q:        What are manufacturers saying to you about their greatest needs?

A:         Another easy one!  Finding…good…people!  People who have skills or are trainable…and a basic work ethic…like actually showing up for their shift every day…and that trend seems to be getting worse.  I’m talking to a lot of companies about honing up on their leadership skills to help them retain and grow the people they have.  It’s so hard to find good people, they’re being forced to focus on creating a positive, rewarding and productive work environment so employees want to work there, and all the work is getting done efficiently.  It’s a challenge.