The third Manufacturing Advocacy Series, which is a joint effort of the Manufacturing Alliance of Bucks and Montgomery Counties and the NTMA Philadelphia Delaware Valley Chapter, held it’s third regional event on April 6, 2017. This program was created to provide pertinent information for our regional manufacturers to help make educated decisions, and to provide a time to network with each other.  April’s event focused on Financing and the Economic Outlook for Manufacturing in 2017 from a national and regional perspective.

The subject of financing was handled by a panel of various financial executives who explored lending, interest rates, creative financing as well as other financially related topics.  The importance of talking with your financial institution openly and often was the consensus of the panel.  Different types of financing were also discussed with traditional banks, boutique banks that arrange lending from private equity and other funds, and lenders dealing in the non regulated market.

Manufacturing Event in KOP – Video

MFG Edited Version from Mark Tyler on Vimeo.

The Director of The Center for Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University, Dr. Paul Harrington stepped the audience through national economic data, and broke it into usable information.  Even though manufacturers are continually investing in technology that will displace workers to a certain extent, there will continue to be a gap in qualified candidates.   New employees must be trained to work in today’s advanced manufacturing roles, so there is a lag to bring these employees up to speed, and the perception of manufacturing needs to be updated to attract prospective employees.   Moving forward more educational partners need to focus on the skills needed for manufacturers – otherwise we are looking at the prospect of leaving deals on the table due to having an insufficient workforce.  This most likely is not news to most, and  fortunately organizations such as the Manufacturing Alliance of Bucks and Montgomery Counties realize this need and are actively involved in student programs that introduce manufacturing concepts.

The discussion took a turn to the local level when Kreischer Miller, a local accounting firm, reviewed their regional manufacturing survey.  Where the skills gap concern was echoed in the results of this survey, overall there was an increased level of optimism, up 6% from last year.  Concern was raised however when 30% of respondents stated that they have no IT Security methods utilized.  67% of respondents used Key Performance Indicators on a regular basis with on-time delivery rate having the greatest emphasis.   In general, local manufacturers will be keeping an eye on Washington, D. C. for policy reforms that may impact them.  More information on this survey can be found at the KMCO Manufacturing Survey 2016

Over 100 attendees agreed that this Manufacturing Alliance sponsored event provided them with valuable information that they will use, and the Philadelphia Inquirer featured an story which you can access here.  A full recording of the event will be available in the near future on the Alliance website.   Previous events covered apprenticeships, and R&D Tax Credit information.  The next Manufacturing Advocacy Series will be held in September, we look forward to seeing you there.