From the very beginning of the Manufacturing Alliance, I have been impressed by the continued willingness of business leaders & members to share learnings from challenges they have overcome and details from successful strategies they have implemented. The latest example of this sharing was the participation in a brief on-line member survey. Highlights of the survey results were:
- a majority of member companies performed better than planned for 2019
- an even larger number projects moderate growth for 2020
- 55% of respondents say their largest need for 2020 relates to workforce requirements
- Equally divided was the need for better customers and better communications tools
- When addressing operational needs, better work flow and more automation shared top billing
- 60% felt the biggest technology challenge for 2020 was operations system upgrades
- Not surprisingly, 84% said finding more skilled workers remained their #1 challenge
Finally, on the question of how best the Manufacturing Alliance can serve you, the answer remains the same from this and previous surveys. Alliance members would like more information on what’s happening with other companies in the region.
As our 2017, 18 and 19 member surveys identified, the challenge of finding the right advanced technology, and the skilled workers to operate them, remains the top priority for local businesses. The Alliance leadership team decided to take action by creating a strategy to address these on-going issues. The result of their discussions was a project that focused on:
- Types of advanced technology that would be relative to manufacturing member companies
- Different ways that technology can address and support specific skills gap issues
- Methods that would allow leaders to compare their organization against others in the region
The project methodology was a 10 company pilot study, lasting over 6 months and covering a broad range of business structures. The study findings will be shared with members through a series of newsletter articles, social media blogs and individual outreach texts. The first of these articles will focus on the ultimate goal of all the companies involved, a technology enhanced workforce. All of these communication efforts will culminate with a total membership meeting on May 7 at the Manufacturers County Club in Fort Washington.
While our members have expressed the desire to see what is happening with other companies in the region, they also state they do not have the time to take benchmarking trips. So, the meeting on May 7 is structured to bring benchmarking opportunities together in one place; highlight organizations that have gone through the technology change process; and provide an opportunity to hear firsthand what they have done.
The meeting format:
- An opening 20 minute group session on technology enhanced workforce
- 4 breakout sessions hosted by an Alliance Manufacturing leader highlighting their company:
- Henry Stueber of Greene Tweed on their workforce technology journey
- John Shegda of M&S Centerless Grinding on their Industry 4.0 experiences
- Bud Tyler of EF Precision on their IT-OT and Cyber Security learnings
- Aaron Baum of Baum Precision on their automation and systems journey
Back to back 35 minute sessions so you will be able to select two that fit your needs.
Prior to the meeting, we will publish articles and blogs that highlight the four topics and the four companies mentioned. We are also working to create benchmarking videos that will be placed on the website. Hopefully, this will allow you the opportunity to take a peak when it is convenient and to share with other members of your organization. Our biggest challenge is our ability to reach and engage our members. Your support through outreach to other members and involvement in the process is welcomed and appreciated.