The creation of an outdoor recreation industry office established Colorado as a leader in one of the nation’s most critical economic segments.
By Tim O’Connor
The most striking thing about Colorado’s outdoor recreation manufacturers is how interconnected they are. Snowboard maker Never Summer shares its manufacturing facility in Denver with ski company Icelantic. Likewise, knife company Spyderco, located in Golden, Colo., teamed up with Never Summer to create a limited edition snowboard and knife set aimed at firefighters.
It’s not uncommon for local manufacturers to do business with one another, but Colorado is finding new ways to foster these kinds of symbiotic relationships. Two organizations – one public and one private – are leading that charge.
Something Independent is a group that combines leadership, lifestyle and commerce by promoting interconnections between companies and celebrates achievement. The organization is perhaps best known for its Wright Awards, an annual event that honors Colorado entrepreneurs who developed inspired business ideas. From his vantage point as the organization’s co-founder, Chuck Sullivan has witnessed how mashing different industries together in the same room can start a conversation and lead to greater business connections. “Little things like that can spark big opportunities,” he says. “Colorado is on the cusp of something that has been here for a long time.”
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By Pedro Suarez, President, Dow USA at The Dow Chemical Company
Today is Manufacturing Day – a day set aside every year when the men and women who make the products that change the world, celebrate those who experiment, invent and create. Although for me and my Dow colleagues, every day is manufacturing day.
My story in manufacturing began when I was a young boy in Argentina, and since then has crossed businesses, borders, and even continents. It has led to a lifetime of being inspired by inventing and creating something new, something I could hold in my two hands; and by the diversity of experiences, cultures and challenges I experienced along the way. Yet today I see young people who don’t know that science, technology, engineering, and math careers are exciting, accessible, and full of opportunity.
The seeds of my career in manufacturing were planted a generation ago when my father, the first born in Argentina to a Spanish immigrant, began to work at seven years old. His education in the classroom ended early, but the lessons of the printing business helped him to support his family throughout his life. His work ethic inspired me. He was a “maker.” And he encouraged me to pursue math and science, because he saw a talent and an opportunity to go into a technical field and have a better life than he had.
That seed took root thanks to an elementary teacher who put chemistry in my hands as a young boy. Through a simple lab demonstration of distillation, I saw the magic of chemistry. My curiosity grew as I worked in a chemistry lab in high school. This set me on a chemical engineering track, and I’ve never looked back. A few years later, I found my way to Dow where my colleagues and I have shared different cultures and perspectives as we innovate our way towards solutions to the most difficult problems our world faces.
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By John Boudreau
It’s that time of year again when many companies are beginning to think about 2017.
It’s strategic planning season.
This post is not for those companies who have been doing strategic planning for years and have a solid process in place resulting in a clear plan.
This post is also not for those companies who are also tracking their plan each month and making adjustments to their plan so they can end the year where they planned.
This post is for you if your company falls into one these two groups
(1) You currently have no formal strategic planning process. “Formal” means you set aside focused time to think strategically about your business (typically in some off-site with your leadership team).
(2) You do not track your plan other than looking at your financials in an Excel spreadsheet each month
I think that companies just do not do “strategic planning” because it seems so daunting. Owners picture endless meetings and wasted time.
So, here’s a “lightweight” strategic planning framework that is proven to drive greater profitabilty.
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FABTECH 2016 will no doubt bring to the forefront all that is new and exciting in the metalforming industry. But it also serves to highlight some of the industry's challenges, and how the market is combating them. One of the key issues facing the sector is the lack of skilled workers coming into the fold. This year's RUN4MFG 5K, on the morning of Nov. 18, aims to raise money in support of the industry's future.
Now in its fourth year, the RUN4MFG 5K benefits nonprofit educational foundations and scholarship programs managed by FABTECH partners – the American Welding Society, the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International, SME, the Precision Metalforming Association, and the Chemical Coaters Association International. In addition to supporting a good cause, the event provides a unique setting for the more than 28,000 exhibitors and attendees at FABTECH to congregate, promote good health and show unity as an industry.
“The RUN4MFG 5K is another example of our support for the metal fabricating industry,” says John Catalano, SME senior director, FABTECH. “It’s incredibly important to us to foster a learning environment at FABTECH and reinvest in the people who make manufacturing innovations possible. Our trades need highly skilled labor more than ever. The RUN4MFG 5K helps us bring attention to that in a fun and healthy way.”
The 3.1-mile route takes participants through Town Square Las Vegas, located on the south end of the famous Las Vegas Strip. Town Square is approximately 2-5 miles from most major hotels on the Las Vegas Strip and approximately 9 miles from the Las Vegas Convention Center. Participants should meet at:
Town Square Las Vegas
6605 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Northwest Corner of Parking Lot
Key Event Details
--Date: Friday, November 18, 2016
--Registration Opens: 6:30 a.m.
--5K Start Time: 7 a.m.
--Entry Fee: $35 -- Cost includes a FABTECH 2016 RUN4MFG shirt (After November 4, fee is $50)
A number of sponsorship opportunities are available for companies that would like to support the event. Benefits of sponsoring range from complimentary race registrations and promotional items in drawstring bags, to company logos on participant shirts and event signage. The sponsorship application deadline is Oct. 14, 2016.
For more information about the RUN4MFG 5K, including how to register as a participant or a sponsor, please visit fabtechexpo.com/run4mfg.
The Precision Metalforming Association is launching a new program to attract leaders to the manufacturing industry.
It's no question that the manufacturing industry is in major need of workers, and many organizations and companies are doing what they can to attract new people. Especially as one generation of workers heads into retirement, the industry understands the importance of attracting younger recruits. The Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) is doing its part with its MFG NXT program. On Wednesday, June 29, the next generation of manufacturing leaders will gather in Independence, Ohio, for the launch of MFG NXT, an exciting recruitment and retention initiative sponsored by the PMA. MFG NXT is an ideas hub and support network for Millennials and Gen Xers who are quickly rising through the ranks of the manufacturing industry.
“We need to nurture a new generation of leaders to ensure that the manufacturing industry continues to keep growing, embracing new technologies, and adapting to a changing world,” says PMA President Bill Gaskin. “MFG NXT is all about bringing together talented young manufacturing leaders who are committed to success in their companies and to the future of the U.S. manufacturing sector.”
The first MFG NXT event is scheduled for 11:30 am – 6:00 pm at the PMA headquarters in Independence. Attendees will hear from leadership and generational workforce expert Linda L. Bluso, J.D., CEO & Founder of the Adaptive Knowledge Institute. Bluso will provide critical insights and advice for creating a cohesive multi-generational workforce for your business.
In addition to Bluso’s keynote remarks, the MFG NXT Roundtable will feature a roundtable discussion of key issues affecting the next generation of manufacturers; a planning session for the next steps for MFG NXT; and, a craft beer-tasting reception sponsored by Fat Head’s Brewery.
MFG NXT is open to top young talent, high potential employees, and next-generation leaders who are looking for opportunities to network with peers and gain the knowledge and tools needed to grow and succeed in manufacturing.
Online registration is available on the PMA website.
PMA is the full-service trade association representing the $137-billion metalforming industry of North America—the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming, and roll forming technologies, as well as other value-added processes. Its nearly 900 member companies also include suppliers of equipment, materials, and services to the industry. PMA leads innovative member companies toward superior competitiveness and profitability through advocacy, networking, statistics, the PMA Educational Foundation, FABTECH and METALFORM Mexico tradeshows, and MetalForming, Fabricating Product News, and 3D Metal Printing magazines.
Small Manufacturers Influencing Local Policy and Educational Institutions
By Jeff Applegate
We, the small manufacturer, are greatly influenced by the decisions made and programs developed by our local government and educational institutions. There are resources such as the National Association of Manufacturers that lobby on a national level for manufacturing, but do not have the resources to work in cities and counties. The local government and educational institutions are here to serve the community, but most often don’t really know the concerns of small manufacturers. They certainly talk to the large employers, eat at local restaurants, visit retailers and attend business meetings downtown that attract the suits from banks, law firms and service companies. Unfortunately, there is not a great vehicle for the small manufacturing company to communicate their needs or concerns and seek to influence the policy and programs being developed.
I think it is fair to say that few of us small manufacturers make the time to attend these events or enjoy dressing up, shaking hands and building relationships with those that direct the resources of our tax dollars and make policy decisions impacting our organizations. However, it is imperative that our opinion and interests are represented where decisions made can significantly benefit or burden us.
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Plays Well With Others
By Jeff Applegate
There is a lot of truth to the theory that much of what we need to be successful as adults we learned by the time we were two. How well we “play with others” is an indicator of our skills to consider and see value in others’ ideas, accept others’ opinions, share in their activities and learn from, grow with and gain benefit from working as a team.
I have been writing on the key attributes that have contributed to the success of a local manufacturing association. One of the questions we asked was why does the city of Houston need another association? There are so many good groups working to put on networking events, socials and educational programs. What we saw was many industry specific or special interest groups that were working to serve the community, train in professional development and provide networking opportunities. There was no common voice and consolidator of the entire manufacturing community.
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Hunt in a Pack
By Jeff Applegate
My father, who was a salesman in the steel business, used to tell me “nothing happens until you sell something.” Growing revenue and providing consistent work for our manufacturing operations is the primary responsibility of a business owner and manufacturing leader, and it is the principal driver of creating value in our companies.
When forming the Greater Houston Manufacturers Association, we opened our doors to our manufacturing neighbors and began getting to know each other, trading best practice and finding things we shared in common. We initially formed the organization around Houston’s Texas Medical Center. The Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the United States and invests more than $2 billion annually in research and development. We learned that companies harvesting this technology were commercializing the products outside the state. When we asked why they did not do it in Houston, the answer was that Houston did not have the manufacturing resources to do the work that needed to be done. The fact is that the resources were and are in Houston, but the thousands of owner-operator manufacturing companies were silently operating in their own silos and few knew how broad and capable the resources were in our own backyard.
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The Time to Make a Friend is Before You Need Them
By Jeff Applegate
As business owners or manufacturing leaders, we are where problems land when there is no clear or simple solution. When your machine goes down on Friday afternoon and you have a critical commitment for Monday morning, you need a friend. When you need to partner with another local manufacturer to win the contract with the big OEM, who can you trust to call? When you are in a bind and need a favor from another supplier, who will do whatever it takes to help you out?
These are the problems we tackle every day. It is why a group of Houston manufacturers began informally opening their doors to meet their manufacturing neighbors and build a community to help each other out. Those relationships eventually led to the formation of the Greater Houston Manufacturers Association. Each month we meet at a member’s facility. Someone orders in sandwiches, we pitch in our $10, visit in the conference room or shop if there are more than 15 or 20 people, get to know each other and go on a brief tour. We at the Greater Houston Manufacturers Association have experimented with many programs and ideas with the goal of bringing the manufacturing community together, being an advocate for the local manufacturing concerns to local government, working with the community colleges and universities to provide workforce development needs and sharing best practices with each other.
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By Louis Osmont and Kevin Pianko
In the early 1990s, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a hotly debated topic. Proponents saw the benefits of less-constrained international trade; those opposed feared that U.S.- based manufacturing jobs would be lost. Both were right: NAFTA passed, jobs left, but U.S.-based manufacturers soon reaped bottom-line benefits from lower labor costs — not just in Mexico, but across the globe. China’s massive growth, fueled by globalization, industrialization, urbanization and automation, also played a role. As workers moved from farms to cities, they needed jobs. American manufacturers were only too happy to step up. Outsourcing jobs meant they could pay a foreign labor force a fraction of what unions demanded back home.
Since 2001, American manufacturing jobs dropped by 5.1 million, according to US News and World Report. Now the landscape is changing – reshoring is beginning to bring manufacturing back home. According to non-profit organization Reshoring Initiative, reshoring has helped restore close to 15 percent of the more than 500,000 post-recession jobs created in the U.S. manufacturing sector. Further, a survey of U.S. manufacturers by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that 54 percent are considering relocating production to the United States from China, a substantial increase from 37 percent in 2012. That same study revealed that 16 percent were already actively reshoring – more than double the 7 percent doing so in 2012.
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