SAICPapersourceKikkerland

Kikkerland and Paper Source Launch a Design Challenge for ID Students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Kikkerland has partnered with Paper Source to host a design challenge for the industrial design students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

For its 10th design challenge, Kikkerland Design invited the students to design a simple, inspiring and executable product within four core categories:

Mindful Desktop: Design a stylish yet functional office item that promotes mindfulness and focus in the workplace.

Cocktail Culture: Offer unique and innovative cocktail/wine accessories to add some flare to parties.

Tech meets paper: Create a product that links the physical and the digital world for the generation that is connected to their devices, but nostalgic about reading physical books, writing in notebooks, and handwriting cards.

Hydration: Everyone carries a water bottle with them wherever they go. What is the next innovation in hydration?

The goal is to give design students a platform to present their product ideas for a well-respected retailer, and the chance to see their ideas produced. The product submissions need to appeal to Paper Source values: live, give, create and celebrate and include Kikkerland’s signature fun and functional characteristics.

Assistant Professor Architecture, Interior Architecture, Designed Objects (AIADO) Peter Oyler has guided students during the Spring semester. Paper Source and Kikkerland reviewed and critiqued the projects.

Final products will be hosted online http://papersourcedesignchallenge.com/ for a public vote May 5th-12th.

Anyone can vote for their favorite designs to determine the People’s Choice Winner.

The Prototypes will be sent to a jury of buyers, merchandisers and industrial design professionals to determine the pieces selected for production. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on May 12th 2017 at SAIC.

Winners in the two categories below will be announced at the awards ceremony:

*Production: Selected product(s) that Paper Source intends to buy and Kikkerland intends to produce. Student will receive a licensing agreement when the product gets developed.

*People’s Choice: Product that received the most votes from the online voting website. The winning designer will receive an award and will be given additional consideration for Kikkerland production.

For more than 15 years, Kikkerland Design and Paper Source have had a long-standing partnership and committed to bringing thoughtful and well-designed gifts.

“We are honored to partner with Kikkerland for their annual design challenge. At Paper Source, we’ve always believed that life moments should be celebrated in a fun and creative way. Kikkerland has always been a retailer that inspires solutions for everyday life. We’re proud to be working with the bright and talented SAIC students who will be brainstorming new gifting products for special occasions,” said Paper Source CEO Winnie Park.

MacolaEvolve17

Speakers shared their thoughts on leadership and success at Macola Evolve 2017 in New Orleans. 

The Macola Evolve 2017 conference in New Orleans had a lot to offer in terms of new technology and enhanced solutions for customers to improve their ERP systems. More on all of that in our upcoming May/June issue, but the event also offered many great ideas for manufacturers that are worth sharing now. The key message I got from the conference’s speakers concerned how manufacturers can gain strength, and then use that strength to build their brands.

Cal McAllister, co-founder, CEO and executive creative director at Seattle-based ad agency Wexley School for Girls, offered a short “guide for success with brands.” This included worrying only about what you can control, solving the problems first before you start something new, and living “in authenticity.”

“It’s easy for brands to make up stories,” he said, but consumers are smart and will quickly find out the truth about your brand. “Be the best part of someone’s day – that will allow you to work your way into the fan base.” 

He noted that manufacturers can do a number of things right now to get attention:

1. Provide jobs, because the market likes to see companies that are here in the United States and providing employment.

2. Demonstrate your speed and the ease of doing business with you.

3. Be on social media and “use that to turn your customers into salespeople.”

McAllister added that a strong internal culture can have a big impact on a company’s success. “I want to make sure our employees feel Wexley is the best job they’ve ever had,” he said. “It is important to keep them happy because the employees are our most important customer.”

‘Always Time for Fun’

Speaker Craig Zablocki injected a lot of energy into the conference, asking attendees to compare their adult approach to problems and worries with how children react to the same issues. “Serious and sincere doesn’t always lead to success – there is always time for fun,” Zablocki said. He explained that adults resist change, but it’s important to accept change and adopt the natural curiosity of kids.

“Not many workplaces are intentionally created around fun, but we need to be curious, we need to have creativity and we need to have fun,” he stressed, adding there is also a great need to be fearless. “Sales happen and safety happens when people are present,” he said. “Fear constricts us, distracts us and keeps us from creativity.

“When you’re playing Lego, play Lego. When you’re brainstorming, brainstorm. Do it instead of being somewhere else in fear or worry.”

Zablocki explained that most of what we worry about is either in the past or will never happen, so it’s important to let it go. Psychological fears can get in the way of creativity and participation, limiting a company’s success. “Resistance to change causes more suffering, pain and procrastination,” he said. “Stop worrying about the little things and allow yourself to really focus on having more fun, customer service and engagement.”

‘No Man is an Island’

Professional football player Rocky Bleier closed the conference by reminding attendees that everyone constantly has opportunities to reinvent themselves and improve. “Hourly we are reborn,” he said. “I’m in my eighth decade of creating memories, and the highlights are forever etched in our brains.”

Known for his time at Notre Dame and with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bleier has four Super Bowl rings and understands the importance of teamwork, and how individuals using their strengths and talents together as a team can achieve great things.

“For 40 years, the Steelers were a team destined to lose because there was no long-term vision – they were only focused on the short term,” he said. “They were very much a product of western Pennsylvania – a tough, hard-nosed team. They would beat the crap out of you, but they’d never win.”

He noted that changed when Chuck Noll came on as the coach because he “knew how to win.” Noll helped to shape Bleier’s idea of successful leadership, but he also learned key leadership skills after being drafted into the U.S. Army and serving in Vietnam. 

“When you are put in charge, you take charge,” he said. “When you are in charge, you have to have the courage to do what you think is right, but more importantly, what is right for the men.

“Courage is not passing off the responsibility or being a fool,” he added. “It’s that moment when we are faced with an issue – we have to take the information we have and implement it to move forward.”

He stressed that it’s important to appreciate people with talent – they raise the standards throughout an operation and make everyone better. “Don’t make things more complex; simplify things,” he said. “Create a great team and work together to move forward. No man is an island – none of us got here on our own, and we have to remember that." 

MacolaExact

Exact, a global frontrunner in business software for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has introduced Macola Unity 2.0 Partner Program, the second generation of its leading solution provider partner program. Designed to empower solution providers to increase customer satisfaction, drive revenue and maximize profitability, the Macola Unity 2.0 Partner Program is the natural evolution of Exact’s channel-led strategy. With this enhanced program, the company is extending new benefits, resources and rewards to a broader community of partners.

New features and benefits of the Macola Unity 2.0 Partner Program include:

*More incentives – With the new program, Exact has enhanced the incentives that will be provided to partners across tiers who drive new site sales with Macola 10. Marketing development funds (MDFs) will also be offered to solution providers in each tier to help them promote both their brand and relationship with Exact.

*More rewards – Exact increased the new site license deal registration incentive, which will be offered across all partner tiers. Exact will also continue to pass qualified leads directly on to partners.

*More partner levels – Exact added a new bronze partner tier level, on top of the existing gold and silver tiers, designed to reward a wider community of solution providers as their success and commitment to Exact grows. This lowers the barriers of entry into the Macola Unity 2.0 Partner Program for prospective partners.

"Thanks to the flexibility of its software, reliable team and innovative approach, Exact has afforded us the ability to tremendously expand our business and work with more and more large enterprise organizations," said Jeff Mayer, partner, Mayer Group. "We have been an Exact partner for nearly 20 years, and in the last five alone, the Exact portion of our business has doubled in revenue."

Partnering with Exact

The Macola Unity Partner Program offers solution providers access to qualified leads, deal registration incentives, marketing development funds (MDFs), commissions on maintenance, support sales and renewals as well as an unparalleled share of license revenue. By joining the Macola Unity Partner Program, solution providers have the opportunity to rapidly grow their revenue. Exact delivers hands-on, dedicated support to all of its partners, providing them with the resources and mentorship they need to close deals faster. Exact’s technical enablement capabilities offer self-paced training modules so solution providers can get up to speed with Exact’s flagship ERP and business software, Macola 10, faster and with little down time, ultimately accelerating their own growth.

“Since it was unveiled more than two years ago, the Macola Unity Partner Program has been the cornerstone of our channel-driven strategy, designed to nurture our outstanding community of solution provider partners as they grow their own businesses with Exact’s solutions,” said Alison Forsythe, managing director, Exact, Macola division. “With this second generation of the program, we are taking the next step in our journey as a company and bringing to market an even more inclusive and rewarding program. We hope all current and future partners will join us as we enter this exciting new chapter.”

How to Join

Exact is actively recruiting new solution provider partners. For more information on joining the program and its unrivaled benefits, please contact Janice Stiffler at janice.stiffler@exact.com  

About Exact, Macola Division

Macola is ERP and business software manufacturers and distributors use to automate, manage and grow their businesses. The software empowers companies to take control of cost and complexity at every critical stage from design through delivery and see all facets of their business from a single application.

Macola is an Exact product. Exact builds business software for SMEs and their accountants. The company's innovative technology is aimed at specific business needs, providing an overview of today and insights into the opportunities of tomorrow. Exact inspires businesses to grow. Its 1,600 employees love, share and support its customers’ ambition. 

FoamExpo

Taking place from February 28 to March 2, 2017, Foam Expo will unite manufacturers and buyers of technical foam materials, products and services, catering to the entire foam manufacturing industry for North America’s first free-to-attend exhibition and conference for the entire technical foam supply chain.

Foam Expo serves all types of foam and raw materials used in the manufacture of foam and foam-related products, including the comfort and technical foam markets. Featuring over 200 exhibiting companies, the exhibition will profile molded, rigid and flexible foam solutions utilizing materials ranging from urethanes to elastomeric materials such as rubber and PVC, as well as a full range of equipment and machinery manufacturers plus a wide range of foam service providers including Dow, Rogers, Honeywell, FXi, 3M, Foam Supplies Inc, Grand Rapids Foam Technologies, Lear Corp, Nitto Automotive, Huntington Foam, Zotefoams, Saint Gobain, Sekisui Voltek, UFP Technologies and Woodbridge Foam Corp. The end result will be a single marketplace for foam manufacturers to meet with their supply chain and existing and potential buyers.

In its launch year, Foam Expo will host 20 sessions, two tracks, and more than 50 speakers over three days. It will showcase the latest product applications, services, and equipment from six key sectors: automotive; aerospace; industrial/technical packaging; construction; medical; and sports and leisure.

Dear President Trump,

First, congratulations on your victory in last year’s hard fought campaign. You connected with tens of millions of American who have trusted you with their hopes for the future.

As CEO of one of the boating industry’s largest companies with manufacturing across the USA, over 1,000 employees, and distribution in 70 countries, I want to do my best to be helpful and constructive. With that in mind, the following are some thoughts I believe will help our country continue to grow even stronger than it is today; I hope you will consider the following:

  • Rise above partisan politics – Mr. President, I have spent time with both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House and am disheartened by partisan politics. When I meet with members of either party I realize there are many items (that would be good for our country) on which we mutually agree. However, unfortunately, many seem to focus on the periphery where we disagree and appear to be more interested in their team (party) than making progress. I hope you will step above this and help us all focus on the areas on which we can make progress. LettertoTrumpBillYeargin
  • Embrace the inevitable aspects of the global marketplace – Mr. President, the world is changing fast and will soon be much different than the world we have experienced the past few decades. I have been privileged to visit over 100 countries and the economic growth I have seen around the world is not only impressive but also provides many customers and great opportunity for the U.S. If we become protectionist the 95 percent of the world who are not in the USA can grow without us. We can compete with anyone so let’s not be afraid to use our influence to develop trade agreements that lower tariffs on U.S. products and level the playing field by requiring other countries to accept reasonable labor and environmental regulation. With this in mind, I respectfully ask you to take another look at the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP); I believe it is an agreement that helps US businesses, will help protect jobs in the U.S., and sets rules that are beneficial to U.S. businesses.
  • Ensure reasonable regulation – Mr. President, the travels I mentioned have taken me places that have no, minimal or unenforced regulations and it is not good. I have been in countries where you are smart to wear a mask to breathe and would never go in the water. Actually, this is how many U.S. cities were during the industrial revolution (before reasonable regulation). As a CEO I don’t want burdensome regulation and can assure you our company will do our best to be responsible corporate citizens and treat our employees and environment right, with or without regulation. However, both history and examples around the world today show us that without some reasonable regulation people and the environment suffer. I hope you will work hard to find the right balance.
  • Help CEOs with our biggest problem: Finding good people – Mr. President, as you know, 10,000 baby boomers retire every day. If you get any 100 CEOs together I’ll bet that at least half of them will say that their biggest challenge is finding good people. The U.S. economy is at risk of being throttled in the years ahead because of this problem. We need an effective immigration policy that will allow good people into the U.S. to help us fill these jobs; immigration has fueled our country’s economic growth for over 200 years and it is in our country’s best interest today.
  • Address income inequality – Mr. President, I fully understand and embrace the model of nicely rewarding those who work hard and take risks; it is the American way. However, income inequality is going to be a huge problem in the U.S. if we don’t address it soon. I have been encouraged to read about Henry Ford’s view on this and more recently David Green of Hobby Lobby’s perspective. U.S. employers can pay fair wages and benefits and still make a reasonable return to their shareholders; in fact, I believe in the long run they improve that return by treating people well.
  • Leverage energy advancement to our broader benefit – Mr. President, as you know technological improvements in both carbon based and photovoltaic energy development will provide the U.S. with a significant energy windfall in the years ahead. I hope we can develop national policies that (instead of exporting that energy) will encourage U.S. manufacturers to use the windfall to process U.S. goods less expensively which will make our products even more competitive in the global market.
  • Embrace technological changes – Mr. President, the technological changes in the years ahead will be more than we can imagine today. While most of these changes will be hugely positive overall, they will be understandably scary to those who will be displaced or lose their livelihoods because of the changes. I encourage you to fully embrace those changes even though they may cause disruption. While we need to assist those disrupted and help them transition to different roles it would be a long-term mistake for our country to take a protective role and slow technological change.
  • Fix our infrastructure – Mr. President, based on your comments during the campaign, you clearly understand the need to improve our infrastructure. I agree and believe we can make these improvements without increasing our national debt. As you work to fix this big problem I encourage you to remember our national debt problem when considering funding alternatives that make the most progress at the least cost.
  • Execute tax reform – Mr. President, as you know, we have big problems with our corporate tax laws. We need corporate tax rates that are globally competitive. However, we all remember experiences in the last few decades where tax reform that was supposed to shrink our deficit actually significantly increased it; I encourage you to look at those examples and determine what we can learn from them. We also need tax reform that will bring to our country the trillions of dollars U.S. businesses hold overseas because of onerous tax rates; these dollars could even be used for the infrastructure improvements we need.

Mr. President, I know you have much more on your plate than just these items but I hope you will consider what I have suggested. You have a unique opportunity to be a different President; one who gets things done. I believe the above will help our boating industry which provides good jobs, will help the overall U.S. economy, and go a long way to ensuring your successful presidency.

Bill Yeargin is the president and CEO of Correct Craft.

Look for a feature on Correct Craft in the upcoming March/April 2017 issue of Manufacturing Today.

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Colorado 1

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.”

MfgDay2016blog

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.

StrategicPlanning

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.

Las Vegas Welcome Sign

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)

Sponsorships

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

MFGNXT

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.

Education Institutions

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.

Play Well with Others

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.

Hunting in Packs

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.

Time to Make a Friend

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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