It is no secret that the manufacturing industry needs skilled workers, and members of the military have always been attractive options to fill open spots in manufacturing. Atlanta-based Bradley-Morris Inc. (BMI), the largest military recruiting firm in the United States, understands this, and has set 2015 dates for its ConferenceHire® events.

According to BMI, these opportunities to source military job seekers offer an efficient and effective recruiting solution for hiring managers and corporate recruiters to address their civilian job openings. On each of these dates, Fortune 1000 companies will interview JMOs (Junior Military Officers), technicians and diversity candidates with military backgrounds for positions in management, engineering, technical work, supervision, field service, consulting, sales and business development.

The National Institute for Metalworking Skills’ (NIMS) administration recently expanded its apprenticeships through an $100 million competitive grant program to launch apprenticeship models in high-growth fields. It also plans to align apprenticeships to career pathways and scale effective apprenticeship models.

NIMS has developed more than a dozen competency-based apprenticeship models in the machining and metalworking industry. These monitor progress based on performance, in lieu of rigid hours, allowing individuals and companies to customize the apprenticeship model based on needs. 

Central Michigan University’s (CMU) engineering program has been designated as one of a select number of universities nationwide to be invited to participate in the Ford College Alliance. This new initiative is managed by the Ford Motor Co. Fund and supports the company’s U.S.-based Premier and Standard Recruiting colleges and universities.

In addition to internship and job opportunities provided as a Premier Recruiting school, the Ford College Alliance allows CMU students to benefit from vehicle team support and $25,000 in scholarship money as a result of this collaboration.

Innovation often is the result of companies working together, and one Canadian business is demonstrating just that with a recent partnership with a company in the Netherlands. In late 2014, Enerkem Inc., a waste-to-biofuels and chemicals producer, signed an agreement with AkzoNobel, a leading global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals, to develop a project partnership to explore the development of waste-to-chemicals facilities in Europe.

“Enerkem’s global expansion follows the launch of our waste-to-biofuels and chemicals full-scale commercial facility in Edmonton, which sent a strong signal that our technology is ready to be deployed around the world,” says Vincent Chornet, president and CEO of Enerkem. “We are pleased to work with AkzoNobel to develop new facilities and products in Europe.  With our lower-cost alternative to incineration and landfilling, we help chemical producers offer more sustainable products derived from waste and renewable sources rather than petroleum and we contribute to the transition to a circular economy.”

Along those same lines, 96 percent of HVACR manufacturers believe 2015 sales will continue to increase, with 47 percent expecting sales increases of 5 to 10 percent. Twenty nine percent of the respondents forecast sales increases of more than 10 percent. 

“What is especially interesting about this year’s survey is that manufacturers are seeing bigger increases in new construction, light commercial, heavy commercial and data centers,” says Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Company, which produces and manages the AHR Expo. “In the previous two years’ surveys, they were expecting more growth from retrofit/renovation and maintenance/replacement areas.”

With manufacturing in the U.S. predicted to grow in 2015, many firms are striving to take their business to the next level through geographic expansion or supply chain improvements. For mid-size manufacturers, growing to the next level without strains on business processes is crucial to their success. To continue to grow and scale their operations successfully, it’s important for mid-size firms to consider how their back office will grow and develop as their business expands. Can your purchasing team manage an expansion into a new market? What about your accounts payable department?

The Challenge

Product formulation is a balancing of performance, cost and safety considerations. Product manufacturers are always questioning whether chemical ingredients are safe and whether anything exists that is an alternative for those ingredients believed to pose risk. A confluence of legal trends, social phenomena and scientific developments has contributed to enhanced complexity in this area.

Supply chains have matured to become faster and more interconnected, but they’ve also grown more complex. More suppliers mean more points of integration across supply chain infrastructures. Multiple layers of complexity render many supply chains vulnerable to disruption, while adding cost and risk.

The Balkanized systems and processes typical at many companies obscure visibility and insight. They conflict with objectives to increase agility, reduce cost and risk, and drive innovation through collaboration internally and with partners. In fact, 63 percent of supply chain leaders surveyed by Aberdeen Group indicated that improving supply chain visibility is a top priority.

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