It’s the future of manufacturing as we know it. Here’s what operations executives need to know to ride the wave of innovation to survive and thrive. By Terri Hiskey

There is a lot of buzz around the various technology enablers of Industry 4.0. But, viewing Industry 4.0 as a technology initiative is a mistake. Why? Because Industry 4.0 is more than this—it’s the future of manufacturing as we know it.

Industry 4.0 facilitates fundamental improvements to the industrial processes involved in manufacturing, engineering, material usage, asset performance and management, and supply chain and lifecycle management. It is not just about improved performance and efficiency; it’s also about enhancing agility, flexibility and speed-to-market when designing and launching new products and services.

It also gives organizations something even more powerful—the means to navigate change. This is crucial at a time when manufacturers are reinventing their business models to focus on value-added services, and/or entering new geographic and adjacent market segments.


The American Middle Market Can Use Insurance to Grow and Mitigate Risk

By Marcos Lopez

In today’s global economy, businesses need to expand beyond their geographical confines in order to organically grow.

Within the United States, approximately 99 percent of businesses are companies that have less than 500 employees, and studies have shown that economic uncertainty is the No. 1 concern for these middle-market businesses. Now more than ever, we face an ever-changing domestic and economic environment, and because of this, managing future risk has become a key initiative for business leaders. While it may seem like 2008 is long behind us – a time when 200,000 businesses closed their doors – we’re still in a very turbulent economy with a lot of unknowns. The only known is that non-payment of trade or bankruptcy can and does routinely occur. In 2016 alone, tens of thousands of businesses failed. Many of your customers, vendors and clients might have been among them. No company, sector or industry is resistant to this. The risk of buyers defaulting on debt will always be present. Take the United Kingdom, for example. Few experts or major financial companies predicted Brexit would occur — and that’s exactly what’s looming. Now one of the world’s leading financial hubs is working to restructure everything, starting with trade agreements, in order to continue to import and export as they were.


As manufacturers grow and need more skilled labor, using millennials the right way can have a significant impact on employee growth and retention.

By Ivan Seselj

Millennials – those 54 million adult Americans between 18 and 34 who now make up a third of the U.S. workforce – hold incredible potential for the manufacturing industry. Unfortunately, they could just as easily become a tremendous detriment. How so?

Let’s start with the good news. Since the end of 2010, U.S. manufacturers have experienced their most significant growth in 30 years, generating nearly three-quarters of a million new jobs. Moreover, industry experts predict that number could surpass 3 million over the next 10 years.

When you consider who would be most likely to fill those jobs, the obvious answer is millennials. Millennials don’t simply represent warm bodies who can fill newly created positions. They also have the tech know-how to understand and readily adapt to the new trends that are changing the face of manufacturing, from the application of 3-D printing and nanotechnology to big data and predictive maintenance.


Preventing Financial Failure in a Recovering Economy

By Bryan C. Porter

Due to current economic trends, most manufacturing executives are cautiously optimistic about their financial viability during the remaining months of 2016. With that said, the manufacturing industry as a whole is still experiencing meaningful, positive growth, despite dwindling confidence in the pace of economic recovery over the past year. Executives need to balance operational optimism and market confidence with a business model that safeguards the company against financial failure.

The recent economic recession required executives to reduce both costs and margins, which resulted in lean businesses operating in a competitive global market. Business executives are now challenged with adequately equipping their business with the right tools to profitably grow in a slowly recovering marketplace. Key considerations for any business executive to meet these challenges should include proper strategic planning, training and motivating the right people in the right positions, and accurately forecasting cash flows of the business unit.



Utah recognizes many of its companies that demonstrate cutting-edge innovation. 

Eight innovations were announced as winners in the 15th annual Utah Innovation Awards, presented by Stoel Rives LLP and the Utah Technology Council. This statewide program recognizes product, operational and technological innovations, as well as the Utah companies that created them.

The 2017 Utah Innovation Award winners are as follows: 

  • Computationally Intelligent Discovery Engine by Recursion Pharmaceuticals - Recursion Pharmaceuticals has combined the best elements of automated biology and artificial intelligence to create a computationally intelligent drug discovery platform that is capable of finding new drugs and new ways to use old drugs, while simultaneously working on many diseases in parallel. 
  • KiBand by Kilife Tech Inc. - Kiband currently holds two patents pending and one provisional application for mobile proximity, mesh networking and child safety. Kiband begins with BLE, then adds accelerometer data, machine learning and multi-path fading technology to improve the resolution of radio proximity measurements by 12 times. This allows parents of small children to adjust mobile boundaries that alert both parent and child within about 4 feet of accuracy. 
  • Lucidchart by Lucid Software Inc. - Lucidchart is the web's leading diagramming and flowchart application. This intuitive, cloud-based solution is redefining the way people drive innovation through visual thinking and real-time collaboration. Lucidchart is utilized in more than 175 countries by more than 10 million users. 
  • ProSlab 155 Automated Turf Harvester by FireFly Automatix Inc. - The ProSlab 155 automated turf harvester leverages sophisticated controls to enable a hybrid of electric and hydraulic systems. It robotically cuts and stacks turfgrass with improved quality and less fuel. With GPS guidance and connectivity, it is on the cutting edge of agriculture. 
  • SNO-GO by SNO-GO - SNO-GO merges skiing with downhill mountain biking. The familiar motions of mountain-bike riding are paired with snow skis designed for all types of snow conditions, creating an experience for riders of any skill level.
  • Taxzilla - Taxzilla starts by gathering some basic information about clients and how they earn their living.  From there, Taxzilla matches them with local CPAs who specialize in their line of work.  Once matched, the CPA and Tax Team help clients create goals and plans to make sure they can keep as much money as possible in their pockets. Taxzilla provides tools like receipt keeping, coaching and training to help clients track goals week by week. 
  • Vutiliti Pulse by Vutiliti - Vutiliti gathers and provides real-time information on utility usage (electric, gas, water, renewables) so that consumers, businesses and governments can monitor and budget utility usage. Vutiliti’s mobile and web programs guide consumers to actual consumption reduction, saving them money while reducing usage of water, gas and electricity generation. 
  • Xenocoscope by Xenocor - Each year, more than 7 million patients throughout the world undergo laparoscopic procedures, more than 2 million women undergo diagnostic hysteroscopies and more than a million patients undergo video-assisted thoracoscopic procedures in the United States alone. The benefits of such direct visualization laparoscopic techniques are well documented and include convenience, accuracy and patient acceptability. 

A committee of approximately 80 professionals from private industry, government and higher education evaluated and voted on program finalists and winners. The more than 100+ nominations were put through a rigorous evaluation process during which committee members evaluated each innovation against a wide range of criteria addressing elements such as novelty, market need, market disruption and potential/current economic impact.

The program is sponsored by Webb Audio Visual Communication, STEM Action Center of Utah, Utah Business Magazine, Grant Thornton, GENCOMM, Chase Busath Films, The Governor’s Office of Economic Development, The Leonardo, GoEngineer, USTAR, ConsultNet and BioUtah.

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Even in the time of Big Data, is it important to ask “why”

By Sundeep Sanghavi

The “Five Whys” is an iterative concept for problem solving that was developed almost two centuries ago. Once used to find solutions in a previous era, the technique is as relevant as it has ever been as Big Data marches on in its supremacy.

For those who don’t already know, the Five Whys are an interrogation technique designed to explore cause-and-effect relationships as related to specific problems. It was developed by Sakichi Toyoda, founder of the Toyota car company and hero of the Japanese industrial revolution.

The number of whys (five, obviously), is taken from the anecdotal observation that - more often than not - five iterations of “why” were needed to find the root cause of any given problem. The idea behind this is that asking “why” of a situation five times would be sufficient to find a way to solve problems with machinery and processes.


Learning to Survive in an Unpredictable World

By Michael Mantzke

The global market was changing rapidly before President Trump took office in January 2017, but continued change is expected to occur at an unprecedented rate. What does that mean for U.S. manufacturers? The answer: more than ever before, manufacturers need to access vital metrics to help run their operations. But the situation calls for a great deal more than just gathering data. For manufacturing companies that want to know what’s coming and what to do about it, the time has come to get systematic. This requires setting up a process for collecting the numbers, reviewing the data, and acting on the results.

Changes in the global manufacturing market

What kind of change is occurring in the global manufacturing market to warrant an investment in metrics? The simpler question is, “What kind of change isn’t taking place?” For starters, the industry’s role is changing. Not long ago, manufacturing and services were seen as two distinctly separate industries. By contrast, now a great deal of manufacturing’s active role centers around service inputs, for example with customer service or logistics. Also, consider that half of the people working in manufacturing perform service roles, such as support staff. Add the typical influence that industry uncertainty breeds to the picture, and it’s easy to see why words like change, volatility, and technology are in everything written about manufacturing. Other changes manufacturers are tackling include newly introduced regulatory risks, an alarming deficiency of vastly skilled employees, and the reality of unstable resource prices. Add to that:



Another organization is getting involved in the Manufacturing Institute’s to attract more young people into manufacturing. 

The Manufacturing Institute and Spring Manufacturers Institute (SMI) are partnering to bring more young people into the manufacturing industry. SMI is one of just two industry associations that have joined the Institute's Dream It. Do It. program, which raises awareness of careers in manufacturing.

Through this partnership, SMI and its members will have access to market-tested materials targeting young people, parents and teachers about a career in modern manufacturing. The Dream It. Do It. program will be a key element in SMI's ongoing strategy to reach youth. The strategy includes organizing plant tours and school visits on Manufacturing Day in October 2017, as well as growing a network of industry "champions" to lead youth activities in regions across the country.

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