Volume 15 Number 8 - August 8, 2017


Each of your businesses has its own uniqueness. And each has a great deal in common with other manufacturers in and out of your industry. In listening to manufacturing executives from a wide variety of sizes and industries, I keep hearing the same three challenges.

Almost without exception is finding and keeping good employees who are committed to learning. I hear about failed drug tests by candidates at all levels in the organization. I hear about reluctance to take courses outside individual comfort zones, which is a reflection of mental retirement.

Next, they all mention concern with the rate of technology advancements. Many still struggle with ERP systems. The majority are very comfortable with EDI and Barcodes, but less than half said they use RFID or other alternatives to increase transparency within their supply chain. Some are adding sensors and believe they are leading the IoT revolution, but even those have weak data management and business cases in place.

Lastly, the majority express concern over mounting uncertainty in geopolitical environments. Like Trump or hate him, no one likes uncertainty. Most manufacturers have an international aspect to their business and aren't sure what strategic changes to make, if any.

I share these with you so (a) you know you're not alone, (b) you know some may brag about world class when they're not, and (c) you gain clarity that recognizing what you can and cannot influence is important to long term success.

Maybe you should reconsider your drug policy. Maybe you should hire or outsource technology expertise to help you understand the pros and cons of significant advances. Those are both under your control. But tax laws or immigration policy or tariffs can change on a whim. They are not within your control. Be prepared to leverage changing conditions, but do not build your business relying on factors outside your control.

Oh yes. There is one more thing that every executive mentioned: improving customer-facing performance this year. That's a gimme.

Transforming Operations. Transforming Business.®

Let's discuss how Manufacturing Greatness can help you become a better manufacturing operations leader. Additionally, my latest book, Start Smart, Finish Strong: Forging Your Path to Operational Excellence and Long-Term Success in the Manufacturing World is available at Amazon, Kindle, and iBooks.

Manufacturing Employees of the Future

The Starting Pistol

"I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”

The Tape

Rebecca Morgan:
"If you help your employees think more every day, they will become better contributors every day. And so will you."

August 10, 2017: Youngstown, OH: If you haven't visited the America Makes Additive Manufacturing Center in Youngstown, it's time you did. This full one-day event will share current conditions of materials, equipment, quality control and opportunities in this evolving manufacturing technology. If you still think it's only for prototype small plastic parts, you are way behind! Benefit from those taxes your company pays.

September 13, 2017: Los Angeles, CA: Digital manufacturing is the future for many of you. Operations, Product Management, and Engineers should be up-to-speed on the Digital Transformation underway. This one-day conference co-sponsored by SME is a great opportunity to connect and learn. And that's what the digital transformation is all about.

October 9-10, 2017: Detroit, MI: Your tax dollar at very important work in supporting manufacturing. Invest 2 days in this LIFT Design the Difference conference. Highlights will include optimization driven design methods, the evolution of the user experience, and the impact of disruptive trends on simulation.

October 9-13, 2017: Boston, MA: AME's annual conference is in Boston this year. Over 2,000 of like-minded operations leaders and followers will be there. Check out the workshops, tours, keynotes, and practitioner presentations.

October 15-17, 2017: San Antonio, TX: The annual APICS conference will host over 2,000 of your supply chain and operations peers. Supply chain excellence doesn't just happen. Leaders make it happen by aligning with proven standards and practices. The journey to excellence is clear. If you haven't attended this recently, perhaps you should.

November 27-29, 2017: Berlin, Germany: The 13th annual European Manufacturing Strategy Conference will be held in Berlin this year. Speakers include your peers from a variety of multi-national and European based manufacturers. It's a great opportunity to get global perspective on your operations strategy.

Check out the Events page on our website for more information.

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