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More Southwestern Pennsylvania students head for career, tech centers

Experts say the economic vitality of Southwestern Pennsylvania may rest with a small collection of schools and programs that far too many students never consider. Pennsylvania's 80 career and technical centers, or CTCs, and 120 school districts that offer high school students a taste of the work world and a peek at viable alternatives to a four-year college degree have become ever more critical as baby boomers sign retirement papers, said David N. Taylor, president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association. “Every year, many thousands of good-paying, family-sustaining manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania go wanting because we can't find well-trained or trainable people to fill them,” Tayl

Reshoring: Q&A Analysis of Intangibles on Returning Production, Sourcing to the US

North America’s $137 billion metalforming industry is driven by the production of a myriad of precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming, and roll forming technologies, as well as vital value-added processes. In recent decades, approximately three to four million of all US manufacturing jobs have been cumulatively lost to offshoring. The tide seems to be turning modestly in recent years by companies returning US production or sourcing from offshore. In comparison to 2000-2003, when the US lost (net) about 220,000 manufacturing jobs per year to offshoring, 2016 achieved a net gain of 27,000. Progressively bridging this gap presents huge collaborative opportu

The Hiring Dilemma for Many SMB Owners: Should You Hire a Contractor or a Full-Time Employee?

Your business is at the stage where it needs additional help, but as a small business owner, are you better off to hire a full-time employee or a contractor? The on-demand economy has grown to produce an entirely new fleet of workers – from Uber drivers to Etsy sellers and on-demand business consultants. In fact, Intuit estimates 43 percent of the U.S. workforce will be made up of contractors by 2020. While on-demand networks may grab the most headlines, it turns out small businesses are turning to contract workers at an increasing rate. In the last year, 30 percent of small businesses using QuickBooks Online in the U.S. interacted with at least one contractor. For small businesses, hiring t

Three Problems in Manufacturing that Impact Productivity and Profitability

Despite the advanced technology now available, there are still three key issues that adversely affect manufacturers of all types and sizes. They are data management, inventory, and gross margin. Although each has its own silo, they are also interrelated. For example, consider the use of data. The way data is gathered, analyzed, and understood can have a significant impact on the decisions made, inventory strategies that are established, and ultimately a firm’s profitability. Data Management Matters Data management is not for the cowardly. For middle- to large-sized firms, mounds of data are typically generated, which is great for those who know how to make sense of it. Unfortunately, very fe

As youngest gen goes to work, the soft skills gap grows

It’s a lot harder to find soft skills. Professionals in human resources, business and education say soft skills are declining in the workforce to some degree, particularly among “iGen,” the youngest generation of workers. Soft skills are behavioral and interpersonal abilities such as the desire to learn and work well as part of a team through communication, collaboration, and problem-solving. They include being polite and respectful, showing up on time, and taking initiative, all abilities that make for punctual and hard-working employees. Some say these skills show up in the way an employee presents himself, such as whether he maintains eye contact when communicating. However, a changing wo

Top 4 Non-Tech Manufacturing Trends in 2018

In celebration of the approaching new year, let’s take a look at the non-technology trends that will follow the industry into 2018. Manufacturers are beginning to become much more modern, not only in terms of the technology they use but the way they view their business as a whole. From innovative ways to bridge the skills gap to a renewed sense of company culture, these businesses are taking the right steps to address the past shortcomings of the industry. 1)Skills Gap The skills gap has plagued the manufacturing industry for years. Students are being guided away from a career in the industry and this is not only holding back manufacturers from finding talented individuals but it’s hurting t

Smaller Manufacturers Can’t Afford to Dismiss the IIoT

Almost four of every five manufacturers and distributors still have no plans to implement IIoT technologies. They’re making a mistake. The Industrial Internet of Things has significant commercial and operational implications for manufacturers. It can help companies improve everything from customer experience to asset utilization to employee productivity to supply chain and logistics management. However, our 2017 Manufacturing Report found that 77% of manufacturers and distributors surveyed still have no plans to implement IIoT technologies. Many of these respondents are from small and midsized companies that likely don’t think the IIoT is necessary in their operations or simply don’t feel th

Machinio Just Might be Saving Companies Says CEO

Dmitriy Rokhfeld, CEO of Machinio, explains how his company is both disrupting the used machinery market and helping businesses survive and thrive. Machinio is in business today because co-founder Dan Pinto couldn’t find what he was looking for. While that might sound existential, in fact, it’s quite practical as he was looking for a used printing press. The process was so difficult that he did what any Millennial would do; he built technology to crawl the web, aggregate listings and find what he needed. The next step was to enlist his childhood friend, and business partner, Dmitriy Rokhfeld and in 2013 they launched the company, which has its headquarters in Chicago. IndustryWeek talked to

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