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Generation YouTube Gets Some Love (of Manufacturing)

The manufacturing industry has drastically changed in recent years, yet the public’s perception has not. Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), part of the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Extension Partnership (PA MEP) and the MEP National Network, found a solution. After talking to stakeholders throughout Pennsylvania, MRC confirmed what it suspected: manufacturing’s image needed to be addressed and change begun with students before they enter high school. But MRC still struggled with how to reach the younger generation and get them interested in manufacturing careers. In 2013, MRC decided to create a student video contest that would help to change perceptions and attitudes in Pennsylvania about t

Need for manufacturing workers sparks joint apprenticeship program

In 2016 Gordon Laabs was looking at some numbers that painted a bleak future for the manufacturing industry. Over the next 10 years, the industry was slated to lose 30 percent of its workforce. And as baby boomers continued to retire en masse, manufacturers faced a shortage of the talent it needed in younger generations. Laabs, who is the director of strategic connectivity for Elsner Engineering Works Inc., proposed a plan to create an apprenticeship program to reconnect high school students with the manufacturing industry. Elsner teamed with three other local companies and, with the assistance of the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce, submitted a plan for an apprenticeship program that was q

Transitioning Your Family Business To The Next Generation

Family-owned businesses are the backbone of the American economy. However, despite the job security and family legacy potential many of these businesses represent for the families that own them, the importance of careful succession planning is often overlooked. Indeed, only about 30% of family businesses survive into the second generation, according to the Family Business Institute. While transitioning ownership and control can be difficult for any business owner, the leaders of family businesses are typically faced with the added challenge of managing family relationships, while preserving the culture and standards they have worked hard to establish. If you are a business owner hoping to pa

Small Manufacturers Prone to Cybersecurity Attacks

Research shows that coordinated cyber espionage targets manufacturing more than any other sector. While it seems like the manufacturing sector is safe from cyberattacks, research shows that coordinated cyber espionage targets manufacturing more than any other sector, Material Handling & Logistics reports. In the survey conducted by ISACA and the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, it explored the cybersecurity challenges faced by the manufacturing industry, highlighting how manufacturers face security concerns in fields related to IoT-integrated devices and employee error. Additionally, manufacturers still struggle to find skilled cybersecurity staff and underspend on secu

Five Industry 4.0 Predictions for 2019

Heading into 2019, manufacturers will need to continue confronting new consumer expectations and preferences. People want the latest product, produced at the highest quality, in some cases customized just for them, at a reasonable price. And, by the way, they want it now. If I had to summarize the next year in five predictions, I would say that 2019 will be the year that any remaining skepticism concerning automation and digitalization will give way to a more bullish—and less abstract—view of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This is the moment to put purpose to data, invest in the workforce, and deploy artificial intelligence. 1. Manufacturing sector in the U.S. will continue to exp

Making a Case (and Chairs, and Desks) for Employee Ownership

Employee-owned businesses tend to outperform their competitors, a growing body of research shows. According to the National Center of Employee Ownership, businesses with employee ownership models grow sales and employment at a faster rate than businesses without such programs. Employee-owned firms also perform better than their counterparts during recessions, per research from Georgetown University. For companies looking to achieve employee ownership, one popular choice is an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP. This model fits the manufacturing sector well. One in five U.S. companies with employee stock ownership plans is a manufacturer. Employee ownership models foster a company culture

Eight Keys to Better Asset Reliability

If you’re a manufacturing plant manager, what don’t you want to see out to the production floor? Probably a significant number of things, but near the top of that list would probably be a large group of workers congregating around a critical piece of machinery that should be running—yet isn’t. Rarely does such a sight have positive implications. The downsides of unplanned downtime are well-documented. Missed deliveries. Premium freight costs required to get product to customers on time. Quarterly earnings dinged by lower-than-expected volumes and higher-than-expected costs related to repair or replacement. Equipment that is running at less than optimal conditions can present similar, if not

Enough with Millennials Already, Let’s Hear it for Mature Workers

They are smart, willing and they are growing in numbers. While this can apply to millennials, and it does, it also applies to the mature worker. While overall, the United States labor market is projected to grow at an average rate of 0.6% per year between 2016 and 2026, the 65–74 age group is projected to grow by 4.2% each year, and the 75+ worker group is projected to grow by 6.7% annually. “This trend is tilting overall workforce demographics toward the high end of the age spectrum, and the impacts of the aging workforce can already be seen at the individual, organizational, and societal level,” according to an article by Deloitte, “No time to retire.” Either by choice or by need, 85% of t

Manufacturing industry posts biggest annual job gain in 20 years

The manufacturing industry posted net job gains of 284,000 over 2018, capping its best calendar year since 1997. ​​ A priority for President Donald Trump, manufacturing saw marked hiring in December with an additional 32,000 jobs. Most of the gains occurred in blue-collar durable goods manufacturing, with growth in fabricated metals and computer and electronic products, the Labor Department said in its release. The definition of durable goods is items with a life expectancy of three years or more, such as automobiles, furniture and machinery. Manufacturing added 207,000 jobs in 2017. "Manufacturers are bringing people back into the workforce, and we need this trend to continue," said Dr. Cha

Cyber security a growing priority for manufacturers

When someone tapped into Helmy Associates & Co.’s network after hours last year, it caught the plastics manufacturing company off guard. “We thought we were doing something wrong, or our employees were doing something wrong,” said CEO Mona Helmy. The San Antonio business implemented more security measures, such as changing how they share information and adding coverage for cyber attacks to their commercial insurance policy, Helmy said. They were able to mitigate the damage, but guarding against future attacks is an ongoing concern, she added. She believes many companies, big and small, are underestimating cyber threats. “Most aren’t doing enough,” Helmy said. “They don’t see themselves at ri

Hats Off to Manufacturers Lee Schoenherr and Alton Thacker

Lee Schoenherr, owner of FloraCraft wanted to find a way to show his appreciation for his employees. Schoenherr has run the family-owned company, which is headquartered in Ludington, Mich., since 1973. The company, which employs 200, manufactures foam products for the craft and floral industries counting among its customers Walmart, Amazon, Michaels, Joann and Hobby Lobby. Eric Erwin current CEO of the company told CNBC Make It that Schoenherr has wanted to do this for years and the 82-year wanted this the year to be the one where it happens. “We spent a better part of the year making sure we had the right program in place." And at the company Christmas party, Schoenherr announced that in

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