The MEP National Network’s picture

By: The MEP National Network

Issues affecting the workforce today are both immediate—such as the aging out of many experienced baby boomers —and long term—such as meeting employees’ changed expectations of workplace flexibility, pay, career paths, and innovative benefits.

Onboarding and retaining people who are new to the workforce has become such a challenge that some manufacturers are now hiring as many as 50 to 70 people per quarter, hoping to retain a third of them. Obviously, this cycle is not efficient or sustainable.

Developing first-time employees’ soft skills may help them become “workforce ready.” Teaching all employees how to communicate effectively, for example, provides the foundation for a positive work culture. It enables conversation about teamwork, professionalism, and dealing with conflict. A positive company culture is essential for employers today.

Download this guide to learn key areas to cover when onboarding first-time employees:
• Accessing Resources
• Interpersonal Skills
• Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
• Communication Skills
• Adapting to Change
• Teamwork
• Conflict Management

Fill out this form to download your copy of Manufacturers Need to Rethink Approach to New-Hire Readiness.

The MEP National Network’s picture

By: The MEP National Network

Automation has been a hard sell for many small- and medium-sized manufacturers. Often it is difficult to justify a new piece of automation equipment unless it is for a specific project, you have the technical expertise to support it, or you are confident on the payback time for the ROI. That is why your automation initiative should start with lean manufacturing.

Automation is your goal for a future state; there are many ways to get there. Lean manufacturing can be a powerful tool to get started on your automation journey when you address pain points with simple automation in mind.

In this guide you will learn: 
• Why you should start with your biggest operational pain points to help build a vision for the future state
• How traditional manufacturing engineering still solves a lot of issues as a prelude to automation
• How a lean approach helped a manufacturer convert from batch production to single-piece flow
• How Value Stream Mapping provides a roadmap for automation

Fill out this form to download your copy of Why Your Automation Initiative Should Start With Lean

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The MEP National Network’s picture

By: The MEP National Network

Employees matter. They are difficult to find and hard to replace, especially in today’s labor market. Besides figuring out why someone leaves unexpectedly, it’s important to consider the other side of the equation—what about your company makes people stay.

As part of the annual NIST MEP survey, we ask clients from the 51 MEP Centers to identify the top three challenges their companies will face over the next three years. We use a predetermined list of challenges, which allows us to track responses over time. We’ve asked this question for over a decade and thousands of clients have taken the time to give us their thoughts.

Not surprisingly, manufacturers continue to report that employee recruitment and retention are their greatest challenges. In fact, these concerns have heightened during the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent workforce disruptions. The market forces driving these challenges are not likely to improve soon. Based on a Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte study, the National Association of Manufacturers estimates that manufacturers will need to fill 4.6 million jobs by 2028.

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Metrology, the science of measurement, has taken on a far greater importance in manufacturing in recent years.

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Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest’s picture

By: Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest

Blame it on Moore’s law. We live in a digital Pangaea, a world of borderless data driven by technology, and the speed and density with which data can be transmitted and handled. It’s a world in which data-driven decisions cause daily fluctuations in markets and supply chains. Data come at us so fast that there is almost no way business leaders can keep abreast of changing supply chains and customer preferences, not to mention react to them.

Operating any kind of manufacturing today requires agility and the means to turn the flood of largely meaningless ones and zeros into something useful. The old ways of treating data as nothing more than digital paper won’t cut it in the “new normal.” We need to reimagine how we view quality.

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