Recent Posts

Manufacturing 4.0 and digital transformation

Posted by IMEC on May 29, 2020 11:40:47 AM

This is an original article by Steve Cavolick of LRS IT Solutions.

The economic downturn from the Coronavirus has rewritten the rules of business and caused entire verticals to change direction overnight, and manufacturing is one of the industries that has morphed quickly in order to lead the country through the pandemic.

When demand exploded earlier this year for goods that sanitized and machines to help very sick people breathe, facilities that produced consumable alcohol switched to making anti-microbial gels and auto manufacturers stopped producing cars in order to build ventilators.


OSHA Revises COVID Guidance…. Again

Posted by IMEC on May 22, 2020 3:11:00 PM

Written by Matthew Horn of Smith Amundsen.

Previously, OSHA issued guidance indicating that most employers only had to record or report confirmed COVID-19 cases when provided with objective evidence that an employee contracted COVID-19 at work. In practice, this put the burden on employees to submit evidence to employers establishing that their COVID-19 cases were contracted at work.

OSHA recently issued revised guidance on this issue, which goes into effect on May 26, 2020. Under the revised guidance, OSHA puts the burden on the employer to make a “reasonable determination” as to whether a confirmed COVID-19 case was contracted at work. In order to make that determination, OSHA suggests that employers:

  1. Question the employee as to how he/she believes he/she contracted COVID-19;
  2. Discuss with the employee his/her out-of-work activities that may have resulted in exposure; and
  3. Review the employee’s work environment for potential COVID-19 exposure. If, after taking those steps, the only logical explanation is that the employee contracted COVID-19 at work, then the case should be recorded or reported to OSHA, as appropriate. 

St. Charles Manufacturer Receives Illinois Manufacturing Innovation Voucher and Kane County Innovation Voucher

Posted by IMEC on May 22, 2020 1:08:50 PM

Microplastics, Inc. of St. Charles is the second recipient of the Illinois Manufacturing Innovation Voucher, receiving matching funds that include additional investment from the Kane County Innovation Voucher.

The company was approved for the Kane County Innovation Voucher at the May 15 Kane County Board Jobs Committee.

Since IMEC launched the Illinois Manufacturing Innovation Voucher program in November 2019, small and medium-sized manufacturers across the state have been finding new and innovative ways to propel their organizations through increased productivity.

About Microplastics Products

Microplastics, Inc. is a world class employee owned manufacturer located in St. Charles, Illinois. The company specializes in producing plastic parts formed around inserts such as electrical terminals, bushings and sensors.

Most of MPI’s parts are made to order for domestic and foreign automobile parts manufacturers. The company produces parts through conventional insert molding as well as robotic techniques.

Seeing the vision of the impacts the Voucher program will have on the future of Illinois manufacturing, Kane County developed the Kane County Innovation Voucher to offer up to an additional $5,000 to Kane County manufacturers who are also taking advantage of the up to $25,000 program offered by IMEC.

Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said the County Board has adopted several unique programs to support manufacturers in Kane County.

“We are delighted to partner with IMEC in this Innovation Voucher Program,” he said, ” because it allows Kane County manufacturers to grow and prepare for the challenges of the future.”

Illinois manufacturers who are interested in propelling their organization to see measurable gains in productivity and competitiveness through innovation, can click here to learn more the Illinois Manufacturing Innovation Voucher!

This article first appeared on Kane County Connects.

Learn about past Voucher recipients!


The New Supply Chain: Status Quo

Posted by IMEC on May 7, 2020 3:00:50 PM

Part 5 of "The New Supply Chain" blog series by Mike Loquercio, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management Expert.

As we see the country opening up cautiously and the beginnings of a phased approach to reviving manufacturing, now is not the time to return to the status quo.  We would all agree that manufacturing and the supply chain must be different – and will be different – but are unsure of what our future state might look like.

Given all our concerns with healthcare, social distancing, unemployment, the new workplace with remote learning and our economy, it’s easy to let the focus on supply chain fall to the back of the priority list.


Lean Innovation: What Manufacturers Can Learn From the Tech Sector’s Appropriation of Lean Thinking

Posted by IMEC on May 6, 2020 1:48:00 PM

This is an original article from the NIST Manufacturing Innovation Blog, written by Brian Hagas. 


The New Supply Chain: Make a Difference

Posted by IMEC on Apr 17, 2020 11:07:49 AM

Part 4 of "The New Supply Chain" blog series by Mike Loquercio, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management Expert.

I think we should all take a moment and recognize the extraordinary efforts by everyone involved in healthcare, police and fire departments, emergency responders, research scientists, lab workers, social workers, ANYONE helping feed and shelter the homeless and the entire list of essential employees making a difference.

We are still seeing shortages of PPE and medical equipment, food crops and products with expiring shelf life, stores with empty shelves, and other parts of the supply chain working to make it day to day.


Lessons for Our Times from Two Iconic Leaders

Posted by IMEC on Apr 10, 2020 2:23:45 PM

This is an original article taken from the NIST Baldrige blog, written by Harry Hertz, Director Emeritus of the Baldrige Program. 

Over the past 1 1/2 years two iconic corporate leaders of the 20th and early 21st century passed away: Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines and Jack Welch of General Electric. Both built phenomenally successful companies during their tenures. Both had unique leadership styles, that differed in many ways. However, there were a number of striking similarities, that provide leadership lessons for all times and some specific pointers for surviving times of crisis. Not surprisingly, these are characteristics called out in the Baldrige Excellence Framework and displayed by leaders of Baldrige Award recipient organizations across all sectors. Let me share the characteristics I gleaned from numerous readings about these two leaders and summarized in these articles about Kelleher and Welch. I will relate them to the Baldrige framework and then to important lessons for times of challenge.


The New Supply Chain: Re-Invent

Posted by IMEC on Apr 7, 2020 3:43:54 PM

Part 3 of "The New Supply Chain" blog series by Mike Loquercio, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management Expert.


The New Supply Chain: Rebalance

Posted by IMEC on Mar 30, 2020 10:18:45 AM

Part 2 of "The New Supply Chain" blog series by Mike Loquercio, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management Expert.

The first reaction to a severe supply chain disruption is “organized chaos” and then you attempt to rebalance and update all your purchasing, replenishment, planning, distribution, and warehouse parameters.


The New Supply Chain: Pandemic

Posted by IMEC on Mar 23, 2020 4:49:39 PM

Part 1 of "The New Supply Chain" blog series Mike Loquercio, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management Expert

For those of us in the supply chain field, we may or may not have sophisticated systems that provide big data relative to sales, markets, items, transit times, on-time delivery, shipped in full, and all the other metrics that help assess the health of the supply chain.

Depending upon your products, customers, and your manufacturing footprint, the most recent crisis may have taxed your supply chain to its limits or maybe you have a business continuity plan (BCP) that encompasses all the challenges.


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