Note: Recently, IMEC began conducting a series of Buzz Sessions, essentially virtual round table discussions with a small group (6-8) manufacturers from diverse industries and geographic locations. Through these conversations, paticipants share their urgent challenges and ideas with one another. Repeatedly, the participants have expressed the need for solutions in dealing with a virtual workforce. The current pandemic has forced small to mid-sized manufacturers to work in unfamiliar ways. This blog provides a few basic suggestions.
The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly accelerating our need to prepare for a digital transformation and creating a digital strategy will be a roadmap for the transformation. The “new norm” of navigating the digital landscape in COVID times, highlights the reality of moving past the buzz words and catchy phrases, to aspiring to undertake a digital transformation agenda with both near and long-term strategic objectives in mind. This crisis presents its challenges to digital transformation planning: while certain sectors of the manufacturing industry are thriving, others are battling the fast-paced changes, challenges, and constraints.
Part 7 of "The New Supply Chain" blog series by Mike Loquercio, Vice President of Supply Chain at Greenleaf Foods.
Whether your industry is “back in the game” or not, we have seen several starts and stops across the overall playing field, especially the food and beverage markets given COVID19 impacts; your supply chain is different!
This is an original article by Ken Voytek, Chief Economist at NIST MEP.
I’ve made it my personal crusade to keep a focus on the fundamental importance of productivity to manufacturers, to the MEP Program, to the MEP Centers that do the daily work of helping small manufacturers boost their performance. It may seem strange to read a post about productivity given the current environment, but it remains important to both national economic and business success. Indeed, productivity will be even more critical as we recover from the current health and economic crisis. Currently, there is significant excess capacity of both capital and labor that we can reengage to help the economy grow faster and return to full employment and capacity utilization of plants as equipment is more fully used. In his 2004 book The Power of Productivity, William Lewis argues the real solution is not necessarily more capital or working smarter (although these things certainly help), but rather how a company organizes and deploys its capital and labor.
Written by Celia Paulsen, NIST.
Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered robots, 3D printing, the Internet of Things (IoT)...there’s a whole world of advanced manufacturing technology and innovation just waiting for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) who want to step up their digital game. Unfortunately, manufacturing digitization can present some fundamental challenges, like added cybersecurity risk.
Have you had a chance to sit back and think about how the pandemic has changed your long term business goals? Although we are still not out of the woods yet, now may be a good time to think about revising your strategic plan to account for the recent disruption.
During these unprecedented times, one group stood out for their contributions to society. Those at the frontlines! Nurses, doctors, grocery store clerks, and manufacturing associates. “Production” associates, as this recent article points out, deserve our appreciation for providing us with the goods and services we need. Arguably risking themselves in the process!
As Illinois manufacturers settle back into a “new normal” there is no shortage of responsibilities weighing on our minds. One area that can easily get overlooked as we move through this uncertain time is your Quality Management Systems (QMS). With our focus elsewhere, new procedures or training can get implemented without proper documentation. We can get behind on our internal auditing schedule. Or we lose sight of action items from prior meetings and audits.
Written by Larry Bouvier, Vice President of Fuss & O'Neill Manufacturing Solutions.
As businesses and facilities begin to reopen, employee health and safety are paramount. Cleaning, proper distancing, and personal protective equipment have always been important safety precautions, but are now more important than ever. But it is important to remember that while employees are returning to work, facilities’ support equipment itself also needs to be brought back to work in a safe and thoughtful manner. An unused sink drain may weep noxious odors, cooling fans may have burnt out, and security gates might balk at opening easily. The health and safety of your building, and the systems that make it habitable, is important to the health and safety, not to mention comfort, of your employees. Prior to opening a facility, managers need to create checklists and inspect and test all machinery.