Blog

5 Ways to Reduce Your Company's Risk of Cyber Attacks

February 20, 2017 by Bob Baxendale

As manufacturing technology grows and spreads, cybersecurity is essential to your everyday operations. While IoT infrastructures, digitized machinery, and other systems help make your company more efficient and connected, they also carry a risk, as your equipment and data can become susceptible to outside viruses, malware, and ransomware. This is especially true of outdated equipment, as its lack of support for new software opens doors for unauthorized access of essential data. Due to high-profile breaches like those of Target and Yahoo!, one popular misconception is that small companies are less susceptible to cyberattacks. However, they are actually more vulnerable due to not having the right software or tools for protection; in fact, the average cost of a data breach for small companies in 2015 was more than $38,000, and it’s estimated more than half of companies that experience a cyberattack go out of business within six months. There are many solutions to prevent this from happening… but where do you start? Identify and assess your existing procedures. Think about how data is currently being accessed. Who can open confidential documents or vital information about your business? Is the data stored on a secure platform? Do you have it backed up

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4 Guaranteed Ways to Recruit Millennials for Manufacturing Jobs

February 13, 2017 by Michael O'Donnell

Standing at more than 80 million people, millennials are among the largest and most-studied generation to date. Studies, blogs, and other media have touched on their tech savviness and what seems like an innate ability to multitask… but not a high level of engagement in traditional jobs, especially in manufacturing. In fact, according to a 2015 Gallup poll, a mere 28 percent of individuals between the ages of 18 and 35 considered themselves engaged at work. This is due to a number of factors. The perception of manufacturing is often negative, associated with unsafe equipment and old-fashioned assembly lines like that of the early 20th century. This also contributes to the myth that employees are often stressed, overworked, and treated poorly in a factory setting. While businesses and community organizations are now taking the next steps toward quashing these misconceptions, your company may benefit by changing the way you approach young workers for prospective employment. The following are steps you can take toward getting a younger, more sustainable pipeline and attracting today’s young people to jobs in manufacturing: Create a clear and compelling picture of advanced manufacturing. Because most millennials are digital natives, technology is a cornerstone of their way

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How Can NAICS Codes Help You Diversify Your Sales?

February 10, 2017 by Tim Nevin

Adopted in the late 1990s, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) consists of codes set up by the U.S. Census Bureau to separate manufacturers by sectors, subsectors, and industries. Most companies are familiar with this system at a high level, as it’s used by the government to collect, assess, and distribute data about manufacturing in 5-6 year cycles. However, if analyzed properly, NAICS codes can be far more important than simple identifiers used for federal purposes - in fact, they can play an active role in your company’s long-term strategy. If you’re looking to diversify your sales into new and growing markets, it’s important to analyze your competitors are already doing, and NAICS codes offer insight into some goods, services, and capabilities your competition is currently offering to their clients. The NAICS structure assigns two different sets of codes: a primary code based on the single manufacturing process that generates the largest sales for your company, and multiple secondary codes for your other (if applicable) major sales generating services. The majority of competing manufacturers – sometimes clients, even – are assigned the same codes, and targeted market research enables a company to compare and contrast what services they offer

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Why "Lean Startup" is No Longer a Buzzword

January 11, 2017 by MAGNET Ohio

There is no “Perfect Business Model”. While this may seem like common sense, there are still a great deal of startup companies trying to approach their business with a “cookie cutter” approach. Company founders go through the process of developing a plan by assessing the opportunity, applying the problem to the assumed solution, and developing a five-year business forecast with information that is unsubstantiated and quite frankly, unknown. Recent studies show how customer-first methods are able to revolutionize the process, dramatically reducing the failure rate of startup organizations. In an article published in the Harvard Business Review, professor and principal investigator Steve Blank explored the merits of the “Lean Start-up” approach. The first contrast of the Lean Start-up approach regards the development of a framework. Using a template known as the Business Model Canvas developed by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, entrepreneurs are able to understand the building blocks to their organization, including categories such as Value Proposition, Customer Segments, Key Resources, and Key Partners. The business model canvas allows you to develop relationships within your building blocks, understanding the most successful approach to presenting your start-up. These approaches can be resource-driven, customer-driven, offer-driven or finance-driven as explained by Osterwalder.

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Who's Who in NEO Manufacturing: Dave Pierson, Additive Expert

January 10, 2017 by Liz Fox

Senior Design Engineer Dave Pierson has been with MAGNET for nearly three decades and serves as one of our best subject-matter experts. He holds over 20 years of varied and practical additive manufacturing training experience, as well as 40 years of experience in mechanical and electrical engineering. As one of the country’s foremost authorities on additive manufacturing, he has helped companies grow through innovation. Not only has he helped bring new products to market and improve existing ones, but his introduction of 3D printing and other techniques has saved money and time for hundreds of businesses in the region. Some of these include: • Little Tikes • Cleveland Whiskey • Heat Seal • Mantua Manufacturing • Alfe Heat Treating He has also worked on many projects for the U.S. military and recently helped install a large wind turbine at Progressive Field, making them a leader in stadium sustainability. In addition, Pierson regularly develops and delivers curriculum at local colleges and trains operators, students, and engineers on the latest and greatest in additive technology. His presentations have also been well-received at national events and workshops, and he regularly presents at the annual R3D Conference at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. In

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Tap into... think[box]

January 09, 2017 by Liz Fox

MAGNET’s new “Tap into…” series highlights local resources useful for manufacturers in Northeast Ohio. From innovation to product development, from admin to supply chain, these companies, workspaces, and organizations offer the tools you need to achieve short- and long-term success with your latest projects. Located in the heart of the campus of Case Western Reserve University, the Larry Sears and Sally Zlotnick Sears think[box] is a new center dedicated to helping entrepreneurs, engineers, educators, and students invent and experiment by taking advantage of state-of-the-art tools and hands-on learning. Housed in a 7-story, 50,000 square-foot facility, the hub acts as an one-stop innovation center that has everything you need to test a new invention or experiment with different product ideas, including: • 3D printers • Laser cutters • Miter saws • CNC machines • Vinyl cutters • CAD/drawing software • And more! The best part? think[box] is open to everyone! Those who want to utilize the center’s many capabilities are not required to be affiliated with CWRU or pay extra dues. However, safety orientations are required for participants needing to access the metal or wood shops. Staff members are available at all times to provide guidance and answer questions. For equipment

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MAGNET and partners create jobs, grow NEO manufacturing with national grant

January 06, 2017 by Liz Fox

MAGNET, Medina County Workforce Development, Team NEO, and WIRE-Net have announced the completion of a noteworthy grant-funded project that has helped regional companies improve their competitiveness, create and retain jobs, and bolster their presence in Northeast Ohio. The $1.8M, three-year grant, known as Make It in America (MIIA), was awarded to the four organizations by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Department of Labor, and Delta Regional Authority. Aimed at encouraging businesses to expand domestic operations, the grant closely aligns with the mission of helping mid-size companies, particularly in biomedical, automotive, and advanced energy sectors that use innovative materials in their manufacturing processes. The project, which closed at the tail end of September, yielded very positive results for the region, including: $25M in new investments 68 new jobs created (exceeding initial goal of 50) Up-skilling of over 200 incumbent employees and 40 dislocated workers Additional training in CNC machining and welding that resulted in 24 workers finding full-time employment The team worked with a number of other partners to execute this program, including BioEnterprise, NASA Glenn Research Center, and the higher education institutions of University of Akron, Case Western Reserve University,

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Regional manufacturers grow more diverse with increase in female workers

January 03, 2017 by Liz Fox

The manufacturing sector has traditionally been regarded as a male-dominated industry, with women making up less than a third of the workforce. However, many companies are changing this trend by hiring them more frequently for skilled positions. Karin Simonson, an employee at Alloy Bellows and Precision Welding in Mayfield, quit teaching and went back to school in search of a career change. Seven years later, she says her job fares far better than those she held previously. “Here I feel like I’m more valued, like what I do is important,” she told WKYC in a recent interview. Click here to read the whole story on WKYC's website! MAGNET also partnered with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Manufacturing Institute in November to hold STEP Forward, an event designed to celebrate women in the industry by sparking ideas and fostering a sense of community through networking. Check out our photos from the event in the gallery below! [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="44" gal_title="STEP Forward"]

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6 Reasons Why You Need Digital Marketing to Grow Your Business

November 07, 2016 by Liz Fox

Manufacturing has always been at the forefront of change and innovation, notably in creating and implementing new measures to better serve the needs of the company and its customer base. But the rapid pace of technological growth – paired with reluctance to invest in new and/or unexplored systems – has left small and mid-size businesses struggling to keep up in an increasingly connected world. However, digital marketing services can be utilized for different purposes in different industries with the ultimate goal of increasing revenue and establishing credibility. The following reasons not only address the numerous benefits of incorporating digital marketing in your overall strategy, but also how different techniques can grow your business sooner rather than later. Lead delivery and conversion – Lead scoring empowers companies to better track how customers are finding them. By using a marketing automation platform in conjunction with a CRM, manufacturers can easily monitor how incoming traffic gets converted to leads, followers, subscribers, and/or closed sales. Reduced marketing costs – Traditional media like print, radio, and television harbor high rates, and are in some cases ineffective at getting to your target market. Digital marketing not only touches a wider range of clients, but also bears

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MAGNET names winners of [M]SPIRE pitch competition

October 31, 2016 by Liz Fox

MAGNET is pleased to announce the names of nine entrepreneurs, startups, and small manufacturers who will receive an array of services and connections through the inaugural [M]SPIRE pitch competition! The finalists were announced Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the third-annual [M]POWER Manufacturing Assembly, a full-day event for manufacturers sponsored by MAGNET, Crain’s Cleveland Business, and the Cleveland Engineering Society. “Entrepreneurship is an essential and irreplaceable component of Northeast Ohio manufacturing, and MAGNET is thrilled to help these individuals and small companies achieve their potential by connecting them to funding and resources necessary for success in the long term,” said MAGNET President and CEO Ethan Karp. The winners, who represent the diversity of Northeast Ohio in terms of geography, age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status, will receive varying types of assistance from MAGNET and MAGNET partners, including grant funding, product development, market research, and specialized consulting services. Applicants selected include: PolyLux LLC – University of Akron spinoff company developing a no-stick bandage that will revolutionize the medical adhesives industry. Parihug – Case Western Reserve University students who aspire to manufacture electronically-connected teddy bears that allow loved ones to connect from a distance. FoodBuggy – Shaker Heights entrepreneur Ron Nelson has created small,

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