Blog posts from February, 2011

Making sense of the alphabet soup

February 25, 2011 by MAGNET Ohio

The Toledo Blade announced today that Toledo’s deputy mayor, Dean Monske, is leaving that post to take over as president of the Regional Growth Partnership (RGP). RGP is a private-sector funded economic development company focused on growing opportunities for companies in the Northwest Ohio region. Being new to MAGNET (I joined the staff as of the first of the year), I’ve learned in a very short time that there is a veritable alphabet soup of organizations, like the RGP, MAGNET and others that exist to help manufacturers. Before joining MAGNET I spent 22 years in positions at various manufacturers.  I suspect that, just like me only a couple of months ago, most people in manufacturing are too busy getting parts out the door to even be aware of, let alone make time to investigate all of the resources that are available. MAGNET exists to help manufacturers in Northern Ohio improve, grow and transform their business.  Let us know what’s holding you back and we’ll help you identify the right resource, whether that’s MAGNET or one of our partner organizations. If we don’t have the answer, we’ll introduce you to someone who does. Comment below or e-mail me. We’re always interested

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Now's the time... to Diversify!

February 24, 2011 by MAGNET Ohio

I’m hearing from more and more manufacturers that their business has bounced back from the "Great Recession" and in a lot of instances, is even booming. Some of these manufacturers have put initiatives they were working on when times were slow on the back burner as they try to manage their new-found growth, including diversifying into other markets/industries.  While these companies are focused on the "now," there are some companies who realize that if they are going to "win the future," now is the time to work on, build and implement key strategies which will position them for long-term success.  Here are some examples of forward thinking manufacturers, who, while navigating through rough waters, have their eye firmly fixed on the horizon: A medium sized manufacturer who worked with MAGNET to develop and implement a Strategic Plan which had a key strategy to diversify into new markets during the "Great Recession" has just enjoyed a $1-million increase in sales over the past year and has made in-roads into several new markets.  Business looks to be up another 25% this year.  So what are they doing now? Stepping back to enjoy and manage their success?  No.  They are re-doing their Strategic

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My Entrepreneurial Scorecard

February 16, 2011 by MAGNET Ohio

Lists of entrepreneurial qualities abound on the web.  After a couple years of working with entrepreneurs and start-ups, I’ve come to the conclusion that while entrepreneurs in aggregate do exhibit many similar personal qualities, the success of their start-up is a different issue altogether and tied to a much more  extensive set of factors. So my personal "scorecard" for initial evaluation of entrepreneurs includes both personal factors and opportunity factors.  I typically look at four factors in each category.  What follows is a quick overview of my thought process in an initial meeting with an entrepreneur. Personal factors There’s an old cliche in the investment community that they would rather invest in "an A team with a B product, then a B team with an A product."  This speaks to the importance of the people involved in any start-up, and I tend to judge the entrepreneur before I judge the idea.  Following are the four factors that weigh heavily in my evaluation of the personal side of the entrepreneurship equation. Passion and Commitment "Inner Circle" support Realism Ownership Finally, on my scorecard, it’s highly important that the entrepreneur takes  ownership for their own success.  Any entrepreneur who demonstrates in any

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MAGNET and WIRE-Net Partner on New Markets Initiative

February 15, 2011 by MAGNET Ohio

Northeast Ohio manufacturers looking to enter growing new markets should mark the mornings of March 22 and March 29 on their calendars.  Why? To attend either of the launch sessions of the New Markets Initiative, a joint project of MAGNET and WIRE-Net, that will introduce manufacturers to expanding markets and position them to become part of those supply chains. More detailed information to come. In the meantime, sign up for one of the two launch events today!

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February Issue of MAGNET Insider Available Now

February 15, 2011 by MAGNET Ohio

Every month, MAGNET Insider collects links to all the upcoming events that manufacturers in Northeast Ohio need to know about. There are more than 32 events featured in this month’s issue. Find it online here. E-mail us to get on our list and receive MAGNET Insider in your mail box around the 15th of every month.

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U.S. International Trade Commission votes for duties on Chinese pipe imports

February 11, 2011 by MAGNET Ohio

Here’s an important development for dozens of manufacturers in Northern Ohio who are competing on the global stage: Final vote sets duties on Chinese steel pipe, Warren Tribune-Chronicle, February 9, 2011 Washington—U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Niles, called Monday’s vote by the United States International Trade Commission to place anti-dumping and countervailing duties on the Chinese pipe "a win for our manufacturers," adding the Obama Administration is "holding China accountable" for unfair trade practices. The ruling benefits TMK IPSCO, V&M Star, Wheatland Tube and other area manufacturers. Check out all this week’s news briefs about manufacturing in Northern Ohio on MAGNET’s Northern Ohio Manufacturing News page.

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Manufacturers are hiring, this should be good news for Northeast Ohio right?

February 08, 2011 by MAGNET Ohio

According to two recent studies cited in Crain’s Cleveland Business, many manufacturers in Northeast Ohio are planning to hire in 2011. (See Optimism on upswing at industrial companies; Manufacturers’ surveys suggest a better 2011, Crain’s Cleveland Business, January 24,  2011; subscription may be required.) Crain’s reports that surveys of members from both WIRE-Net and the Precision Metal Forming Association (PMA)  indicated that their members are seeing an increase in orders that will translate into an increase in their labor force.  We should all be ecstatic! However, what happens when our region’s manufacturers can’t find the skilled workers they are looking for? True, some may be hiring back employees they had to let go during the recession, but others will be looking for the new employee, the one who comes with advanced technical skills, the ability to cross train, is flexible, can work on a team and has a solid work ethic. Does this employee exist in Northeast Ohio? And if they do, will they seek a job in the manufacturing industry? Organizations like MAGNET and many others—including the Alliance Working Together (AWT) in Lake County, WIRE-Net and PMA (mentioned above), the National Association of Manufacturers, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers,

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AP story on manufacturing rebound features SIFCO Industries image

February 04, 2011 by MAGNET Ohio

In a February 1 story carried by MSNBC.com, the Associated Press used a spectacular image of workers handling an immense piece of forged steel at Cleveland-based SIFCO Industries to illustrate the rebound in the country’s manufacturing sector. Check it out: Despite China’s might, U.S. factories maintain edge, by Paul Wiseman, AP via MSNBC.com, February 1, 2011. SIFCO Forge Group, a division of  SIFCO Industries, is a specialized provider of forged components for aircraft, industrial gas turbines, nuclear, marine and petrochemical industries world-wide. In 2007, MAGNET consultants helped SIFCO Forge Group create its SMART continuous improvement initiative. Read our latest MAGNET Success Story to find out how SIFCO increased sales by $6.5 million in just the first year of its ongoing program.

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