Blog posts from May, 2012

MAGNET Ideation Sessions Help Manufacturers Define, Discover, Develop and Deliver

May 30, 2012 by MAGNET Ohio

By Jim Rundo, Senior Business Consultant, MAGNET "If only we had a way to solve this problem…" "Our company has to introduce some new products soon…" "We are losing business to new competitors…" Most manufacturers have asked one or more of these questions at one time or another.  It’s a normal part of business to face these types of challenges.  The good news is there is a solution available to assist Northern Ohio manufacturers:  The MAGNET Ideation process. This process is part of MAGNET’s proven "4-D"approach (Define, Discover, Develop, Deploy) and can be tailored to handle company-specific issues, such as overcoming a design challenge, or support a company’s growth plans by facilitating the discovery of new product ideas.  The key to the ideation process is that it quickly vets outs the best ideas, since for every successful innovative idea there usually are several others that fail to make the cut. Companies looking for a solution to a well-defined, specific challenge can opt for a MAGNET "lunchtime" ideation session.  This brief, focused engagement brings MAGNET resources together with a client who is seeking a solution for a single issue.  Often held during an extended lunchtime period, the session yields several ideas,

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Market Diversification: What Value Do You Bring? Part 1

May 25, 2012 by MAGNET Ohio

By Ken Walker, Senior Business Consultant, MAGNET You’ve made "The Decision." No, I’m not talking about LeBron leaving Cleveland—I’m talking about the decision to move your company’s products and services into a new market. Maybe it’s an allied market that uses the same type of products you produce.  Or maybe you’re selling the exact same product but to a different kind of customer, for example consumer instead of industrial. You’ve decided that, for the strategic growth of your company, you are willing to make the investment necessary. You’ve researched this new market’s key customers and key competitors.  Your organization is primed, ready and willing to conquer this new territory. However, before you go charging off, make sure the "new land" is receptive to your invading horde. In other words, in this new market, is anyone willing to buy what you are selling? Consider: Why Might Customers Choose to Change? When you decide to enter a new market, unless its an emerging technology market, it is very unlikely that you are the only supplier to the market. In most instances, existing suppliers will have been established for years. Even in markets where the barriers of entry are relatively low, it’s not

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MAGNET helps returning veterans find manufacturing jobs

May 03, 2012 by MAGNET Ohio

By Mary Ann Pacelli, Senior Consultant, MAGNET Even with high unemployment rates, so many jobs in manufacturing still remain unfilled- an estimated 200,000 over the next couple years.  These unfilled jobs are typically requiring technical skills and competencies not in abundance in the general unemployed population- but skills believed to be within local Veterans.  As part of latest efforts to promote employment for former service members, the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) launched a program to match returning Veterans with unfilled manufacturing jobs in Ohio, and provide additional training where needed. MAGNET has partnered with the Veterans’ Services group of the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services (ODJFS) on the Veterans Program which is funded by an award from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. Mone’ Givner, Region 2 Veterans Program Manager of the Office of Workforce Development of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services states, "Our mission is to provide policies and procedures regarding the Veterans programs and services necessary for Ohio to implement the Jobs for Veterans Act. Our goal is to alleviate unemployment and underemployment for veterans and other eligible persons." This partnership of community colleges, universities, businesses, and Veterans

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Reshoring gets welcome attention; Good business climate necessary to take advantage of potential

May 01, 2012 by MAGNET Ohio

"Onshoring" / "Insourcing" / "Reshoring" These are the names of an emerging trend to bring manufacturing production back to the U.S. that has been taken overseas (often to China) over the past several decades–primarily to take advantage of lower cost labor. For a variety of reasons, bringing these jobs back has become a viable option in some cases. These include situations where the overseas wage advantage has eroded, transportation costs have risen, and currency valuations shifted to favor U.S. production.  In addition, demands for just-in-time delivery, managing quality in supply chains, and reactions to environmental and political disruption in some overseas markets, have prompted companies to look at reshoring as an option. Big consulting firms like Boston Consulting Group, Alix Partners, McKinsey, and Accenture have all studied the reshoring potentials.  In some instances they advocated to their manufacturing clients that they seriously look at reshoring as a business option. Reshoring also is very popular politically.  President Obama has established an Insourcing Initiative, partly to leverage the experience of some of the big companies like General Electric and Caterpillar that have been in the forefront of reshoring.  G.E. recently as announced that it will bring enough jobs back from China that

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