Blog posts from January, 2016

MAGNET hosts climate change session featuring White House advisor

January 29, 2016 by Liz Fox

White House advisor Dr. Robert Simon visited MAGNET on Friday, Jan. 28 to discuss the effects of climate change on manufacturing in Northeast Ohio. Sponsored by Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Business Forward, the session featured an array of topics on climate change, including the state’s role in the Clean Power Plan, which was announced last year by President Obama. According to this plan, the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and other organizations must work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21 to 30 percent by 2030. “Manufacturing is a big part of Ohio,” Simon said. “The state accounts for a lot of [gross domestic product] and up to $40 million in economic activity. … It is vital to global supply chains.” Cleveland Whiskey founder and CEO Tom Lix also contributed to the discussion, citing a need for related resources for small and mid-size manufacturers who are unlikely to afford an energy consultant. “I remember 40 years ago when an electrician would come to your house and tell you what to prioritize so you could save money and avoid wasting electricity,” Lix said. “There needs to be that sort of help and advocacy on reduction of emissions

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MAGNET hosts briefing session for collaborative Adopt a City program

January 28, 2016 by Liz Fox

More than 45 guests were in attendance for MAGNET and NASA Glenn’s Adopt a City Breakfast Briefing on Thursday, Jan. 28. A collaborative project between MAGNET, the NASA Glenn Research Center, the City of Cleveland, and Cuyahoga County, the Adopt a City program pairs Northeast Ohio manufacturers with NASA subject matter experts and resources that enable them to solve technical challenges. Companies selected as a result of the program will also be able to access $300,000 in low-interest loans provided by Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland. [caption id="attachment_1543" align="alignleft" width="300"] Paul Bartolotta (Senior Aerospace Engineer, NASA Glenn), Megan Tomsik (Product Development Support Specialist, MAGNET), and Ed Nolan (Vice President of Product Development and Engineering, MAGNET) at the 2016 Adopt A City Breakfast Briefing.[/caption] “With over 3000 employees, NASA Glenn is a secret treasure in Northeast Ohio,” said MAGNET President and CEO Ethan Karp. “Since partnering with them, we have generated over 4 million dollars in revenue for the region and plan to expand that with this year’s initiative.” Featured speakers also included NASA Glenn’s Eric Baumann and Paul Bartolotta, Cuyahoga County Economic Development Adminstrator Michael May, and Tracy Nichols, Director of Economic Development for the City of Cleveland.

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MAGNET partners with Canton Chamber to grow manufacturing in Stark County

January 27, 2016 by Liz Fox

MAGNET has announced a new partnership with the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce to expand its reach in Stark County, and offer new growth opportunities to Stark County manufacturers. Funded by the Stark Community Foundation, Fund for Our Economic Future (FFEF), and the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the new venture will allow small- and medium-sized manufacturers to access MAGNET’s holistic consulting services and take advantage of resources for manufacturers in Northeast Ohio. A true public-private partnership that leverages all of Northeast Ohio’s economic development infrastructure to help grow manufacturing, MAGNET’s consulting covers all areas of a small- to medium-sized manufacturer’s business, including sales and marketing, process improvements, product innovation, workforce and talent development, logistics, exports, and more. [caption id="attachment_1528" align="alignleft" width="180"] Steven J. Katz, Chamber COO[/caption] Canton Chamber Interim Chief Operating Officer Steven J. Katz will serve as the primary liaison between the two organizations, helping launch MAGNET’s Canton office while strengthening MAGNET’s relationship with the community. According to the latest data from Cleveland State University, manufacturing makes up 17.1 percent of Stark County’s economy, employing over 26,500 people, and growing two percent annually. “As a longtime friend and collaborator of MAGNET, I am pleased to partner with them

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Ohio MEP starts new initiative for companies impacted by coal plant closures

January 27, 2016 by Liz Fox

Has your production facility been impacted by coal plant and coal mine closures? If so, the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) is ready to help! Ohio and neighboring states have been impacted by these closures and therefore, the Ohio MEP is planning and developing services to assist those manufacturing companies that supply coal plants and coal mines with goods. Some of the services available through Ohio MEP that may be of assistance to affected companies include: Expert assistance to help with business planning associated with the transition to new markets Technical assistance with productivity and efficiency issues to help maintain financial viability with a lower sales volume Identification of new technologies and product or service lines that would help open new markets Assistance in plant layout and technology adoption to facilitate introduction of new products or services Workforce retraining to adapt to new markets. A network of resources is available through the Ohio MEP to address various challenges. Please contact us to schedule a brief phone call, a one-on-one meeting, and/or a site visit to learn more. Contact: Linda Barita 216.391.7766 linda.barita@magnetwork.org

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Start Your Journey from Concept to Completion with Ideation

January 20, 2016 by Liz Fox

The term “ideation” is often thrown around in several industries, but what does it really mean to “ideate”? Generally defined as “the process of generating and communicating new ideas,” the semantic meanings of ideation often vary by purpose and field. Everything from engineering to marketing has its own definition of ideation, but one theme transcends industry: for people who crave innovation, there is nothing better than brainstorming. In manufacturing, ideation sessions are primarily viewed as a way to improve existing products or create new ones through problem solving. Engineers, designers, consultants, and other professionals come together to share concepts with one goal in mind: to solve challenges while utilizing different viewpoints and harnessing the full power of the creative process. But what makes for a fun, energetic, and productive ideation session? Diversity – An eclectic mix of backgrounds, professions, and work styles creates an environment where existing issues can be looked at from all sides and perspectives. While a creative individual may look at aesthetics, an engineer may view a product from a purely mechanical or functional perspective. An environment that encourages these different views allows ideas to blossom, and a diverse workgroup usually has a better chance of finding

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Are you a manufacturer looking for new talent?

January 13, 2016 by MAGNET Ohio

As companies enter the new calendar year, many will be faced with workforce challenges. Some will be seeking new employees to fill vacancies created by the retiring baby boomers; others will be looking for employees with skills to meet the changing demands brought on by new technologies or production of new, more complex products. Regardless of the need, solutions will be more difficult due to a smaller pool of candidates with the necessary knowledge and skills. Recent articles and research reports are suggesting that companies need to step up and become part of the solution. After all, complaining and blaming others will not lead to a skilled workforce. MAGNET is partnering with employers and educators to develop and implement strategies to address current and future manufacturing talent needs. One of the most successful approaches is an internship program offered by a local career-technical school, college, or university. Employers are finding that interns not only bring new perspectives and energy to their workforce, but they also may become the new employee needed to fill a vacancy. Students in technical training programs are prepared to work in skilled production positions and become contributors more quickly and often with less on-the-job training than

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Slim Down with Lean Manufacturing 101

January 04, 2016 by Liz Fox

“A corporation is a living organism; it has to continue to shed its skin. Methods have to change. Focus has to change. Values have to change. The sum total of those changes is transformation.” - Andrew Grove, former CEO, Intel What is Lean Manufacturing? First, the textbook definition: “lean” is a consumer-oriented methodology that utilizes continuous improvement to help a company through waste elimination, changes in work culture, and engaging people in different processes. Put more simply, lean manufacturing encourages taking a holistic look at an entire process and finding ways to improve it. Some of the fundamental truths of Lean manufacturing, (which have stolen the spotlight in recent decades) emphasize efficiency, high quality, and positive attitudes through changing several parts of the business. The modern concept of Lean has roots in ideas by American icon Henry Ford, who popularized the idea of eliminating waste through flow production and the moving assembly line. However, when Ford fell into the trap of not being able to provide variety without sacrificing innovation, Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda focused his attention on the product’s process from start to finish. By sizing machines according to volume and having each process notify its predecessor of need

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