Blog posts from June, 2016

Employee Engagement for Productivity — and Profits

June 21, 2016 by Liz Fox

Your organization can’t perform better than your least-engaged employee. Why? Equipment problems are ignored by unskilled workers who don’t have the training to fix them. Defective products are shipped by disaffected associates who have no incentive to catch errors. Dissatisfied customers become even angrier when powerless service representatives don’t have the authority to help them. Each of your employees has thousands of opportunities to identify and fix problems every year, whether on the plant floor or in the office. Yet manufacturers report that only half of their workforces are fully engaged in their improvement methodologies, such as lean or six sigma. Just as surprising: Poor levels of engagement are common across manufacturing, at companies both big and small. This offers a rare advantage to smaller companies — with fewer employees to train, empower, and engage in their methodologies — for rapid improvement and competitive advantage. That’s the good news. The bad news is this: Far too many leaders — at companies of all sizes —jealously guard the authority to make changes and become production heroes. In fact, a full 25 percent of manufacturers describe the breadth and depth of adoption of their improvement methodologies as “none” or “minimal.” The worst

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MAGNET client expands continuous improvement, diversifies through innovation

June 20, 2016 by Liz Fox

Food machining manufacturer Bettcher Industries unveiled its new innovation center Tuesday, June 7 to commemorate its new and ongoing efforts toward collaboration and continuous improvement. The renovated space only marks a portion of the changes Bettcher has experienced in recent years. In 2014, the company became 100% employee owned, and leaders have been taking measures to upgrade and enhance the 108,581 square-foot plant to better exemplify expansion and diversification. Among the biggest parts of this transition is the introduction of lean manufacturing. Initiated by MAGNET Senior Growth and Innovation Advisor Michael O’Donnell, Senior Lean Consultant Gwido Dlugopolsky, and Senior Business Consultant Donna Rhodes, this methodology allowed the company to improve efficiency and foster a sense of engagement among Bettcher’s 250 employees. “Bettcher Industries has always fostered an inventive spirit,” Bettcher CEO Don Esch told Crain’s Cleveland Business. “As we look at our market place, we are a dominant player in one portion of our industry. We know if we want to continue to diversify as a company, we have really have to grow outside that space.” Read more of this story at CrainsCleveland.com! Want to know how MAGNET can help you improve your business? Call Linda Barita at 216.600.1022 to schedule

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Need a Career? Looking for an Opportunity to Enter and Advance in a Job with Potential? Employers are waiting for you!

June 15, 2016 by Liz Fox

MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network has partnered with Cuyahoga Community College in the design and delivery of fast track training programs that include a paid internship at local companies that are ready to hire. Cleveland manufacturers like Auto Diesel Piston Ring, Curtiss Wright, Kennametal, SSP Fittings, Soundwich, and Jergens have committed to providing these internships as a first step for job seekers to get the experience that companies are looking for. The training programs provide job seekers with the skills needed to start on a middle skill career path in advanced manufacturing. The old manufacturing jobs in Northeast Ohio are disappearing. They are being replaced by career positions in advanced manufacturing. Companies are looking for individuals with specific skills related to designing and making the high quality, specialized products needed in a wide variety of industries from aerospace to automotive to advanced systems. Individuals with experience are in high demand. However, many potential applicants are overlooked because they don’t have the required experience. The fast track training programs offer the ability to gain experience quickly! In an interview about his training experience, a recent graduate of the welding fast track training program commented that he was looking for

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Secretary of Labor visits MAGNET partner and client, praises collaborative workforce initiative

June 08, 2016 by Liz Fox

U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez visited Cleveland-based manufacturer Great Lakes Towing Company on Monday, June 6th to recognize the company for its achievements in workforce and talent development. A MAGNET partner company, the tugboat manufacturer was founded at the turn of the 20th century and boasts an impressive roster of past shareholders, including industrialist John D. Rockefeller, Cleveland titan Jeptha Wade, and members of the Hanna and Mather families. The company was spotlighted for its participation in the Manufacturing Sector Partnership Project, a program that in part drives students toward a viable career in manufacturing through coursework, fast-track training and real-world experience. A collaborative effort between MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (an Ohio MEP affiliate), Cuyahoga Community College, and the Cuyahoga County Workforce Development Board, the Sector Partnership Grant aims to significantly grow the existing pool of manufacturing candidates by providing required training to students. At the same time, the Sector Partnership Grant engages companies that need additional support in developing their workforce and defining their skill needs. The program also helps build a strong and consistent pipeline of skilled workers who are available to meet the growing demands of several industries in Northeast Ohio. After touring

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MAGNET Client Receives Award for Quality and Operational Excellence

June 06, 2016 by Liz Fox

Cleveland food manufacturer La Bamba Tortilleria was presented with the Quality Leadership Award by MAGNET Growth and Innovation Advisor Michael Vincent at the 20th annual Business Leadership Awards program. Sponsored by MAGNET, Cleveland State University, The Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), The Rotary Club of Cleveland, and ATD Greater Cleveland, the event was held May 19 at the Windows on the River banquet hall. MAGNET, which has presented the award since 1997, determines the recipient based on operational excellence and an ongoing commitment to continuous improvement. Other factors, such as overall business performance and customer satisfaction, are also taken into consideration. Previous winners include companies like Lincoln Electric, Great Lakes Brewing, Avtron, and MobilityWorks. La Bamba has manufactured fresh corn tortillas for distribution in restaurants and other commercial avenues since its founding in 2010. Formerly located in Ohio City’s West Side Market, the company relocated to a larger facility near Brookpark last summer, where it added flour tortillas to its repertoire. With the help of the Minority Business Development Agency, the company connected with MAGNET in 2015 and has since reaped the benefits of improving their operations, optimizing their website, and expanding their market presence. “We’ve been growing; the demand

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Don't Just Talk About a Skills Gap - Do Something!

June 01, 2016 by Liz Fox

Countless news reports point to the skills gaps among U.S. manufacturers, particularly among small- and mid-sized companies. Executives quoted in these articles typically cite a familiar litany of complaints about potential employees: poor math skills, inability to pass drug tests, lack of work ethic, don’t like manufacturing, blah, blah, blah. But the topic that should really concern these leaders is how terrible most companies are at leveraging the latent talent they already have — and augmenting it selectively with new employees. The sad truth is that most manufacturers, for all their worry about talent, don’t have the simple strategies, plans, and best practices in place to address those concerns. The numbers are clear: Almost half of U.S. employers report that talent shortages have a medium to high impact on their business. Yet a full 20% of these companies have no strategy to overcome talent shortages. The MPI Group found that 11% of manufacturers have no human-capital management strategy, while another 27% have only a generic strategy with little or no functional involvement (i.e., operations and production staff are disconnected from HR practices). How can a manager break his reliance on the “skills gaps” excuse? By deploying the 3Es (Educate, Engage,

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