Blog posts from October, 2016

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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Time for New Technology?

October 31, 2016 by Liz Fox

Information technology (IT) spending will grow from $2.46 trillion in 2015 to more than $2.8 trillion in 2019, with the United States and Canada comprising the largest share of global IT spending. Discrete manufacturing and process manufacturing will be among the top industry spenders. Looking at the state of technology within U.S. manufacturers, it’s no wonder. For many functions — asset management, human resources, supply-chain management, customer service/support — a majority of manufacturers have ineffective IT applications and systems (see infographic). Sadly, smaller manufacturers are in even worse shape. For example, only 25% of SMEs have effective IT applications and systems for logistics/distribution; 23% for supply-chain management; and 18% for asset management. This is a looming crisis among SMEs. Hobbled by antiquated IT systems, they’ll be challenged to retain market share or growth because: Poor-quality operations information leads to production errors, delays, and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) issues. Enterprise functions fail to act in a synchronized, collaborative manner, leading to delays and waste. Customer and supplier businesses are bottlenecked, unable to share critical data and information (demand forecasts, production schedules, product specifications, design drawings, etc.). Legacy IT often makes a digitized supply chain difficult or impossible. It also hurts

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[M]POWER Manufacturing Assembly highlights innovation, inspires regional growth for manufacturers

October 25, 2016 by Liz Fox

Over 450 manufacturers, service providers, and industry experts came together on Wednesday, Oct. 19 for the third-annual [M]POWER Manufacturing Assembly held at the John S. Knight Center in Akron. Sponsored by MAGNET in conjunction with Crain’s Cleveland Business and the Cleveland Engineering Society, the full-day event featured interactive discussions and breakout sessions on topics ranging from employee turnover to risk management. Featured keynotes included John E. Skory (President, The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co.) and Tim Timken (President and CEO, TimkenSteel), who stressed the importance of collaboration and regional partnerships in relation to Northeast Ohio’s manufacturing landscape. A newly expanded, sponsor-supported exhibitor hall also featured interactive displays showcasing diverse manufacturing capabilities, including a portable electric car, staged robotics battles, and a mobile welding lab courtesy of Lorain County Community College. The winners of [M]SPIRE, MAGNET’s first online pitch competition, were also announced, including entrepreneurs and startups in medical, food, and other industry disciplines. These finalists received a range of awards spanning grant money, consulting services, and connections to outside resources and organizations best suited to help them take the next steps toward long-term success. “As we continue with [M]POWER each year, we learn that our region is expanding through innovation and new

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Supply-Chain Traceability is Vital

October 24, 2016 by Liz Fox

Manufacturers have always been only as good (or bad) as their suppliers. Some vendor errors and delays could be overcome, but problems in the supply chain usually rippled downstream, damaging quality or delivery. Manufacturers soothed irritated customers, and that was the end of it. And then the world changed. Today manufacturers are held responsible for the practices of suppliers, by both customers and governments. Supply-chain traceability rules, such as those affecting food and beverage markets (e.g., FDA Food Safety Modernization Act) and the high-tech industry (e.g., Conflict Minerals) are increasingly common — and will soon encompass EHS and corporate governance issues. With so much regulatory enforcement and scrutiny, you might think that manufacturers are taking aggressive steps to manage their vendors. Not so much. A full 60% of manufacturers have limited or no real-time tracking of supplies and products at their immediate suppliers. And 15% of manufacturers have no real-time tracking even in their own plants. Looking for a customer order? Forget it. But looking for trouble? You’ve found it. As government, customer, and public pressures mount for manufacturers, supply-chain traceability will become an immense competitive differentiator. Some executives recognize this, and are already developing supply-chain processes that improve performance,

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Get Smart and Make Smart Products with IoT

October 17, 2016 by Liz Fox

Companies and consumers want smart products — and they’re getting them. Embedded intelligence is showing up in everything from watches to shoes to refrigerators to tires. The smart-home market alone will grow from nearly $47 billion in 2015 to more than $121 billion by 2022. In industrial environments, too, embedded intelligence is rapidly becoming the norm. Manufacturing executives get it: 63% say the application of smart devices/embedded intelligence to their products will increase profitability over the next five years. They know that when wearable devices, stamping presses, or household appliances can communicate and act on their own, the value of these products — and their profit margins — increase dramatically. That’s why 40% of manufacturers plan to embed smart devices/intelligence within their products. Yet 30% of manufacturers still have no IoT product plans. Why? Many executives mistakenly believe that their products have no need for embedded intelligence. In fact, the biggest challenge for manufacturers developing IoT-enabled products is simply identifying the opportunities/benefits of such products (44% of manufacturers). Yet even a landscape rock, equipped with sensors, could become a communications center for lighting systems, sprinklers, or weather-monitoring stations. Which rock are your IoT innovations hiding under? Manufacturers identify excellent or

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