Blog posts from February, 2017

How to Solve Your Top Workforce Challenges

February 27, 2017 by Michael O'Donnell

According to a 2014 study conducted by Oxford Economics and SAP, two-thirds of manufacturers have made only slight or moderate progress toward meeting strategic workplace goals. This is due in part to a number of obstacles, including a shortage of workers and lack of resources to help foster better employee engagement and retention. Companies in this study, which totaled around 2,700 and spanned multiple industries and regions, also noted that engaging young people and attracting skilled employees were among the top issues they face – hardly surprising, as nearly 3.5 million positions will need to be filled by 2020. Are there ways for manufacturers – regardless of company size, industry, or amount of revenue – to tackle these challenges head-on without compromising assets or sacrificing talent? Absolutely. The following are examples of tips and tools capable of guiding you toward a healthy, sustainable pipeline of workers, which ultimately spells success for you and your company. Engage employees… and become more productive as a result! While time should definitely be invested in getting new, skilled workers in place, your existing workforce is just as important. Keep your employees engaged by offering them choices and opportunities to participate in operations and company

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5 Ways to Reduce Your Company's Risk of Cyber Attacks

February 20, 2017 by Bob Baxendale

As manufacturing technology grows and spreads, cybersecurity is essential to your everyday operations. While IoT infrastructures, digitized machinery, and other systems help make your company more efficient and connected, they also carry a risk, as your equipment and data can become susceptible to outside viruses, malware, and ransomware. This is especially true of outdated equipment, as its lack of support for new software opens doors for unauthorized access of essential data. Due to high-profile breaches like those of Target and Yahoo!, one popular misconception is that small companies are less susceptible to cyberattacks. However, they are actually more vulnerable due to not having the right software or tools for protection; in fact, the average cost of a data breach for small companies in 2015 was more than $38,000, and it’s estimated more than half of companies that experience a cyberattack go out of business within six months. There are many solutions to prevent this from happening… but where do you start? Identify and assess your existing procedures. Think about how data is currently being accessed. Who can open confidential documents or vital information about your business? Is the data stored on a secure platform? Do you have it backed up

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4 Guaranteed Ways to Recruit Millennials for Manufacturing Jobs

February 13, 2017 by Michael O'Donnell

Standing at more than 80 million people, millennials are among the largest and most-studied generation to date. Studies, blogs, and other media have touched on their tech savviness and what seems like an innate ability to multitask… but not a high level of engagement in traditional jobs, especially in manufacturing. In fact, according to a 2015 Gallup poll, a mere 28 percent of individuals between the ages of 18 and 35 considered themselves engaged at work. This is due to a number of factors. The perception of manufacturing is often negative, associated with unsafe equipment and old-fashioned assembly lines like that of the early 20th century. This also contributes to the myth that employees are often stressed, overworked, and treated poorly in a factory setting. While businesses and community organizations are now taking the next steps toward quashing these misconceptions, your company may benefit by changing the way you approach young workers for prospective employment. The following are steps you can take toward getting a younger, more sustainable pipeline and attracting today’s young people to jobs in manufacturing: Create a clear and compelling picture of advanced manufacturing. Because most millennials are digital natives, technology is a cornerstone of their way

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How Can NAICS Codes Help You Diversify Your Sales?

February 10, 2017 by Tim Nevin

Adopted in the late 1990s, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) consists of codes set up by the U.S. Census Bureau to separate manufacturers by sectors, subsectors, and industries. Most companies are familiar with this system at a high level, as it’s used by the government to collect, assess, and distribute data about manufacturing in 5-6 year cycles. However, if analyzed properly, NAICS codes can be far more important than simple identifiers used for federal purposes - in fact, they can play an active role in your company’s long-term strategy. If you’re looking to diversify your sales into new and growing markets, it’s important to analyze your competitors are already doing, and NAICS codes offer insight into some goods, services, and capabilities your competition is currently offering to their clients. The NAICS structure assigns two different sets of codes: a primary code based on the single manufacturing process that generates the largest sales for your company, and multiple secondary codes for your other (if applicable) major sales generating services. The majority of competing manufacturers – sometimes clients, even – are assigned the same codes, and targeted market research enables a company to compare and contrast what services they offer

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