Blog posts from July, 2017

[M]SPIRE 2017 Winners Announced

July 26, 2017 by Liz Fox

MAGNET has revealed the names of six entrepreneurs, startups, and small manufacturers who will receive an array of services and connections through the second-annual [M]SPIRE pitch competition. Announced in late July, the winners span many different areas, backgrounds, and industries. Over 40 applications were received from individuals and companies across Northeast Ohio, including submissions from Cleveland, Youngstown, Akron, Elyria, Lorain, and Canton. “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 the funding and resources necessary for success in the long-term,” said MAGNET President and CEO Ethan Karp. Sponsored by Bank of America, AT&T, and Jumpstart, the submission period was held through the month of May. 11 finalists were selected to meet with an expert panel of judges comprising area entrepreneurs, engineers, consultants, and more. The six winners will receive varying types of assistances from MAGNET and MAGNET partners, including grant funding, product development, market research, and specialized consulting services. These winners include: Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce – a local manufacturer of 100%, all-natural applesauce Karis Doll Collection – a line of dolls that aims to help young girls adapt to

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MAGNET featured in guest spot on Canton radio program

July 25, 2017 by Liz Fox

MAGNET Manufacturing Liaison Steven Katz recently made an appearance on WHBC's The Gary Rivers Show to discuss the state of manufacturing in Stark County. Recorded Friday, July 21, the program features insights from individuals about what's made in the Canton area as well as why small manufacturers are so important to the U.S economy. Also included in the discussion is Eric Smer, Director of Community and Workforce Development at the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce. Listen here (MAGNET segment begins at 47-minute mark):

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How Critical Assumptions Can Make or Break Your Business

July 24, 2017 by Brandon Cornuke

“Am I working on the things that matter most?” “How can I get more traction?” “Do I have enough cash to keep going?” These are just a few of the questions that keep entrepreneurs up at night. Unfortunately I'm not here to give you a magic way to erase all those worries. But I can give you one piece of advice that'll make organizing and prioritizing your questions a little easier: work on your critical assumptions. Here's how: Find the guesses that absolutely have to be true for your business to succeed. Every entrepreneur makes guesses. What they're doing hasn't been done before. Ask yourself, "what do I think is true about my customer, their problems, my product, and my team?" Write down things like "I believe my customer is ____" or "I think _____ is a problem that _____ is trying to solve." Make a long list. Then rank each guess based on how detrimental it would be if you're wrong. Take the top of your first list and rank those assumptions by how much or how little you know about each. The most important word in that sentence is “know”. You need concrete evidence to know something is

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Big Data, and Why it Matters to Manufacturers

July 17, 2017 by Bob Baxendale

“Only when businesses create a culture that empowers everyone to have access to data and insight that drive actions will they be positioned to truly transform.” – Colin Masson, Global Industry Director for Manufacturing and Distribution at Microsoft As technological advancements are made in manufacturing, companies are embracing data as a key component of their business strategy. According to a 2016 Honeywell study, 68% of manufacturers are currently investing in data analytics. And 46% say implementing these processes is no longer optional in our fast-changing world. But does big data bring real benefits to the table, and is it really worth your time and money? Absolutely. Analytics often come in the form of dashboards, which can provide information about nearly every aspect of your business: Supply chain Quality management Sales and marketing Administration Having this information equips you with the tools necessary to make well-informed decisions – not just in six months or a year from now, but often in real time. For example, with the appropriate systems in place, a single dashboard can detect and analyze product defects by type, time, region, and other factors. Think of how this method of monitoring would allow you to address quality concerns

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The Perks of Punting, Pivoting, and Persevering for Entrepreneurs

July 10, 2017 by Brandon Cornuke

If you're starting a business, there's a good chance an assumption you've made will turn out to be wrong. You can hope that day never comes but, trust me, it will. Startups, after all, are full of risky bets and guesses (that's what makes them startups). But even if you know it's coming - even if you're looking for your own weak assumptions - it's tough to absorb the blow of being wrong. Sometimes it's even harder to know what to do next. We're here to help. First, congratulate yourself. As we've discussed, entrepreneurs don't look for evidence that refutes their ideas often enough. If you've discovered a flaw in your plans - say, your customer target was off - that's actually great news. It means you've saved yourself a lot of time and money. Now you have three options: Punt - It's never fun to admit your idea won’t work, but the end of one entrepreneurial journey can be the start of another. Consider whether the circumstances are right to keep going. Do you have the cash? Are the rest of your assumptions still solid? Does your team have the energy to keep going? When you're at a crossroads,

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Improve Safety in Your Plant with Lean

July 05, 2017 by Gwido Dlugopolsky

In an average manufacturing plant, the presence of old industrial equipment, bad systems, or untrained workers can mean a higher risk of workplace accidents. In fact, studies show 94 percent of accidents occur because of unsafe actions, at-risk behaviors or poor decisions, while only 6 percent happen as a result of unsafe conditions, OSHA violations, and dangerous machinery. This shows that while compliance is necessary, it does not guarantee things will operate as smoothly as they should. Safety is about people, which means correcting behavior can be a challenge. But it’s possible to steer your employees in the right direction by engaging them during the continuous improvement process. The OSHA Safety and Health System Model consists of four categories: Management Leadership and Employee Involvement: Processes that involve the company coming together to brainstorm and implement solutions to plant issues Worksite Analysis: Periodic inspections and infra that track near-misses, safety incidents, and accident investigations Hazard Prevention and Control: Preventative maintenance performed to ensure the operation of a clean, organized facility Safety and Health Training: Information on how to keep the workplace safe Many lean manufacturing tools and techniques are designed to support these efforts, including audits, safety metrics, and systems that

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