MAGNET Trains Manufacturers on How to Take Charge of Their Workforce
There were many takeaways from MAGNET’s August 6th Develop your Workforce for Growth event, but a key one is this: do your due diligence. Today’s manufacturing landscape is both promising and challenging; while some challenges may be out of your business’ hands, there are many things you can do to strengthen your workforce. Our Develop your Workforce event explored workforce strategies that your company can adopt and are completely within your company’s control.
Director of Workforce & Talent Development Judith Crocker and Senior Business Consultant Donna Rhodes framed a variety of workforce challenges facing manufacturers today. Manufacturers, who often have unskilled incumbent workers as well as a shortage of applicants, are not aligned with company needs and culture. Crocker and Rhodes stressed that companies must be proactive rather than reactive in addressing these challenges.
The event featured a panel of three leaders in companies that have successfully addressed workforce challenges, ranging from addressing skills gaps to retaining employees.
Bill Swan, Lead OJT Coordinator at Swagelok, spoke about Swagelok’s successful program for developing a consistent talent pipeline. To improve their outlook, Swagelok partnered with Tri-C and MAGNET to create a fast-track program for potential employees. Participants who successfully complete the program are guaranteed a job after eight weeks of interning, instead of needing to onboard for 6-11 months. Swagelok has assistance from Tri-C and MAGNET in recruiting people for the program, and has the ability to quickly respond to the changing work environment with new curriculum.
Kenton Woodhead, Manager of Purchasing & Lean/Continuous Improvement at Royal Plastics, discussed Royal Plastics’ strategies for improving its current workforce. After receiving assistance from MAGNET Growth Advisor Michael Kaminski, the company adopted lean manufacturing to improve efficiency. They also adopted new employee onboarding and training practices, and root cause analysis (RCA). These measures resulted in huge increases in efficiency in operations, higher retention of workers, and development of promotable employees.
Fairmount Santrol’s Reggie Stover, who serves as vice president of the company’s People Talent and Development division, spoke about talent management practices, emphasizing that applicants must be the right cultural fit for the company. Stover explained how workers are investments: they must be chosen carefully, and once they are a part of the company, they must be invested in, leveraged, and protected. Fairmount Santrol uses specific onboarding, check-in, and leadership development procedures to maintain engagement and growth.
It is apparent that there are lots of strategies companies can take to both attract and retain qualified workers. However, many companies at the event shared that they had not adopted essential strategies, such as documenting task and skill requirements for essential jobs, having a defined employer brand, and adopting a standard onboarding process. These are huge lost opportunities.
Your company can tackle workforce problems by doing your due diligence and being proactive. MAGNET’s Workforce and Talent Development (WFTD) team is here to help you with all of your workforce challenges. To learn more about the steps you can take to attract and retain workers, and how MAGNET can help you in the process, contact Linda Barita at Linda.Barita@magnetwork.org or 216.391.7766.
HEADLINE The survey definitively shows that product innovation leads to more growth, while “grow your own workforce” strategies will be needed to fill the major labor shortages hampering small manufacturer growth. Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and digital manufacturing are beginning to enhance innovation and productivity, but still have significant room for adoption amongst Ohio’s small manufacturing businesses. ABOUT THE SURVEY Under the direction of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP), MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network conducted a thorough survey of Ohio’s manufacturing base. Contributing approximately 20% of Ohio’s jobs (and driving in some regions up to 50% of Ohio’s economy), and generating a disproportionate amount of export revenues and Gross Regional Product, manufacturing is critical to Ohio. Greater than 95% of Ohio’s manufacturers are small (under 500 employees), and these manufacturers need to remain competitive both nationally and internationally to ensure our economy’s health. Ohio’s Development Services Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which runs the MEP, recognizes the importance of this sector and fuels MAGNET and the Ohio MEP program to directly serve and support innovation, efficiency, and growth in small and medium manufacturers. What manufacturers need
How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Can Help Keep Our Engineers Safe and Our Manufacturing Strong Recall how difficult it was to put together complex LEGO creations when you were a child or helping a child. Now, picture assembling a fighter plane from a room full of parts. Even highly trained engineers can benefit from technology to help improve consistency and quality. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are making near-perfect assembly a possibility in the manufacturing space. By wearing AR glasses that use cameras, depth sensors and motion sensors to overlay images onto the real working environment, engineers and factory workers can visualize the exact bolts, parts, part numbers and instructions on how to assemble a particular component correctly. Lockheed Martin began using AR goggles and improved F-35 assembly time by 30 percent, in addition to increasing accuracy to 96 percent. In order to remain competitive, businesses should consider the ways VR and AR can improve efficiency and supply chain productivity. According to a recent BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report, AR platforms can provide companies up to 25 percent in cost savings on installation of equipment. Here are four ways VR/AR is disrupting the mid-market manufacturing space:
Why should you consider TechLink? To date: More than 1,270 technology transfer partnerships brokered between companies and 110 DoD labs or centers, including all 65 DoD labs that generate patented inventions More than 600 license agreements facilitated between DoD and companies nationwide, transferring over 1,000 DoD inventions to industry Facilitated 60% of total DoD licensing agreements over the past 10 years What does TechLink Specialize in? TechLink specializes in 10 technology areas: Energy, BioTech, Materials, Sensors, Photonics, Software/Info Technology, Military Technology, Electronics and Environmental Technologies. 4 Ways TechLink can help you: Actively market DoD inventions to industry nationwide Help companies evaluate these inventions and submit license applications Facilitate communications between DoD labs and companies leading to “win-win” license agreements for both parties Maintain the nation’s only comprehensive database of DoD-patented inventions, fully searchable through techlinkcenter.org Why should you believe in TechLink? Check out the TechLink technology database and the Technology Spotlight for regular updates on available technologies and contact information for the related Technology Manager. The Manager will help you assess the technology for your company needs, facilitate your connection with DoD, and walk you through the licensing process. Most DoD inventions have civilian and commercial applications. DoD technologies licensed by TechLink have generated