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Top Takeaways Learned from Manufacturing Executives at the 7th Annual Northeast Ohio Manufacturing Symposium

Tuesday, 9 October, 2018 Written by Mike O’Donnell

2018_Manufacturing_SymposiumLocal manufacturing experts across Northeast Ohio gathered on Friday, September 28 at Lorain County Community College (LCCC) for the 7th Annual Northeast Ohio Manufacturing Symposium, hosted by MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network and Cleveland Engineering Society (CES).

This year’s theme focused on the importance of leveraging technology and harnessing innovation to prepare for the next revolution in manufacturing.

Panelists shared manufacturing best practices to strengthen product and process development and more. Here are lessons learned from two of the workshop sessions.

Top 2 Lessons Learned from Workshop Sessions

Manufacturers are in the midst of a shift to modern-day business models that support process and product innovation. Manufacturers that are evolving their businesses— both in terms of product and processes – are reaping the rewards. On the other hand, those resisting change are doomed to fall behind competition in today's evolving manufacturing economy.

1. How to Prioritize Product and Process Innovation at Your Facility

Chris_Carroll_FlavorsealIn a session focused on Best Practices in Product and Process Innovation, moderator Seth Briskin, managing partner of Myers Roman, identified innovation as an area of focus for all modern-day manufacturers.

Chris Carroll, president of Flavorseal (pictured on right), exercises innovation at his company by taking a four-phase approach to what he calls “idea streams.” This includes:

  • Idea Phase: Seek out revolutionary ideas from supervisors, managers, employees, and others that match growth plans.
  • Rationalization Phase: Vet ideas through a research and development process that identifies barriers to entry.
  • Developmental Phase: Develop a prototype to test ideas with internal and external partners.
  • Implementation Phase: Go to market by exclusively revealing products and/or services to a select group of individuals.

While creating a culture of innovation takes time, finding and keeping the right people is the core ingredient to success, according to panelist Sara Ann Mackinlay, vice president of Exsurco Medical Inc.

2. How to Own Your Talent Pipeline to Attract and Retain Employees

Autumn_RussellSo, how can your company prepare for the next generation of talent coming into the workforce?

In a session called, Own Your Talent Pipeline through Workforce Innovation, moderator Autumn Russell (pictured on right) stressed the importance of employee retention in manufacturing. Autumn is executive director of MAGNET’s Early College Early Career (ECEC) Program.

With more than 3,000 available manufacturing jobs in Ohio alone, early workforce education and immersion is critical for today’s youth.

Panelist Geoff Lipnevicius , senior manager of workforce development at Lincoln Electric, heads up learning management. 

“With 100 to 200 employees retiring each year...we’re looking to populate interest among students in a manufacturing environment.”

MAGNET’s ECEC program helps Lincoln Electric do just that. Through a manufacturing pre-apprenticeship program, ECEC gives high school students the opportunity to receive hands-on, real-world training in a manufacturing setting.

Since participating in ECEC, Lipnevicius has worked with dozens of high school students, strengthening his talent pipeline in the process.

“Our students are latching onto manufacturing. How do I know that, you ask? We’ve had 12 students apply for full-time employment upon graduation.”

Like Lipnevicius, panelist Nick Klonowski, plant manager at Presrite Corporation, sought to bridge the manufacturing skills gap at his company. That’s why he implemented THORS eLearning Solutions online education for new hires.

“We want to provide people with the tools to know they made the right choice in choosing a career in manufacturing.”

Before implementing THORS eLearning Solutions, retentions levels for new employees were less than 20% on average. With more than 40% of the workforce now enrolled in THORS, Presrite Corporation has improved retention rates to 50%.

By taking control of the talent pipeline, manufacturers have the power to attract and retain their workforce, fostering innovation in the process. Are you ready to grow?

Network with Manufacturers in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio.

Join the MAGNET team for two upcoming manufacturing-focused events

Register for our annual State of Manufacturing event, featuring the most important trends affecting Northeast Ohio manufacturers. Or, join us for our Cyber Risk Executive Roundtable, Workshop & Panelaimed to arm manufacturers with the latest on cyber risk and readiness.

Categories: Events