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Showing posts from May, 2016

Outsourcing Metal Stamping Dies

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Many contract stamping manufacturers have the ability to build their own stamping dies onsite, in their own tool room. On occasion it may become necessary to buy tooling from an outside source. This is commonly referred to as outsourcing.

Outsourcing may be the required due to excessively high workloads in the tool room or short delivery requirements from the customer. For some companies, outsourcing may be part of an emerging or existing business strategy.  Sometimes, it is simply be a better economic choice.

When considering to outsource any tooling, either domestically or internationally, you should first conduct a “make-or-buy” study first. A high-quality make-or-buy study ought to include a thorough evaluation of the following:

Design and Engineering Capability: Does the project require you to have die designers and engineers on staff with varied experiences? Does the project require unique processes engineering skills that your company does not possess? Does your engineering dep…

The Skills Gap, Efficiency, and the Industrial Internet of Things

Did you know that 91% of Millennials plan to stay in a job for less than three years before moving on? Imagine your own business’s turnover rate if every new employee you hire will only be there for a maximum of three years. Add that to the baby boomer retirement rate of nearly 10,000 people leaving the workforce each day in the US, and that is a lot of holes to fill. Those are some intimidating stats!

All that considered, let’s think beyond the skills gap for a moment. How does this turnover rate favored by Millennials affect your business as an operation? We asked ourselves this question and the first thing that came to mind was: “inefficiency.”

When you consider the amount of work and time that goes into each new hire, from the hiring process itself to training to probationary periods and more, not only are resources constantly redirected from the shop floor to the training room, but the risk of error rises, too. How can you prevent the same mistakes from being made by each cycle o…

Collaborative Learning: What Is It and How Do We Use It?

We all know about the skills gap and our industry’s concerns for the future of manufacturing. According to research from Deloitte, nearly 3.5 million skilled jobs will need to be filled in the next decade, and the skills gap is predicted to result in over 2 million of those jobs remaining vacant. One of the many proposed adjustments is the integration of collaborative learning.

What is collaborative learning?

Whenever someone is learning a skill, process, or system outside of the typical instructor/trainee scenario, that is collaborative learning in its broadest sense. Hands-on experience, mentorships, online tutorials, message boards, and any other kind of interactive learning outside of a classroom lecture environment is considered collaborative.

Why is this model so important to manufacturing?

There are many reasons why collaborative learning is critical to the future of manufacturing. First, this type of engagement will allow the highly-skilled generation that will soon be retiring …

The Relationship Pendulum Swings between Procurement and Sales

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Traditionally speaking, procurement and sales have been ‘uneasy bedfellows.’ We each represent our organization through an important interaction that may or may not result in an ongoing relationship. Even if a deal is struck, there is likely to be a change in the point of contact on one or both sides. Procurement may hand off to budget holders within the business and sales may hand off to technical or account managers.

And yet, for the duration of the sourcing/sales/negotiation processes, procurement and sales bear the majority of the responsibility for exploring the potential benefit of helping their organizations work together on an ongoing basis.

Over time, the nature of these processes, and the relationships that result from them, have changed significantly. One of the most meaningful changes has been the perception of the relationship between procurement and sales. Unlike the curve we typically associate with maturity or evolution, the changes have come in the form of a pendulum…

The Future of Manufacturing and How to Be Ready, Part III

For the past few weeks, we’ve worked through the definition of smart manufacturing, its potential to radically change our industry, and common traits of manufacturers who are ready to adopt smarter systems. This week, we’ll discuss Larry Korak’s 5 steps for starting your expedition into the world of Industry 4.0.

As we said before, there is no conclusive checklist of tools that must be incorporated in order for one’s company to be considered a smart manufacturer. Some companies will need to deploy many forms of new tech while others will be able to use only two or three disruptive technologies to maintain a strong market position. With  that in mind, here are Korak’s suggested stepping stones to get involved in the world of smart manufacturing, however you choose to jump in:

Develop a basic strategy and set clear goals. Think about your business and what you want to achieve. Not only that, think about why you want to achieve those particular goals. Be specific and realistic so that the…

For More and More Millennials, an Apprenticeship is a Surer Thing Than a College Degree

If you had to choose between job-prep that costs thousands of dollars and could leave you with no clear career path or job-prep that pays you a wage to learn high-demand skills, which would you pick? When you put it that way, most people would opt for the latter, and data is showing that more and more millennials agree. As Labor Secretary Thomas Perez says, apprenticeships are “the other college, except without the debt.”

Apprenticeships are typically a combination of classroom instruction at a trade school or community college and hands-on instruction from mentors. Since apprentices earn a wage for their work  and tuition is typically covered by a grant or the employer, many young people are finding that this really is a better alternative to a college degree. Millennials who have finished their apprenticeships are even finding that their new skills are so marketable that the average starting salary is $50,000.

So what does this mean for the skills gap and the future of manufacturing…

The Future of Manufacturing and How to Be Ready, Part II

Last week, we defined smart manufacturing and discussed its potential to radically change our industry. It got us wondering: what exactly would a company that is ready to take on the 4th Industrial Revolution look like?

Lucky for us (and for you), an excellent article by Larry Korak was published in Industry Week recently that discussed just that. Here some highlights from his list:

Common Traits of “Future-Ready” Manufacturers
An innovative mindset. If your company already supports out-of-the-box thinking and    encourages team members to contribute, you are ready to try news systems that are agile and flexible, allowing for easier rearrangements to the status quo when someone spots a better way to meet a goal.A desire for up-to-date stats. With new tech, especially the Internet of Things, real-time data communicated between systems is becoming a reality on the shop floor, in the sales rooms, and more. If you already work with the most current data possible when making decisions, you …