Friday, April 21, 2017

Proud to Manufacture in Michigan?

Yes We Are!

By: Michael McGray

For decades, Michigan’s manufacturers have played a vital role in our state’s economic development. In 2012, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center) wanted to honor the diverse contributions of our state’s manufacturers by starting a Proud to Manufacture in Michigan (PTMIM) campaign. Participating manufacturers were invited to display a Proud to Manufacture poster in their facilities and received a complimentary profile page in a special directory. Due to the positive response to the campaign, the official Proud to Manufacture in Michigan program was launched soon after.

Today, with nearly 650 members, the PTMIM program has become a valuable resource for Michigan manufacturers to network with other companies that support or provide services to manufacturers. Besides the added exposure, PTMIM members can gain access to critical information that pertains to the manufacturing community including: cybersecurity preparedness, ISO standards, technology trends, lean principles and more. In every aspect, the goal is to continue to raise awareness of Michigan’s vibrant manufacturing community and the full range of products made in our state.

All members receive an official “Proud to Manufacture in Michigan” certificate and poster to display in their facilities and the program logo to exhibit on their websites. Through generous support of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, PTMIM membership and benefits are free.

PTMIM dedicates a section of its website to an online directory for manufacturers and their products. State manufacturers can sign up for free to get a company profile page where they can share their logo, description, contact information, company news and pictures or videos of their products. Both the general public and businesses looking for suppliers can use this helpful directory to research Michigan-made products and support our state’s economy. A special “Featured Manufacturer of the Week” is highlighted on the website and social media sites.

The LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter platforms allow followers to conveniently interact, ask questions and stay current with industry news. The PTMIM program recently launched a blog on its website to invite subscribers to support the objectives of the program by sharing their expertise and establishing themselves as subject matter experts.

PTMIM also partners with meaningful groups such as The Shop Rat Foundation—a non-profit organization whose mission is to ignite interest in manufacturing careers among youth. Plus, PTMIM advocates for volunteer opportunities such as mentoring. Initiatives like these help the next generation learn about the numerous manufacturing opportunities in Michigan.

Are You Proud to Manufacture in the Great Lakes State? 
Join Proud to Manufacture in Michigan today! Click here.

In other PTMIM news, The Center is pleased to host the following event in May:

Proud to Manufacture in Michigan “Makers Mingle”

In celebration of Michigan manufacturing, PTMIM members will attend an expert-led event focused on manufacturing resources, upcoming industry trends and requirements that may impact business. Special guest and member, Christie Wong Barrett from the Mac Arthur Corporation, will be among the speakers.

Friday, May 12, 2017
The Center
45501 Helm St.
Plymouth, MI

For more information, click here.

Meet Our Expert

Michael McGray
Information Systems Manager

Michael McGray is a founding member of Proud to Manufacture in Michigan and currently serves as its Program Director. He has more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry. Since 2011, Michael has been The Center’s Information Systems Manager. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Eastern Michigan University.

Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

Friday, April 14, 2017

Help Wanted: Millennial Manufacturers

How to Recruit Top Talent

By: Russ Mason

With its aging demographic, the U.S. manufacturing sector will have more than three million jobs available by 2025. According to Forbes, millennials are projected to make up 50% of the U.S. workforce by 2020. However, nearly two million of these positions will go unfilled—due to the existing skills gap and the prevailing perception about manufacturing careers. In order to tackle this pressing issue, manufacturers must identify millennials who can successfully work in manufacturing and ignite a desire in these young minds to work in the field.

The good news is that most millennials are willing to learn; they just need the interest, knowledge and opportunity to effectively engage in manufacturing duties. Here are three key ways for manufacturers to attract millennials:

Education – Many manufacturers have been utilizing multiple learning platforms, open online courses, training programs, and hands-on opportunities in order to lure talent with extensive technical skills. Companies also have been leveraging apprenticeships so participants can gain firsthand experience about the work life of a manufacturer. 

A recent program provided by the Hudson Valley Technology Development Center encouraged students from the State University of New York at New Paltz to intern at a manufacturing facility. The students were able to witness all aspects of manufacturing and gain additional technical skills through valuable real world training. The strategic partnership between the university and HVTDC has successfully filled numerous manufacturing positions—all with millennials. 

Recruitment – So, how did some of these manufacturing companies turn learning programs into internships which segued into full-time positions? Manufacturers must understand millennials, their values, needs and goals and consider them when they define and frame job opportunities. The typical millennial is interested in:

Working for a winning organization
Quality of life
Positive impact on society
Future growth, education and financial worth

Most millennials want an opportunity for personal development, the ability to make impactful decisions and work for a high-performing, collaborative company. Most importantly, they want to make a difference. Therefore, manufacturers must offer short-term and long-term opportunities for the millennial. This typically would include elements of capability development (education, training, and mentoring) coupled with a collaborative environment that encourages participation.

Because all manufacturers are in similar situations, they must offer something that differentiates themselves from others. Manufacturers must offer opportunities that specifically reflect what matters to millennials, e.g.:

Pride in their organization (vision, performance, culture, workplace)
Work that makes the most of their skills (current or future), and provides the resources, 
  information, authority and training necessary to perform at their best
Opportunity to work in teams, voice opinions and be recognized
Family work environment
Flexibility – clear instructions, concrete targets, but leave the where and how open to them

Improving the Image of Manufacturing – The hardest aspect of recruiting is perception. When millennials think of a career in manufacturing, the immediate image that comes to mind is one of hazard, dirt and hard labor. Manufacturing companies must actively strive to erase this image and replace it with one of innovation and accomplishment. Manufacturers can make the job position more attractive through the following efforts:

Be prepared to describe what a career with your manufacturing company can offer
Do a better job of telling your story
            - Raise the image of manufacturing by describing technology trends and innovation 
            - Ensure your brand, and your message, is one of a high-performing company that 
              has a clear vision, constructive culture and an effective leadership team
Be involved in the community
Improve the organization and cleanliness of your workplace

For those of us in the manufacturing space—we are all change agents. Do your part to help dispel myths. Raise awareness about career opportunities. Start a discussion about how state-of-the-art equipment has reinvented the typical work space. Together, we can bridge the manufacturing gap.

Meet Our Expert

Russ Mason
Lean Program Manager

Russ is a Lean Program Manager for The Center’s Business Solutions Team. His areas of expertise include: change leadership and management development, sales and operations planning, management operating systems and supply chain effectiveness. Russ has more than 18 years of broad-based consulting and 16 years of manufacturing experience in a variety of industries and functional levels. He has held senior level management positions in operations, materials, quality and more. To read Russ’s full bio, click here.

Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

Friday, April 7, 2017

Five Memorable Phrases to Sustain 5S

By: Chuck Werner

As a manufacturer, you should be keenly aware of the importance of 5S methodology for improving workplace performance through standardization. The ultimate goal of any 5S initiative is the successful implementation of the fifth step, SUSTAIN. To ensure this, it's critical that the actions in the first four steps (SORT through STANDARDIZE) are aligned with maintaining the gains.

Here are five quotations (one for each of the steps) to remember throughout the 5S process:


This timeless saying is attributed to the first parent who EVER had a child with homework. The important part here is for the team to do their homework about their designated area. This will help ensure that the purpose, mission and goals are clearly understood.

An effective first step paves the way for the entire activity to succeed. Without it, many mistakes likely will be made during the sorting process since necessary items will be removed, and items that are not maintained properly might be misused.


This phrase was first uttered by Paul Marcarelli in a Verizon commercial back in 2002. It’s a great reminder that setting up an area during a 5S event is an interactive process. In order for team members to be the most productive in their work environment, they need to be asked on a regular basis about what works best for them. Otherwise, the area will immediately begin to morph back into its original setup, since team needs were not taken into account.


A key point, and title of the 2006 book by Michael Cohen, this saying perfectly calls out one of the mistakes often made during the SHINE step in 5S. Quite often, the team is so busy removing the dirt, grime and other contaminants from the work area that they forget to identify the sources of them. Tool changes, equipment condition, maintenance activities, material drop off and pick up, and many other activities can contribute to the area falling below the standard. If these other sources of general disarray are not considered, the area teams will lose motivation quickly since they will see themselves as maids, not as area owners.


First used in training by the United States Navy in the 1960s, this phrase summarizes the key criteria needed to standardize during a 5S implementation. The most brilliant plan—if complex, time-consuming, and onerous—is doomed to failure before it even starts. Keep standards visual, expectations achievable and audits simple and timely.


This quote from the 1996 movie, “Jerry Maguire,” reminds us that people are more likely to buy into what they see as having value to them. As two of the main characters learn, there are some things that may not seem to have great worth in the beginning, but turn out to be of the utmost importance and value later. In the end, this idea is what sustaining is all about; helping the area teams achieve a level of workplace standardization that creates an environment that is safe and more enjoyable, a job that is made easier by the benefits of 5S and the level of ownership necessary to sustain it.

Your business needs 5S structure to perform at its peak. Future success can hang by a thread when required and established standards are not met and maintained. The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center) can help your manufacturing facility work more efficiently and drive growth. To gain a better understanding about our full range of consulting services, click here or email at

Meet Our Expert

Chuck Werner
Lean Program Manager and Six Sigma Master Black Belt

Chuck Werner has 27 years of experience in manufacturing, most of it as a Tier I automotive supplier. He achieved his certification as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt in 1996 and his Master Black Belt certification in 2011. Additionally, Chuck is a certified ISO/QS9000 Lead Assessor, Training Within Industry (TWI) Master Trainer and is certified in OSHA Compliance and Accident Reduction. To read his full bio, click here.

Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at