Friday, December 7, 2012

Manufacturing Tips: The Value of Collaboration

Manufacturing Tips: The Value of Collaboration

If there’s one thing to be learned from the impending zombie apocalypse (think Walking Dead), it’s the need for someone to have your back. You can be strong, resilient, and powerful, but at some point - you need to sleep. That’s when you want to know that someone is looking out for you.

In manufacturing, there’s no time for snoozing, but sometimes it helps to have another set of eyes to reveal opportunities or an extra set of hands to accelerate improvements. By tapping into outside resources, manufacturers can benefit from the expertise of others to, improve efficiencies, increase production, and support growth. Typical assistance can be for things as basic as regulatory and compliance issues, operational improvements and workforce development initiatives. They can also be as significant as succession or financial planning, new product development, and business expansion.

Studies show that organizations improve with the assistance of industry associations, consulting firms and state manufacturing associations. According to the Next Generation Manufacturing (NGM) Study, 824 manufacturers were asked about the outside resources they have used and if they have positively impacted their organizations:

2011
Industry Association
57.8%
State manufacturing associations (including MEPs)
56.1%
Consulting firms
54.3%
Universities/colleges
41.2%
National manufacturing associations
24.2%
Local/municipal manufacturing associations
24.1%
Other
10.0%
No positive impact
5.0%

Over half of the manufacturers surveyed in the NGM Survey have utilized and benefitted from state manufacturing associations across the nation. The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, or MEP, works with small and mid-sized manufacturers in the US. MEP helps manufacturers create jobs, increase profits and save time and money.  MEP field staff is located in every state across the country and are focused on solving manufacturers’ challenges and identifying opportunities for growth.

Michigan has a wealth of support for manufacturers. As part of the MEP network, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) is mandated to provide Michigan’s small and medium sized manufacturers with operational assessments, process improvement training, mentoring services, website technical assistance and market diversification tactics. Because our desire is to help improve manufacturing, we stand ready to do much more.

MMTC is committed to help manufacturers innovate and transfer our industry knowledge to our clients. We’re always adding to our suite of services, either creating new tools, new delivery methods, or partnering with many of the great organizations across the state. Our list of partners include our community colleges, economic development agencies, Michigan Works!, the Small Business & Technology Development Centers (SBTDC), the Michigan Economic Development Center (MEDC), and Business Accelerator Services like Ann Arbor Spark.

No one person, company or organization can do it alone, but together; we can improve our processes, strengthen our economy, and change the future for the next generation. Zombies aren’t real, at least not yet, but the challenges are. In Michigan, manufacturers have options. Let’s collaborate!

For more information on the manufacturing services offered to small and mid-sized companies in the state of Michigan, our partners and regional offices, click here.



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