Friday, March 25, 2016

Urban Agriculture: The Farming of Today

The American landscape is changing - literally. Streets once filled with beeping horns and the whirr
of passing cars can now be found empty, housing farm equipment. Vacant houses are now functioning as hoop houses. The popularity of Urban Agriculture, or Urban Farming, is growing in response to nearly 86% of consumers preferring LOCALLY grown food. On average, food travels about 1,500 miles to reach most major retailers, a stark contrast to years ago when food was grown close to where it was consumed. Slowly, we are reverting back to this trend.

Leading the Movement
The charge for Urban Agriculture is being led by the “consumer”, or the end user who is demanding fresh, local produce. But they aren’t the only ones! Support from local institutions such as hospitals, schools, and local retail outlets are requesting local goods.

Urban Agriculture in Detroit
The shift toward Urban Farming proves true in southeast Michigan. According to inhabitat.com, Detroit is ranked as the 5th Top Urban Farming City in the United States. In 2013, Detroit adopted its first urban agriculture zoning ordinance, which defined farm stands, greenhouses, hoop houses, urban farms, orchards and gardens. Consumers are clearly taking more pride and a greater interest in what they are eating and where it is coming from. Within the city of Detroit, more than 1,400 community gardens providing fresh produce to local outlets exist.

RecoveryPark Aims to Deliver
RecoveryPark, an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 2010, has set out to fill the demand of Detroit consumers. RecoveryPark intends to grow a “highly curated variety of vegetables, leafy greens and herbs” with a focus on supplying independent, chef-driven restaurants. Set within the city limits of Detroit, RecoveryPark plans to transform vacant land and help revitalize communities. They will utilize several agricultural techniques ranging from high tunnel and traditional greenhouses to soil-based growing systems and hydroponics. Restaurants seeking fresh, locally grown produce can have it delivered by members of the community. Quality jobs for those encountering barriers to traditional employment will also be a focus.

Urban Agriculture & MMTC
What does Henry Ford’s assembly line and Toyota’s efficiency practices have to do with growing produce? RecoveryPark’s Farm Manager sought out MMTC’s LEAN Manufacturing Champion to utilize LEAN principles throughout the development process and setup of the establishment itself. These guiding principles will help determine the most effective and efficient work methods on the farm. Regardless of your industry, MMTC has a program that can help. We literally have farm to fork solutions. Call MMTC today at 888.414.6682 and learn how we can become YOUR trusted advisor.


Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted 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 www.mmtc.org.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Boost Welding Profits with Improved Analytics

Now, more than ever before, the economy is experiencing a more competitive manufacturing
industry. Taking advantage of every opportunity is crucial in keeping up with and surpassing the competition. If your business is already an industry leader, continuous improvement is necessary to stay ahead of the pack.

Investing in Equipment
When thinking about investing in new welding equipment, there are some important things to consider.  The latest generation of welding equipment is designed with embedded capability of welding-data capturing and analytic software, which can help metal formers elevate their weld-shop quality and productivity to new heights. These new data and analytics packages allow real time identification of problems so the manufacturer can reduce costs, fine tune welder training, and prevent weld defects.

See An Example
The welding parameter monitoring capabilities of the newest Robotic MIG PSU has helped a leading TIER 1 automotive supplier improve their product quality consistency, which in turn has brought them to the top of the OEM Quality List.  It has also decreased the number of expensive destructive tests and laid the foundation for optimizing the preventive maintenance procedure, all while reducing the number of emergency equipment stoppages.

The latest issue of Metal Forming Magazine (March 2016) contains a useful article providing an overview and summarized highlights of the recent generation of welding equipment from major suppliers.

View It Here (Click on Image) 

This article is useful for welding engineers, welding managers and operational managers who are looking to stay competitive and further improve the welding operations quality consistency, productivity and overall cost efficiency.

MMTC can help. We offer consulting in the latest welding technology and software.  Call us at 888.414.6682 to help boost your bottom line with a needs assessment, troubleshoot issues, or plan for strategic expansions in your welding operations.


Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted 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 www.mmtc.org.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Selecting the Right Candidates and Attracting Them to Your Company


Selecting the Right Candidates and Attracting Them to Your Company
In last week’s blog entry, we provided recruiting tips for manufacturers. When you’re looking to identify top talent, getting your company’s pipeline rich with prospective employees is important… but that’s only half the battle.

After you’ve collected resumes, it’s time to successfully select and hire the right candidate for your business. With no crystal ball, managers must rely on a combination of structured hiring processes and instinct. Choosing the wrong candidate can be a costly mistake.

5 Applicant Screening Tips

Hundreds of candidates can emerge for a single job opening, but screening must be done quickly and effectively. Avoid making mistakes during the screening phase with the following steps:

  1. Scan the cover letter for typographical errors. Spelling, grammar and syntax mistakes could be an indication the candidate lacks attention to detail. Eliminate resumes with glaring mistakes.
  1. Take a closer look at the content of each cover letter and resume. What does that applicant have to offer? What is their “value proposition”? Most importantly, look for quantifiable achievements as they relate to your business.
  1. Review the resume for employment dates. Look for longevity at each job, as “job hopping” could be a hint of an underlying problem. Be aware of any gaps in employment which don’t provide an explanation.
  1. Look for candidates meeting educational and employment requirements.
  1. Once all of the possible candidates are identified, schedule a short phone interview prior to setting up a face-to-face interview.

Tips for Conducting the Interview Process

Most candidates can present well for an hour or two. As the interviewer, it is your job to get beyond that veneer and learn how the person will perform on the job. Assess the candidate’s fit with your corporate culture. Ask questions that will show if the candidate has the right skillset and demeanor. 

Incorporate managers and front line employees into the interviewing process. This group has firsthand knowledge of job demands and stressors. If a job requires technical competency, incorporate a test of practical knowledge. A test weeds out candidates that lack proficiency.

Branding Yourself as the Employer of Choice 

There’s nothing worse than identifying the perfect potential employee only to have him or her turn down the job offer. It’s critical for your company to improve and promote its brand image to attract the most desirable candidates:

  • Build a reputation for hiring and retaining only the hardest working and most motivated employees for each position. The word gets out.
  • Encourage a culture of innovation and debate. Employees must know their opinions and feedback are valued and acted upon. Emphasize this to potential workers.
  • Employers of choice walk the talk. They don’t just espouse virtues of being good citizens, they are socially responsible in their business practices.
  • Offer a desirable benefits package if economically feasible. It is important to understand what your target audience considers valuable.
  • Provide a clear path for advancement for potential new hires. Top performers are usually not content for very long at one level.

MMTC offers a variety of services including projects that will improve your workforce. For more information, click here to see a list of MMTC’s solutions or contact us at 888-414-6682 or inquiry@mmtc.org


Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted 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 www.mmtc.org.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Recruiting Tips for Michigan’s Manufacturers


Recruiting Tips for Michigan’s Manufacturers
Throughout the years, manufacturing jobs and technology have evolved. In order to be successful and sustain quality employees, recruiting efforts must also evolve with them. Manufacturing companies now require potential employees to have superior science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) capabilities.

Organizations also face the ongoing challenge of recruiting the best and most qualified employees to maintain growth and meet bottom line expectations. In this technologically advanced world, what are the best ways to attract and recruit well-equipped employees?

4 Common Recruiting Challenges  
The first step is identifying recruiting challenges before designing a recruitment plan. Typical recruiting challenges include:

  1. The best employees are usually employed elsewhere.
  2. The newspaper is no longer the only way people look for jobs.
  3. We need to improve the perception of manufacturing careers.
  4. There is a shortage of individuals with the required skills in the local labor pool.

Ideas to Improve your Efforts
Once all challenges are identified, short and long term recruiting strategies can be developed. Here are some suggestions:

  • Be an active member in the community. Sponsor events and support local business and not-for-profit organizations. These connections broaden your hiring network and create company awareness.
  • Recruit veterans! These men and women are trained and ready to work. They possess technical skills, problem solving skills and the discipline today’s manufacturing environment demands. Offer to hold a job fair or create a job placement service for local veterans.  
  • Always be recruiting. Do NOT wait until a position becomes vacant. Continual recruiting efforts ensure a pre-qualified list of candidates is at your disposal.
  • Develop relationships with local technical high schools and vocational schools with STEM programs. Check out this link to learn about STEM schools in Michigan.  
  • Partner with STEM schools to provide academic guidance and course curriculum development. This ensures the next generation will have skills required to be successful in your company.
  • Develop an internship and mentoring program. Your company will have a consistent pipeline of new employees already indoctrinated to your corporate culture.   
  • Partner with companies in your supply chain by sharing resumes. When all of their open positions are filled they may be willing to share your job openings with qualified recruits. Make other local manufacturers aware of your open positions.
  • The use of social media in recruiting is no longer optional. Potential new employees are tech savvy and immediately check the Internet to learn about your company. Take advantage of these platforms to promote open positions and recruit new talent.
  • Make sure your efforts provide results. Measure and monitor each hiring campaign. Not all efforts provide results. Abandon those techniques that are proven duds.

Your goal is to hire highly skilled employees in the most cost effective way possible! MMTC offers a variety of services including projects that will improve your workforce. For more information, click here to see a list of MMTC’s solutions or contact us at 888-414-6682 or inquiry@mmtc.org


Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted 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 www.mmtc.org.