Archives for the ‘Leadership’ Category

The Little Things that Matter at Work: The Inspiration of Positive Psychology

Written by Maria Moran, IMEC Regional Manager

Given the constant change and challenges we face as leaders, some foundations are so solid that they are truisms. Yet, sometimes we deserve a few reminders.

A Fresh LookPositive Psychology

Survival of the fittest instincts run through us all. We are wired to look for the negative in an effort to protect ourselves. What if we created a culture that trained teams to recognize the positive first? Would solutions be created more efficiently? What if you created a vibrant business by changing the lens that your business is viewed through by its employees?

Cybersecurity – It’s Just One Piece of a Comprehensive Information Security Program

By John Remsey, IMEC Senior Technical Specialist

Cybersecurity has become a hot topic within manufacturing over the past months, especially for the Defense supply chain with the federal government increasing their emphasis on addressing threats to the security of information.  In December 2015, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) released a rule to the Defense Acquisition Federal Regulation Supplement (DAFRS) that requires government contractors to implement the requirements of National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171 by December 31, 2017.  With this deadline fast approaching, conversation, and urgency, to become compliant is increasing.

Bringing Diversity to Manufacturing

Written by Melissa Basa, IMEC Regional Manager

With more than 500,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs in the United States in recent years, much has been hypothesized and written about the cause(s). If we consider the words of Warren Buffet, who in 2013 told Fortune Magazine that America has built our prosperity using only 50%Diversity of our talent and left an entire gender out of the equation for most of our history, we see that a solution is very much within our reach.  But balancing the gender equation and bringing more women into manufacturing doesn’t require the same approach as increasing the ranks of men.  Let’s look at an example (or three) from my Alma Mater.

In 2016, Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering was the first US national research university to graduate an undergraduate class of engineers that was more than 50% female.  Compare this to the national average that has yet to break 20%.  But gender parity didn’t happen for Thayer overnight and it certainly didn’t happen without intentional cultural changes.  I believe Thayer’s successes could be those of America’s shop floors as well.

Going Beyond Customer Satisfaction: Measuring Customer Loyalty

Written by Steve Schiera, IMEC Regional Manager

Net Promoter Score (NPS) can be a valuable tool for measuring customer satisfaction, increasing customer lifetime value and reducing customer turnover. The happier your customers are the more referrals you will get and the more successful and profitable your business will be.

Because loyalty is so important to profitable growth, measuring and managing it makes good sense.  The saying “What gets measured gets done” is extremely relevant with customer satisfaction.  Many organizations have no method to obtain this critical information and many existing customer survey approaches have not proven to be very effective. Their complexity makes it difficult to get responses from your customers and they often generate flawed results.

By substituting a single question for the complex black box of the typical customer satisfaction survey, companies can actually put results to use and focus on the task of stimulating growth.

When Engaged Employees Prosper, Businesses Succeed

How do you use employee engagement to retain key employees?

Written by Ashley Beaudoin, IMEC Technical Specialist and HR Specialist

As manufacturing advances, companies report sizable skill gaps. The need for a qualified skill set is essential for success.  In order to keep a business growing, qualified candidates need to surface while key employees are retained.employee engagement

Leaders are familiar with the basic understanding of employee engagement. However, do they know just how engagement affects the workforce?

Aneesa Muthana, President and Owner of Pioneer Service Inc., elected to the IMEC Board of Directors

Pioneer ServiceAneesa Muthana is a hands-on leader with experience in almost every aspect of manufacturing in a production machining and grinding environment. In 1993, Aneesa took the helm of a small struggling motor-shaft manufacturing company and grew a stable business employing up to 50 people full-time. Her determination and passion drove her to learn and provide the leadership necessary to grow the company substantially over the next twenty years. In 2013, understanding a change in the economic landscape due to off-shoring, she began the process of transforming her company from the business of making motor-shafts to the business of making complex Swiss CNC machined parts for automotive, medical,  motion control and other industries. To generate this transformation, she tackled improvements in the organization’s manufacturing information system (ERP), marketing and extensive employee re-training and hiring of diverse talent, taking full advantage of federal, state and local programs to help finance the changes.

How Can We Make Our Strategic Planning More Efficient and Effective?

Written by Steve Barnhart, IMEC Technical Specialist

There really is no secret sauce to conducting an effective strategic planning process. You need to develop a strategy and you have to execute on that strategy. The hard work is the creative exercise of building the vision and bringing it to life with processes and measurable results. Here are a set of questions to help you think through developing your strategy and implementing your strategy. How many of these questions can you answer clearly? And, how many of them can you answer with evidence (proof and results)?

Tri-State Manufacturing Conference Focuses on Manufacturing Success

manufacturing conference

The first Tri-State Manufacturing Conference for Illinois, Iowa and Missouri will take place March 15 to help companies of all sizes learn more about emerging trends in the new era of manufacturing.

The event will take place at John Wood Community College in Quincy, Illinois, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Key educational, business and economic development partners from three states have joined forces to create the conference to help regional manufacturers develop employees, processes and technology to grow business and expand into new markets.

Make Strategic Planning An Engine For Growth And Improvement

Written by Ryan Langdon, IMEC Regional Manager

Langdon_Ryan_LowRes_ColorIf you are wondering how another year has seemed to slip by so quickly, don’t worry, you are not alone. If you are worried that you have gotten off to a late start setting goals and direction for your organization; you are not alone there either. Most organizations delay planning and goal setting due to the unavailability of perfect data, lacking a structure to get planning accomplished, or just hate the painful process of creating a perfect plan that ultimately gathers dust on the shelf until the next year. Although strategic planning may not be something you look forward to, it can be a transformative process that brings the organization together and accelerates growth and improvement initiatives. I have accumulated a few tips and tricks over the years that may make your planning a little less painful. Or at the least, you may find a pointer or two that helps you think outside your planning box.

How do your leaders drive Performance Excellence?

So you think you are ready to pursue a Baldrige award?

Your organization leaders may start reviewing the criteria for achieving an award and see that it is quite overwhelming. This article is written to give you some insight into one very important piece of the criteria – Leadership and creating a successful organization.

The Leadership category asks HOW SENIOR LEADERS’ personal actions guide and sustain their organization. It also asks about their organization’s GOVERNANCE system and HOW their organization fulfills its legal, ethical, and societal responsibilities. This is all about continuous improvement for your enterprise.

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