Archives for the ‘Strategy’ Category

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.

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.

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)?

Linguistic and Cultural Barriers in Manufacturing: Understanding the Language of the Workforce

Written by Emilia Linardakis, Managing Partner – Language Advisors Network Group

language advisorsManufacturing is one of the most lucrative industries in the U.S. and there are about 251,857 manufacturing firms currently in the United States. Due to migration patterns, language and cultural diversity are becoming a theme in the majority of the workplaces. The manufacturing industry is one of the most diversified sectors of economy with a vast number of immigrant workers. 12% or 23.8 million immigrants work in the manufacturing industry. These workers have either no knowledge or very limited proficiency in English. The number of non-English speakers in the US has grown considerably in the last few years due to the influx of immigration levels that continue to increase drastically based on the Census Bureau. Foreign-born workforce is becoming a vital part of the US economy, especially in the manufacturing sector. National Census data shows that there are nearly 64.7 million U.S. residents who speak a language other than English at home; that makes about 21.5% of the total U.S. population. Approximately 46% of immigrant workers are considered limited English proficiency (LEP). Over the last two decades the types of jobs available for workers with limited English proficiency have changed. Many U.S. manufacturing jobs that used to be performed from LEP employees have now been outsourced.

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.

Show me your standards for enterprise excellence

What standards do you use to ensure your organization is functioning effectively?

Written by David Boulay, Ph.D.

Compass for ExcellenceWe are reliant on standards in every way. We assume that we are adding a full gallon of gasoline as we fill up at the pump. We assume that we get the right amount of our favorite meats and cheeses when we ask for a pound at the deli counter. And, we plan to start meetings on time because we asked the team to arrive at the same time. Much of our lives rely on measurement and standards. Yet, we often take those standards for granted.

What about leading your organization? What standards do you use to ensure your organization is functioning effectively? Or, are you taking it for granted that you even have a standard?

80/20 Treasures

From the treasure chest of the 80/20 Experts – Submitted by Peter Philippi of Strategex

80/20 strategyYou’ve heard of 80/20, right? Do you believe the principle? Do you know the problems it reveals? Do you have an understanding of the opportunities it creates?

First, the principle: 20% of the input generates 80% of the output; 20% of activity generates 80% of the results; typically 20% of customers generate 80% of the revenues; 20% of your products generate 80% of the revenues; 20% of your employees create 80% of your HR problems…and on and on it goes.

Retirement through Employee Ownership: The Select Machine Story

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Contributed by Project Equity, an IMEC partner

Like many business owners nearing retirement age, when it came time for Select Machine owners Doug Beavers and Bill Sagaser to think about stepping away from the company, they investigated a range of options. They ultimately decided that selling their business to their employees was the option that best met their retirement goals of keeping their company healthy and profitable, and keeping their trusted employees in their jobs.

Select Machine, founded in 1994, manufactures and sells custom parts for demolition and construction equipment. When founders Beavers and Sagaser decided that the time had come to retire, they were confronted with a difficult choice. Their children weren’t interested in taking over the company, and prospective buyers planned to dismantle the company and lay off its workers, preserving only the company’s client list. Sagasar said of their employees, “These are our guys, our family, and we wanted them to keep on working.”

TMA Executive Leadership Institute gears up for 2015 series

Precision Engineered for the Manufacturing Executive

PREPARE FOR YOUR COMPANY’S FUTUREExecutive Leadership Institute

The TMA’s Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) is designed to enhance the knowledge, skills, and abilities of “Next Generation” leaders who anticipate taking on top level leadership roles in their organization.

The learning environment includes classroom lecture and discussion, small-group exercises, a 360° Feedback component, self-assessments, a capstone project, plus coaching.

Survey: Financing Conditions for Manufacturers

Chicago Manufacturing Finance Survey

World Business Chicago (“WBC”), Local Industrial Retention Initiative Councils (“LIRIs”), and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (“IMEC”) are studying financing conditions for small and medium sized manufacturers in Northern Illinois. The Chicago Manufacturing Finance Survey is now open online!

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