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Posts Tagged ‘manufacturing innovation’
Manufacturing leaders from the greater Chicago area, in addition to Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, IMEC President David Boulay, and representatives from the City of Chicago and state commerce department gathered for a duo of manufacturing-focused events last week.
The group first met at PortionPac Corporation in Chicago for discussion and a tour of the sustainable company that manufactures pre-measured packs of highly concentrated cleaning products for use in a variety of industries, including school districts and correctional facilities. “The last decade for manufacturing has been about diversification and the ability to develop a focus in niche markets in order to continue growing,” said Burt Klein, President for PortionPac. During the visit, Klein also spoke to the city’s investment in the manufacturing sector and how building a strong workforce, transportation can lead to a strengthened climate.
Through a city initiative, Chicago Sustainable Industries, there has been an increased awareness about manufacturing and its importance to the strength of the community. “Manufacturing jobs play an anchoring role in a community,” Director Gallagher stated. “It’s great to see the combined efforts of the public and private sectors working together to strengthen that role.”
Following the facility tour and discussion, the group met at the Transco Products downtown headquarters, where they engaged in discussion around the direction of future trends in technology, workforce and the need to campaign for a brighter image of the industry. “If manufacturing has a bad image, it affects the desire of youth and adults alike to educate themselves and pursue a career in industry,” said Gallagher. Talk continued around the need to promote manufacturing nationally, regionally and locally, including initiatives manufacturers can take to reach out in their communities.
Before I share my three reasons let’s define innovation and give a couple statistics from the Next Generation Manufacturing Study. Here’s the study’s definition of innovation: Develop, make, and market new products and services that meet customers’ needs at a pace faster than the competition. According to the 2011 study, 57% of small to mid-sized manufacturers rated the importance of innovation as highly important for their success over the next five years. Of those same manufacturers, only 12% felt they were world-class (where they needed to be) when it comes to innovation. Clearly, manufacturers know they need to innovate, but many of them seem unsure of the best way to do it.
How today’s manufacturers are positioned to develop new products and services that meet customers’ needs faster than the competition.
The NGM Study found that four out of five manufacturers recognize the importance of customer-focused innovation. For world class innovation, however, manufacturers need to do more than recognize its importance. One area of focus was the innovation strategies and practices currently implemented by American manufacturers.
Overall, manufacturers reported their progress toward world-class customer-focused innovation has remained largely unchanged from 2009. Most manufacturers are succeeding in identifying talent and implementing talent-development strategies, but other areas of their innovation strategy need improvement.