Monday, March 30, 2009

The New Face of Manufacturing

Times are tough in manufacturing. Anyone even casually following the news lately knows a lot of companies are struggling. For companies in some of the hardest hit fields like the auto industry, business is drying up. But if there’s one thing I’ve seen, it’s that a good company will always pull through. Manufacturing companies rely on innovation to get through tough times, and now is no different.

A lot of smaller, contract-based manufacturing companies have found that diversifying the industries they work with is key to getting by and even possibly growing. To help them out, Tooling U recently sponsored Industry & Innovation: The New Face of Manufacturing to discuss how to do this effectively. This symposium in Cleveland, OH focused on moving into the energy, medical and aerospace industries. This conference was also a great opportunity for Tooling U to meet with manufacturers looking to continuously improve their businesses. TU’s Chad Schron, James Vickers, and I went to the event to meet with the wide variety of companies that are dealing with the challenges of diversifying.

Jack Schron, CEO of both Jergens Inc. and Tooling U, came to speak in two different sessions on March 17th regarding the importance of training a workforce to become a more flexible company. These “early bird” sessions drew nearly 200 people to hear Jack discuss the pros and cons of different training. Jack explained that the best option with training programs is a blended approach. Using theory-based training to back up hands-on practice helps people learn more quickly, and retain that knowledge on the shop floor. Having knowledgeable people in a company makes diversification a ready option in tough times.

Marketing Manager