MMS Blog

Smarts are hiding in plain sight, said Norbert Hanke, president of Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence Division, at the organization’s annual HxGN Live Conference in Las Vegas June 11-14. In fact, he claimed 90 % of collected data goes unused.

In that unused data lies massive opportunity, he continued. The ultimate aim of leveraging data is to use information from interconnected assets to improve processes at any phase of product development. Traditional barriers, like the ones between design and engineering, begin to break. Quality control becomes not just a means of validating parts and processes, but also a means of driving productivity.

News of Note: July 2019

Vocademy’s Maker Skills Academy (MSA) is a hands-on skills program that covers vocational, career and soft skills training. The six-month program is open to anyone 16 and older with no prerequisites, transcripts or GPA requirements. The first 10-student MSA team starts July 2019, and enrollment is currently open.

The academy states that this program is ideal for students seeking an alternative to college, a learning program to explore maker skills, an effective pre-engineering program before entering university or a set of job skills that will “make their STEM or maker careers future-proof.” Read more.

By: Wayne Chaneski 7/9/2019

The Motivated Workforce

A motivated workforce operates so effectively that things just get done. These employees have the desire, willingness and energy to produce at a high level without needing to be told what to do, how to do it, who should do what, when it needs to be done or what the end result should be. Organizations lucky enough to have a motivated workforce can do some pretty spectacular things time and time again.

There are two schools of thought on how to establish a motivated workforce. One is that you hire only motivated people. The other is that you can, and must, motivate employees. Both approaches make sense, and both present challenges for organizational leadership.

The Gardner Business Index (GBI): Metalworking registered 51.8 in June, signaling marginally greater business activity compared to the prior month. Index readings above 50 indicate expanding activity while values below 50 indicate contracting activity. The Index is calculated as an average of its components. Gardner Intelligence’s review of these underlying components observed that the Index was supported by expanding activity in production, supplier deliveries and employment. The reading for new orders registered slightly below the average of the components. The Index was pulled down by the ongoing contraction in exports and backlogs.

Data collected in June extended many of the trends observed in the data over the last six to 12 months. Supplier deliveries in 2019 have continued to closely track with production activity readings. This comes after supplier deliveries expanded far faster than any other component during the second half of 2018, as manufacturers rushed to fill new orders. Similar readings for both the supplier deliveries and production components in 2019 suggest that manufacturers have astutely moderated their inventory levels, thereby preventing a glut of inventory.

According to published reports, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is now spending billions of dollars annually on machined parts, a huge increase in recent years as all three branches of the armed services retool after sequestration budget constraints were lifted. In October 2018, a DOD news release noted that new suppliers to the defense industry are badly needed to maintain the country’s military readiness. It is likely that many of the machined parts DoD contractors need are similar to those that shops are already making or have the capability and capacity to make.

If you are interested in exploring this opportunity (and this seems an excellent time to do so), here are eight initial steps you should consider taking, as suggested to me by shops serving this industry. The main takeaway is that shops must first do their homework.

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