June, 2012

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Assembly Services And Packaging
Atlas Manufacturing Co
Banner Engineering Corp
Bethany Press International
Bose Corporation ESG
Braemar Inc
Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology
CDI - Crystal Distribution Inc.
Chart Industries Inc
Connie Ginsbach
DRI-STEEM Corporation
E & O Tool & Plastics Inc
Eaton Corporation
Employment Action Center
Flex Craft
Greg Hanvelt
H & B Elevators
Horton Inc
John Pollock
Johnstech Inc
Kelby Ergo Design
Kraus-Anderson Insurance
Lake Air Metal Products
Lexington Brainerd
Medtronic Cardiovascular
Midwest Rubber Service & Supply
MnTAP
North Anoka Control Systems
Nystrom Inc
Plymouth Industries
Precision Inc
Precision Punch & Plastics
ProMed Molded Products Inc.
Quality Ingredients Corporation
Remmele Engineering Inc
Ritchie Engineering
RMS Co
Robinson Rubber Products Company
Sifco Minneapolis
Star Exhibits & Environments
Tennant Company
Tim Kvidera
Tony Rea
TSI Incorporated
UMC Inc
Uponor
Virtus Law, Pllc
VisionOne Coaching & Consulting
Visions
Visuel LLC
Zero Zone Refrigeration


Who do you know?
The Manufacturers Alliance is looking to hire a full-time Training Coordinator. The primary focus of the Training Coordinator is corresponding with training contractors and customers to confirm details of the training; account management and pursuing growth activities. Learn More

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February 7th 2023 09:00 am
- The Role of the Leader Online

February 8th 2023 08:00 am
- Creating Process Maps

February 9th 2023 08:00 am
- Sustaining Lean Culture Through Leadership Changes

February 14th 2023 09:00 am
- Learning to Solve Problems Supervision Fundamentals Certification

February 15th 2023 09:00 am
- The Role of the Leader

February 16th 2023 08:00 am
- Conflict, Communication and Collaboration

February 21st 2023 08:00 am
- Learning to Solve Problems 6 Sigma Green Belt Certification

February 21st 2023 09:00 am
- Leadership Style & Versatility Online

February 22nd 2023 08:00 am
- Root Cause Analysis

February 22nd 2023 09:00 am
- Learning to Solve Problems Supervision Fundamentals Certification

Other Announcements


Career Innovation 2012
Discover. Develop. Launch. In partnership with CareerBuilder, University of Phoenix brings Career Innovation 2012, a 13-city career event series, to the Minneapolis Hilton on October 9th. Employers have the opportunity to meet face to face with candidates. The event is open to University of Phoenix Students and Alumni, CareerBuilder constituencies and the community and typically has over 1000 registered attendees. This Career Fair is complimentary for all employers participating. To register or to learn more contact Sean Snow at Sean.Snow@phoenix.edu

Article Index

Powder Metal Manufacturing: Fastest Growing Arm of Metal Production
Article by: Justin Dorsey

FMS (www.fmscorporation.com) is the only Powder Manufacturer in Minnesota, and it’s been here a long time.  FMS began life in 1946 as a manufacturer of insulated glass supports for the then burgeoning neon sign industry. 


Lean Champion of the Month: Kim Morales
Article by: Kim Morales

Kim Morales is the Accounting Manager and Lean Champion for the Manufacturers Alliance The Association offers practical peer to peer education and resources and prides itself on practicing what it preaches - Continuous Improvement.


Book Review: Lean Safety*
Article by: John Hehre

What if you could reduce your workers’ compensation insurance costs, teach more people about Lean Management and end up with a safer and more effective workplace all at the same time? Many safety programs are compliance based in response to regulations issued and enforced by OSHA.


Manufacturers Still Likely To Hire in 2012
Article by: Manufacturers Alliance

Participants in the 2012 Manufacturers Alliance Compensation and Benefits Survey reported positions they were likely to hire in 2012.


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Powder Metal Manufacturing: Fastest Growing Arm of Metal Production

FMS (www.fmscorporation.com) is the only Powder Manufacturer in Minnesota, and it’s been here a long time.  FMS began life in 1946 as a manufacturer of insulated glass supports for the then burgeoning neon sign industry. 

As technologies evolved, so did FMS.  Building on its know-how with molten glass, it adjusted to the changing times to venture into the field of Powder Metal manufacturing.    Its first major foray was to provide 3M with Powder Metal components for its then state-of-the-art copier business.  At the height of that business, FMS was making 200+ components for copiers.   With the advent of plain-paper copying, 3M made the strategic decision to get out of that business.  But for FMS, it was clear that Powder Metal had a myriad of other applications, and it continued to evolve.  Today FMS is a third-generation privately-owned manufacturer headed by the founder’s grandsons, John Sweet and his two brothers, Greg and Mike.

What exactly is Powder Metal manufacturing?  What it is not: casting, forging, machining or stamping.  Those are the “big four” types of metal production.  While Powder Metal might be the smallest of the five forms of metal production, it is the fastest growing.  That is due to its substantial benefits relative to the big four – held back only by historically low tensile strength.  But that is changing rapidly.  Today, Powder Metal manufacturing can achieve tensile strengths of over 200,000 p.s.i. – matching and even surpassing many wrought steels.   On top of that, Powder Metal results in tighter tolerances than casting, and unlike machining requires only one stroke (known as net-shape-process), offers three-dimensional advantages over stamping, and tighter tolerances than forging. 

Powder Metal manufacturing is the process by which a base metal or alloy (alone or in combination with additional alloying elements) are combined with a powdered lubricant whose purpose is to hold its shape as the powder is pressed into a die.  Once the Powdered Metal is ejected from the die, it is in a “green” state – and then passed via conveyor belt though a “sintering” furnace.  During the sintering process, the part is heated to a temperature below the melting point of the base alloy(s), but hot enough to cause metallurgical bonding of the metal particles.  The result is amazingly smooth and refined – and for most applications requires no additional polishing or deburring.  Moreover, there is almost no waste in the process.  

The only major drawback to the Powder Metal process is that it traditionally has a higher porosity than molten metals.  But even this can be a strength.  One of Powder Metal’s first broad-market application was as an “oil less” bearing in the 1930’s/1940’s.  In that application, bronze Powder Metal was infused with oil which lubricated the housing when spun and then receded back into the Powder Metal part when at rest. 

Notwithstanding all of its successes, FMS also has its share of manufacturing issues. As with all manufacturers, FMS struggles with the incessant headache of bottlenecks.  Today, FMS’ bottleneck is its sintering ovens whose conveyor belts can only move so fast.  For help, FMS has turned to the Manufacturers Alliance.  As John Sweet says, “The MA’s qualifications and applications are second to none.  What appeals to us about the Manufacturers Alliance is that they provide practical solutions to technical problems.”  The result:  the furnaces at FMS are part of a current in-house A3 project.

When asked what he is proudest of about FMS, John says, “We’re a ‘very small’ Powder Metal player but the creativity and commitment of our people have allowed us to garner out-sized recognition amongst our peers and trade associations – and have gained us entry as a supplier to truly ‘world-class’ manufacturers.   In practical terms, that has resulted in nearly double digit sales growth for each of the last 20 years.  Our niche is to produce parts in the range of 1,000-100,000 and I truly believe that that market is nearly limitless for our kind of quality and on-time delivery.” 

Justin Dorsey, Director of Sales & Marketing, Advanced Capital Group located at 50 South Sixth Street, #975 Minneapolis, MN 55402. call (612) 230-3009, email jdorsey@acgbiz.com, or visit www.acgbiz.com.

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Lean Champion of the Month: Kim Morales

Kim Morales is the Accounting Manager and Lean Champion for the Manufacturers Alliance The Association offers practical peer to peer education and resources and prides itself on practicing what it preaches - Continuous Improvement.

Where did you receive your Lean training/experience? 
All of the continuous improvement training I have received to date has been obtained through Manufacturers Alliance workshops, attending Leaders Alliance peer groups and on-the-job experience. Every MA employee performance development plan and review has a requirement to attend ongoing training throughout the year.  Since I was hired as the Accounting Manager, I have obtained both the Lean Office certification and Lean Leader certification. I am also a member of the Leaders Alliance Business Process Improvement group. Through those monthly meetings and benchmarking tours, I continue to expand my knowledge of how other companies implement and sustain continuous improvement.

How, when, and why did you get introduced to lean and what fuels the passion?
Considering that 5 years ago I considered the word “lean” a good cut of meat or something you obtained by strenuous exercise, I certainly had a lot to learn. I started taking some of the many workshops that we offer, and discovered I had more experience in “Lean” than I previously thought. I have always been one to look for a more efficient way to complete tasks, and continuous improvement methods and tools helped solidified the skills I already had.  It is exciting when you can look at a process that is causing you pain and work with your team to reduce the steps and improve the process to eliminate or at least reduce the pain. I hope I never stop asking “why” when I see someone struggling with a process.  It always leads to an improvement.

What are your current Lean oriented activities?
We are developing and implementing an onboarding process that includes continuous improvement as a part of how we operate as a company. We want to be ready to make the onboarding experience an excellent start for all involved parties and have it help reinforce our company culture. 

We are also running a themed staff competition (great idea from a member) to increase our monthly Continuous Improvement implementation submittals, which keeps us motivated and focused. Not to mention it makes it fun!

What were the lessons learned from leading your team on a Lean project?
Patience and focus. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new project, which can lead to frustration and lack of motivation when it does not move forward as quickly as you had originally hoped. Due to the size of our staff, we do not have the capability to hold “Kaizen Events” in the classic week-long sense. We have to take small steps, bite off manageable tasks and stay focused over a longer period of time.

What are the next steps in the Lean journey for your company?
As the Accounting Manager and Lean Champion for the Manufacturers Alliance, I am now working with our IT staff to bring the capability for “online payments” to our members.  The credit card portion will be complete in the near future, and then we will move towards accepting other types of payments online i.e. ACH, electronic checks, etc.

How would you describe peer-to-peer education & training to your colleague?
When attending my monthly Leaders Alliance meeting or a Manufacturers Alliance workshop, there has never been a time that I have not gleaned at least one good idea to bring back to my office and use right away. I do not like “reinventing a wheel” that someone else has already designed, and learning from other’s experiences and sharing their lessons learned as part of peer-to-peer training saves time and effort.

Kim Morales is the Accounting Manager and Lean Champion for the Manufacturers Alliance located in Golden Valley, MN. She may be reached at 763-533-8239 or kimm@mfrall.com

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Book Review: Lean Safety*

What if you could reduce your workers’ compensation insurance costs, teach more people about Lean Management and end up with a safer and more effective workplace all at the same time? Many safety programs are compliance based in response to regulations issued and enforced by OSHA.

Most involve some form of inspection combined with programs (like poster, banners and safety bingo) designed to increase awareness of safety issues. Naturally, the programs also collect the required data on accidents and injuries. Author Robert Hafey suggests in his book that there is a better way.

There are many definitions of Lean Management; most of them talk about eliminating waste by improving processes throughout the organization. Clearly, unsafe workplaces result in waste of time and resources after an incident takes place. As time consuming as compliance may be, the impact of an accident, especially for the people directly involved, is far worse. Application of Lean Principles to the workplace with a focus on working conditions should result in a more effective and safer workplace. Lean Safety addresses this approach in several ways. The first three chapters discuss the importance of safety, the need for cultural change and leadership’s role in the process. The next two chapters serve as both a primer on Lean tools and set of examples and suggestions for applying them to safety processes and problems. The remaining chapters provide a perspective on traditional safety programs viewed from a Lean perspective. Accident investigations should quickly get to the root cause of the accident and focus on the process, not the people. Companies should involve as many people as possible in safety improvement programs. A wide variety of projects are possible; suggestions range from noise abatement to ergonomics.  There are suggestions for additional metrics beyond the usual list required by regulation. There is even a chapter on standard work related to safety for people throughout the organization.

Lean Safety is primarily a book about improving the workplace from a safety perspective. Those familiar with Lean tools and concepts will quickly understand their application for a safer workplace. Additional training would be required for people without much Lean exposure. The best feature of the book is the collection of suggestions for safety projects and methods that are generally applicable to all workplaces. The book is worth reading, especially if your safety “program” needs a boost.

* Robert B. Hafey: Lean Safety: Transforming Your Safety Culture with Lean Management. New York, NY: Productivity Press, 2010

John Hehre is a senior operations executive and provides interim management and project based consulting to mid-sized private companies in need of transformative change. He can be reached at jhehre@cprocess.com.

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Manufacturers Still Likely To Hire in 2012

Participants in the 2012 Manufacturers Alliance Compensation and Benefits Survey reported positions they were likely to hire in 2012.

The most frequently reported positions continue to be engineering and machine operators. The least likely to hire are design roles and project managers. The following chart indicates number of jobs reported by job family. Click on it for a larger version.


If you would like to learn more about compensation, benefits, or general management trends in local manufacturing, consider purchasing the Manufacturers Alliance Wage survey.

The mission of the Manufacturers Alliance is to provide peer-to-peer training, education, and resources which inspire manufacturing companies to continuously grow, improve, and stay competitive.

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