July, 2012

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Each month local manufacturing practitioners provide an overview on what has worked and what has not worked as well for them, so that you may leverage their experience as your own. Member companies may send up to four employees at no cost to each Educational Program.

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Whether you have worked at the same company for 15+ years or just want to look beyond your four walls for manufacturing best practices, consider joining the Leaders Alliance to tour, critique and discuss critical issues in confidence.

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Certification Graduates
Congratulations to those individuals and their companies that have completed a practical application study and Certification through the Manufacturers Alliance!

Chy Lee, Synovis
Wesley Bekkala, Whirltronics
Tony Ebert, Miller Manufacturing
Hue Vuong, Eaton
Uday Patil, McQuay International
Mark Krupp, LifeTouch
Leanne Hykawy, LifeTouch
Colby Steffenhagen, LifeTouch
Lisa Coffey, LifeTouch
Russ Castleman, LifeTouch
Tom Rammel, LifeTouch
Melissa Kohler, LifeTouch
Missy Mullen, LifeTouch
Jim Hirschey, LifeTouch
Jon Steinert, LifeTouch
Trygve Peterson, LifeTouch
David Bailey, LifeTouch
Terry Lane, LifeTouch
Amanda Jewell, LifeTouch
Nancy Pray, LifeTouch
Jack(John) Johnson, Pentair


Member Recognition
Thank you to all of our new and renewing members over the last 30 days.

AbelConn LLC
Accellent Cardiology
Boeckermann, Grafstrom & Mayer
BTD Manufacturing Inc
Daniel Clark
David Martin Agency
Donaldson Company Inc
Ecolab Inc
Elk River Machine Co
Exlar Corporation
Fidelity Bank
Fiserv Solutions
ICA Corporation
Japs-Olson Company
Jessi Adamson
Juno Inc
Kasco Marine
KEB America Inc
Liberty Diversified
Mark Horton
Mate Precision Tooling
Mereen-Johnson Mach Co
MGS Machine Corporation
Minnetronix Inc
MPC
Otto Bock Health Care Inc
PaR Systems Inc
Pentair Technical Products
Plymouth Industries
Powermation
Precision Gasket Company
Remmele Engineering Inc
Rice Lake Weighing Systems
Rimage Corporation
RMS Co
Robinson Rubber Products Co.
Smiths Medical ASD Inc
Synovis Surgical Innovations
Technical Serv for Elect
Thermo King Corp.
Tjernlund Products Inc
TSI Incorporated
Visions
Weather-Rite LLC
Western Graphics
WIPFLi


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

February 8th 2023 08:00 am
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February 14th 2023 09:00 am
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February 22nd 2023 08:00 am
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February 22nd 2023 09:00 am
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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

HR Insights Interview: Joy Recker with Banner Engineering
Article by: Joy E Recker

For nearly half a century, Banner Engineering has offered solutions when there is an automation challenge. Among thousands of global sensing innovations engineered by Banner, many started as a tailored response to a single customer’s needs. These responses have led to the creation of over 30,000 products and applications, with continual innovation and product development.


Decrease Job Board Spend With Search Engine Optimization
Article by: Jennifer Printup

The economy is lagging and you are looking for ways to trim your budget. One area manufacturing companies can cut back is on job board spend with sites like Monster and Career Builder, which are effective but very costly.  These job boards use SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) to obtain candidates, so why not cut out the middleman and do it yourself?


Professional Organizing for the Workplace
Article by: Beth Stertz

Professional organizing is a service industry experiencing explosive growth. Most people think of TV shows like “Hoarders” or “Clean Sweep” when they hear about professional organizing, but the inability to part with “stuff” is a challenge for businesses too. The reality is that there are as many different specialties among organizers as there are things to organize.


MN Manufacturing Economic Outlook
Article by: Dr. Ernest Goss

The June Minnesota Business Conditions Index was above growth neutral marking the 34th consecutive month that the state’s leading economic indicator was above 50.0. 

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HR Insights Interview: Joy Recker with Banner Engineering

For nearly half a century, Banner Engineering has offered solutions when there is an automation challenge. Among thousands of global sensing innovations engineered by Banner, many started as a tailored response to a single customer’s needs. These responses have led to the creation of over 30,000 products and applications, with continual innovation and product development.

Where did you receive your HR training and experience? 
I graduated with an MBA in Human Resources from the University of St. Thomas in 2002 and hold the SPHR Certification.  I have also received a great deal of training and knowledge through conferences, seminars, and through local HR contacts.  I spent my first three years in Human Resources at the MN Department of Administration as an HR Generalist.  In 2009, I started my career at Banner Engineering as an HR Generalist, grew within the company, and am currently working as the HR Director.
 
How and when were you introduced to HR and what fuels your passion for the profession?  
I’ve always been outgoing and very interested in the human aspect of the business world.  My undergraduate degree was in Marketing, but I couldn’t seem to find my ideal profession.  I decided to go to Graduate School, and near the beginning of my MBA program at St. Thomas I took my first HR course, taught by a recognized instructor and HR professional.  Through my coursework and discussions with him I found that a career in HR would be ideal for me.  Soon thereafter, I found an opportunity to get into HR and haven’t turned back!  I have had the opportunity to truly make a difference in employees’ lives, one at a time.  Each day is different, and I am excited to come to work each day.  The employment landscape is changing so quickly, with many opportunities on the horizon.  This interest, combined with my desire to help/advocate for both managers and employees, fuels my HR passion.
 
What are your company’s current HR-oriented activities?
This year has been very exciting for Banner as we are in a growth mode, so recruitment and retention are our highest priorities.  In addition, our HR team has grown from 3 to 5, which has allowed us to be more strategic and effective.  Other 2012 initiatives include Wellness, Social Media, and On-boarding. 
 
What was one major lesson learned in 2011 that you feel others could benefit from reading?  
Choose a few things and do them WELL, rather than trying to get everything done (with average results).  In HR, there are so many opportunities for improvement/enhancements, and once we complete something, there is often a better way that emerges.  During continuous improvement, choose a few things each year to focus on, rather than all.
 
What are the next steps planned for improving your company HR processes?
We would like to improve our HRIS and our ability to automate HR transactions better.  Organizational development is another area that we could expand on.

How would you describe peer-to-peer education to a colleague in manufacturing? 
I have learned a great deal from my peers that I have met through local groups (including Manufacturers Alliance).  Some of what I learned was very specific to immediate needs, other lessons entailed learning best HR practices for future use, and yet others involved deepening my understanding of an area that I didn’t have much experience in.  I have also had the opportunity to meet and network with extremely talented individuals that inspire me to continue learning and improving in my field.  For HR practitioners, manufacturing or otherwise, a strong network is invaluable.

The Manufacturers Alliance has expanded its training and education to meet more of the needs of HR professionals. New workshops include: Interviewing and Selection for Best Match Hiring and Onboarding Best Practices. Select Workshops now also include HRCI credits. Learn More

Joy Recker is the HR Director at Banner Engineering Corp located in Plymouth, MN and may be reached at jrecker@bannerengineering.com.

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Decrease Job Board Spend With Search Engine Optimization

The economy is lagging and you are looking for ways to trim your budget. One area manufacturing companies can cut back is on job board spend with sites like Monster and Career Builder, which are effective but very costly.  These job boards use SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) to obtain candidates, so why not cut out the middleman and do it yourself?

Each month there are over 100,000 “jobs manufacturing” searches through Google alone; how are you reaching these candidates?  Understanding of applicant behavior and optimization of key search terms will help you drive traffic and ultimately increase the number of quality applicants you attract.

How Are Candidates Searching for Jobs on Search Engines?
Believe it or not, 80% of all job candidates begin searching for jobs by keying in search terms via popular search engines such as Google (70% of all searches), Bing (15%), Yahoo (8%) and others (7%). In fact, job related searches are in the top 10 most searched terms on Google.  Are you reaching these candidates?

What specifically are they searching for?
Keywords that candidates use in search engines can vary greatly. “Jobs” is the most obvious search term, but applicants are also commonly using “employment,” “careers,” and “salary” in their queries. Candidates are often unaware of specific jobs available and are general in their initial search. As a result, 85% of search engine queries do not involve an employer name.

Try It Yourself: Use the Google Keyword Tool type in “CNC Technician” to get a feel. Then try your company’s name to see how candidates are searching for your company.

Can Candidates Find Your Career Site on Google?
Your jobs are posted on your career websites but can candidates find them?

Usually the answer is no.  There are numerous reasons why your jobs may not be indexed and thus “hidden” from Google. Most applicant tracking systems (ATS) that many companies use to manage job listings are not considered search friendly and a major reason manufacturing companies find SEO difficult for recruitment efforts. Or, maybe your results are in frames or there is no location data attached with the listings. Perhaps you don’t submit sitemaps often enough.  Any of these factors could contribute to your listings not appearing where 80% of your potential candidates first look! To narrow down the reasons your listings may not be showing up in the search engines, we first need to determine if your job listings are indeed indexed by the search engines. In Google, this can be verified fairly easily.

Try It Yourself: In Google search for “site:” followed by the URL of the page you would like to verify, for example “site: yourcompanyname.com/careers/”.

Even if your jobs are indexed on search engines, the #1 reason many companies miss quality candidates in the search war is because they do not optimize their job listing pages with keywords that candidates are searching for.  The challenge is even if your site has been optimized, you might be chasing terms that are too competitive.

Using SEO to Attract Talent
Simply posting your job listings on your site is not enough. So what does it take to have your site stand out from the rest? Here are three ideas that will help increase traffic organically.

  1. Landing Pages

    A landing page is the first page a user sees when clicking on a link to your site. It should have the highest relevancy for the candidates searching.  Ideally a landing page should be created for every job or group of jobs.  If you are integrating an applicant tracking system, this data can automatically sync with the ATS database, requiring little upkeep.

  2. Create Backlinks

    Backlinks are links from other webpages that directly link to your website. Backlinks are considered the #1 way to boost your search engine ranking. For every backlink you receive, Google and other search engines look at that as an endorsement of your page, essentially a vote that your page is a credible source. These links can originate from an external link, another blog or website that you own.
  1. Search Engine Management

    Optimizing your job listing for search engines requires experience and one reason why organizations implement a comprehensive search strategy. Managing your efforts takes time. Results from search engine optimization may not be significant for 3 to 6 months after optimizing listings, requiring patience and consistency to see the ROI.

    Once you have achieved your desired results after a few months, it’s important not to let your hard work and investment of time and money go to waste. Monitoring rankings and making adjustments accordingly will maintain your top position.

Your Opportunity
A large majority of your potential candidates are searching for and finding jobs online. Through a comprehensive search engine optimization strategy that includes building backlinks and targeted landing pages, you can ensure that you are maximizing your recruitment spend while finding the best candidates thereby ensuring that your manufacturing business stays competitive in the online job search space.

Jennifer Printup is the SEO Client Manager at page10 www.page10.com . Her experience includes SEO, SEM, PPC, and social media planning. Contact Jennifer @ printup@page10.com.

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Professional Organizing for the Workplace

Professional organizing is a service industry experiencing explosive growth. Most people think of TV shows like “Hoarders” or “Clean Sweep” when they hear about professional organizing, but the inability to part with “stuff” is a challenge for businesses too. The reality is that there are as many different specialties among organizers as there are things to organize.

Having an organized workplace leads to efficiency, higher productivity, improved morale and a more professional appearance. Many companies have used 5S and similar programs, but once the organizing is done, the challenge is to maintain the changes. Also, there are always areas that defy improvement.

Why is it so difficult to get and keep these areas organized? It is your priority to focus on day-to-day operations and meet your customers’ needs. You don’t have the personnel or the time. If you did, the project would already be done. But clutter attracts more clutter, it becomes overwhelming and the clutter grows.

In October of 2011, Lowell Inc. in Brooklyn Park, a precision manufacturer for the medical device and aerospace defense industries, made organizing a priority.  The management is dedicated to increased efficiency and continual improvement.

As in most work settings, the biggest challenge with organizing was an unrealistic idea of how much “stuff” can fit in a given space. It is easy to accumulate, but difficult to make a decision about what needs to go. The best approach is to evaluate each room and decide its purpose. If an object does not fit the purpose, it doesn’t belong.

The pilot organizing project for Lowell was a complete overhaul of the company’s computer server room. It was determined that the purpose of the server room would be a one-stop source for all computer related equipment.  Lowell had a storage room containing the main server, with file cabinets, tubs and boxes to store cables and small parts. A cabinet in another room contained software. Miscellaneous large hardware was scattered throughout the building.  

The first step was to sort the equipment and group “like” items together. This allowed a quick visual assessment of all items. The next step was to purge equipment no longer being used. This included getting rid of parts in multiples. It was then determined which of the purged equipment could be sold and what should be recycled. Over half of the existing equipment was eliminated.

Once the sorting and purging was complete, it was necessary to evaluate the space available and determine the best way to store items to increase accessibility. The server room was measured, drawn in AutoCAD and storage equipment was researched. Since file cabinets were not appropriate for storing parts and cables, new stainless steel wire racks with matching parts bins were installed and 7 tall file cabinets were removed. There was also a surplus of office furniture that didn’t serve the purpose of the room.  All were replaced with a work table and wall shelves. A new cabinet for the server equipment was installed.

The last step was to organize the hardware and software. Large hardware was stored by type on the lower shelves. Cables and small parts were sorted into bins and labeled so everything would have an identified “home” and allow users to locate anything they needed within seconds. Software is currently being indexed and sorted into file bins on the wall shelves. This will enable servicing individual computers by selecting a bin containing the software for a specific machine without having to search for individual CD’s.

The pilot project was successful, so Lowell decided to move ahead with other projects such as a file archive, box and tray storage area and a break room. A current project is a complete space plan, work flow assessment and re-organization of the assembly and finishing department.

After purging things that do not fit your purpose, it is important that the items you keep have a home and are contained. Containment eliminates visual “noise” and creates a serene and efficient environment. It is essential to have a plan to maintain the organization once the initial project is complete. Lowell is addressing this issue by giving employees ownership of specific areas, making it an ongoing responsibility and the culture of the company to maintain efficiency and eliminate excess.

Beth Stertz is a professional organizer specializing in office and industrial workplaces. Her business is Stertz Common Sense Office, LLC. Visit www.StertzCommonSense.com for a free initial consultation at your place of business or e-mail Beth@StertzCommonSense.com.

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MN Manufacturing Economic Outlook

The June Minnesota Business Conditions Index was above growth neutral marking the 34th consecutive month that the state’s leading economic indicator was above 50.0. 

The index, based on a survey of supply managers in the state, slipped to 58.6 from 60.2 in May. Components of the index from the June survey were new orders at 58.6, production or sales at 54.9, delivery lead time at 60.9, inventories at 53.6, and employment at 65.1. “While 2012 job gains have been healthy, they are down slightly from the same period in 2011. Exports from the state’s large durable goods sector have been a big plus for 2012 growth. On the other hand, the state’s nondurable goods sector has experienced much softer 2012 business activity and exports are likely to contribute little to second half 2012 growth,” said Goss.

Dr. Ernest Goss of Creighton University, used the same methodology as The National Association of Purchasing Management to compile this information. An index number greater than 50 percent indicates an expansionary economy, and an index under 50 percent forecast a sluggish economy, for the next three to six months.

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