October, 2012

A publication brought to you by the Manufacturers Alliance

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Annual Scholarship
Congratulations to our Scholarship Winner Keith Bester of Prospect Foundry!

Scholarships are awarded in the Spring and Fall every year as a part of Manufacturers Week in Minnesota and the Annual Manufacturer of the Year award ceremony. Each scholarship is valued at $2400 and is redeemable for leadership and continuous improvement training or certification from the Manufacturers Alliance.

The purpose is to offer training assistance to companies and their key employees who are interested in additional leadership or continuous improvement skills. Learn More


Educational Programs
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.

Leaders Alliance
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.

Now including our 17th Leaders Alliance peer group - EHS Management!


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

AaCron INC
Archway
Baxter-Synovis Surgical Innovations
Caribou Coffee
Consulate General of Canada
Decimet Sales Inc
Douglas Schanzenbach
DRI-STEEM Corporation
Emerge Staffing
Ergotron
General Dynamics
Gopher Resource Corp
ICA Corporation
Kirklin Financial Services
La Machine Shop Inc
LAD Sales & Marketing Inc
LarsonAllen
Laser Peripherals LLC
Lion Precision
Malco Products Inc
Medrad Interventional/Possis
Metro Machine & Engineering MGS Machine Corporation
Midwest Rubber Service & Supply
Minco
MMI Precision
Nahan Printing Inc
Navy Island Plywood
Pentair Technical Products
RMS Co
RTD Company
RW Elias & Associates
Ryt Way Industries
SAGE Electrochromics Inc
Spectrum Staffing
Starkey Laboratories Inc
Tru Vue, Inc.
TSI Incorporated
UMC Inc
Visions
Western Graphics
Whirltronics Inc


Certification Graduates
Congratulations to those individuals below who have recently completed Certification through the Manufacturers Alliance. We applaud your efforts to act on what you feel is important and your results in making continuous improvements in your business.

John Johnson, Pentair
Joel Tjepkes, Archway
Joseph Balduyck, Eaton
Kevin Souther, Minnetronix
Ben Haefner, Donaldson


Upcoming Events

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

Article Index

OSHA Inspections- Are you prepared?
Article by: Dave Karnes

OSHA may make unannounced visits to any business for any of the following reasons in order of decreasing priority:


3 Ways to Improve Traffic to your Manufacturing Website
Article by: Jennifer Printup

Do you spend a lot of money on your web property, but are not generating an acceptable ROI? If you have an up-to-date site, don’t waste time on “tricks of the trade” or myths that rarely work.  There are simple Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics that can elevate traffic and improve ROI through relatively small changes to copy and layout. 


Book Review: The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs*
Article by: John Hehre

“Does your company matter?” “If you closed its doors today, would your customers suffer any real loss? How long would it take, and how difficult would it be, for them to find another firm that could meet those needs as well as you did?”


Manufacturers Alliance and University of Phoenix have teamed up
Article by: Manufacturers Alliance

Manufacturers Alliance has teamed up with University of Phoenix to bring you tools and benefits which may shorten the time to degree completion. With this opportunity you can pursue your educational goals while staying on top of your professional commitments.


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OSHA Inspections- Are you prepared?

OSHA may make unannounced visits to any business for any of the following reasons in order of decreasing priority:

  1. Imminent Danger Situations
  2. Fatalities and Catastrophes
  3. Anonymous Employee Complaints
  4. Referrals
  5. Planned or Programmed Investigations- for high hazard industries or high injury illness rates

When the OSHA compliance officers arrive, they will present their credentials and hold an opening conference. At this conference, the compliance officer will explain the scope of the inspection, the walk-around procedure, employee representation and employee interviews. At this time, the employer selects a representative to accompany the compliance officer during the walk-thru.

During the walk-thru, the compliance officer inspects for workplace hazards, any violations of standards and may check injury/illness records, employee training records, as well as written programs such as Employee Right to Know. Any violations found are cited, however prompt correction can be considered a sign of good faith by the employer.

When the walk-around is concluded, a closing conference is held where the inspection findings are discussed. The compliance officer discusses possible courses of action for any violations found that may include an informal conference with OSHA or contesting citations and proposed penalties.

Citations, if any, are issued within six months and are categorized as follows: other than serious; serious; willful; repeated; and failure to abate. Penalties may range up to $7000 for each serious violation and up to $70,000 for each willful or repeated violation.

The most frequent violations cited in fiscal year 2011 were:

  1. Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501)
  2. Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451)
  3. Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200) 6538 violations
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
  5. Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
  6. Electrical – Wiring Methods (29 CFR 1910.305)
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178)
  8. Ladders (1926.1053)
  9. Electrical – General (29 CFR 1910.303) 2863 violations
  10. Machine Guarding – General Requirement (29 CFR 1910.212)
Dave Karnes, Director of Health and Safety for HIGHPONTEHS specializes in the research and development of written programs, training presentations and provides on-site compliance training and environmental, health, safety and hazardous materials consulting. To Learn more please visit www.highpointehs.com or call 763.221.1765

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3 Ways to Improve Traffic to your Manufacturing Website

Do you spend a lot of money on your web property, but are not generating an acceptable ROI? If you have an up-to-date site, don’t waste time on “tricks of the trade” or myths that rarely work.  There are simple Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics that can elevate traffic and improve ROI through relatively small changes to copy and layout. 

On average 80% of site visits begin through a search engine or directory service. Here are 3 easy steps to increase rank with search engines, and ultimately increasing relevant traffic to your site.

1.) Extensive Keyword Research

SEO is not about just getting any visitors to your site, it is about getting relevant visitors that have a positive chance of converting (conversions are a goal you define such as form submissions, purchases, or time spent on a specific page).  Using the Keyword Tool by Google AdWords, you will be able to determine the most valuable keywords by monthly search numbers and competition. Through the Keyword Tool, you can provide your website URL and Google will create suggestions for keywords from the content you currently have on your site.

In order to know what keywords to target, you will also have to know the probability of achieving a high rank for those keywords. One of my favorites for this is the Keyword Analysis Tool by SEOmoz. Pick 2 – 3 keywords per page and include these in the URL, titles, headings and content.  A well-executed keyword strategy will not only drive traffic but will also ensure you attract traffic interested in your product. We have seen conversions increase by 18% from improvements in keyword strategy.

2.) Original and Optimized Content

Content is one of the most important aspects of SEO, not only keywords, but also the layout and hierarchy of the keywords on a specific page. If you do not present the keywords correctly, you will attract visitors, but will not achieve a decent ranking, keeping visitors occupied and engaged on your site is key to maximizing ranking.  Add the right quantity of keywords to your content, with a density of 3% – 5% per page.  Your content should be web-friendly, meaning short and straight to the point, making it easy for a user to determine if it is relevant to what they are looking for within the first few seconds of their visit. QUALITY, a term very familiar in the manufacturing space, not quantity, will drive the right visitors to your site and improve your search ranking.

3.) Build Link Popularity

First, you will want to check your current link popularity.  This can be done through SEOprofiler.com.  This tool allows you to see your rank, but also gives you a comparison against competitors. Once you understand your position, the next step is to create a link building strategy. Your strategy, focused on the various tasks, which in turn should be tied to ROI, will depend on the amount of resources you have to complete specific tasks. Some suggestions are:

-          optimizing competitor backlinks

-          focus on relevant search terms

-          list in major directories (Yahoo, Open, Business.com)

-          list in industry directories

Regardless of your strategy, high quality links, leading to optimized content, with relevant keywords will improve your sites search rank.

So, you’ve done the work, but how is it impacting your site?  

The three steps above are just the beginning of managing your sites search rank. The major part of success is having the ability to measure your results and make changes accordingly.  Make sure you keep a close eye on your site analytics to see what changes are producing conversions, which search queries are producing a high number of visits, and which referral links are most profitable.  Ultimately, it is a non-stop multivariate process to determine what works best for each individual site. The value your website brings to your product and business will increase greatly with these simple steps. Manufacturers that have achieved solid ROI’s with Search Engine Optimization maintain an ongoing effort to manage and optimize their ranking.

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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Book Review: The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs*

“Does your company matter?” “If you closed its doors today, would your customers suffer any real loss? How long would it take, and how difficult would it be, for them to find another firm that could meet those needs as well as you did?”

These questions, posed by the author at the beginning of the book, suggest a deep understanding of a company’s strategy. Many of us have been through strategic planning exercises. The top management team meets in a conference room, usually offsite somewhere. The meeting is frequently facilitated by a consultant. Everyone’s opinions are rearranged on flip chart paper. Nothing changes. Rarely are the discussions as deep, or the results as meaningful, as the questions above demand. This book provides a balance between a solid approach to strategy development and the leadership required to develop and implement it. As the author explains in the first chapter, strategy and leadership are inseparable.

The book begins with some advice on how to look at strategy. First, look at and understand the company. No surprises here, there are many ways of doing this and the author suggests SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). The second suggestion is to thoroughly and completely understand the industry. The economic forces inherent in each industry will control, to a large degree, the profitability and potential for the companies in it. These five forces, popularized by Michael Porter in the 1980’s are: the rivalry between firms, the power of suppliers, the power of customers, the barriers to entry and exit, and the availability of substitute products. The author refers to a number of sources for deeper explanation of these forces and relies instead on a number of examples to illustrate their importance. Next, the author takes on the myth of the super manager. There are many companies and leaders who believe a good manager can manage anything. Montgomery clearly suggests that fundamental characteristics of a difficult industry will easily thwart even the best of managers.

Naturally, implementation is critical to the success of any strategy. Montgomery provides some support here as well. She suggests the use of a strategy wheel, another well-known tool. She provides an overview of the purpose and use of the tool and illustrates its use with a number of examples. The work doesn’t end with implementation. Strategies should be reevaluated and adjusted constantly. The frequency of the review and adjustment depends on the speed with which the industry changes.

The skills required of a strategist can be developed and this book provides many suggestions and practical examples to support that development. Although the examples in the book are from large companies like IKEA and Apple, the lessons are universal. At the end of the book the author provides answers to some “frequently asked questions” drawn from her experience as a teacher. Finally there is a very good reading list at the end of the book for further study of the topics discussed.



* Cynthia A. Montgomery: The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2012

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 Alliance and University of Phoenix have teamed up

Manufacturers Alliance has teamed up with University of Phoenix to bring you tools and benefits which may shorten the time to degree completion. With this opportunity you can pursue your educational goals while staying on top of your professional commitments.

Like most working adults, you probably wonder how you can earn a degree or gain new skills while holding down a job. But who says you can’t work and learn at the same time?

University of Phoenix offers personalized learning platforms and innovative virtual technologies that make it possible for adult learners like you to maintain a healthy work-life balance while pursuing an education designed for the real world.

University courses help you prepare for the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills you need to thrive in your industry — and at your company. How?

  • With an advanced learning experience that aligns with current trends and business needs.
  • With expert faculty which brings an average of 14 years of field experience to the classroom.
  • With real-time knowledge that gives you a competitive edge to face the challenges of the new economy.

Manufacturers Alliance offers the training. You get the credit.

Some of your most important learning occurs outside the classroom – often on the job. At University of Phoenix, we can help Manufacturers Alliance learners transform real-world knowledge and training into college credit through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA).

Certain Manufacturers Alliance workshops may qualify for college credit toward your associate or bachelor’s degree program at University of Phoenix.* Together, Manufacturers Alliance and University of Phoenix have developed a Credit Recommendation Guide (CRG) where several workshops like Lean Manufacturing, Introduction to 6 Sigma and Value Stream Mapping have been evaluated for interdisciplinary/elective credit. University of Phoenix has created an FAQ to answer common questions about the CRG and PLA.

Earn credit for your experience.

You may be able to apply additional relevant learning, work and life experiences outside of Manufacturers Alliance toward college credits. Qualify by creating a professional training portfolio or writing an experiential learning essay.

Learn about the benefits for Manufacturers Alliance members, and find out which Manufacturers Alliance workshops may be eligible for credit, visit phoenix.edu/mfrall.

* Certain states limit cumulative degree program credits awarded through Prior Learning Assessment.  PLA credit can only be applied toward undergraduate programs.  For details please contact a University of Phoenix representative at 866.354.1800. University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association (ncahlc.org) The University’s central administration is located at 1625 W Fountainhead Parkway Tempe, Arizona  85282-2371. Online Campus: 3157 E. Elwood St., Phoenix, AZ 85034. For information about University of Phoenix accreditations and licensures, please visit phoenix.edu/about_us/accreditation.html ©2012 University of Phoenix, Inc. All rights reserved.

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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