July, 2013

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Wage Survey

The 2013 Manufacturers Alliance Compensation and Benefits Survey is now available to purchase. This survey was designed with input from local manufacturing companies to provide comprehensive total cash compensation data for making important pay decisions in this ever changing economy. Learn More



New and Renewing Companies

Ecolab Inc
Precision Associates Inc
Medrad Interventional/Possis
Millerbernd Manufacturing
Plymouth Industries
Baxter-Synovis Surgical
Williams Executive Search
Bauer Welding & Metal
Savillex Corporation
Boyum & Barenscheer
Olsen Tool & Plastics
Air Automation Eng
Fidelty Bank
Loram Maintence of Way
Staging Concepts
AaCRON INC
Accellent Cardiology
Filtration Products Corp
La Machine Shop Inc
ICA Corporation
MGS Machine Corp
Packnet Ltd
Pentair Technical
Robinson Rubber
TSI Incorporated
Spectralytics
Western Graphics
Bermo Inc
ATK-Federal Cartridge
Mammoth-CES Group
Kapstone Container Corp
Thomson Reuters
Quality Ingredients Corp
General Dynamics
Liberty Diversified Ind
Red Devil Equipment Co
Fabcon Inc
Graco Inc
Huot Manufacturing Co
Von Ruden Mfg
Japs-Olson Company



Completed Certifications

Congratulations to the following individuals on completing their certifications in the 2nd Quarter.

Job well done!

April 2013
Todd Burkstrand-LUBE-TECH
       
May 2013       
Brooke Sunde- LUBE-TECH
Mary Hassler-Starkey
Jay Koski-Keller Williams Classic
       
June 2013       
Jason Palmer- Midwest Rubber
Joe Stenzel-Lifetouch
Bobby Gray-Lifetouch
Gregg Spears-Lifetouch
Kevin Hunnicutt-Lifetouch
Karen Seaton-Lifetouch
Mike Johanek-Lifetouch
Andrea Ponto-Lifetouch
Steve Vekich-Lifetouch
Amy Friedrichs-Lifetouch
Bruce Baker-Lifetouch
Brian Peters-Lifetouch



Diversified Plastics Participates in European Trade Mission

(Minneapolis, MN -- July 11, 2013) Diversified Plastics, Inc. was part of a recent Minnesota
trade mission to Germany, Norway and Sweden from June 12-21. Representing Diversified
Plastics was Annette Lund, company vice president. She was part of a 35-member delegation of
business and education leaders and government officials led by Minnesota Governor Mark
Dayton.

“The trade mission opened up my eyes to the possibilities of doing business in Europe and I
realized that it would not be as hard as I once thought—it’s just takes time, effort and planning,”
added Lund.

For more information, contact:
Annette Lund
Vice President
Diversified Plastics, Inc.
763.488.7103
alund@divplast.com



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Article Index

To be or not to be - that person who accepted the counter-offer
Article by: Marni Hockenberg

As the manufacturing industry picks up steam and the war for top talent is waging, counter-offers are back on the table as a retention strategy. A bad strategy. Granted, hiring and training new manufacturing staff is expensive, and the knowledge that walks out the door can be invaluable to a company. Some companies are compensating – or, better said, over-compensating – by presenting departing employees with a counter-offer.


Stop Throwing Out That Expensive Data!
Article by: Gene Smith

Most companies spend money to measure the production output of their factory. One measures product after various processing steps, and typically posts that data to an SPC chart. That data is then rarely, if ever, used again.


MN Economic Outlook
Article by: Dr. Ernest Goss

For a seventh straight month, Minnesota’s Business Conditions Index moved above growth neutral. The index from a monthly survey of supply managers in the state climbed to 56.2 from May’s 55.2.


HR Perspective
Article by: Susan Stone

Susan Stone is the Director of Organizational Development at Japs Olson Company in St Louis Park. Japs-Olson Company was founded in 1907 by Barney Japs and G.F. Olson.


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To be or not to be - that person who accepted the counter-offer

As the manufacturing industry picks up steam and the war for top talent is waging, counter-offers are back on the table as a retention strategy. A bad strategy. Granted, hiring and training new manufacturing staff is expensive, and the knowledge that walks out the door can be invaluable to a company. Some companies are compensating – or, better said, over-compensating – by presenting departing employees with a counter-offer.

What is an employee to do?

While there are various reasons an employer would present a counter-offer and an employee may consider accepting it, there is a greater question that should be asked.

How would accepting this offer define me as an employee, and what does it say about my employer?

Employees have much to consider when looking at new job opportunities – camaraderie, competent leadership, belief in the company mission, advancement opportunities, and respect. Compensation or advancement are only part of the equation.

Manufacturing companies using counter-offers as a tool to retain employees are only commoditizing the skills and creativity people bring to the job. What happens when someone comes along who is willing to do it cheaper, even if not better? If you are worth the offer now, why weren’t you worth that before?

In our manufacturing recruitment firm, we caution candidates about accepting counter-offers during our interview process. Employers presenting a counter-offer are only doing it for their benefit, not yours. It could be a stall tactic to keep an employee until a competent replacement is found, or it could be a tactic to make retention rates look good for that fiscal quarter. Statistics have shown that more than 80 percent of people who have accepted counter-offers no longer work with that company six months later.

Whatever the reason, the simple fact is that good companies don’t do counter-offers, whether by policy or good business practice.

And smart employees don’t accept them. It is ‘career-suicide”. Consider what it says to employers and recruiters who lose candidates to a counter-offer:

  • This person used me. In the age of networking and databases, this could get people blacklisted among a small world of recruiters and hiring managers. No one wants to feel like they have been used.
  • This person is a fidelity risk. No matter what a current employer says to an employee when presenting a counter-offer, the trust and sense of loyalty has already been broken. Guess who will be at the top of the list the next time the company needs to downsize? “Joe wanted to leave anyway, so we’ll lay him off in the first round”.
  • No matter the situation, this person can be bought. Maybe that is a little harsh, but employees accepting counter-offers are not changing the situation that forced them to seek a new job, they are only changing the rate of pay for which they bear the situation. Counter-offers are only short-term gains for employees, not long-term growth strategies.
  • Threats do not build respect. If you have to threaten an employer to leave to get a raise or a better assignment, how often will that threat need to be used in the future?

 The last point brings us back to the employer, both the new one and the old one. Good companies recognize value. Those who are extending offers for new employment see value in an employee’s skills, and that should carry a lot of weight in considering a new job. Smart company hiring managers should present a strong offer to a candidate in order to put them out of a counter-offer range.  Companies that wait until employees consider a new job to make more lucrative offers are not demonstrating good business practice that should make an employee feel comfortable about where they work.

Marni Hockenberg is Principal of Hockenberg Search, a Twin Cities search firm that specializes in managerial recruitment for Midwest manufacturing companies. Contact Marni at marni@hockenbergsearch.com; 952-500-9542; www.hockenbergsearch.com.

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Stop Throwing Out That Expensive Data!

Most companies spend money to measure the production output of their factory. One measures product after various processing steps, and typically posts that data to an SPC chart. That data is then rarely, if ever, used again.

Maybe a customer or ISO audit requires you to pull up that SPC chart to validate performance goals. Why not leverage that data again? After all, you spent money to buy the metrology tool, you paid a person to take the measurements and your paid again for it in reduced product cycle-time, all while performing a non-value added step.

Semiconductor “chip” manufacturing has been following “Moore’s Law” for >40 years. Simply stated, this is a “cost” vs. “date of production” curve. This Industry has had to find innovative ways to stay competitive in the global marketplace, especially when the spec limits are shrinking faster than budgets. One way to do this is to reuse your [expensive] data. Advanced Process Control (APC) techniques take the most recent data from a given process tool and calculates the “tool state” (typically the process rate) by factoring out the specific product components. Once the tool state has been determined (feedback article), the specific product that will be processed can now be adjusted for (feed forward article). Inexpensive hardware and off-the-shelf software now make these techniques both cost effective and reliable. Typical performance has been an increase of the Cp >2X and as much as 4X! Since the tools are now performing better to spec (quality) there is less unplanned downtime from out of spec material. So the process tools are now running more product (at less cost).

Typically, the product being measured is placed on one of several SPC charts that are “product specific” because unique limits force separate charts or “product centric” SPC. Unfortunately, this forces sequential data to be dispersed across many SPC charts which may result in specific tool signals not being seen until too late, if at all. Since APC normalizes the particular product affect out of the total data, the tool signal is remaining and plotted on a single SPC chart. This “cumulative” or “super” SPC chart has much better resolution because it is “tool centric” as everything processed on that tool is plotted in run order. Tool signals show up much sooner and allow for improved tool management. This can significantly reduce the unplanned downtime by allowing proper scheduling of maintenance events.

Gene Smith is a Principal Analyst at Endpoint Solutions Inc., a consulting firm “Helping High Tech Manufacturers Make it Better and Faster for Lower Cost”. With 35 years in the Chip Mfg. Industry, Gene is a Six Sigma Black Belt who has 3 patents granted with 4 others filed. Gene can be contacted at: gene@EndpointSolutionsInc.com

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MN Economic Outlook

For a seventh straight month, Minnesota’s Business Conditions Index moved above growth neutral. The index from a monthly survey of supply managers in the state climbed to 56.2 from May’s 55.2.

Components of the index from the June survey were new orders at 51.9, production or sales at 55.0, delivery lead time at 56.8, inventories at 62.0, and employment at 55.6. “Minnesota’s economy has been boosted by an expanding construction sector. However even with the expansion, the building sector is well down from pre-recession levels. Pullbacks among nondurable goods manufacturers were more than offset by an expanding durable goods sector including metal manufacturers,” 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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HR Perspective

Susan Stone is the Director of Organizational Development at Japs Olson Company in St Louis Park. Japs-Olson Company was founded in 1907 by Barney Japs and G.F. Olson.

It started as a small printing company and has since grown to be an industry leader in direct mail services and commercial printing. Japs-Olson’s diverse equipment provides their customers with innovative products and services manufactured in an ISO 9001 certified facility, all in one location, operating 24/7.
   
    What impact does Organizational Development (OD) have on a company?

  •     It is a foundational element for a company to grow their business
  •     It is key to achieving higher levels of organizational and individual productivity
  •     It is a critical link between the business strategy and people as it aligns the entire organization around its goals
  •     A way to engage all employees
  •     The foundation for hiring and assessing talent to grow a company
  •     Aligns and supports the Lean processes to take hold within a company


    Where did you receive your OD experience?
Each position I have held in my career has provided me with a wealth of experience. One of my first roles that made an impact on my OD experience was reporting to the Chief Information Officer for a $1billion organization back in 1999. Even though I did not have an information technology background he taught me the importance of project management, how to implement change, how to interact with Senior Leaders, and how to look at change from an organization-wide perspective.

I was also able to apply what I was learning in the role as I was studying for my Masters Degree in Human Resource Development.  This role led me to many others where I worked directly with the Senior Leaders in the organization to implement change.  Sometimes my role was narrow and I would focus on the training and hiring portion of OD while other roles were very broad and deep. Regardless of the focus each role dealt with change, strategy, people, and the organization.

    How and when were you introduced to OD and what fuels your passion for the profession?
I was introduced to the idea of OD during my Masters Degree program. It was one of the courses I took and it just clicked for me.  My Bachelors degree is in Social Work which is all about systems thinking and the impact one system has on another. OD is very similar but instead of looking at human systems in a broad context it looks at human systems within a business setting.

My passion for learning and growth fuels my love for OD.  I inherently believe that when the right people are aligned in the right roles and the organization has clear purpose and values anything is possible. It may seem altruistic but innately people crave purpose and want their work to have meaning and impact. The other key element for me is that at each step in the process I have to be aligned, grounded, honest, open, and trust myself and my team. It cannot come off as fake. You must believe in it or nobody will follow. The process of OD challenges me personally which I love. It takes an incredible amount of personal energy but the overall positive impact is worth it.

    What are your company’s current OD-oriented activities?

    2013 is about setting the foundation.

  •     Culture: We are focused on creating and implementing the organization’s purpose, values, and behaviors.
  •     Talent Acquisition: Creating and implementing a talent acquisition process focused on our production departments
  •     Senior Leadership Team: Developing our Senior Leadership Team
  •     Job Descriptions: Defining key accountabilities and key tasks for roles through job descriptions

    What was one major lesson learned in 2012 that you feel others could benefit from reading?
You must first answer and understand what the overall Goal is for the initiative, change, the organization etc. to make sure that the Goal is clear.  If this is not clear then the actions and energy spent working on ‘X’ will have minimal impact.

    What are the next steps planned for improving your company OD processes?
A few key items will be:
  •     Broadening the talent acquisition process
  •     Developing our leaders
Susan Stone has over 12 years of experience in organizational development in a variety of industries including manufacturing, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, software development, television retail, and food processing and retail. sstone@japsolson.com Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/susanstone/

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