January, 2010

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MA Announcements

Promotional Opportunity
Build your brand & reputation among Minnesota Manufacturers and the Business Community!

Sponsorships for the annual Manufacturer of the Year Award are now being accepted. To learn more contact Kirby Sneen at kirbys@mfrall.com or download the flyer for more information here


Annual Wage Survey
Participate in our annual compensation and benefits survey specific to manufacturers - now in its twelfth year!

All 2010 participants will receive a free condensed summary of surveyed wage increases and a management trends report. To learn more contact Vickie Parks at 763-533-8239 or vickiep@mfrall.com


Military Appreciation Night
Join the MN Lacrosse team, the Swarm, on February 13th for military appreciation night. Learn More

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

Other Announcements


MN ASQ Annual Conference
The 56th Annual Minnesota Quality Conference will take place at Earle Brown Heritage Center on March 8 & 9, 2010. The address is 6155 Earle Brown Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55430.<br><br> This year’s conference theme is “Help Yourself, Help Your Customer, Help Your Company”. The Minnesota Quality Conference offers attendees an educational opportunity to learn from industry insiders and advance the use of quality principles, concepts and technologies. Attendees are provided information in the areas of leadership, training, resources, equipment, and education. The presentations are carefully chosen to reinforce the idea of the Conference theme.<br><br> To register for the conference visit www.mnasq.org. Companies interested to have an exhibition booth at the conference can also visit the website and register on-line. Any other enquiry regarding the conference can be directed to Conference Chair Wayne Ellison by sending an e-mail:eabritten5@msn.com.

Public Sale
February 2-3 9:00 am - 4pm Disc Dynamics, Inc 9600 w. 76th st. Eden prairie MN 55344 Office Furniture Office Equipment office supplies Computers Manufacturing Equipment and more

New & Renewing Members
Bro-Tex Inc.
Circuit Check Inc.
CVRx Inc.
Emerson Process Management
ev3 Inc.
Fey Industries
Grove City Pallet
Hi-Lo Manufacturing
Katek Corporation
Lundgren & Associates Inc.
Millerbernd Manufacturing
Naamex Inc.
Orion Search Group
OSI Consulting
Polar Tank Trailer
Ritchie Engineering Co
Rocky Mountain Search
RWJ & Associates
Schechter Dokken Kanter
Scherer Brothers Lumber
Sterilucent Inc.
Summit Machine Inc.
Tescom Corporation
The ADS Group
Transition Networks Inc.
Viracon Inc.
Article Index

MN Economic Report
Article by: Dr. Ernest Goss

For the month of December 2009, reported January 4, 2010. Minnesota's leading economic indicator, based on a survey of supply managers, slipped for December.


What's in store for MA Members in 2010
Article by: Art Sneen

We all worked hard in order to stay innovative and competitive in 2009. As part of our ongoing strategy to help members stay competitive during challenging economic times, the Manufacturers Alliance will increase member benefits and expand training opportunities. In 2010, we intend to offer even more value, fresh topics and new services.


Book Review: The Healing of America
Article by: John Hehre

By almost all measures, the health care system in the United States ranks among the worst of all industrialized countries. To be sure, we have the most well trained doctors and the most advanced technology. These two aspects combine well in our  exceptional ability to perform near miracles in treating obscure diseases and snatching life from certain death.


It’s different over here.
Article by: Tim Keran

It wasn’t long ago Western Graphics was like thousands of other printers and suppliers you may have dealt with in the past.  Most printers will tell you that the more you buy, the cheaper it is. 


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MN Economic Report

For the month of December 2009, reported January 4, 2010. Minnesota's leading economic indicator, based on a survey of supply managers, slipped for December.

The Business Conditions Index sank to a still healthy 53.5 from 57.1 in November.  This was the fifth straight month that the state’s index has risen above growth neutral pointing to expanding economic conditions for the first half of 2010.  Components of the overall index for December were new orders at 61.7, production, or sales, at 60.7, delivery lead time at 49.0, inventories at 43.7, and employment at 52.6.  “Over the past decade, Minnesota lost more than 100,000 jobs, or 25.6 percent, of its manufacturing employment.  Most losses were due to productivity growth of more than 52 percent over the decade. While I expect the state to grow overall jobs by 0.4 percent in the first half of 2010, manufacturing job growth will be nil as producers grow output via productivity gains,” 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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What's in store for MA Members in 2010

We all worked hard in order to stay innovative and competitive in 2009. As part of our ongoing strategy to help members stay competitive during challenging economic times, the Manufacturers Alliance will increase member benefits and expand training opportunities. In 2010, we intend to offer even more value, fresh topics and new services.

Examples of new courses include:

  • World-class Continuous Improvement Idea Systems
  • Optimized Maintenance in a Lean Environment
  • Extended Value Stream Management
  • Lean Scheduling and ERP
  • Root Cause Analysis

Our Medical Device Alliance will offer these topics and more:

  • Preparing For An FDA Inspection
  • CAPA Best Practices
  • Process Validation - A Risk Based Approach
  • Medical Device Terminology

Now, we can offer you new options in Supervisory training for manufacturers as we launch a collaborative venture with the Employers Association. For example: Supervision 1 for Manufacturers starting Feb. 11, and Supervision 2 for Manufacturers starting Apr 6

Our Leaders Alliance will launch an Advanced Lean group (Preview 1/27), a Medical Quality group and new group for senior HR professionals (Preview on 2/10).

Additionally, we are now able to offer on-site consulting to those needing help with Lean.

On the employment front, job postings on the Employment Tab on our web site is going to be a highly valued tool as our members ramp up capacity this year. We will continue our Employment Alliance group for highly-skilled manufacturing professionals seeking re-employment.

Thank you for helping us accomplish our mission of sharing education and resources peer-to-peer. We optimistically look forward to watching the year unfold and hope that you enjoy increased success in 2010.

Art Sneen founded the Manufacturers Alliance in 1990 - an association of over 300 hundred manufacturers in the greater Twin City area. This 12,000-member industrial association specializes in sharing manufacturing education and resources peer-to-peer.

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Book Review: The Healing of America

By almost all measures, the health care system in the United States ranks among the worst of all industrialized countries. To be sure, we have the most well trained doctors and the most advanced technology. These two aspects combine well in our  exceptional ability to perform near miracles in treating obscure diseases and snatching life from certain death.

Unfortunately, these heroics, celebrated in many medical TV dramas, represent a very small yet very expensive portion of the health care market. In reality our system of health care is by far the most expensive, covers the fewest people, and results in the poorest outcomes in terms of overall health, life expectancy, infant mortality and customer satisfaction.

T.R. Reid, in his book The Healing of America, compares our health care system to those of most other industrialized countries. Reid is a well respected journalist for the Washington Post. In researching this book he visited most of the industrialized countries both as a journalist, and as a patient with an ailing shoulder. Reid goes far beyond the usual superficial arguments by presenting both facts and insightful analyses in order to provide the reader with a complete picture of the global health care system. He begins by comparing the fundamental economic models used by different countries. These models are characterized by the way health care is provided and paid for. Interestingly, the notion of “socialized medicine” is largely a myth. In fact, the closest systems to socialized medicine, and among the most effective and popular are the Veterans Administration and Medicare, both US systems.

From an economic perspective, there are many reasons why the United States’ system is so expensive. For example, most countries have adopted a single price list for services. Claims are paid without question. Conversely, the US system contains a very complex patchwork of different plans, even within a single insurer, that requires large staffs of people to figure out, bill and process claims. The economic advantages of these other system are staggering. Japan, one of the healthiest countries on earth by most measures, spends only eight percent of Gross Domestic Product on health care and covers everyone; the US spends a whopping seventeen percent.

The book goes on to discuss moral and ethical issues as well. All the other industrialized countries consider health care a human right, much like education and public safety. An estimated 20,000 people die in this country each year only because they do not have access to health care. There is no safety net for people who are poor, too sick to work, or don’t work for a company that provides health insurance. To be fair, no system is perfect; the book also points out where other systems break down and the resultant effects.

If you’re looking to get past the myths, partisan rhetoric, and fear-mongering that characterizes much of the current health care debate, read this book. The reasons behind the United States’ poor position in health care are complex; there is no single simple solution. This book does an excellent job of explaining the complexities in a simple, straightforward manner.

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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It’s different over here.

It wasn’t long ago Western Graphics was like thousands of other printers and suppliers you may have dealt with in the past.  Most printers will tell you that the more you buy, the cheaper it is. 

Sure, your per piece cost is less, but it’s only cheaper if you use every printed piece before they become out of date.  Because that rarely happens now, print obsolescence costs can be staggering.  Then, after trying to get you to buy more print than you needed, the printers told you about their fabulous service, their outstanding quality, their state of the art equipment, or their [insert other basic blah, blah, blah here].   

Too much talking, not enough listening.  The Voice of The Customer (VOC) says that your clients will tell you how to run a successful business, if you just stop and ask them.  So we did.  And here is what they told us happened when they bought big quantities of print:  

  • They pay out precious cash upfront for print that might not ever be used.
  • They pay to store the materials in their warehouse or worse yet, someone else's warehouse.
  • They scrap huge amounts of obsolete printed materials.
  • They live with printed materials that are out of date and no longer relevant.

By listening to our clients and using Lean principles like JIT, Setup Reduction, and Kanban, we’ve found a new way to print.   Print Less, Not More.   Sounds crazy for a printer to want you to print less, but that’s what makes us different.   We’re helping clients move away from the old ‘price per piece’ method to the ‘total cost of ownership’ (TCO) method when making print decisions.  The TCO method takes into consideration storage costs, scrap costs, and the cost of money.  Benefits?  Our clients print less, they store less, they obsolete less, and they can make changes any time they want.    Their cash stays in their bank account and not on the shelves and, most importantly, they now have more in their communications budget to spend on other media needs.

How do you know if you have an opportunity to improve how you buy print?  A good way to get started is to ask a few questions about your print usage.

  1. How do we forecast the print quantities we will need?  How accurate is the forecast?
  2. Do we have printed material inventory over 90 days old?   What is the value of this investment?
  3. How do we buy print?  By per piece price or by TCO?  What is our real TCO for printed materials?
  4. What was our obsolescence of printed materials in 2009?

 

If the answers aren’t easy to answer or if you don’t like the answers, then it might be time for a different way.  In today’s economic environment, doing it differently can be just what is needed for a big improvement.

Western Graphics started on their lean journey in 2007. Their mission is to eradicate print obsolescence by helping clients print less and print with purpose. Their focus is to set up print management programs for medium to large companies in the Twin Cities. For more information contact Tim Keran, president at 651-603-6463, email him at tkeran@westerngx.com or visit their website at www.westerngx.com.

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