Public Announcements

     

    Every NTMA chapter has a Trustee and I’m yours

    I thought I’d take this opportunity to share with you what exactly your trustee does for you. I am part of your Board of Directors but with additional responsibilities as your representative to the national organization. Think of me as your state Senator. I am your spokesperson for the chapter with communication going both ways, from and to our membership.

    Like other members of the board, I welcome – no, encourage feedback on our association’s service to you. A Trustee must be closely attuned to your opinions and interests so that I may work for you. Being willing and outgoing enough to speak up at national meetings about important industry matters is important. I’m certainly outgoing.

    I report regularly to the chapter on NTMA programs and benefits that affect our membership. I wish to convey your views and any problems we need to address both locally and nationally. I’m especially sensitive to members who may have dropped off our membership roles. I need to learn why. After all, if there’s anything this chapter can do to be more valuable to you or your business, I want to know.

    As your Trustee, it’s my job.

    Paul Sapra

     

    Interview – LA NTMA – Goodwill Southern California

    1. What role does Goodwill Southern California (GSC) play in Workforce Development?

    Goodwill Southern California partners with the County and City of Los Angeles Workforce Development Boards to deliver Job Training services and operate America’s Job & Career Center’s of California (AJCC). We have been serving residents of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties for 100 years. In addition, over the past year, we have been filling the role as a Manufacturing Sector Intermediary exclusively serving Manufacturers’ across the L.A. Basin.

    2. As an Intermediary, how can Goodwill Serve the Manufacturing Industry in concrete ways?

    Some of the specific ways we’ve worked to support the industry is through pivotal activities that create impact for companies:

    • GSC in conjunction with Strategic Advisory Boards and Los Angeles Valley College engaged a cohort of six employers to develop training for emerging managers and mid-level supervisors. This 18-hour training incorporated Leadership Development within the six-module construct including topics such as: Team Building and Goal Setting, Cultural Diversity in the Workplace, Principles of Leadership and Process improvement, Customer Service, Time Management and Accountability, Conflict Resolution, and Understanding HR/Company Policies

    • GSC, East Los Angeles College (ELAC), the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Extension, SME, San Gabriel Valley Partnership, and Northrop Grumman are piloting a Manufacturing Technology Bootcamp (Jan. 3rd– Feb. 4th 2017). This accelerated 5-week certificate program will immerse students in the fundamentals of manufacturing procedures and processes. Once completed, students will be uniquely qualified for entry-level positions in the manufacturing industry and will be interviewed by participating employers. LA NTMA is invited!

    • Through GSC’s partnership with leading statewide consultancy organizations (i.e., CMTC), we were able to meet the need of manufacturers looking to improve their bottom-line through investing in ‘Lean Enterprise Transformation’ (Lean Manufacturing). We’ve been able to access funding and training to support this important training. This project is on-going.

    • MSI also works specifically with college industrial technology departments for “Targeted Hiring Events” for their skilled and prepared certificate holders. The MSI brings dozens of manufacturing employers to hold speed-interviewing sessions in single corroborated events. Manufactures who hire are equipped with OJT benefits and are supported through the entire process.

    3. How does a company get involved with On-the-Job Training funds?

    On-the-Job training has long been a part of the workforce development system in our country. It is often unused and greatly misunderstood. The federal funding is locally deployed through the state workforce development system to support businesses in the hiring of new workers. The idea is that in a probationary period a worker is being tried out and tested for their ability to adapt and perform in the production environment. OJT funding is paid to the employer to cover 50% of the employee’s wages up to 640 hours of work. It is generated through some simple paperwork with Goodwill So Cal and the employer upon hiring the worker. Goodwill has been offering the OJT benefit to a number of Manufacturers over the past year and is looking to do more of this in 2017. Please take us up on this impactful workforce benefit.

    4. What exactly is a ‘Targeted Hiring Event’?

    A targeted hiring event is when a single employer or multiple employers have hiring needs for single occupations or series of occupations. Goodwill conducts all outreach through our massive county partner system to access candidates, pre-screen socially, assess (academically), ensure eligibility, including in some cases drug screening & citizenship, to prepare a pool of candidates for the specific skills that meet the employer demand. We work closely with the employer to ensure the specific criterion is communicated throughout the entire process. We’ve been doing this quite successfully for manufacturers over the past year.

    5. What are some of the other projects of the Manufacturing Sector Intermediary?

    Goodwill So Cal is the “Official administrator” of the California Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Collaborative (CAMAC), which is a US DOL Registered Apprenticeship of eleven (11) occupational titles. These standards were signed in May of 2016 and originated in Northern California with Siemens and Tri Tool. GSC’s Intermediary is the So Cal extension of CAMAC and is currently working with one dozen companies in Los Angeles County.

    6. How does apprenticeship really help businesses in 2016?

    How does Goodwill work with companies to get involved with Apprenticeship? The main benefits to employers in operating an apprenticeship program are: 1) Access to eligible pre-screen candidates through partner colleges, Goodwill So Cal, your own networks; 2) OJT benefit through WIOA; 3) Truly the ability to ‘grow your own’ workforce; 4) Industry designed competency frameworks and work processes; and 5) Completers earning National Credential from US DOL. Goodwill So Cal, as the ‘Official Administrator’ of CAMAC – work very closely with each company to be successful in apprenticeship. In that role, we work with the larger educational & training system to create a pool of pre-screened, eligible, qualified candidates to become your apprentices, AND we also take care of the administrative burden for you that is a natural part of the apprenticeship process.  Lastly, you can count 100% on Goodwill So Cal to facilitate EVERY ASPECT of the PROCESS. We ensure program compliance and quality. 2017 will be the year of the apprentice!! Contact me at 323-477-3923 for more insight on apprenticeship.

    7. What are some ways that Goodwill’s Manufacturing Sector Intermediary can do for LA NTMA as an associate member?

    We want to learn from industry ways we can support manufacturers of all sizes in our three county territories. We are an advocate to the industry for workforce resources and services that truly meet the practical needs of business. We can engage in policy development, informational distribution to the larger industrial community, help advance the 21st Century image of Manufacturing, work with the educational and training system to hear the voice of industry, and increase visibility of NTMA locally. We are thrilled to be connected to LA NTMA and are looking forward to working more closely with the organization in 2017! Happy New Year!

     

    Why Diversity, Women on the Job is Good for the Future of Manufacturing

    Department of Labor (DOL) statistics show that while women make up 47% of the work force overall, they comprise only 27% of manufacturing jobs. Moreover, according to research by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, the proportion of women in leadership roles in manufacturing companies also lags behind other U.S. industries. This underrepresentation of women in the sector continues, even with the resurgence of manufacturing in an improved economy. In addition, the research shows that over the next 10 years the manufacturing industry will need to fill 3.4 million jobs, mostly due to the influx of Baby Boomers retiring, and of those jobs only 1.4 million can be filled by the current workforce.

    How can manufacturers bridge this gender gap while also work toward meeting the anticipated job growth on the horizon?

    First, let’s take a look at why the gender gap exists in the manufacturing sector. The principal driver behind underrepresentation of women in manufacturing is due to the perception of a male-favored culture throughout the sector. The Deloitte-Manufacturing Institute study states, “there is a sense that historical gender bias excludes women from core managerial roles such as production supervisors and operations managers, which are key to climbing the industry ladder.” Another factor contributing to the lack of woman in manufacturing is that the industry as a whole is not doing a good job of presenting itself to women candidates. The study, based on interviews of more than 600 women in manufacturing jobs, shows this sentiment was even stronger among those individuals with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, implying that manufacturing careers are being overlooked by the well-educated talent pool needed to drive product innovation and competitiveness.

    The case to employ women in manufacturing is strong. Women are manufacturing’s largest pool of untapped talent and as such can help fill the estimated 2 million-employee shortfall over the next decade. The majority of these jobs (6 of 10) will be unfilled due to the skills gap.  “With women representing less than one third of the manufacturing workforce, it is clear that manufacturers are missing out on a critical talent pool, which could aid remarkably in closing the skills gap,” cites the Deloitte-Manufacturing Institute study. In addition, diversity positively contributes to competitiveness and innovation, and organizations with diverse leadership are found to be more profitable. A study by Catalyst, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding opportunities for women and business, found that Fortune 500 companies with high percentages of women officers had a 35% higher return on equity and a 34% higher total return than companies with fewer women executives.

    Attracting, retaining women employees

    In order to develop a plan to attract and retain women in the manufacturing sector, it’s essential to understand what they are looking for in a career. More than two-thirds of the Deloitte-Manufacturing Institute survey participants cited opportunities for challenging and interesting assignments, attractive pay and work-life balance as reasons to work and continue to remain in manufacturing. They would consider leaving the sector due to poor working relationships, lack of promotion opportunities and low income/pay.

    To help attract more women to manufacturing, most survey participants feel that the industry needs to provide flexible work practices, formal and informal mentorship programs, and improve the visibility of key women leaders who serve as role models. In addition, many say that the industry must broaden its talent efforts to include K-12 outreach. They recommend that companies actively support school initiatives that increase young women’s interest in obtaining a technical education in order to meet the manufacturing industry’s long-term talent requirements. This includes companies investing money in organizations that push STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to girls at the school level – before they are ready to enter the workforce.

    Apprenticeship programs are also an effective way of attracting women to the industry. For example, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) received grant funding to train 1,000 new apprentices and 542 up-skilled incumbent workers in 12 high-growth occupations in the Advanced Manufacturing and other high-growth sectors. DWD partners include the Chicago Women in Trades (CWIT), which will provide technical assistance and pre-apprenticeship programs to ensure women have a fair shot at these opportunities. The Marshall University Research Corporation’s Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing received grant funding to build a National Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program, with the goal of expanding existing innovative apprenticeships and promoting advanced manufacturing pre-apprenticeships for women, transitioning military personnel, and disadvantaged youth.

    Deloitte also provides the following strategies for manufacturing firms to implement:

    • Begin at the top to foster a cultural change. Senior leaders and management must be committed to making diversity and inclusion a business priority and must lead by example.

    • Create a more flexible workplace environment. Manufacturers that rethink when and where work gets done will have a competitive edge in the talent war. The increasing demand for workplace flexibility is a trend that crosses genders and spans generations – with women, men, Gen Y, and Baby Boomers desiring more flexibility to balance their work and personal lives. Manufacturers should consider shifting from a “presence-driven” culture to a “results-driven” culture. Many leading companies recognize and reward individuals and teams who drive results, regardless of when and where the work is being done. These companies are providing support for this cultural shift by training managers on techniques for leading and evaluating the performance of virtual teams. Also, customized career paths serve to help promote a company’s flexibility.

    • Improve the employer brand to recruit women. You can do this by showcasing gender diversity during college campus career fairs by sending women – executives, if possible – as recruiters.

    • Work toward improving the industry’s image. This is something we previously discussed at length and provided several recommendations for manufacturers to enhance their own brand to attract talent.

    In addition, the industry itself has undertaken several initiatives to refresh and reboot its image, including the Manufacturing Institute’s “Dream It. Do It.” program, a national career awareness and recruitment program for manufacturers that includes national and local activities to engage, educate, and employ the next generation of skilled manufacturing talent. There is also the annual Manufacturing Day, with manufacturers opening their doors to their communities with plant tours and engagement activities.

    The future growth and strength of the manufacturing industry is our focus at Precision Manufacturing Insurance Services (PMIS). We provide risk management solutions to address and mitigate exposures and provide the insurance coverages needed in the event of a loss or accident. For more information about our manufacturing insurance solutions, please contact us at 855.910.5788.

     

    Manufacturing Sector – Now One of the Most Frequently Hacked Industries

    At a recent Cybersecurity Summit we attended, we took note of several statistics we’d like to share with you, our manufacturing insurance clients. Did you know:

    • 60% of cyber attacks occur at small businesses;

    • 50% of small businesses report being the target of a cyber attack;

    • 21% of manufacturers have suffered a loss of intellectual property;

    • 88% of procurement departments would consider discontinuing doing business with a supplier because of a breach; and

    • 29% of small businesses are unfamiliar with the measures to take to improve cybersecurity?

    Even more alarming than the above findings is that the manufacturing sector is now among one of the most frequently hacked industries, second only to healthcare, according to the IBM X-Force 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index. Manufacturing rose from third place in last year’s report to take the second spot in 2016.

    Additionally, the 2016 Manufacturing Report by professional services firm Sikich noted a rise in attacks on the manufacturing sector – with theft of intellectual property as a primary motive. “The FBI estimated that $400 billion of intellectual property is leaving the U.S. each year because of cyber attacks,” and nation-state actors and other adversaries are starting to target manufacturing companies for this information, according to Brad Lutgen, a partner in Sikich’s compliance and security practice.

    The Causes of Cyber Attacks

    There are several reasons why manufacturers are increasingly the targets of cyber attacks, including the fact that many shops are behind the curve in security. Manufacturers, for the most part, have not been held to compliance standards like the financial services sector has, with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, or in the case of the healthcare industry, with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As a result, there hasn’t been the same level of security awareness in manufacturing as in other industry verticals, leaving manufacturers exposed to cyber criminals who are continually looking to hit vulnerable businesses. It is important to note, however, manufacturers doing business with the Department of Defense (DOD), do need to follow minimum safeguards as outlined in the NIST Special Publication 800-171, which will require full compliance by year-end. We will devote a separate article next month on cyber security for manufacturers doing business with the DOD.

    Another reason for the uptick in attacks is the proliferation of interconnected systems and data- running factories, production, and the supply chain. The industrial Internet of Things (IOT) has allowed indiscriminate internetworking among manufacturers. To reap the benefits of IOT, networks are connected seamlessly, but these networks, unfortunately, operate at very different levels of trust. According to IT security experts, manufacturers are deploying firewalls and encryption, thinking that if they are enough to keep them safe on IT (information technology) networks, they must be sufficient for OT (operational technology) networks, too. The problem, experts say, is that every message might be an attack, whether it appears in the form of plain text or encrypted, and the consequences of attacks on manufacturing networks can be costly. For example, if an attacker tampers with an automobile robot, incorrect components may be produced that can trigger massive recalls when the flaws are discovered down the road. Unlike IT computers, we can’t restore from backup any damaged products.

    Minimizing Your Manufacturing Shop’s Exposure to Cyber Attacks

    Following are several general and specific measures to take to mitigate the risk of a cyber attack:

    • Conduct an annual IT risk assessment to properly understand the origin of potential threats. Pull a cyber attack specialist into the risk assessment. Demonstrate the physical and cyber designs of the manufacturing systems, explain the worst physical consequences possible with these systems, and ask how the specialist would attack your system to bring about those consequences.

    • Conduct ongoing vulnerability scanning throughout the year to help your firm stay up-to-date with new threats.

    • Use a wireless network with the latest generation of encryption for your IT system. However, a manufacturer’s shop’s most sensitive information should not be accessible from a wireless connection.

    • Ensure all personal computers and servers on the network have the latest security updates. A manufacturer’s network for machine monitoring typically includes connections to a number of PCs – from desktops used in engineering, programming and management offices to PCs that are part of the control systems on CNC machine tools. Any PC that hasn’t had security updates to its software is much more vulnerable to phishing emails and viruses when opening unknown email attachments or running suspicious downloaded applications. Phishing schemes are designed to steal or modify sensitive company data in order to find bank account details or steal credit card numbers. A popular phishing scheme in the last few years involves scamming a company into sending a wire transfer by uploading malware onto a business computer and gaining access to email accounts that send unsecured wire transfers. Once the criminal gains access to the account, they then have control of altering and managing the wire transfers, and fraudulently exposing the wire transfers for personal gain.

    • Purchase a hardware firewall for IT networks and make sure it’s updated. A firewall is designed to block unauthorized access while permitting outward communication. But for an IT network communicating with a manufacturing network, or between the manufacturing network and a safety network — something stronger than a firewall is needed. Manufacturers are increasingly using unidirectional security gateway technology. The gateways physically permit information to flow in one direction, and physically block anything at all traveling in the other direction. Unidirectional gateways permit continuous monitoring of manufacturing networks from IT, or from the open Internet, without allowing any attack to flow back into manufacturing, safety and other cyber-physical networks.

    • Enforce strong and complex passwords. Ensure that any cloud service enforces the use of strong passwords over HTTPS, the secure version of the Internet’s basic operating system. Change the passwords periodically and be sure that different passwords are used for every site or account.

    This is the time you might be saying to yourself, “This sounds way too complicated and besides, it will never happen to me!”  If you are one of those people, please take a moment and go back to the beginning and reread the foreboding statistics.

    About PMIS

     

    Manufacturers like any other industry sector need to step up their security measures in today’s new normal of increased cyber attacks and sophisticated methods being utilized by criminals. This is particularly true as more manufacturing shops adopt advanced technologies to develop and deliver products and parts. Precision Manufacturing Insurance Services (PMIS) specializes in insuring the manufacturing industry and can assist you with risk management strategies to help mitigate cyber attacks as well as provide you with Cyber Liability insurance to respond in the event of a loss. Cyber Liability insurance addresses many of the exposures a business faces, and can be designed to pay for things like the cost of forensics to determine how a breach occurred, data or system restoration, business interruption as a result of a breach, crisis management to repair any damage done to your company’s reputation as a result of a cyber attack, and litigation expenses, among others. For more information about PMIS’ manufacturing insurance solutions, please contact us at 855.910.5788.

     

    Manufacturing Safety: Reducing Workplace Noise Exposures

    908 S. Village Oaks Drive, Ste. 250, Covina, CA 91724
    Posted by PMIS

    Twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Last year, U.S. business paid more than $1.5 million in penalties for not protecting workers from noise. What’s more, noise hazards cost businesses an estimated $242 million annually in Workers’ Compensation.

    Now the Department of Labor (DOL), OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and other agencies are looking to reduce workplace exposure and related hearing loss. They are holding a competition, “Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge,” which is being held to encourage investors and entrepreneurs to develop a technological solution to hearing-related workplace noise hazards. Idea submissions are due by September 30, 2016. Ten finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges on October 27 in Washington, D.C. The competition is open to the general public, including OSHA contractors and special government employees.

    While innovators continue to look for advanced technology solutions to address noise exposures, it’s important for businesses, including manufacturing operations, to take the problem of noise hazards seriously and do what you can to minimize risks, remain OSHA-compliant, and avoid potential fines. Exposure to workplace noise hazards (high noise levels) can cause a permanent hearing loss that cannot be corrected by surgery or a hearing aid. Even a short-term exposure to loud noise can cause a temporary change in hearing. Short-term effects, such as feeling like your ears are “stuffed up,” or tinnitus (ringing in the ears), may go away after leaving the noisy area. However, repeated exposure to noise hazards can lead to permanent tinnitus or hearing loss.

    Moreover, in addition to hearing damage, noise hazards can create physical and psychological stress, reduce employee productivity, interfere with communication and concentration and contribute to workplace accidents and injuries by making it difficult to hear warning signals.

    Easy on the Ears

    When is noise considered a hazard? OSHA sets legal limits on noise exposure in the workplace. These limits are based on a worker’s time-weighted average over an eight-hour day. For workers in general industry (manufacturing), employers must implement a Hearing Conservation Program where workers are exposed to a time-weighted average noise level of 85 dBA or higher over an eight-hour work shift. Hearing Conservation Programs, according to OSHA, require employers to measure noise levels, provide free annual hearing exams and free hearing protection, provide training, and conduct evaluations of the adequacy of the hearing protectors in use unless changes to tools, equipment and schedules are made so that they are less noisy and worker exposure to noise is less than the 85 dBA limit.

    Noise Management in Your Manufacturing Shop

    Machines are constantly pressing, pounding, stamping and grinding in a manufacturing shop, even with modern technology reducing the level of noise as compared to older machines. Here are some recommendations for noise management and to ensure you are in OSHA compliance.

    • Machine maintenance — The number-one cost-effective engineering control used to reduce industrial noise hazards is to make sure that all machinery being used is properly maintained. Machinery where metal-on-metal contact is present should be lubricated regularly. This type of ‘preventative maintenance’ can extend the life of machinery and save production time from unexpected failures, a bonus for your business.

    • Limits shifts — Limiting exactly how long workers are exposed to noise hazards is an administrative control that can greatly reduce negative health effects.

    • Enclose or isolate the noise — If there are large non-human-operated machines in a work area, when possible, move these machines away from workers or into less- populated rooms. If moving the machinery isn’t an option, an enclosure can be built and appropriately labeled to reduce noise levels. If humans are required as operators, an enclosure with an entrance can be constructed and proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided. Working in these enclosures may require a shorter shift, if the level of sound produced inside the enclosure requires it.

    • Properly Used PPE — This acts as a last line of defense for one’s ears. Proper PPE to protect hearing includes earplugs and earmuffs, often worn together. PPE should be used either in response to low-level noise hazards or as a temporary solution until the source of the noise can be controlled or modified.

    Precision Manufacturing Insurance Services (PMIS) exclusively focuses on insuring the manufacturing industry in California. As part of our insurance products and services, we can assist you in OSHA compliance and in helping to keep your shop a safe environment. To learn more about our business insurance solutions, including our Workers’ Compensation plans and safety programs, please contact us at 855.910.5788.

     

    Rebranding Manufacturing, Elevating the Industry’s Image

    The month of October kicked off annual Manufacturing Day, where the industry comes together throughout the country to showcase how great it is. This annual event is designed to celebrate advanced technologies and innovations in manufacturing. The event also serves to elevate the image of the industry, particularly in today’s highly competitive environment where attracting and retaining fresh, young talent is needed to move the sector forward. So how do we change the image of manufacturing from one of outdated factories filled with grimy line jobs to a dynamic, challenging and rewarding industry?

    In the last few years, we have seen manufacturers stepping up to enhance the image of the industry. For example, last fall a General Electric TV commercial featured a Millennial named Owen who had just told his parents he got a job at GE. The father proudly replies, “GE, a manufacturer,” and produces a large hammer that belonged to Owen’s ‘Grandpappy.’ “He would have wanted you to have it,” Owen’s dad says. Owen responds all flustered, “Yes, GE makes powerful machines. But I will be writing the code that will allow those machines to share information with each other.”

    In fact, thousands of companies across the U.S. are beginning to rebrand manufacturing as a high-tech industry filled with opportunity. Their target audience: smartphone-wielding Millennials and their parents who still think of manufacturing jobs as high-risk or as a last resort after Silicon Valley tech jobs. Why the push? By 2025, it’s estimated there will be two million unfilled manufacturing jobs, according to a study conducted by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte Consulting. Millennials are the obvious target to fill these jobs, but manufacturers are facing challenges in wooing this group. According to the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, although the most sought-after jobs for Millennials are in the technology industry, they don’t automatically connect manufacturing with the tech sector. This is despite the fact that modern manufacturing relies heavily on high-tech applications. Indeed, manufacturing ranked seventh in that study, even though research by the Manufacturing Institute shows that more than two-thirds of U.S. manufacturing companies are adopting 3-D printing and more than half use robots.

    What can you do to rebrand and enhance your manufacturing business and attract fresh talent to your company? Following are several ideas, some of which are taken from a session on “Enhancing the Image of Your Manufacturing Company” at last month’s 2016 Minnesota Manufacturers’ Summit:

    • Freshen up the front office as well as the back shop area. Get rid of all the tall, bland beige walls and replace them with open workspaces and areas for collaboration. Allow visitors to see your manufacturing floor when they walk through the front door of your business. Install LED lighting in your shop floor area to brighten it up. Paint the walls white, or bright colors. Keep the shop floor clean (this is essential for safety, preventing accidents, too!).

    • Consider establishing an apprenticeship or internship program. There are grants available through the state of California and other business organizations. These apprentices can develop into valuable employees who help you grow your business.

    • Set up welcoming common areas where employees can relax, hang out, and even work. These areas can be inside or outside and aren’t just for lunch breaks anymore. Younger employees would rather have the flexibility of moving around; they appreciate a change of scenery, so create spaces where people can work, collaborate and relax outside of their normal work areas.

    • Make sure your website speaks to both your customers and potential hires. This means updating an existing site or creating a new one to have a modern look and feel. Your website should also be designed to render well on all types of devices, particularly mobile ones. Today’s Millennial uses his or her smartphone for everything, including looking up a business where he or she is applying for a position. Make sure your site is functional, too. Consider accepting job applications online. First impressions matter. Your website is the virtual portal to your organization.

    • Get social. That means leveraging social media platforms to convey your shop’s culture and environment, such as what cool things you’re doing with 3-D printing. Have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other social sites. Create videos and post them on your YouTube channel. Consider adding videos to job postings to demystify certain manufacturing jobs. You can either contract with a third-party that can assist you with your social media or assign it to an individual in-house (to a Millennial!). Be sure your social strategy is consistent and aligned with your goals.

    • Provide tours. Invite students and teachers at the local colleges to visit your operation. As mentioned in our article on Manufacturing Day, many colleges team up with manufacturers to discuss and promote career opportunities in the manufacturing industry. Also invite parents, federal, state and local politicians, and residents to talk about manufacturing and show them your business.

    • Set up an ambassador program. Because Millennials are more likely to listen to their peers than they will older experts, the Manufacturing Institute has led an initiative for companies to send younger employees as “ambassadors” to college campuses and schools where they speak about their jobs. These ambassadors also lead shop tours when students and young job seekers come to their plants and factories. One such ambassador appointed by her company was interviewed in an article in the Wall Street Journal on her ambassadorship role. “Students have no idea what jobs there are in manufacturing,” she says. “They want to know what I do all day. So we talk about how manufacturing jobs are not the dark, dirty and dangerous jobs of the past. They are really high-tech and innovative. You can make a lot of money and have a good career path.”

    • Define your differentiators in everything you do as you promote your business and what it has to offer. What makes your business unique? Celebrate your accomplishments and awards.

    • Promote volunteerism: This is particularly important for Millennials who rank social and corporate responsibility high when looking for work. Pay employees when they are volunteering their time in the company’s name. If they volunteer with other groups, offer to make a donation in your company’s name to those organizations.

    The manufacturing sector is a dynamic and evolving industry, the backbone of America. At Precision Manufacturing Insurance Services (PMIS), we are proud to be a part of this industry in our role as insurance and risk management professionals whose mission is to protect the future of the manufacturers that make up the sector. To learn more about our insurance products and services, contact us at 855.910.5788.

     

    10 Ways You Can Affect Your Culture Positively to Motivate and Retain Employees

    Process: Building Something Special

    Read the whole article here

     

    Summary of Key New California Laws for 2017: What Employers Should Know

    Governor Brown has this year signed several new laws impacting California employers, some of which have already gone into effect and others that will be effective or operative in 2017 or later. A summary of key new laws follows. The effective date of the particular new law is indicated in the heading of the Assembly Bill (AB) and/or Senate Bill (SB)…

    Read the whole article here

     

    Walk to create a world free of MS

    Ending multiple sclerosis for good will take all of us. It’s why Walk MS matters so much. And it’s why you matter so much. Walk MS helps us team up with friends, loved ones and co-workers to change the world for everyone affected by MS. Together, we become a powerful force.And with every step we take, every dollar we raise … we’re that much closer. Together, we will end MS forever.

    WE’RE STRONGER TOGETHER

     

    First quarter temperature taking

    While all figures from every corner are not yet in, manufacturing has scored a comeback. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing report for March exceeded estimates and is up from February. This is the first time in six months that economic news in the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded with 12 of the 18 industries seeing growth. New orders drove this, of course. But, with technology advances, employment declined. This trend is sure to continue.

    Some responses from manufacturers indicates that capital equipment sales are steady and RFPs for them are up. Those in primary metals indicate business is going strong. One large company in transportation equipment likes that government is “spending again.”

    Non-residential construction is down but home construction start numbers nationally are at the highest level since October 2007.

    We all continue to adjust to the new reality of post-recession business.

     

    What is manufacturing?

    What is manufacturing? Are we focusing on lower costs or increased innovation? Studies have shown the key to success in manufacturing for American companies are leaders who are willing and able to focus on innovation. It has been found companies focusing on innovation are increasing their bottom line verses low cost solutions by nearly double.

    We continue to face challenges in manufacturing to be competitive. Although studies show American manufacturers have the insight and determination to be leaders in a global market, and by focusing on innovation, we’ll be able to continue that trend and keep profits high. Manufacturing made our country great and will continue to be a source of our countries wealth.

     

    EEOC and DOL Propose Increased Reporting Requirements for EEO-1 Reports

    View the original article by Noreen Cull and Shavaun Adams Taylor

    On the seventh anniversary of the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”), announced a proposed rule to collect data from employers that will be used to identify discriminatory pay practices. Under the proposed rule, companies with 100 or more employees, both private employers and federal contractors, would be required to report wages from W-2 earnings and total hours worked for all employees by sex, race, and ethnicity within a 12-month period. It is projected that these new proposed requirements will affect over 63 million employees.

    This proposed rule is now in the comment period until April 1, 2016. The EEOC also plans to conduct a public hearing regarding the new rule at some point. If things progress as expected, this rule becomes effective for the September 30, 2017 reporting period.

    While the EEOC highlights that the proposed rule also is a benefit to employers because it assists employers “in evaluating their pay practices to prevent pay discrimination” and to avoid enforcement actions, there are legitimate concerns regarding how such data will be interpreted and used by government agencies. Some concerns include the strong likelihood of this data producing false positives and the ability to keep this information confidential.

    Pay Data

    Currently, the EEO-1 form collects data regarding the number of employees, along with their sex, race and ethnicity, in 10 specifically designated job categories. Under the proposed rule, an employer also would be required to report the number of employees by their sex, race, and ethnicity, within 12 specified pay bands in each of the 10 job categories. These pay bands track the 12 pay bands used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Occupation Employment Statistics survey. The specific pay bands are:

    • $19,239 and under;

    • $19,240 – $24,439;

    • $24,440 – $30,679;

    • $30,680 – $38,999;

    • $39,000 – $49,919;

    • $49,920 – $62,919;

    • $62,920 – $80,079;

    • $80,080 – $101,919;

    • $101,920 – $128,959;

    • $128,960 – $163,799;

    • $163,800 – $207,999; and

    • $208,000 and over.

    The proposed new section of the EEO-1 form is available on the EEOC’s website (click here).

    The pay data will be taken from employees’ total W-2 earnings for a 12-month period looking back from a pay period between July 1st and September 30th. The EEOC believes the benefit to using W-2 earnings is that it includes total earnings, including wages, salaries, and other compensation such as commissions, tips, taxable fringe benefits, overtime pay, shift differentials and bonuses. Also, the EEOC insists that using W-2s places the least amount of burden on an employer because this information is already gathered and most human resources information systems allow for calculations for any 12-month period, not just the calendar year.

    A concern for employers is that there is no way to indicate on the EEO-1 form neutral factors, such as experience, education, or performance that might account for or explain any pay differentials. Accordingly, it is anticipated that this data may produce many false positives which will force employers to exert additional time and resources to defend their pay practices.

    Total Number of Hours Worked

    Under the proposed rule, an employer would also have to record the total number of hours worked by employees, broken down by sex, race, and ethnicity, in each pay band. The EEOC states that the reason for providing the number of hours worked is to take into account part-time or partial-year employees. Specifically, data on number of hours worked “will allow analysis of pay differences while considering aggregate variations in hours.”

    As the rule is currently drafted, it is unclear how this information will achieve that purpose when it does not take into account factors which could skew results such as overtime hours, or other supplemental earnings like bonuses or commissions, which may be less due to part-time work. Another issue not addressed by the EEOC is how hours for salaried employees would be calculated. In fact, the EEOC acknowledges that it is not certain how to report hours worked for salaried employees and is requesting employer input on that issue.

    Data Analysis

    The EEOC states that it plans to use the pay data to: (1) assess complaints of discrimination; (2) focus agency investigations; and (3) identify existing pay disparities that may warrant further examination. The agency claims the information from the pay bands will be used to “compute within-job-category variation, across-job-category variation, and overall variation” to discern potential discrimination. The EEOC plans to develop statistical tools for staff to use on their computers so that they can conduct this type of analysis. The EEOC will also publish aggregate data so that employers can conduct their own analysis of their pay practices

    Yet, the EEOC has not identified what statistical methodology it plans to use. Thus, it is not possible to assess whether the EEOC’s statistical analysis would hold up under judicial scrutiny or would be rejected by the courts.

    Confidentiality Concerns

    The EEOC does not guarantee that the pay data will be kept confidential and not subject to FOIA requests through both the EEOC and the DOL. Specifically, the EEOC states that Title VII forbids it from making public the EEO-1 data before a Title VII proceeding is instituted. As for OFCCP, it promises to keep the EEO-1 data confidential “to the maximum extent permitted by law, in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act Exemption 4 and the Trade Secret Act.”

    The EEOC attempts to counter any confidentiality concerns by claiming that since the data is provided in the aggregate and not on based on individual employees, there is no confidentiality issue. Aside from the fact that it’s really more of a privacy issue, that response underplays the importance that the compensation data could provide to competitors and ignores the free discovery that it would provide to the plaintiff’s bar by allowing access to this pay data.

    Next Steps

    Given the complexity of defending discriminatory pay claims, in preparation of the enactment of this new rule employers should conduct pay equity analysis to assess any issues prior to submitting any pay data. Additionally, companies affected by the proposed rule may wish to consider submitting comments.

     

    The Importance of Plastics Manufacturing to the Construction Industry

    The building and construction industry is the nation’s second largest consumer of plastics. For instance, within the structure of a building, plastics contribute to insulation, door and window installation, wiring, piping and roofing. Inside the home, plastics provide wallpapering, flooring, awnings, laminated kitchen surfaces, piping, valves and fittings, and bathroom furniture. Indeed, plastics have built a reputation for durability, aesthetics, easy handling and high performance.

    Moreover, the spike in multi-family living among today’s singles, couples without children and small families, particularly in Southern California and other major cities, has created new and additional uses of plastics in residential construction. While the space in multi-family housing and apartment living may be smaller, individuals are still looking for great design aesthetics to work within the limited square footage. Plastics provide design flexibility at reduced costs – from the functionality of built-in shelving to the luxury of cultured marble surfaces, plastics can play a part in creating the materials.

    Plastic material in building additions as well as new construction also continues to add speed, save energy and reduce costs. For example, plastic in bathroom fixtures such as tubs, showers and sinks can be constructed in one piece and then hoisted into place and attached to the building frame, producing significant savings in construction and installation costs. Plastic is also safer to handle, as it’s typically much lighter than metals. The lightness of plastic makes it easier to carry and lift into place; if a part drops suddenly, the chances of a crushing injury are greatly reduced.

    Architects and engineers also rely on plastics to help maximize energy efficiency, durability and performance – from the construction of new homes to the retrofit and renovation of commercial buildings, and from hospitals to schools. Plastic insulation products, in fact, save over 200 times more energy over their lifetime than that which is used for their production and are roughly 16% more energy-efficient than alternative insulation materials. In addition, the insulating effects of some plastics can also decrease sound pollution levels.

    Plastics have changed our lives like no other material and their future continues to be bright in helping to boost the construction industry. This was recently underscored by a report released last month at the 2016 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas. The report issued by plastics industry association, SPI, analyzed the principal factors impacting the plastics industry’s key end markets. “From floors to roofs, inside and outside of walls, plastics are a go-to product on construction sites around the world,” said William R. Carteaux, SPI President and CEO. “Innovation in the plastics industry to improve and diversify products is matched by the building and construction sector’s pace to find, and use, new solutions to address fundamental issues like structural integrity, energy savings, recycling, and cost savings.”

    At Precision Manufacturing Insurance Services (PMIS), we are proud to be a supporter of this vibrant and dynamic industry and its continued growth by providing insurance for plastics manufacturers. As specialists in manufacturing insurance, our program is designed to support the industry’s innovation and expansion by providing products that respond to the complex set of exposures and emerging risks unique to plastics manufacturers. From Commercial General Liability to Property insurance to Product Liability and Product Recall, Patent Infringement, Professional Liability, Foreign Liability, and Excess Liability to Workers’ Compensation, among other coverages, our goal is to protect your assets, employees and profits as you embark on applying the next wave of plastics ingenuity. To learn more about our specialized insurance for plastics manufacturers, contact us at 855.910.5788.

    This post is courtesy of a PMIS, LA/NTMA Associate Member – view the original article here.

     

    What does the manufacturing industry want?

    The 2016 Bloomberg job skills report is out which segments a number of industries charting the importance of up to 14 skills considered important for success as a manager. You might think that new hires should come in with deep work experience, quantitative skills and drive. Nope.

     

    The top six desired traits starting with the most sought after are:

    Strategic thinking, leadership skills, creative problem-solving, communication skills, analytical thinking and ability to work collaboratively.

    These trumped decision-making, global awareness, quantitative skills, risk-taking and entrepreneurship. Oh, it would be fantastic to get all of those in one person but, it’s rare. Work experiences is at the bottom. Interesting.

    How do you rate new applicants? Does this study match your hiring efforts?

     

    NTMA’s Southwest Regional Conference

    All of us have to make hard decisions about how to spend our time and especially our money. So, when we see meetings and conferences offered, I understand why you might hesitate to register. But, the best thing you’ll do for your business all summer – maybe all year – will be to attend the NTMA’s Southwest Regional Conference August 5-7 in Irvine, California. I urge your attendance.

    Online webinars and telephone conference calls are a part of our business communications, to be sure. However, talking heads on a computer monitor cannot fill our need for the interaction and the experience of engaging with members and experts in our field. You will come away with information you’ll need to stay ahead of your competition and to manage your business more profitably.

    I’ll be there for sure. Our sponsors for the event will be there. And, you really should be too. We all need to “reach up” to the next level of professionalism.

    Register here: ntma-swrc.org

    Darin

     

    30th Anniversary of the Challenger Disaster

    January 28th, 2016 was the thirtieth anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger tragedy, in which seven crew members were killed in an explosion just after launch.

    At the time of the disaster, I was a salesman for Carl Zeiss’s measuring technology division. Not long after the tragedy, I received an invitation from Morton Thiokol in Utah to visit and evaluate their measuring procedure for the shuttle’s booster rockets manufactured at the Utah plant. It was a leaky seal between segments on one of the boosters that caused the terrible explosion.

    After clearing security and being escorted to the manufacturing area, the first thing I noticed was the downcast atmosphere inside. The tragedy was still fresh in everyone’s mind. They had a big problem on their hands, and they knew it. Being a NASA contractor, they depended on NASA money for their livelihood. And NASA wanted answers.

    The booster segments were enormous alloy steel cylinders, about 18 feet in diameter. They looked like precision machined storm drain pipes. They were being machined on a specially designed vertical lathe with a huge rotating table that had been sunk into the desert floor. It was a one-of-a-kind machine, for sure.

    Like many facilities I’d visited, it was obvious that the money for manufacturing the parts was virtually unlimited. And, like many other places, quality control was an afterthought and being done on the cheap.

    They measured the O-ring seal diameters with pi tapes. Pi tapes are flexible steel tapes, much like a handheld tape measure, but designed to measure diameters. Workers would press the tapes against the diameter to be measured, and a technician would observe where the tape came together to determine the diameter. I was shocked. Here was a multi-million dollar aerospace manufacturing facility that was using 19th-century technology for quality control. Furthermore, being in the Utah desert, the building was subject to considerable temperature swings at the point of manufacture. I don’t know how they compensated for the expansion and contraction from the varying ambient temperature.

    We (Zeiss) proposed adding a column next to the turntable on which would be mounted a very sensitive measuring device which could be accurately and repeatedly positioned within the critical seal diameters. The turntable would then rotate, and the measuring head would collect data. The data would be computer analyzed and results given to Thiokol engineers. The data would be automatically adjusted to compensate for the ambient temperature at the time of measurement. Due to the scale of the project, our quote ran well over one million dollars.

    Well, that was just too much money for Thiokol. I was politely thanked and dismissed. I don’t know what, if anything, they ever did to improve their quality control. Perhaps that’s part of what led to the restricted temperature range in which NASA would permit a shuttle launch from the Cape after the tragedy.

    Sometime I’ll write another story about the ceramic tiles used to coat the belly of the space shuttle, and how these mission-critical tiles were being “measured” by a NASA contractor in Mountain View, CA. It will curl your hair.


    Mark Osterstock, President
    Q-Mark Manufacturing Inc.
    30051 Comercio | Rancho Santa Margarita CA 92688
    Phone: 949-457-1913
    Fax: 949-457-9277
    Follow us on Facebook!

     

    The Desk Challenge!

    A few years ago Axxis Corp moved to a new location in Perris, California, and I was afforded a brand new and very large office of my own. Not wanting to purchase your typical store bought office furniture, I opted to design and custom make all my own pieces. I recently started drawing the designs, purchasing the materials and machining my desk. I wanted to pre-assemble it before it went out for the black hard-anodize coating.

    An older gentlemen who works in our company approached me and asked “Where are all the drawers?” “For what?”, I replied. “For all your stuff!”. It was right then that I realized he was still living in the past.

    After a short conversation we went to his office and began going through his nine desk drawers. When everything was said and done we had cleaned everything out and he only had one small drawer left with items in it.

    • We tossed catalogs that could be found online.

    • We saved old files electronically.

    • We scanned and saved pictures.

    • We turned three ringed binders into files that could be found on his desktop.

    So, the challenge is this… What do you have in all those desk drawers? Could you simplify your life and de-clutter? It’d be a great way to start the new year.

    -Brian Grigson

     

    Coming in 2016

    Industry Members,

    There is no better time than right now to be a member of our great association. With a packed 2016 schedule, there is truly an event for everyone in LA/NTMA. One thing I’m dedicated to for 2016 is to plan ahead giving everyone plenty of time to schedule in important association meetings and events that bring real value to you.

    Our Mastermind Meetings format is changing. They will focus on specific topics rather than broad concept brainstorming. The feedback we got from attendees who came last year was that the time was well spent, but that they needed to drill down on certain topics. Check out our calendar for more.

    We already have some really great tours planned. We’ll be going back to Haas in the summer, the newly renovated Petersen Automotive Museum in March, and we’ll also get a great tour at Allied Mechanical in the Fall. Stay tuned for more details.

    As the Programs Director of LA/NTMA, it is important to me that we keep you in the know, offer you exciting opportunities, and listen to your needs. So, if you have a request for a topic to tackle, I’m all ears.

    I look forward to seeing many of you in 2016!

    Lee Norton