Choosing the Right NEMA Enclosure

Posted by Mitch Szafran

Jun 16, 2017 6:00:00 PM

Read Time: 3 Minutes 

NEMA ratings can often be confusing. All too often, enclosures are specified with the wrong NEMA rating, which can mean wasted revenue if the chosen rating is too high, or premature failure and the potential for safety risks if the rating is too low. Choosing the correct enclosure for your needs helps reduce costs and ensures that your components are adequately defended.

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Topics: contract manufacturer, nema, control panel

12 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Contract Manufacturer

Posted by Craig Zoberis

Jan 13, 2017 6:00:00 PM

Read Time: 4 Minutes

When it comes to outsourcing manufacturing for one of your product lines, no decision is as difficult as choosing which contract manufacturing partner is the best fit for your business.

As an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), your standards are high when it comes to how your products are made, managed and moved to market, so it’s natural that you’d have apprehensions about handing over one of your product lines to a contract manufacturer.

Fortunately, choosing the best contract manufacturing partner for your business isn’t as difficult as you think. If you weed out weaker alternatives and eliminate poor-fit partners, the remaining manufacturers are few and your decision is simple.

The following questions help you flesh out which contract manufacturer is worth your time:

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Topics: contract manufacturer

Emotional Intelligence in Today's Manufacturing World

Posted by Craig Zoberis

Aug 5, 2016 6:41:59 PM

Read Time: 3 Minutes 

Every manufacturer is looking to attract and retain great talent. As we all have heard before, products can easily be copied, technological innovation can prove fleeting, and more facilities can be built, but the quality of manufacturing talent, its passion and commitment, is nearly impossible to duplicate. As the great Jim Collins states, Packard’s Law (David Packard of HP) in the book How the Mighty Fall, “No company can consistently grow revenues faster than its ability to get enough of the right people to implement that growth and still become a great company. [And] if a company consistently grows revenue faster than its ability to get enough of the right people to implement that growth, it will not simply stagnate; it will fall.” Teams are at the very foundation of an organization, and they won’t work effectively without mutual trust and a common commitment to goals.

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Topics: contract manufacturer, oem, employee engagement

Communicating Your Vision with Rhythm

Posted by Craig Zoberis

Jul 31, 2015 6:15:00 PM

In addition to winning the 101 Best and Brightest Places to Work in Chicago for the third year in a row, this year Fusion OEM won an elite award in the Communication and Shared Vision category. This award is significant because it is based on both anonymous employee feedback as well as sharing what we do here at Fusion everyday via video and written content.

As a contract manufacturer (CM), I know that communicating the vision of the company is an opportunity to invigorate the work force, explain the challenges ahead, and discuss the plan for getting there. One of the many ways in which Fusion can be distinguished from other companies is the manner in which we define our organization’s mission and purpose. Rather than having a mission statement that simply defines the objective of our company, in January of 2013 I created our “Painted Picture”, a very specific vision of what the Company will look and feel like by December 31st, 2015. Fusion’s Painted Picture illustrates our multiple goals customized for clients, employees, company culture, customer service, sales, facilities and leadership structures. The Painted Picture depicts active strategies and connects them to each individual employee. The Painted Picture illuminates where Fusion is today, where Fusion will be by the end of the three year period, and how each employee will contribute to our evolution.

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Topics: Awesome Place To Work, contract manufacturer, employee engagement

Our 5 Training Best Practices

Posted by Jacob Miller

Jun 19, 2015 6:30:00 PM

Forward-thinking contract manufacturers realize the importance of training their employees early and often. Developing an effective training program is an investment that can prove extremely important for the long-term development of your manufacturing organization. It’s essential to ensure a thorough training program is in place, one that both employees and managers appreciate and value. If your proposed manufacturing training program doesn’t incorporate these best practices, it could be a waste of time and resources.

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Topics: contract manufacturer, oem, employee engagement, employee training

4 Tips to Increase Manufacturing Cash Flow

Posted by Jeff LaCrosse

Mar 6, 2015 3:31:00 PM

As a contract manufacturer (CM), you’re focused on producing products, managing inventories, winning new business, and other critical activities that generate revenue. While these areas of focus are essential, CMs who effectively manage accounting activities are able to increase their manufacturing cash flow. Successfully increasing manufacturing cash flow is the key component that will allow you to invest in R&D, buy capital equipment, offer competitive prices, and take other important steps toward growth.

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Topics: contract manufacturer, original equipment manufacturer

CM Facility Move Without Production Disruption

Posted by Ken Chess

Feb 6, 2015 6:06:00 PM

Fusion OEM recently moved into a new facility to accommodate our growing contract manufacturing business. Our production floor now has 50% more capacity than the previous facility and is fully climate controlled to better serve our clients and make our people more comfortable. When planning the move, our top priority was to avoid any impact on our customers. To accomplish this goal, we planned the move well in advance, accelerated production in advance of the event, and engaged employees throughout the process.

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Topics: contract manufacturer, contract manufacturing, lean culture, employee engagement

Initiating a Lean Culture

Posted by Ken Chess

Jan 16, 2015 4:48:00 PM

As an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or Contract Manufacturer (CM), you’re likely searching for ways to reduce costs without sacrificing speed or product quality. The key to gaining this competitive advantage lies in training your workforce to think Lean.

Implementing Lean Thinking with IMEC

Fusion OEM adopted lean manufacturing principles through a series of trainings and team development initiatives with the help of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC). Lean 101 training is a program available from IMEC that teaches the effectiveness of Lean concepts. During the session, IMEC brings in materials and demonstrates how to evaluate processes and make them more efficient through the application of Lean principles such as one-piece flow, visual pull systems, line balancing and more. Our team found the program to be engaging, educational, and completely interactive. We periodically run this program for our entire workforce to introduce Lean thinking to new employees, refresh the principles for veterans, and to reinforce our emphasis on having a company culture of Lean thinking. This applies to every function and department in the company. The benefits of training with IMEC are immediate. With everyone focused on thinking Lean, we are able to streamline tasks with our employees and increase the efficiency, clarity and trainability of their work. In addition, clear ISO-based lean procedures help employees identify deviant opportunities for improvement and effectively address them. This increases efficiency, boosts productivity and increases our profitability.

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Topics: contract manufacturer, lean manufacturing, lean culture

ISO 9001 Certification Requires SMART Quality Objectives

Posted by Courtney Underwood

Nov 13, 2014 8:42:00 AM

As an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), you need to select an outsourced contract manufacturer with care: It’s not just your company’s production quality on the line, but your reputation as well.

That’s why many OEM companies choose private label manufacturers with an ISO certification, to ensure that any potential manufacturing partner meets an objective standard of quality.

But ISO 9001 certification shouldn’t be your only measure of selecting an outsourced manufacturing partner. Here’s why:

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Topics: contract manufacturer, outsourced manufacturing, private label manufacturer

Why Your Contract Manufacturer Must Be Involved In Product Development

Posted by Craig Zoberis

Oct 2, 2014 12:41:00 PM

It’s a common myth among Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs): You don’t need to involve your contract manufacturer during the product development process. Simply hand off your newly developed product and the contract manufacturer does the rest.

Unfortunately, too many OEM leaders don’t know that this manufacturing myth is false. As a result, newly developed products are passed off to your contract manufacturer without properly communication – or cost containment.

What Goes Wrong With Most Product Development Hand-Offs

When your OEM product development team designs a new product or piece of equipment, they plan for factors like quality, cost reduction and essential features. Once the design is complete, the pre-production phase begins, which bridges the gap between the end of product development and the beginning of new product manufacturing.

During the pre-production phase, your product development team works with your contract manufacturer to ensure the product is created in a fast, efficient and cost-effective manner. However, involving your contract manufacturer this late in the process hurts your new product in the following ways:

  • Differences between the product plan and production capabilities increase manufacturing costs and decrease your profits.

  • Higher prices mean more costs are passed along to your customers, reducing their overall satisfaction.

  • Bringing your contract manufacturer on board after product design is already complete slows down the transition from planning to production, increasing your time-to-market considerably.

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Topics: contract manufacturer, original equipment manufacturer, product development