Manufacturing 2025:  How America is Back in Production

    Posted by Todd Stukenberg

    Jan 25, 2019 4:00:00 PM

    It’s no secret that the United States’ once prominent and thriving manufacturing base has suffered over the past 4+ decades, as global competition eroded American competitive advantages.  However, as global standards of living have improved and thereby increased the cost of overseas manufacturing, American manufacturers have embraced technology to regain competitive position.  This adoption of automation, robots/cobotics, and data analytics have combined with manufacturing-friendly governmental policy to spark growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector.  So what are these technologies and what do they project for the manufacturing sector at the quarter century milestone of 2025?

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    Topics: reshoring contract manufacturer, Asian contract manufacturing, contract manufacturing services, legacy manufacturing, lean manufacturing

    Lean Manufacturing: The Required Ticket to Doing Business Today with OEMs

    Posted by Craig Zoberis

    Apr 21, 2015 5:57:00 PM

    Quality products. Low prices. On-time deliveries. As an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), you’ve likely heard that you can only offer two of these qualities out of three to the market. Clients are becoming more demanding, markets are now more customized, and product life cycles are getting shorter. However, applying lean principles will give you the competitive advantage required to have all these qualities, without excess strain on your employees or budget. No longer an optional methodology, lean manufacturing is now an essential component to keeping up with the changes in the industry.

    Lean thinking is about removing waste in the organization to generate real, tangible benefits for the manufacturer. According to Rob McCann, Vice President of Operations of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC), “Lean manufacturing is the systematic approach to identify and eliminate waste from processes whiles educating and improving the skills and environment of workflow”. This increases the value for the customer and improves your company’s bottom line.

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    Topics: original equipment manufacturer, lean manufacturing

    Lean Procurement for Contract Manufacturers

    Posted by Keith Gansberg

    Mar 20, 2015 6:07:03 PM

    KeithG2Contract manufacturing companies expect their procurement departments to provide purchased materials and components on time, with the lowest costs and the highest quality. Instead of shying away from the challenge of accomplishing all three, embrace the opportunity. The solution to realizing these goals is applying lean practices.  Designing and implementing lean procurement best practices can dramatically change the way your contract manufacturing (CM) company does business. 

    Applying these lean principles involves eliminating waste and making processes and communications simple, clear and direct. It makes it easier for customers and suppliers to do business with your CM company. Additionally, getting rid of this waste will lead to increased productivity and freeing up more time for procurement staff to focus on value-added activities, rather than administration. Examine the list below to determine which wastes are slowing down the efficiency of your procurement department:

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    Topics: lean manufacturing, lean office

    Lean Machining for OEMs

    Posted by Davin Erickson

    Jan 23, 2015 5:25:00 PM

     Reduced lead times. Improved overall product quality. Lowered costs. As an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), these are your desired results when outsourcing high volume CNC machining. They can all be achieved – without sacrificing quality – when your CNC Machine Shop partner runs on lean manufacturing principles.

    The core objective of lean is maximizing client value while minimizing waste. Examples of waste include: defects, unnecessary inventory, and time spent waiting. Simply put, lean means getting the right things to the right place, at the right time, in the right quantities, while being flexible and open to change. At Fusion OEM, we apply these lean principles to our CNC machine shop and realize immediate benefits to the company, employees and clients.

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    Topics: oem, contract manufacturing, lean manufacturing, cnc machining

    Initiating a Lean Culture

    Posted by Ken Chess

    Jan 16, 2015 3:48:00 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

    Does Your OEM Contract Manufacturer Conduct Engineering Release Meetings?

    Posted by Jacob Miller

    Jan 9, 2015 5:51:00 PM

     As an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), the goals of outsourcing work to a contract manufacturer (CM) are twofold: create a high-quality product and maximize your spend. Both of these goals can be successfully accomplished if your CM holds Engineering Release Meetings.

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    Topics: oem, original equipment manufacturer, contract manufacturing, lean manufacturing, product development, process improvement

    Lean Manufacturing: Put Your Bottom Line In Employees’ Hands

    Posted by Craig Zoberis

    Nov 18, 2014 6:46:00 AM

    Every manufacturer is looking to increase its bottom line, but only a few are tapping into the secret of successful new profits: your employees.

    Whether you’re a traditional Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) company or you’re outsourcing production to a partner, handing over more responsibilities to employees might sound like a recipe for disaster. However, with the right lean manufacturing approach, employee empowerment is the key to stronger bottom-line growth.

    Here are six reasons why employee empowerment isn’t just optional for OEM companies and contract manufacturers – it’s required:

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    Topics: lean manufacturing, process improvement

    Product Design Engineering: Practices To Love And Practices To Leave Behind

    Posted by Craig Zoberis

    Nov 4, 2014 7:35:00 AM

    Do you want your customers to love your products or leave them behind? The answer is obviously the former — so what are you doing to foster that love?

    Original equipment manufacturers may seek contract manufacturing partners for outsourced manufacturing work to create better, more affordable products or to maintain legacy products without sacrificing equipment and labor on less profitable product lines.

    OEMs partnering with a contract manufacturing service provider should do everything possible to ensure their clients continue to love their products.

    Whether you’re considering a contract manufacturing solution or looking to improve your in-house processes, we offer you some OEM product design engineering best practices to love and bad habits to leave behind.

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    Topics: contract manufacturing, lean manufacturing

    3 Ways A Lean Culture Increases Employee Engagement

    Posted by Craig Zoberis

    Oct 21, 2014 10:43:00 AM

    As an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), you appreciate first-hand how lean manufacturing practices enhance your profitability (and the profitability of your contract manufacturer). But, have you considered how a lean culture improves your bottom line as well?

    With a lean culture, all of your employees are personally invested and responsible for continuous improvement at your OEM or private label manufacturer. From high-level managers to front-line staff, your entire business focuses on new ways to work efficiently, increase value and deliver better service to clients and customers.

    Lean culture makes a difference in profitability by dramatically improving employee engagement. According to a recent study by the Workplace Research Foundation, increasing investments in employee engagement by 10% has the potential to increase your profits by $2,400 per employee, per year. The same study also found that highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above-average productivity.

    So, how does a lean culture contribute to increased employee engagement? Here are three of the most common ways:

    1. Lean Culture Means More Employee Feedback

    Within a lean manufacturing culture, your employees have the opportunity to be a part of your firm’s process improvement initiatives. These lean projects give your employees the chance to provide feedback on current processes and then directly address those concerns themselves.

    By soliciting and using workers’ feedback, you increase employee engagement with your company. Not only does a lean culture foster a habit of continual feedback, but it equally encourages employees to get involved in making a solution happen – whether that’s in the boardroom or on the manufacturing floor.

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    Topics: lean manufacturing, private label manufacturer, lean culture

    How Lean Manufacturing Powers Your Process Improvements

    Posted by Craig Zoberis

    Oct 14, 2014 7:17:00 AM

    Many Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) see lean manufacturing as simply another set of tools or techniques for squeezing extra profit out of their manufacturing processes.

    However, these OEMs misunderstand the true nature of lean manufacturing: It’s not a toolkit but a mindset. Lean manufacturing isn’t just about pinching pennies or putting unrealistic productivity expectations onto employees – it’s an entire philosophy of manufacturing that incorporates every aspect of your business processes.

    And when your company’s processes are cluttered, unprofitable and in need of an upgrade, the lean manufacturing mindset is what helps power those process improvements.

    Next time you’re enacting process improvements at your OEM – or encouraging your contract manufacturer to do the same – use these four steps to ensure your process improvements are tapping into the power of the lean philosophy:

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    Topics: lean manufacturing, process improvement

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