October 5, 2013, Towson, MD. – Over 150 Maryland manufacturing stakeholders came together on Friday at the Towson Sheraton to hear the views from both Democratic and Republican Gubernatorial candidates on how they might improve manufacturing in Maryland if they were elected. [Read more...]
Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland
October 4th Manufacturing Day in America
Maryland Manufacturing – An Agenda for Change
7:30 -11:30 AM Towson Sheraton
7:30-8:30 AM continental breakfast networking
NOTE: Lt. Governor Brown’s office notified us recently (9/26), that he is unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts (He had not previously confirmed) They expressed their disappointment in not being able to resolve the conflict. Lt Governor Brown has agreed to schedule time to meet with RMI , manufacturers and the manufacturing stakeholder community in the near future.
903 Dulaney Valley Road
Towson Maryland, 21204
7:30 -8:30 continental breakfast & networking
8:45- Welcome – Mike Galiazzo, Ph.D. President Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland
9:00 a.m. Morning Keynote: “Why Maryland Gets a “D” on Manufacturing,” from the Author of the 2013 Manufacturing and Logistics National Report, Michael J. Hicks, Professor of Economics and Director of Center for Business and Economic Research, Ball State University.
Dr. Hicks published a national report that demonstrated how each state ranks among its peers in several areas of the economy that underlie the success of manufacturing and logistics. The specific measures were: manufacturing and logistics industry health, human capital, cost of worker benefits, diversification of the industries, state-level productivity and innovation, expected fiscal liability, tax climate and global reach.
Maryland was ranked near the bottom, receiving an overall grade of “D,” the median grade for the eight areas measured. This forum will help identify specific strategies to move our state from a “D” to an “A”.
Copy of the report may be found at:
9:30 – New Directions for Maryland Manufacturing – 2014 Gubernatorial Candidates.
The purpose of this forum is to learn from each candidate, what they will do to change the climate for Maryland manufacturing within the areas defined by the Ball State University Report.
Candidates will be invited to present their positions. The goal is to identify 4-5 very specific strategies that each candidate is offering to improve the climate for manufacturing in Maryland.
11:00 –Leading the Way to Next Generation Manufacturing – Mike Galiazzo, Ph.D., President Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland
11:05 – Meet the candidates coffee reception – informal networking
RMI Members $50.00
For RMI membership information and application click on the green “MEMBERSHIP” tab above
Sponsorships Available – call Mike Galiazzo 410-771-8111
REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER INSTITUTE WEBSITE: https://www.wtci.org/
June 6, Timonium, MD. Over 60 manufacturing stakeholders gathered at the RMI Breakfast Series to hear insights from GM Baltimore Operations, Middle River Aircraft Systems and Ellicott Dredges on what works and what doesn’t in recruiting and retaining manufacturing talent.
“We were really tested recently when we received an aircraft reverse thrust order from Boeing which required us to quickly find 350 new hires,” said Jenny Williams, HR Director for Middle River Aircraft Systems, a division of GE Aviation. “I knew we didn’t have the technical talent in the area to fill these positions, so we took a different approach where we made some minimum requirements with no previous manufacturing experience,” she said.
The panelist and audience members including Marlin Steel Wire Products, Acadia Windows & Doors, Intellitech, Canam Steel, Chesapeake Spice Company, DAP Products, Lion Brothers and Green Bay Packaging, nodded in agreement that the skills shortage is an ongoing problem and manufacturers must learn to deal with it. There is a real disconnect between the qualifications of those coming out of the educational system and today’s manufacturing needs.
Former Congresswoman Helen Bentley was the honored guest at the event. She felt strongly about the disconnect as well as she emphasized that the system was not working and their is an immediate imperative to get better results from our educational system.
While many of today’s manufacturing jobs require technical, advanced degrees, Mike Galiazzo, President of RMI says that there’s a bigger problem. “First, the educational system is not sending us students prepared to work in environments that require high standards, teamwork, and the effort to get a job done successfully. Its a problem of attitude and effort, not just technical competence. Second, we are consistently seeing a real lack of work ethic among new recruits,” he said.
So how are manufacturers finding new talent? Most say that referrals and word of mouth are some of the top avenues. GM Baltimore Operations Plant Manager Bill Tiger said they use websites like LinkedIn as well and find that those with warehousing experience are good candidates. GM looks for recruits that “play well” together and that have a basic mechanical aptitude. “We don’t hire by offering jobs at GM,” he said. Even when they get interest, he says that 25% of them don’t even show up for their first interview.
Ellicott’s HR Director Sandy Crawford said that in 2008 she was given the job to double their workforce. “We went to an outside temp agency to help get us welders, mechanics and machinist. The agency did great. Now retaining the employees is a different matter. We provide good perks, but sometimes we just lose them because of a lack of will to work,” she said.
“I talk to manufacturers every day and they say their biggest challenge is getting employees to show up at work each day,” said Galiazzo. Williams seemed to echo this point. When they hired the 350 workers for the new reverse thrust order more than 100 were released do to attendance problems.
Tiger talked about their unique problem to find the right talent where GM is now switching from a downsizing mode to a ramp-up mode. “Finding electric motor talent is really challenging since the U.S. has never had an electric motor car plant before,” he said. “No one has any experience in this,” said Tiger.
“We need to get our new non-manufacturing employees to get over the stigma of working in a factory,” he said. He also stressed the millennial generation has been told that they don’t need jobs and that they’ll change companies five or six times. “We are really challenged on how to keep them after we make such a big investment in them.” But he does see some opportunities. Tiger proudly discussed how they recently nurtured several Johns Hopkins University interns who they have now hired as full time employees.
What is working? At Middle River Aircraft Systems, they decided to develop their own training center in house. They took their best senior union employees who do the work off the floor to teach one week classes to new recruits. The training center helps build confidence for the job. Such training also provides connections to allow for ongoing informal mentoring relationships to be developed and teaming programs to help new employees understand what they need to do to succeed.
“We need to get over the issue about the lack of skilled workers,” said Williams. “You’ve got to meet people where they are…our business will fail without the right worker,” she said. Williams said if they have the skills to read and follow directions, she feels they can teach them what they need to know to succeed. A key element of that training is incentivizing the employees to value their jobs. “One tactic that has proven extremely successful is showing employees a financial projection based on their current and projected earning so that they can see how much they’ll be earning in 10 years if they learn their job and stick with it,” she said. “You’d be amazed at the reaction when the light bulb goes off,” she said.
May 15, 2013 – Timonium, MD. On Tuesday morning, over 30 manufacturing stakeholders attended RMI’s Breakfast Series and heard Green Bay Packaging’s General Manager Tyson Aschliman share insights on how his firm has increased productivity by going green.
Aschliman recalled a turning point for his firm occurred when a 2011 summer brown-out crippled the plant’s electronic drive systems. He used that event as an opportunity to revamp how they looked at energy. “That accident cost us over $100,000,” said Aschliman. “It was a big wake-up call, reminding us that energy is a big target cost area, directly tied to our profitability,” he said. “I never used to look at the energy bills before,” said Aschliman. “That has all changed now.”
In the fall of 2011, GBP joined an energy conservation initiative to be part of a self-directed green team program with a cohort group of five other manufacturers led by RMI. The program was operated under at U.S. Department of Energy grant through Baltimore County, Maryland to help manufacturers with their energy conservation needs.
“The timing of this initiative was great,” said Aschliman. “We reviewed our operating procedures and realized that we needed systems to help us tie our goals to improved productivity,” he said. Those productivity improvements also helped the firm save energy. As GPB went through this process, they found a lot of waste in the system.
“We stumbled into sustainability and profited,” he said. GBP made some modifications that required little or no costs, but reaped huge savings. In the first year, the company realized $40,000 in savings by conserving energy use and curbing their waste stream while increasing their productivity by 22%.
As the plant manager, he is quick to point that his commitment to being greener is not an altruistic effort. “I’m not interested in saving the planet, I’m interested in saving the plant”, he said. He also talked about the importance of culture change and getting folks committed to saving energy, recycling wastes and decreasing set-up times on the machines. “It all goes hand-in-hand,” he said. “As our employees become more incentivized to become more productive, our firm benefits, they benefit and our community benefits.”
Aschliman struck a chord with the manufacturers in the room as he explained how he views sustainability from a business perspective. “Sustainability to me means how to become more efficient in finding new markets and growing our business. As we do more with less, we are becoming a more profitable and a more responsible company,” Aschliman emphasized. “Bottom line: we are becoming more ecologically sustainable by ensuring our economic sustainability,” he said.
RMI Breakfast Series – June 5 – Finding and Keeping Manufacturing Talent: HR Insights from GM, Ellicott Dredges and Middle River Aircraft
Manufacturers continue to have difficulty in filling skilled production jobs that fuel their ability to innovate and grow. Meanwhile, the manufacturing industry continues its rapid pace of change. Companies are putting themselves at risk of falling behind too far, too fast.
According to a recent survey Deloitte Consulting and the Manufacturing Institute conducted in 2011, 600,000 manufacturing jobs went unfilled. The survey indicates that 5% of current jobs at respondent manufacturers are unfilled due to a lack of qualified candidates. How does this match up with Maryland manufacturing?
The skilled worker shortage is one of the top worries for manufacturing executives as it threatens American’s future manufacturing productivity.
RMI invites you to join us for an insightful Breakfast Series event which will focus on how manufacturing HR Directors from GM, Middle River Aircraft and Ellicott Dredges are addressing recruitment and retention needs for their companies.
April 10, 2013, Timonium, MD - Over 35 manufacturing stakeholders attended a Regional Manufacturing Institute (RMI) Breakfast Series event in Timonium to hear from one of the first Maryland companies to buck the outsourcing trend by bringing some of its overseas operations to the State.
Dale Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Chesapeake Bay Candle, recounted the unique story about why Chesapeake Bay Candle brought some of their manufacturing business from Asia to open a new facility in the U.S. in June, 2011. According to Williams, at the start of 2008, Chesapeake Bay Candle found itself at an interesting crossroads. The home-grown Maryland candle business started in 1994 in Annapolis by Co-Founders Mei Xu, and her husband, David Wang. From humble beginnings of developing candles in their basement out of soup cans, they expanded rapidly and eventually were importing candles from their own China and Vietnam manufacturing facilities to meet the demand from U.S. clients.
They wanted to make sure they were managing the business effectively so in early 2008 they hired an outside manufacturing veteran to help them expand their business. “When I joined the business, things really looked good, but then came the great recession later that fall,” said Williams. The firm needed to take a hard look at the business as they realized their major niche was making one product really well from factories based overseas for the U.S. market. “We were very vulnerable to events that could impact us beyond our control,” said Williams. Years earlier, the company had been forced to expand manufacturing into Viet Nam when the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed 110% duty on China candle imports.
As Chesapeake Bay Candle moved most of its candle manufacturing to Vietnam, they discovered that their new manufacturing location didn’t insulate them from external shocks. As manufacturers continued to flee China for the lower labor in Vietnam, prices for Vietnamese labor skyrocketed by 46%. “We had to take a hard look at the full cost of our product imports throughout the whole supply chain,” said Williams. They looked at labor, freight, lead time, compliance costs and third party testing. “All of these prices were going up,” he said. Chesapeake Bay Candle was in the fashion business with fragrance as the centerpiece. “We had lots of design work, lots of SKUs and working capital tied up in inventory for as long as five months,” he said. Meanwhile, clients like Target and Bloomingdales wanted more candles and they wanted them cheaper and faster.
The evaluation process helped the company project trends in the industry and prepare to respond to them. “We wanted to have enough self-awareness to understand why people buy from us,” said Williams. In conversations with customers, the company recognized that clients valued Chesapeake Candle for its fashion leadership and prolific product design capability. It had become an industry force for it ability to both forecast and interpret trends and also provide good customer service. They also realized the fading labor benefit from its overseas production and the continued impact of higher transportation and inventory cost. They began to evaluate the benefit of producing product closer to their U.S. clients.
Once the decision was made to explore setting up a facility in the U.S., they needed to evaluate the best location for their business. “We looked at several states and alternative locations and then realized that we wanted to be in Maryland where we were headquartered,” said Williams. They decided that an existing building facility in Glen Burnie would provide the ideal location and set out to create process layouts, engineering requirements and purchase the necessary equipment needed to set up operation.
“We learned some hard lessons in setting up a manufacturing operation in Maryland,” said Williams. The amount of regulations and permitting requirements were very complex. “It took twice as long and ended up being twice as expensive to establish our operations due to the myriad of code requirements, hazmat and fire control retrofits,” he said.
“While we have enjoyed very good productivity from our Maryland plant, we don’t want other manufacturers to have to go through the learning curve of what we experienced,” said Williams. He encouraged the State of Maryland to do a better job of developing closer cooperation between the State and counties related to permitting hurdles faced by manufacturers. “The process was very discouraging. Nobody had the answers,” he said. I can’t imagine too many other companies putting up with what we experienced,” he said.
Williams said that Maryland could attract more manufacturers to set up operations in the State by providing “how to guidelines” for setting up facilities in the state and establish a concierge service of “knowledgeable officials” to help companies get through the process. Chesapeake Bay Candle had to hire a myriad of service providers to comply with codes that weren’t well understood by the enforcement agencies or by their hired expert consultants.
“At the end of the day, we made the right decision,” he said. Despite the arduous regulatory process since opening the facility in June 2011, the firm has been able to double their shifts and double their production capability.
Coming April 23, 2013 – The RMI Breakfast Series:
How Robotics is Increasing Manufacturing Efficiency at GM – REGISTER TODAY!
Join RMI and top manufacturing thought-leaders for RMI’s Breakfast Series on April 23 Featuring GM Baltimore Operations General Manager Bill Tiger as he discusses the benefits of embracing robots as part of their new plant’s assembly process.
American firms that have brought robots in to their facilities are benefiting from increased productivity, falling worker’s compensation rates and savings on premiums
translating into more resources for staff and other critical needs.
GM Baltimore Operations recently added robots to its assembly line for its new eMotor Building.
Timonium, Maryland- February 26. On Tuesday, RMI Chairman Drew Greenblatt, President of Baltimore-based Marlin Steel Wire Products, joined National Manufacturing Association (NAM) Chief Economist Chad Moutray to speak at an RMI breakfast event on the topic of “America’s Economic Recovery and What it Means for Manufacturing” at the Timonium Crown Plaza Hotel. Over 60 manufacturers and manufacturing stakeholders attended the event.
Greenblatt emphasized why he is bullish on American manufacturing. He cited several reasons why American manufacturing is having a renaissance including the “re-shoring” of American manufacturing. He also pointed out that China is losing its luster as a top investment location for America’s manufacturers citing labor costs skyrocketing by 20 % annually and the continued inattention to the rule of law. “U.S. manufacturers are weighing the options and many are realizing it is become a more profitable option to either re-shore or to not move their operations overseas at all,” he said.
Additionally, Greenblatt emphasized some key reasons why American’s manufacturing is on the cusp of a renaissance including American’s cheaper energy reserves, the impact of skyrocketing freight costs; and the need to service clients requiring speed-to-market. “Manufacturing jobs are great jobs. They pay $77,000 per year and include benefits. We need those jobs to broaden our US middle class and end the recession.”
NAM’s Moutray painted a mixed picture for 2013, citing the headwinds from Washington’s inability to address the country’s deficit problems and other headwinds from Europe; he highlighted the strengths in the economy as positives for manufacturing including a housing recovery, modest consumer consumption and increased exports. While only four out of 10 of America’s top exporting markets had a positive growth trends last October, he said today “8 out of 10 markets are growing” and that’s good for our economy. Further he said the U.S. had 5.5% increase in exports last year and predicts that we should do much better in 2013.
“Clearly there are signs that manufacturing, with good paying jobs with benefits, is making a comeback, said Mike Galiazzo, President of RMI. “Manufacturing innovation, technology and re-shoring are rebuilding our middle class today,” he said.
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