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TWI Explained

As Vermont manufacturers work to adjust to the new normal, business leaders are finding value in improved employee relationships as we return to work, along with the ever-present need for standardized training and instruction. VMEC’s Training Within Industry (TWI) programs offer opportunities to expand supervisor knowledge in the areas of Job Instruction (JI) and Job […]

Small Technical Assistance Grants Yield Big Impacts

In September 2020, the Vermont Legislature allocated $2.5 million of federal CARES Act funding for small business technical support in Act 137. Governor Scott and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development announced that the RDCs of Vermont (Regional Development Corporations) would be tasked with deploying $1,400,000 in technical assistance funding for small businesses across […]

Partnerships Create Rapid Innovation During COVID-19 Crisis

Like their counterparts around the country, Vermont manufacturers found themselves facing a long list of challenges as Coronavirus-related shutdowns pushed clients and suppliers into dramatically different new modes of operation last year. Many turned to new product and service offerings, leveraging their capabilities in creative ways to offset the many and varied challenges that presented […]

How Automation and AI May Help Level the Playing Field for Women in Manufacturing

Women make up about 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce despite filling 47 percent of the positions in the overall workforce, according to the Manufacturing Institute. While there have been periods of growth and decline, the dynamic is mostly unchanged since 1970, when women held 27 percent of the manufacturing jobs. But many experts say the growing […]

Lean Innovation: What Manufacturers Can Learn From the Tech Sector’s Appropriation of Lean Thinking

When most people think of lean processes, the prevailing attitude is that the goal is to optimize things in a step-by-step approach. The result that companies using lean methods can look forward to is incremental improvements brought about by the elimination of waste. Individuals who stick with this definition often assert that lean principles oppose […]

VMEC Strategy Plan

If You Fail to Plan… We’ve all heard the old maxim about the need to plan, and no one doubts the importance of having a well-formed Strategic Plan. The Harvard Business Review, however, finds that just 11% of executives are happy with their strategic planning process. And as with many other aspects of business, the […]

VMEC Innovation Engineering

What is Innovation Engineering? Businesses spend a tremendous amount of time and energy in pursuit of innovation—the transformative changes that enable growth through new products and ideas. The challenge, in many cases, is that like many creative endeavors, innovation can entail a bit of a “lightning in a bottle” unpredictability. We rarely know when innovative […]

Opportunities Beyond Our Borders

Many small/medium manufacturers face the question of exporting at some point in their growth.  Some companies may suddenly become “accidental exporters” through their online presence, but for others, the pull of overseas opportunities can become strong over time. Done properly, exporters can transcend the limitations of the domestic market, seize the potential for profitable new […]

Department of Defense Enforcing Contractor Cybersecurity Compliance

A cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds somewhere in the world. It is well known that our adversaries use vulnerabilities in the industrial base supply chain, from top tier to lower tier suppliers, to penetrate unprotected systems. While small manufacturers may believe they are safe from these attacks, believing they strike more at Prime contractors, nothing […]

Is the Manufacturing Worker Shortage Affecting Your Business? Lean Transformation Can Help.

The National Association of Manufacturers 2018 Third Quarter Manufacturers Outlook Survey is in. And the results, unsurprisingly, are mixed. Optimism registered at 93.9%– the highest year average in history. However, 73.2% of manufacturers cited the inability to find and attract a quality workforce as their top challenge. In fact, because of this workforce crisis, manufacturers […]