Blog

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 […]

Cost Reduction Strategies for Manufacturers

What is Cost Reduction? Cost reduction, as related to any business, is just as it sounds. The definition of cost reduction, according to Wikipedia is: “The process used by companies to reduce their costs and increase their profits. Depending on a company’s services or product, the strategies can vary.” (Wikipedia) While the Wikipedia definition is […]

Cybersecurity Starts with Your Employees

We’re all familiar with Smokey the Bear and the “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” slogan. In 2015, Smokey got an update and the new “Receive a Bear Hug” ads ran nationwide. In the ad, Smokey runs out of the woods and gives a big bearhug to a camper for properly checking camp fire embers. The […]

The Benefits of Improvement and Coaching Kata for Business

Kata is a Japanese term that can be translated to mean “a way of doing.” It can apply to any discipline that requires expertise in a pattern of behavior such as sports, music or martial arts. For businesses, it is important to understand that Kata can be used as a stand-alone skill or in conjunction […]