As the year draws to a close, we always like to take a look back on the events and people that made a difference in manufacturing throughout the past 12 months. We celebrate successes such as Manufacturing Day and the all-new Manufacturing Month, and look at ways to overcome challenges, whether it’s maintaining growth or competing more effectively overseas. We also like to take a look at what interested you, our readers, the most in our blogs.
Our Top 5 Most Read Blogs of 2019
With a whopping 10,700 views, this was by far our most popular post of the year. In it, we highlighted how conferences provide a great way for manufacturers to network with others, demo exciting new technologies, learn about interesting new topics, and gain valuable insights from industry experts. This popular blog features five manufacturing conferences being held in California, and another 11 taking place across the country. Because of its popularity, be on the lookout for conferences to attend in 2020 coming soon, or subscribe to our blog to be sure you don’t miss it.
In this blog, we highlighted the state of manufacturing across the country, and the reasons most small and medium-sized manufacturers cite for their inability to fill jobs:
- Shifting skill sets: New technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), additive manufacturing, and advanced robotics require people with the knowledge to program, manage, or operate them, and these skilled individuals often look outside the manufacturing realm.
- Misperceptions about manufacturing: Younger generations tend to think of manufacturing jobs as only involving repetitive tasks and little skill.
- Retirement of Baby Boomers: With this demographic exiting the workforce, manufacturers are tasked with finding new employees to take their place.
To recruit future skilled employees, and show that manufacturing today often offers some of the most exciting and innovative work environments around, we encouraged small and medium-sized manufacturers to get active by participating in Manufacturing Day, the annual nationwide event in which manufacturers open their doors to students, business people, the media, and others.
This blog pointed out the fact that far too often, manufacturers look to make cuts in order to save money; this could mean laying off employees or continuing to use old or antiquated equipment. We highlighted 10 ways that manufacturers can save money that wouldn’t hurt their employees or their business:
- Perform a complete assessment
- Prioritize ROI (and Consider ROX)
- Seek Improvement from Within
- Reconsider Old Ideas
- Follow ISO 9001 Standards
- Reduce Energy Consumption (and Be Greener)
- Work Smart Through Automation
- Sell Scrap to Vendors
- Negotiate with Suppliers and Freight Carriers
- Embrace Lean Manufacturing
If you haven’t read this blog, be sure to check it out for a detailed look at all 10 of these money-saving techniques.
When it comes to keeping current with manufacturing practices today, a wealth of information is always just a mobile device away! In this blog, we highlighted our favorite 5 blogs and 5 podcasts.
- Manufacture This
- Manufacturing Innovation
- Manufacturing Transformation
- National Association of Manufacturers
- Champions of Manufacturing
- Making Chips
- Manufacturing Talk Radio
- The Art of Manufacturing
- Gemba Academy: Lean Thinking
- 3D Printing Podcast
By reading or listening to just a couple per week or even per month, manufacturers can be continuously learning (we’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention our own blog, so be sure to subscribe now for great global and California-based content).
Additive Manufacturing, or 3D printing, has greatly impacted the design and manufacturing communities. It changes the way industries design, make production parts, and support products in the aftermarket. In this blog post, we delved into the ways that 3D printing has altered manufacturing forever, such as:
- Changing how quickly products get to market
- Changing how effectively we design
- Changing the way we make tools
- Changing the way we fix things
Clearly, additive manufacturing is a game-changer and its impact is just beginning to be felt, as the speed and capability of machines have just passed a tipping point. Be sure to follow our blog for more stories on this evolving technology.
Here Are the Five Honorable Mentions:
Always a popular topic with our readers, our stories about Manufacturing Day leading up to the event itself were a hit, as were the results of MFG Day 2018 (580 sites hosted, participated in, or sponsored events in the Golden State alone!)
Help is out there for growing or struggling small and medium-sized manufacturers, and this blog highlighted one organization that is really stepping up with financial assistance: The Small Business Development Center. The SBDC helps with day-to-day business activities and supports in disaster recovery, such as during the California wildfires.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we celebrated women in manufacturing with this blog that highlighted how women are beginning to make big strides in a once male-dominated industry, and including stories from real women in positions of power.
Today’s consumer demands quality, authenticity, and transparency from food manufacturers. In this blog, we looked at six ways to improve product quality, from implementing automated statistical process control systems to maintaining a high level of supply chain visibility and developing a food safety program.
With baby boomers retiring, many manufacturers are facing a talent shortage. This blog discussed the benefits of embracing apprenticeships—that age-old method of transferring the tribal knowledge of one generation to the next.
There you have it, the best of 2019! We appreciate all of the subscribers and readers of our blog, and we promise to keep you informed on topics important to you in the future and up-to-date on the latest industry developments. Here’s to more great reads in 2020!