Webinar: Leveraging Millennials & Gen. Z in the Workplace

Join Denise Ball from ToolingU-SME as she discusses the myths vs. reality of Millennials (and introduces Generation Z and how they’re different!) to help you better leverage their skills in the workplace and embrace, engage, and retain them.

Millennials are the BIGGEST generation in U.S. history. For comparison, the massive baby-boomer generation has about 77 million people–what’s more, millennials make up nearly half of the current U.S. workforce.

Tooling U-SME Millennial survey shows manufacturing (78%) agrees millennials are important to their future, but less than half (40%) have a good understanding of this group.

Link to webinar

About the speaker:

Denise Ball is a Workforce Development Specialist for ToolingU-SME, an industry leader in manufacturing workforce education and development.  She has served as a practitioner of best-in-class learning and development techniques for the manufacturing industry for over 25 years.  Her extensive background includes workforce development for customized training at Lakeland Community College in Ohio.  She also brings hands-on experience in manufacturing as she assisted her family in running a small machine shop for several years.  For the past 6 years, she has guided the implementation of workforce education and skills training into corporations across the globe to help develop their workforce with success, as well as facilitated workshops on best practices and various webinars.  She resides in Ohio with her husband and has 5 children.


Webinar: Tax credits for manufacturers

Learn how manufacturers can qualify for federal and state income tax credits for their product and process development activity.  Many manufacturers are not aware that they qualify for these valuable incentives or overlook eligible activities and costs.  What’s more, the federal law recently changed to allow startups and other pre-profit businesses to apply the R&D tax credit against their payroll taxes.  This webinar will discuss how to qualify, eligible costs, opportunity areas, traps for the unwary and how to qualify for the payroll tax credit.

Link to webinar

Presenter Bio: 

Shawn Marchant, President of SMARTAX Pro has 20 years of experience in identifying and quantifying R&D and manufacturing incentives for companies in over 20 industries. His experience runs the gamut from initial project scoping through implementation, project management, IRS and state audit support, and finally, evaluation of benefits for financial statement presentation.  Shawn spent 16 years in the “Big 4,” most recently with Ernst & Young where he led their Research Credit and Meals and Entertainment practices in the Southeast region.  Shawn began his career in Los Angeles with Deloitte as part of their National R&D Tax Credit group and spent two years in their Accounting Methods & Periods National Practice Group in Washington, DC.  An attorney licensed in California, he has a JD from BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School and an LLM in Tax from Georgetown University Law School.


Webinar: Debunking the Myth-Manufacturing in China vs. U.S.

This webinar will cover:

  • Common questions and misconceptions related to manufacturing domestically vs internationally.  
  • The pros and cons of manufacturing in China vs the U.S.,
  • How culture affects manufacturing and what changes can be made in the U.S. to bring manufacturing jobs back and compete for the business we keep losing overseas.  
  • Analyzing the true costs of overseas production and how they relate to domestic costs.

Click here to access the webinar on December 6, 2017 at 12:00PM (MST)

About the speaker:

Eric Boud is a consultant who helps companies go direct-to-factory and mitigate their risk when dealing with manufacturers both domestically and internationally. With a degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology and his ability to speak Mandarin Chinese, he has helped dozens of companies learn how to navigate the cultural and technical intricacies surrounding product development and manufacturing. He has worked in various industries including electronics, consumer goods, and medical devices and is currently the owner of Rover Manufacturing Consulting based in Utah.


Outdoor Industry Discussion: Continuous Improvement

Looking for a way to cut costs and increase profits for your business? The principles of CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT and LEAN MANUFACTURING can help, even if you’re not a manufacturer.

November’s outdoor industry breakfast and business discussion brings together experts for a panel discussion on ways YOUR business can use Lean principles for continuous improvements within your business to gain a competitive advantage.

This event is sponsored by the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah) and Snowsports Industries America (SIA)

What is LEAN? Lean manufacturing is the process of identifying work that doesn’t add value (a.k.a. “waste”) and removing that waste. In a competitive global environment, lean manufacturing can improve productivity, lower production costs and help even small businesses to compete.

Note about parking: Park in the City Creek Mall parking area and take the elevator to the Food Court. From there, take the escalator up to the street level where the elevators are. We are on the third floor of the World Trade Center Building at City Creek. Parking is free for the first 2 hours, but we can validate if needed

Five steps to being a “smarter” manufacturer

By Tab Wilkins

There’s no question the digital manufacturing revolution is racing at us. As a small or medium-sized manufacturer, how close are you to already being “smart”? Here are five steps in the journey to becoming a smarter digital enterprise.

First and foremost, be cybersecure. Cybersecurity is an underlying tenant of being a smart and trusted business partner. The more you rely on a digital platform for manufacturing, the more secure you’ll want to be for customers, suppliers and investors. The NIST MEP website has several cybersecurity resources for manufacturers to help on this quest.

Second, understand smart manufacturing. Two formal definitions come from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition(link is external). Essentially, it is the idea of integrating all your technology together for monitoring, management and improvement. An excellent blog post by Steven Brand of the California Manufacturing Technology Consultants (CMTC), the California MEP, goes into this in some detail as it relates to small and medium-sized manufacturers(link is external) and even offers a downloadable version of CMTC’s Guide to Smart Manufacturing.

Third, realize there’s likely to be “flow down” through any supply chain. Most large manufacturers and retailers, both in the U.S. and around the world, are investing in smart technologies, according to a recent report by the Capgemini Group and its subsidiary Sogeti, entitled Smart Factories: How can manufacturers realize the potential of the digital industrial revolution?(link is external)They found 76 percent of larger manufacturers have a smart manufacturing initiative, while 56 percent have invested $100 million or more in the last five years. As larger companies invest and deploy, smart manufacturing is likely to permeate the supply chain, like the way just-in-time, lean, and ISO 9000 requirements became a stated or de facto requirement.

Fourth, research the current state around you. For example, the Georgia MEP, GAMEP, co-sponsors a study every two to three years about Georgia manufacturers. Smart Manufacturing: The 2016 Georgia Manufacturing Survey shows that 49 percent of Georgia manufacturers electronically collect and analyze data for improvement. Pages 10 and 11 of the report illustrate specific technologies and rates of adoption, such as RFID for inventory and warehouse tracking, or software for scheduling, inventory control or purchasing (e.g. ERP). Which of the 20 technologies listed in the report have your competitors already adopted? 

Fifth, take an inventory and benchmark your smart status. Are you using computer-aided design technology and is it integrated with your computer numerical control equipment? Are you using a manufacturing resource planning or enterprise resource planning software system? Is your preventive maintenance kept electronically and are sensors used in your manufacturing processes? Some of these represent the basic building blocks of being smart and mean your company might be close. The next step is connecting and integrating these elements for data access and monitoring. Look on page 10 of the Capgemini Smart Factories report identified earlier and see if you are a Digital Master, Fashionista, Conservative or Beginner in smart manufacturing.

If after understanding smart and benchmarking your company you’d like further help, please contact the Utah MEP Center. They have additional assessments, tools, advice and counsel on how to invest wisely in this impending wave of Technology 4.0.

Article originally appeared here

Tab Wilkins is Regional Manager for Strategic Transition and Senior Technology Advisor at NIST MEP, primarily supporting Centers in the western US. Prior to joining NIST, Tab helped establish and run two MEP centers and has a varied background in non-profit management, leadership development and technology-based Economic Development.

Exporting…so why bother?

By Nigel Moore, President & CEO, Total Wellness Strategies, LLC

So much chatter online, differences of opinions, BREXIT votes and TPP posturing, no wonder companies are confused today as to why they should even think about exporting.

For average companies today, in particular a manufacturing company to stay in the game and remain a true world resource, they need to continue to innovate, developing new products and services for a captive expanded global marketplace.  We say 95% of the world’s population lives outside the U.S., in fact statistics show with global population growth, it’s now more like 96%.  So why market to only 4-5% of the worlds population in the U.S. when the commercial size of the world has doubled in just 30 years, with the cost of doing business overseas dropping dramatically.  Yes the dollar is high right now against most European currencies, but it will not be high forever, now is the time to lay the groundwork and foundation for exporting and becoming a global company.

Typically more than 60% of manufacturers are reactive instead of proactive, they face the problem of commoditized products, lack of new product ideas and or a solid marketing strategy.  Exporting opportunities could help companies develop an innovation pipeline of new products, a home for outdated or commoditized products and diversification of supply chain with global expansion. We should also not lose sight of the fact 70% of the manufacturers nationally have 10 or fewer employees.  There is a big opportunity to expand market penetration and develop a new customer base for these smaller companies and turn them into bigger thriving successful enterprises.

“The World Is Flat” the title of the famous book from 2005 clearly states no longer are U.S. manufacturers competing with competitors in the same or next town, but now compete across the globe in places like China, India and Europe, and in particular Germany.  Events like the attacks of 9/11, the Iraq war and the convergence of technology and events that allowed India, China and so many other countries to become part of the global supply chain for services and manufacturing has created an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world’s nations giving them a new stake in the success of globalization. 

I’ve spent several years visiting more than 250 manufacturing companies across 20+ states coaching them on the merits of moving their business to the next level via exporting.  Now I’m not talking about twisting arms and convincing them they should drop their domestic business and replace it with exporting, but about being proactive instead of reactive in expanding outside the four walls of the U.S.  Many companies I meet are reactive or what I like to call “accidental” exporters, they don’t know what they don’t know.  They are reactive to inquiries from overseas buyers, complete one or two transactions and don’t know how to capitalize on this newfound opportunity or make costly mistakes and drop the opportunity.

I’ve been very fortunate having spent the last 5 years working with a program called ExporTech (a joint venture of NIST MEP & the U.S. Commercial Service).  ExporTech is not a training program, but an intensive structured execution program that develops a strategic growth export plan for a company.  Almost 900 companies have participated in the program from its inception with the average increase in sales per graduating company of $500,000 to $700,000.

There are a lot of naysayers out there that say exporting is only for big companies, I’ve worked with 2 person companies that were amazed as to how much help there is available to support U.S. companies who want to become proactive in their global business and how it has increased their business in some cases 10 fold.

If you’re interested in more information, call the MEP Center at 801.587.0713 or contact them here.





State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP)

Nigel is a seasoned executive with a 30+year portfolio of success, proactively driving change in the manufacturing and service sectors designed to systematically create or expand a company’s domestic and international business. Nigel has over 25 years of management consulting experience in new business development and International sales, operations, and general management. Nigel currently works with the National Institute of Standards and Technology-Manufacturing Extension Partnership program (NIST MEP) working to improve sales performance and operations within its 60 centers nationally and specifically is part of the National ExporTechTM Team as an Export Consultant expanding the ExporTechTM brand, working with 20+ states and more than 250 manufacturers nationwide in their quest to expand global business.


Seven tips for working with millennials

By Tooling U-SME

  1. Don’t generalize. Like all generations from Boomers to the newest Generation K11 (as in The Hunger Game’s Katniss Everdeen), this broad swathe of workers is made up of individuals with different life experiences that color their approach to work and careers.
  2. Communicate your corporate mission. Millennials expect companies to demonstrate a strong sense of purpose and want to be part of that. Be sure to communicate your mission and show how each individual job ties to it. Allow them to see how their talents and skills fit into the big picture.
  3. Show them their future. Millennials want to see their (near) future. Provide room for growth within your company so they do not feel they need to grow somewhere else. Ask about their career aspirations. Institute clear steps that young employees can take to develop skills they might need for future positions within your organization. Ensure there are clear milestones along the way with rewards in the not-too-distant future. Provide recognition with each success.
  4. Provide continual learning opportunities. Millennials have a strong desire to learn and acknowledge they have things to learn. For instance, despite their confidence in the workplace, millennials feel they were stronger on “softer” (i.e. hard work, discipline, teamwork) rather than “technical” skills at graduation. Help them gain that missing knowledge, especially by appealing to their desire for the experiential. Host a lunch session exclusively between management and millennials to encourage conversation. Pair millennial employees with your own organizational mentors or those outside the company. All of this should fit into a formal continuing education program.
  5. Go digital. This generation grew up with technology. Move away from paper. Much hiring and training can now be done digitally through tablets and smartphones. For instance, online courses allow workers the flexibility to complete training at any time of day or night. Different learning styles are easily accommodated through the use of video or ability to have text read to the student. Online training offers the added benefit of providing instant feedback – automated grading and tracking, saving considerable administrative time for employers. Allow millennials to share their technical talents with older workers, which can create new peer connections.
  6. Allow them to share their ideas. Only 28 percent of millennials feel that their current organization is making full use of their skills so provide them the opportunity to show what they can do. Arrange dynamic brainstorming sessions allowing all employees to contribute ideas. Their fresh perspective can complement that of more senior employees. These sessions also help them see the big picture so they know where they, and the organization, are headed. From there, assign them meaningful missions. You – and they – may be surprised at what they can accomplish.
  7. Provide regular and immediate feedback. Millennials grew up with constant feedback from their parents, teachers and coaches. They expect it from you, their leader. It doesn’t have to be a long session. Just five minutes of clear, direct feedback, on a regular basis, will keep them motivated and engaged. Consider quarterly merit increases versus one annual raise to demonstrate career movement in response to feedback.

Look for a our webinar on leveraging, engaging, and retaining millennials in the workplace February 28, 2018!

Download the White Paper on Millennials

Implementing lean principles increased NAMMO’s annual sales by $3,640,000

NAMMO is an AS9100 certified engineering and composite manufacturing company with more than 20 years of experience. They specialize in producing canisters and military-grade rocket launchers for the Department of Defense. They also have a diverse range of advanced composite experience with clients in aerospace, oil, industrial, commercial, and recreational markets.

Project Scope

NAMMO wanted to increase their output in order to support the increasing needs of their DoD customer.


NAMMO recognized they needed to identify and eliminate waste in their manufacturing process. With the help of the University of Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership (UUMEP) Center, a Value Stream Mapping Event was implemented to help address these issues.

UUMEP Center staff worked with their TOW Missile cell’s cross-functional team to establish SMART goals, document current state, identify improvement ideas to support SMART goals, design a future state, and prioritize improvement ideas based on impact and complexity. UUMEP Center staff also trained and coached their teams on lean principles and waste identification.


  • Increased throughput capability to support customer requirements by 40%
  • Increased visual management of inventory from 6 process steps to 10 steps, with dedicated inventory staging
  • Reduced part travel by 30% by co-locating process steps


  • Increased annual sales by $3,640,000
  • Cost avoidance: Staff is trained to lead future VSM events, saving up to $10,000 (assuming three events per year)

Client testimonial

Andrew Christensen, NAMMO Program Manager

“The UUMEP Center helped us understand that we didn’t need major facility changes to increase flow. We simply needed a systematic approach to eliminate the waste and to fully implement some basic process flow rules. They respected that we had a facility to run and were flexible when hot issues came up. It was clear they were interested in training us to meet our needs rather than ensuring we follow their exact process.”  

Varex Imaging to host Manufacturing Day Event for local college & university students

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, October 18, 2017 – In celebration of Manufacturing DaySM 2017, Varex Imaging Corporation (Nasdaq: VREX) will open its doors on October 20th to more than 40 students from various colleges and universities in the Salt Lake Valley. This event is being held as part of a larger effort to change people’s perceptions about today’s manufacturing environment and draw attention to the outstanding opportunities that a career in manufacturing can provide. Planned activities include a Q&A sessions with engineers and manufacturers from Varex, a tour of Varex’s facility and a robotics demonstration from Universal Robots.

Varex is partnering with the University of Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center for this Manufacturing Day event. Manufacturing Day is a national event celebrated annually during October that is executed at the local level and supported by thousands of manufacturers as they host students, teachers, parents, job seekers and other local community members at open houses, plant tours and presentations designed to showcase modern manufacturing technology careers.

“We are extremely pleased to host an event like this. As a major manufacturer of X-ray components this will allow students to learn more about our med-tech manufacturing and tour our facility to get a first-hand experience of the many processes that go into producing finished products. We are optimistic this will help students gain a better sense of the numerous career opportunities in manufacturing,” said David Frick, Vice President of Manufacturing for Varex Imaging Corporation.

“The University of Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center is excited to partner with Varex Imaging for their Manufacturing Day event. Utah’s growing economy requires more skilled manufacturing workers. We hope that by highlighting manufacturing and engineering careers at this event, the next generation of our workforce will see the many opportunities in these careers,” said Theresa Drulard, Center Director of the University of Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership. More information on Manufacturing Day is available at www.mfgday.com.


Varex Imaging Corporation is a leading innovator, designer and manufacturer of X-ray imaging components, which include tubes, digital flat panel detectors and other image processing solutions, which are key components of X-ray imaging systems. With a 65+ year history of successful innovation, Varex’s components are used in medical imaging as well as in industrial and security imaging applications. Global OEM manufacturers of X-ray imaging systems use the company’s X-ray sources, digital detectors, connecting devices and imaging software as components in their systems to detect, diagnose and protect. Varex employs approximately 1,800 people located at manufacturing and service center sites in North America, Europe, and Asia. For more information about Varex, visit vareximaging.com.

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President Trump Proclaims October 6, 2017, as National Manufacturing Day

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

America’s manufacturers have laid the foundation for our Nation’s vibrant economy and have secured our reputation as an economic superpower. Our manufacturing products consistently set the global standard for design and quality. American manufacturing has been enduringly successful because it is the potent combination of the two great pillars of the American economy: the American entrepreneur and the American worker. The American entrepreneur is renowned throughout the world for a steadfast determination to deliver value and innovation to the global marketplace. The American worker has consistently demonstrated the unique and precious ability to harness unmatched work ethic and ingenuity and turn visions and dreams into reality. On National Manufacturing Day, we celebrate the American manufacturers and their workers who drive our economy, strengthen our national security, and give meaning to the famous phrase, “Made in the USA.” We also highlight the many new and exciting opportunities for future generations to create the next wave of world-class American products.

Today’s American manufacturers are consistently finding new ways to incorporate advanced technology into the traditional assembly line to produce previously unfathomable breakthroughs in areas like aerospace, medicine, and computers. These manufacturers are writing their chapter into the story of American innovation, while providing countless job opportunities to machinists, designers, computer programmers, and engineers, among others. In 2016, manufacturing contributed more than 11 percent to our gross domestic product and employed more than 12 million workers. The American manufacturers of the 21st century employ innovative minds equipped with problem‑solving skills and knowledge steeped in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, to build their incredible products. It is no surprise, then, that manufacturing workers earn higher annual salaries, on average, than similar workers employed in other sectors.

For too long, we have taken manufacturing, which represents the pioneering, hard-working American spirit, for granted. Due to government neglect and inaction we have witnessed our Nation’s manufacturers move their jobs and innovation overseas. Remarkably, we have stood by as our outdated tax system has required job‑creators to put their money toward tax preparation and a bloated government, rather than into new jobs and innovations. It has also trapped earnings that could be invested in America, and instead encouraged corporations to invest overseas. Our business tax rate is currently 60 percent higher than that of our average foreign competitor in the developed world. By contrast, my tax plan would lower the tax rate for businesses, so they can stay and do business here and bring back profits invested abroad. Careless and unfair trade deals are also at fault for the diminished state of American manufacturing today. These deals have severely disadvantaged American exports. My Administration, however, will right these wrongs and ensure a level playing field for American manufacturing going forward. Our manufacturers and workers deserve no less. American drive, ingenuity, and innovation will ultimately win, and our great manufacturing sector will thrive once again.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 6, 2017, as National Manufacturing Day. I call upon all Americans to celebrate the entrepreneurs and workers in manufacturing who are making our communities strong.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.


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