March, 2012

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MA Announcements

Manufacturer of the Year
The Manufacturers Alliance annual Manufacturer of the Year awards ceremony brings local manufacturers together to celebrate and to recognize companies that share information and experiences to strengthen the Minnesota manufacturing community.

This year we would like to thank PGC - Precision Gasket Company and ASQ MN for helping make the ceremony possible.


Supervisory Training
Make the shift from hands-on work to leading others. Supervisory Training Certificates will be awarded to anyone completing the Essentials of Leading for Results series. Learn More

Leaders Alliance Groups
Whether you have worked at the same company for 15+ years or just want to look beyond your four walls for manufacturing best practices, consider joining a peer group to tour, critique and discuss critical issues in confidence. Learn More

LinkedIn Group
If you are currently working at or previously held a position with a member company consider joining the Manufacturers Alliance LinkedIn Group to query over 1,000 local manufacturing practitioners with your general questions, concerns or simply to share a great article.

Member Recognition
Thank you to our new and renewing members over the last 30 days.

A Couple of Gurus
Air Quality Engineering Inc
APG Cash Drawer
Arete Enterprising
ASI DataMyte Inc.
ATK-Federal Cartridge
Bose Corporation ESG
Ceramic Industrial Coatings
Clean Air Products Inc
Coloplast
Construction Results Corporation
Creganna Tactx Medical
Dalsin Industries Inc
Determan Brownie Inc
DRI-STEEM Corporation
Edco Products Inc
Emerson Process Management
Fabcon Inc
Federal Package Network
Fey Industries
General Label Inc
Graco Inc
Greatbatch Medical
Griffiths Corporation
Hannover Ltd
HRP - MN
Igulim LLC
Illume Candle
Innovative Packaging Solutions
Lake Region Medical
LASX INDUSTRIES, INC.
Lexington Brainerd
Lifecore Biomedical Inc
Lube-Tech
M&A Executive Search
Mate Precision Tooling
Midwest Rubber
Millerbernd Manufacturing
Minco
Navy Island Plywood
Nonin Medical Inc
Nortech Systems
North Anoka Control Systems
Nystrom Inc
Orange Tree Employment Screening
OSI Consulting
Pallet Service Corporation
Patterson Thuente IP
Plymouth Industries
Polar Tank Trailer LLC
Precision Gasket Company
Prospect Foundry
RMS Co
Robinson Rubber Products Co
Satellite Industries Inc
Sauer-Danfoss Company
Sifco Minneapolis
SPX Corporation
Surgical Technologies Inc.
Tennant Company
The Bergquist Company
The Purchasing Department
The Toro Company
The Work Connection
Tolomatic Inc
UMC Inc
USP Structural Connectors
Venture Catalyst
Wanner Engineering Inc


Upcoming Events

November 28th 2017 08:00 am
- Design of Experiments (DOE)

November 29th 2017 08:00 am
- Mistake Proofing.

November 30th 2017 08:00 am
- Employee Performance Management and Coaching

December 4th 2017 08:00 am
- Continuous Improvement Idea Systems

December 5th 2017 08:00 am
- Supply Chain Negotiation Strategies

December 6th 2017 08:00 am
- Standard Work

December 7th 2017 07:30 am
- Make to Order Lean

December 7th 2017 08:00 am
- Setup Reduction

December 8th 2017 08:00 am
- Leading and Training Improvement Teams

December 12th 2017 08:00 am
- Root Cause Analysis

Other Announcements


Quick Response Manufacturing
This QRM workshop on May 3, 2012 is intended for companies making low-volume or custom-engineered products. It will provide an overview of QRM strategy, which includes four core concepts: The Power of Time, Organizatinal Strategy, System Dynamics, and Enterprise-Wide Application. <a href="http://www.apicstc.org/events/100_538001.aspx?PROG=SMNR">Learn More</a>

The Power of U.S. Manufacturing
Anoka Technical College Foundation will be hosting dinner and discussion on the Power of U.S. Manufacturing Tuesday, April 17, at the Northland Inn, Brooklyn Park. MarkDeYoung, CEO, Alliant Techsystems; Scott Anderson, Sr. Economic, Wells Fargo Securities;and others will address current trends in U. S. manufacturing, the economic climate, and how Minnesota State Colleges & Universities are striving to close the knowledge gap. <a href="http://www.mfrall.com/attachments/0001/0118/Power_of_US_Mfg.pdf">Learn More</a>

Article Index

Striangle Lean Leader of the Month: Joe Molesky
Article by: Joe Molesky

Joe Molesky is the CI Manager at Tennant Company. Tennant is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world.


Striangle Enforcing Your Core IP Rights to Further Your Business Goals
Article by: Aaron W. Davis

Intellectual property rights—patents, trademarks, trade secrets and copyrights—can be your business’s most valuable asset, but only if their utilization is in line with overall business goals. Prioritizing the vision of your business and how IP rights can best further that vision are the keys to successful IP management. 


Striangle Health Care Reform Update
Article by: John Nelson

As you’ve no doubt heard, it seems nearly every aspect of health care reform has come under scrutiny and to date, implementation has had many challenges, to say the least. So here we are, nearly two years from the date of passage, and manufacturers may be wondering about the status of the major provisions. 


Drernestgoss small Striangle MN Manufacturing Economic Update
Article by: Dr. Ernest Goss

The February Minnesota Business Conditions Index was above growth neutral for the 30th straight month.  The index expanded to 58.3 from January’s 57.5. 


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Striangle Lean Leader of the Month: Joe Molesky

Joe Molesky is the CI Manager at Tennant Company. Tennant is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world.

Tennant has the vision to become a global leader in chemical-free cleaning and other technologies, and creates innovative solutions that are changing the way the world cleans. Tennant products include equipment used to maintain indoor and outdoor surfaces, as well as equipment parts, service, maintenance, and financing. Products are marketed under the Tennant®, Nobles®, Green Machines®, Orbio® and Alfa brands.

 

Where did you receive your Lean training/experience?

In 2003 I was hired at Cold Spring Granite Company as a Lean Specialist.  TBM Consulting Group provided Lean Facilitator and Green Belt training there and also did a wonderful job mentoring me through many Kaizen Events at CSG.  More recently my training has come through the Manufacturers Alliance.  Two classes that I have found impactful and useful everyday are Intro to A3 and A3 Strategy Deployment.  But, as with anyone in the lean arena, my learning continues on a day to day basis.  Every new process, problem, or opportunity offers me another opportunity for knowledge.

 

How, when, and why were you introduced to lean and what fuels the passion?

 My first job directly out of college was as a Lean Specialist.  I spent my first week on the job participating as a team member on a Total Productive Maintenance Kaizen Event focused on a quarry dump truck.  At the end of that week I thought I had really made a mistake.  After 4 years of college did I really want to clean dump trucks?  I soon learned there was much more to lean than TPM.

My true passion for lean developed while at Landscape Structures.  Management at Landscape proved to me that lean was not just a set of improvement tools but a cultural shift in the way a company does business and engages its workforce.  That was really cool! Today my passion is fueled by the opportunity to coach employees on how to see things everyday with an eye for improvement.  I am also blessed with the opportunity to help guide and participate in strategic planning and work with a great team at Tennant that has embraced lean at a whole new level.

 

What are your current Lean-oriented activities?

-          Policy Deployment

-          Employee Engagement

-          A3 Projects

-          Understanding the Extended Value Stream

-          Coaching

-          Mentoring

-          5S

 

What were the lessons learned from leading or training your team on a Lean project?

Lean success is not measured by the individual knowledge or ability of the Lean Specialist/Manager.  When I first started working in Lean I took a very hard approach.  I obtained results without regard for the carnage I left behind.  Since then I have learned that Lean transformations are only sustainable when you are able to build a passionate and engaged work force that understands why you are “doing lean”, how they can participate, and why they should participate.

 

What are the next steps in the Lean journey for your company?

  • Leader Standard Work
  • Managing for Daily Improvement
  • Visual Standard Work
Joe Molesky is the CI/Lean Manager at Tennant Company in Minneapolis MN. Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. Joe may be reached at joe.molesky@tennantco.com.

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Striangle Enforcing Your Core IP Rights to Further Your Business Goals

Intellectual property rights—patents, trademarks, trade secrets and copyrights—can be your business’s most valuable asset, but only if their utilization is in line with overall business goals. Prioritizing the vision of your business and how IP rights can best further that vision are the keys to successful IP management. 

Not all intellectual property is created equal. Typically, some, if not the majority, of your company’s IP will relate to core products, those that produce the greatest profit margin and compose the majority of your market share. This IP should be a priority, especially during a difficult economic period. These rights protect the backbone of your company.

So what if you believe a competitor is treading on your core IP rights?  First, due diligence must be done to determine whether your competitor is actually infringing.  Beyond that, carefully consider how enforcement of your IP rights will further your business goals. In other words, look before you leap. Weigh the benefits of enforcement against the potential cost of doing so. Does it make business sense? Engage your counsel in the discussion, not only so that you are on the same page, but also so a dispassionate, objective view is included. This is a vital step before any action is initiated, because once a dispute begins, it can often take on a life of its own. 

If you decide to proceed with enforcement, the next step is determining what action to take. This is done by asking a number of questions that relate back to your business goals. Is it important to maintain exclusivity in the market? Are you willing to license your technology to competitors? Is cross-licensing technology appealing or even possible?

If you wish to maintain exclusivity in a market, some level of enforcement of your IP rights is often necessary. Sometimes, a letter demanding that a competitor stop infringing solves the problem. Other times, informal discussions about the violation can curb the issue. Solving the problem can become more challenging when court action is required to compel the infringer to stop.

If a lawsuit seems inevitable, it is important to ask some additional questions. Is there a significant risk that if the first infringer is not stopped, more infringers will emerge? If so, seeking injunctive relief or a design change by the competitor may be a top priority. Is there a likelihood of recovering substantial damages from the infringer? How important is the infringing product to your competitor? These questions may dictate whether the infringer will put up a fight or look to quickly resolve the dispute. Is licensing or cross-licensing an option? Use this analysis to search for weak spots in your thinking and challenge counsel to assist you in the process. The middle of a lawsuit is the wrong time to discuss for the first time if the lawsuit makes any business sense.

Enforcement of IP rights can generate additional revenue and protect your company’s profit centers. But only thoughtful and goal-oriented management of your company’s IP can be such a catalyst for success in this demanding economic climate.

Aaron Davis is a partner in the Litigation Department of Patterson Thuente IP’s Minneapolis office. He can be reached at 612-349-5754 and davis@ptslaw.com.

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Striangle Health Care Reform Update

As you’ve no doubt heard, it seems nearly every aspect of health care reform has come under scrutiny and to date, implementation has had many challenges, to say the least. So here we are, nearly two years from the date of passage, and manufacturers may be wondering about the status of the major provisions. 

Below I’ve selected, and added commentary where appropriate, those provisions most likely to have an impact on those of us operating outside the medical community.

By year:

2010 Beginning in 2010 and continuing through 2013, the Small Employer Health Credit is available for employers offering qualified health insurance if that employer has 25 or fewer FTEs. For those familiar with the mechanics of the credit, you know it can be difficult to obtain, due to harsh phase-outs that increase dramatically as the employee count approaches 25. Despite its limitations, some companies have received significant benefits, and it is certainly worth review if you have haven’t done an analysis yet. 

2011 Enhanced 1099 reporting was curtailed after the backlash surrounding this provision. In reverting back to pre-Act law, Congress cited an undue burden on small businesses.

2012 Optional for 2011 but mandatory beginning in 2012, employers will be required to report on Form W-2 the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan for the 2012 calendar year. For employers with fewer than 250 Forms W-2 in 2011, there is a small business exception deferring this reporting requirement, subject to transitional relief, until the 2013 tax year.

2013 The additional 0.9 percent Medicare Hospital Insurance surtax kicks in. This applies to wages or self employment income in excess of $250,000 for joint return filers, $125,000 for married filing separate, and $200,000 for others. This equates to $9 per every $1,000 of “excess earnings.”

In addition to the Medicare surtax, 2013 will also usher in a 3.8 percent tax on unearned income. This tax is applied to the excess of modified adjusted gross income over the threshold amounts noted for the Medicare Hospital Insurance surtax.   

2014 This is the implementation year to keep an eye on, as the Mandated Individual Health Insurance Penalty and employer penalties for insufficient coverage for employees are scheduled to take effect. With the Supreme Court slated to rule on the constitutionality of the individual insurance mandate early this year, implementation of these programs may be stopped dead in its tracks pending the outcome of the case. The argument centers around three key areas:

  1. Whether the Supreme Court even has jurisdiction to hear the case since no damages have been incurred - the law, and its corresponding penalties, is set to come into effect in 2014
  2. Whether the government has exercised improper authority in mandating that its citizens acquire health insurance or face a penalty for failure to do so
  3. If the court rules that the mandate is unconstitutional, whether that renders all other provisions unconstitutional, as well

Regardless of the Supreme Court outcome, it will certainly provide interesting fodder as we approach the elections this fall. 

John Nelson, CPA, Tax Manager at Eide Bailly. John may be reached at 612.253.6530 or jpnelson@eidebailly.com

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Striangle MN Manufacturing Economic Update

The February Minnesota Business Conditions Index was above growth neutral for the 30th straight month.  The index expanded to 58.3 from January’s 57.5. 

Components of the index for February were new orders at 63.8, production or sales at 65.7, delivery lead time at 54.0, inventories at 53.8, and employment at 53.9. “Since the beginning of the recession, Minnesota has lost more than 42,000, or 9.4 percent of its manufacturing jobs. Our surveys over the past several months indicate that manufacturers in the state will increase hiring in the months ahead. While the pace of new hiring will be healthy, it will be limited somewhat by increases in productivity,” said Goss.

Drernestgoss small Dr. Ernest Goss of Creighton University, used the same methodology as The National Association of Purchasing Management to compile this information. An index number greater than 50 percent indicates an expansionary economy, and an index under 50 percent forecast a sluggish economy, for the next three to six months.

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