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From the Desk of Jack Healy, Viewpoints on the State of Manufacturing

"Increased Productivity is the Sole Source of a Nation’s Wealth"

Adam Smith’s words as written in the Wealth of Nations are as true today as they were in 1776. The importance of a continually productive economy however, is more important in today’s hyper- competitive marketplace than it ever was in 1776 when it was just a theory that very few could understand. We, as a nation, have been very fortunate to have the amazing capability to have a manufacturing base that continually have led the world in productivity and has contributed mightily to our nation’s wealth.  This outstanding productivity trait was amply demonstrated by  the Advanced Manufacturers who opened their companies to enter  the “Next Generation Manufacturer Award Contest”  and  whose overall  achievements  are ensuring their company’s  long-term competiveness into the next generation.

From this group, Tegra Medical of Franklin Massachusetts was selected to receive thebrown 1st Annual Next Generation Manufacturing Award as an exemplary representative of advanced manufacturing practices in Massachusetts.  The Award was presented at the Associated Industries of Massachusetts Executive Forum.   U.S. Senator Scott Brown, the Forum’s featured speaker, presented the award   in front of an appreciative gathering consisting of many manufacturing leaders who understood that the need for continuing productivity is the reality of today’s manufacturing.

This Next Generation Manufacturing Award (NGM) was established by the Associated Industries of Massachusetts Manufacturing Institute, the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP), and McGladrey to recognize a Massachusetts manufacturer for its performance practices as measured against 21st century manufacturing standards, and to elevate awareness of what it takes to succeed as a manufacturer in today’s extensively competitive world.

Tegra Medical, founded in 2007, is the combination of four trusted firms that today focuses exclusively on precision machining and contact manufacturing services for the medical device industry, and the production of components and assemblies for leading surgical and interventional companies. Tegra Medical  employs 300 people, has 200,000 sq. ft. of ISO 13485-compliant manufacturing space and is headquartered in an 80,000-sq.-ft. facility built to its specifications in 2009.

The NGM Award is based in part on an in-depth survey of more than 2,500 manufacturers including firms in the Bay State that identified six key performance measures that, if addressed, should position firms to be competitive in the 21st century. The measures include:

  • Customer-focus innovation – the capacity to deliver new and better customer solutions at a faster pace that the competition

 

  • Advanced talent management – the use of systems and technologies to better recruit, hire, develop and retain talent 
  • Systemic continuous improvement – the ability to realize annual productivity and quality gains through a companywide commitment to continuous improvement

 

  • Extended enterprise management – the implementation of a flexible network of supply chains and partnerships to achieve competitive advantage in speed to the market, cost of goods and quality of output
  • Sustainable product and process development – the design and incorporation of waste and energy-use reduction measures that produce tangible cost performance advantages while increasing customer value.

 

  • Global engagement – the capacity to integrate people, partnerships and systems capable of engaging global markets, talents and resources

The eight finalists who were also considered to receive the NGM Award were subject to an onsite evaluation, a process which determined that the cumulative economic impact of these firms alone to the commonwealth’s economy reached more than $673.2 million. 

 During the review process, the sponsors’ evaluation team was particularly impressed by how Tegra measured up to several of the performance measures, including:

  • Consistently defining new equipment and processes to stay on the leading edge of the market, and establishing an 18,000-sq.-ft. Genesis Tech Center to help support new product launches

 

  • Comprehensive measures to retain employees and building pipelines to recruit new talent  
  • Systematic daily and weekly operational reviews at all levels

 

  • Supplier summits and reviews to communicate expectations and track progress
  • Specific recycling programs geared towards metals, plastics, papers, and water

 

  • Opening of offshore operation to meet customer demands 

It was obvious to all that the practices carried out by the people at Tegra Medical and the seven other award finalists highlight what manufacturers must do every day to meet the challenges of an ever growing and competitive world marketplace. The adoption of these best practices can serve to help other manufacturers to identify strategic goals to ensure they will be able to grow and prosper in the future.

In addition to Tegra Medical, the 2010 Next Generation Manufacturing Award Finalists included:
Barry Controls, located in Hopkinton, is a manufacturer of a wide range of motion control and anti-vibration products and systems used by the aviation/aerospace, defense and transportation industries. The company is part of the Hutchinson Group, a market leader in the industrial rubber sector and a division of Total Chemicals. 

Checkerboard LTD, located in West Boylston, is a family owned and operated designer and printer of invitations for every special occasion including weddings, parties and special events. The firm prints 100 percent of its products in the United States and sells them in both domestic and international markets.  

FIBA Technologies, founded in 1958 and located in Millbury, is a leading supplier of gas containment equipment and services for the industrial gas, chemicals, specialty gas, offshore oil/gas exploration, and alternative fuel industries around the globe.

Incom, Inc., founded in 1971, is a privately held company headquartered in Charlton. It is a leading manufacturer of commercial rigid, fused fiberoptic faceplates, tapers, and microwell arrays. Incom’s diverse products are used by customers in the dental, medical, defense, life science and homeland security sectors.

MTD Micro Molding , established in 1972 as Miniature Tool & Die, quickly established itself as a leading manufacturer of miniature connector injection moldings for the electronic industry. Today, MTD continues to grow and designs and manufactures microscopic components for the medical device and electronic industry in its precision clean room facilities located in Charlton. 

John Matouk Company, Inc. was founded in Italy in 1929 to export Italian linens to the United States.  Forced to move production to the United States with the outbreak of World War II, the firm moved to Fall River from New York in 1985. Today under the third generation of family stewardship the company remains committed to designing and manufacturing the world’s best made linens for discerning clientele around the world.  

Savage Arms, Inc., organized in 1894, has been owned by numerous public and private firms throughout the years. However, since 1995 the firm has been owned by Savage Sports Corporation. Headquartered in Westfield, the company designs and manufactures centerfire rifles, rimfire rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders and shooting sports equipment. 

Commenting on the NGM Award finalists, Jim Byman, a partner at McGladrey, a public accounting and consulting firm said, “The breadth and scope of the finalists involved in manufacturing advanced products ranging from firearms to nano-components used in aerospace and medical device applications underscore how important manufacturing is to the Commonwealth’s economic wellbeing, and the competence of our manufacturers is one reason why the Commonwealth is ranked as one of the ten top states in terms of merchandise exported to foreign markets, despite our rather modest population.”

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