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From the Desk of Jack Healy, MassMEP Lean Expert

Next Generation Manufacturing Award

By Jack Healy, Director, MassMEP

One of the more amazing outcomes of the past recession, at least to my own observation, is that so many manufacturers survived this downturn, with sales declines of 40% to 50%.  There are manufacturers who attributed their ability to survive to the fact that they moved their organizations into Lean manufacturing prior to the recession.  Whether Lean or not, all manufactures who lost significant amounts of business during the past year, primarily survived by applying a prodigious amount of cost cutting strategies.

Manufacturers have and will continue to face managing cost in their operations as one of the inherent parts of their business. While there is nothing wrong with such continuing cost management, it must be combined with a more strategic approach for ensuring Manufacturing Excellence. Cost cutting by itself does little to improve the knowledge base so critical in the improvement of operations and ultimately in world-class performance.  Unless there is a transition for organizational growth and improvement in the knowledge base, there will not be a transition to superior performance that is essential to an organization’s continued survival  in today’s competitive environment.

To assist in the promotion of  this transition, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts  (AIM), the Massachusetts  Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP) and RSM McGladrey have partnered to launch the “Massachusetts Next Generation Manufacturing Award."

Next Generation Manufacturing (NGM) refers to a framework of strategies developed by leading manufacturing industry thought leaders and the Manufacturing Extension Program, as to what are the essential  strategies  to drive growth and achieve competitive world-class performance.  The NGM award will recognize manufacturers who have undertaken the necessary strategies that position their operations to compete in the 21st century in any of the following six strategic areas:

Customer-focused innovation:
Deliver new and better customer solutions at a faster pace than the competition.
Advanced talent management : Secure a competitive performance advantage by having superior systems in place to recruit, hire, develop, and retain talent.
Systemic continuous improvement:  Record annual productivity and quality gains that exceed the competition through a company-wide commitment to continuous improvement.
Extended enterprise management: Leverage a flexible network of supply chains and partnerships to provide competitive advantages of speed , cost and quality.
Sustainable product and process development:  Design and implement waste and energy-use reductions at a level that provides superior cost performance and recognizable customer value.
Global engagement:  Secure business advantage through people partnerships and systems capable of engaging global markets, talent, and resources.

In addition to recognizing manufacturing excellence in any of the above areas, the NGM Award was also established  to serve as a catalyst to help Massachusetts’ manufacturers improve their operations. Completing the NGM self-evaluation and scheduling the onsite assessment will provide participating manufacturers  with a gap analysis relative to their strengths and weaknesses.  

As a result, there is good value in competing for the NGM Award, since the process of completing the questionnaire amounts to the starting point on the road to improvement by comparing your performance to the new standards of competition as well as the opportunity for a performance assessment of your manufacturing strategy.  

Click here to complete the application.                      


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