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Next Generation Manufacturer Newsletter
May 2021

Next Generation Manufacturer is a monthly enewsletter designed to provide the resources you need to put advanced manufacturing to work for your company. Please forward this newsletter to interested colleagues or use our online sign-up.

In This Issue…
Insights into what’s happening in manufacturing in Massachusetts. Best practices, success stories, and trends from manufacturing organizations that are growing and improving the economy. Share with us what you’d like to hear about in these issues.
– Kristy Grignon, Editor,
[email protected] or 508-831-7020.


What’s Trending in Manufacturing?

$5M Grant Expands Collaboration Between NIST, MEPs, and State Resources
Under a $5 million grant award, the non-profit State Science and Technology Institute will explore strategies to increase collaboration between the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership, MEP Centers, and other stakeholders at the state level. SSTI aims to facilitate activities that can help the centers and partners engage with policymakers and gain access to the nonpartisan public information about stakeholder efforts. NIST MEP.

Congratulations to all the 2021 Worcester Business Journal Manufacturing Summit & Excellence Award winners!


Manufacturing Metrics

Massachusetts Manufacturing Dashboard
MassMEP’s new Massachusetts Manufacturing Data Dashboard provides a snapshot of how the state’s economy is performing, and, in particular in the manufacturing sector. Data includes manufacturing performance, such as top 5 manufacturing industries by GDP, talent demand, innovation trends, trade data, and general economic performance. Massachusetts Manufacturing Dashboard.


Video of the Month

Inside Moderna: From Side Effects to Skepticism to Safety
Moderna (Cambridge, MA) has been at the forefront of the race to vaccinate Americans against the Coronavirus pandemic. With plans to boost COVID-19 vaccine production into the billions of doses next year, they are making major renovations that will more than double the company’s size. Boston 25 spent weeks interviewing Moderna leaders, from the president to the scientists who helped make the COVID-19 mRNA breakthrough, to get answers to questions about vaccine side effects, skepticism, and safety. Moderna.


MassMEP Manufacturing Podcast

Operational Preparedness Training…Are You Operationally Prepared?
Darcy Cook, owner of Safety Trainers and MassMEP Operational Preparedness training facilitator, talks with us about the training scheduled for June 1, 3, 15, and 17, 2021. She discusses the why, how, who, and takeaways from attending the training. As a bonus, don’t miss her intel on the directives being put in place by OSHA and the federal government following the pandemic.
Operational Preparedness.


Crisis Management Strategies

Post-Pandemic, Supply Chains Retool for a New (ab)Normal
COVID-19 didn’t break the supply chain, it accelerated changes already underway. Manufacturers have been grappling with the need for greater end-to-end visibility across their supplier networks, diversifying sourcing strategies, and investing in technologies to shore up their online and e-commerce game. As a post-COVID-19 world begins to emerge, these transformations are no longer nice-to-haves, but a lifeline for sustaining business. Supply Chains.

Metrics Work Best When Motivational, Relevant, and Widely Shared
The reluctance to be measured is rational, as many organizations have cultures where performance measures are used to punish rather than motivate. In fact, the creation and development of a culture in which performance measures motivate high levels of performance isn’t difficult. This IndustryWeek article discusses how based on key measurement principles: relevant and controllable, readily accessible, regularly reviewed and discussed, and free of finger-pointing. Metrics


Innovative Growth Solutions

Manufacturing Innovation Institutes Integral to U.S. Pandemic Response
As more people are vaccinated and the U.S. turns the corner on the disease, a look back at the first year of the pandemic shows the critical role that the Defense Department’s Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MII) played in addressing the nation’s health and defense needs. The MIIs’ rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic also shows how they are well-positioned to help mitigate future supply-chain disruptions by applying innovative frameworks that reduce the cost to research, produce, and maintain critical technologies and their supply chains. Manufacturing Innovation Institutes.


Workforce Strategies

2.1M Manufacturing Jobs Could Go Unfilled by 2030
The manufacturing skills gap in the U.S. could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, according to a new study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. The cost of those missing jobs could potentially total $1 trillion in 2030 alone. About 1.4 million U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost during the early days of the pandemic, setting back the manufacturing labor force by more than a decade. However, the industry has largely recovered those lost jobs and is now urgently seeking more workers. Manufacturing Jobs

Basic Manufacturing Certification for Entry-Level Job Candidates
SME’s new Certified Manufacturing Associate (CMfgA) is an entry-level certification that validates an individual’s understanding of foundational manufacturing concepts. It covers topics such as shop math, assembly, maintenance, machining, inspection, and more, demonstrating that an individual has the necessary knowledge for high-demand, entry-level manufacturing roles such as assemblers, manufacturing associates, and production laborers. Manufacturing Certification



IoT Device Security Concerns Us All
When venturing into IoT, be prepared for potential cybersecurity pitfalls, whether in the form of implications for organizational risk management when introducing IoT to the environment or considerations for product design and support when entering the marketplace as a product vendor. The NIST Cybersecurity for the Internet of Things program is working to provide the information that SMMs need to navigate these potentially turbulent waters. IoT Cybersecurity.



Prevention Costs Less: Top 10 OSHA Cited Standards in 2020
Here is a list of the top 10 most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites by Federal OSHA. OSHA publishes this list to alert employers about these commonly cited standards so they can take steps to find and fix recognized hazards addressed in these and other standards before OSHA shows up. Top OSHA Cited Standards 2020.


Industry News

$3.3M Grant Supports Post-Pandemic Challenges
A group of Massachusetts research institutions and organizations led by UMass Lowell has received a $3.3 million federal grant to continue efforts to ensure the Commonwealth is prepared to face the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, future pandemics, and other public health crises. The funding will go to continue the production of PPE; expand into other medical supplies, devices, and equipment; and develop related training and curriculum with the goal of creating new jobs. Post-Pandemic Grant

New Express Grant for Companies with <100 Employees
Beginning on July 1, businesses with 100 or fewer employees may apply to take any course listed on the Express Course Directory for full reimbursement, up to $3,000/participant/course. Businesses with more than 100 employees may continue to apply for up to 50% reimbursement, up to $3,000/participant/course. More info will be posted after July1st. Climate Action.

Cognex Sets New Record for Profits
Cognex (Natick, MA), the machine vision systems and bar code reader manufacturer, has reported record first quarter results, including a 241% increase compared to the previous year’s first quarter. The company continued its momentum in the e-commerce sector of logistics as businesses that have been struggling in the last year begin to recover and has newly introduced products in the areas of 3D vision, edge intelligence, and handheld barcode reading. Cognex.

Meet the WBJ 2021 Power 50: Rev. Debora Jackson, Dean, WPI Foisie Business School
WPI has been putting a greater emphasis on having a more inclusive student body and faculty while focusing on its experiential and project-based learning. Rev. Debora Jackson – the first woman and person of color to be WPI’s business school dean – offers plenty of real-world STEM experience from her long career, which included IT and software engineering at companies like Digital Equipment Corp. and becoming chief operating and chief information officer at an e-commerce energy services provider. WBJ 2021 Power 50.

Robotics Startup Aims for Jetsons-like Future
With a mission to develop first-to-market robotics for the food service industry, Wings robotics lab is taking a futuristic approach to AI. Wings is a robotics lab focused on a system that works to use artificial intelligence to gauge a consumer’s diet and deliver food to them with no-human contact. Wings.

Merrow Announces New Recyclable PPE
Merrow Manufacturing has debuted a new line of closed loop, Net Zero PPE™ that includes medical gowns, surgical caps, and scrubs woven with REPREVE® recycled polyester – made from 100% recycled post-consumer content (plastic bottles). The first-of-its-kind design and production is a collaborative effort between Merrow and Precision Fabrics Group (PFG), vertically integrated experts in weaving and finishing technically challenging continuous-filament fabrics. Merrow Manufacturing.

Fastest Growing Massachusetts Companies
The Boston Business Journal has announced the 2021 Fast 50, the fastest-growing private companies in Massachusetts. There are 18 new companies this year. All 50 saw amazing three-year growth rates, with the 50th firm on this year’s list coming in at nearly 64 percent growth from 2017 to 2020. Top on the list is Locus Robotics with 4,349% revenue growth. BBJ 2021 Fast 50.


Job Opportunities

  • Bulk Packaging/Shipping/Receiving, Anchor Seal, Gloucester, MA – View job
  • Quality Control Inspector, Borg Design, Hudson, MA – View job
  • CNC Machinists/Programmers, Borg Design, Hudson, MA – View job


MassMEP Programs

For complete details about these programs for manufacturers, visit the MAC Events Calendar.


Partner Events


About the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership
The Next Generation Manufacturer Newsletter covers the business of manufacturing in New England. Growing a manufacturing business requires attention to countless details and recognizing opportunities for innovation and growth. To compete in the global economy, you must pay attention to every detail of the business — from product development to marketing and accounting to back-end operational efficiency and workforce development. The Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership is here to help you in your quest for growth. For more information, see

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