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Focus on Manufacturing & Distribution: Summits Summary

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RubinBrown was the proud sponsor of the Manufacturing & Distribution Summits in St. Louis and Kansas City—August 26 & 27. Manufacturing and Distribution is an important industry to RubinBrown and we were very pleased to have several hundred clients and guests attend the event to hear from a great lineup of speakers. The following is a brief summary of the key points from the event.
September 25, 2015

RubinBrown was the proud sponsor of the Manufacturing & Distribution Summits in St. Louis and Kansas City—August 26 & 27. Manufacturing and Distribution is an important industry to RubinBrown and we were very pleased to have several hundred clients and guests attend the event to hear from a great lineup of speakers. The following is a brief summary of the key points from the event.

Patricia Panchak, Editor-in-Chief, Industry Week Magazine, covered world-class manufacturing industry strategies, best practices and public policy issues that affect manufacturers’ competitiveness. She shared case studies about how manufacturing and distribution executives capitalized on the latest best practices to cut costs, boost productivity and increase profits. Pat reinforced to attendees that manufacturing is alive and well! China's role as a low cost provider is not necessarily the case today. Companies must develop a successful differentiation of value in its products and related services. Many of the successful companies highlighted by Industry Week's editor-in-chief had a deliberate focus and emphasis on innovation. Empowering all employees to be innovators within the organization was a key theme in the success of progressive manufacturing companies over the past decade. Companies and the Manufacturing industry must shift the view of employees as a cost of labor to a perspective of the value of labor. Pat's passion for Manufacturing was truly inspiring and left many attending the Summit with renewed energy and enthusiasm for the U.S. Manufacturing sector.

Robert Miller, Former Executive Director of the Shingo Institute, shared his perspective on "How Leaders Build Cultures of Excellence." Robert asked the attendees if any of them had been able to sustain their improvement initiatives and if not, why they were not able to sustain the results? Many companies are able to adopt the tools, systems and events associated with process improvement, however they often overlook the most important component – their employees! Creating a culture that supports continuous improvement at your organization requires careful, deliberate thought and is the most important work that leaders do. Companies that were successful in sustaining improvement initiatives first identified their core principles and beliefs; the meaning behind what they were trying to accomplish. These guiding principles influence and drive all aspects of the business. The employees not only understand the systems, tools and events–but also understand why they are important. Focusing on the guiding principles and embedding those principles in the systems and tools will lead to creating value for the customer, and improved results for the business!

Dr. Chris Kuehl, Economist and Managing Director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, provides strategy foundation, competitive intelligence, business analysis and economic forecasting for components within the manufacturing and distribution industries. Chris provided us with his "Domestic and International Economic Overview." Dr Kuehl highlighted that despite the recent downturn in the markets, the US manufacturing sector alone represents the 10th largest economy in the world. Manufacturing is alive in the U.S. and a force within the global market. The recent issues within the global market were anticipated by many economists because of generally overvalued market prices and China currency policy. Growth is predicted to be moderate for the balance of the year and into 2016 (2.5% to 3 %). Manufacturing, like several other industries, continues to battle a labor crisis and shortage of qualified, skilled workers. While many believe manufacturing jobs have been lost to China, the reality is that manufacturers have become more efficient through technology. The lack of skilled workers to fill positions is a critical issue for most companies.

Attendees were able to take many great ideas and concepts back to their respective organizations. A universal theme in all three presentations was the importance of employees and team members in each manufacturing or distribution business. Despite the high use of technology in these industries, the most successful companies find innovative ways to engage their employees, which in turn, allows them to grow and become more profitable. All of the attendees left with a great sense of pride and encouragement regarding manufacturing and distribution industry’s future.

 

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