Over the past 2 years, the Manufacturing Alliance of Bucks and Montgomery County has been trying to tackle some very big issues that impact us all in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The Made In America movement is sweeping our nation and our regional Manufacturing Alliance members are doing their part to help change the offshoring mindset right here in the Philadelphia region, one manufacturer at a time. The Alliance is just over 160 members strong and growing. There are over 2500 Manufactures in our region.
Spread The Word That There is Strength in Numbers.
If you are a manufacture or you know the leadership team of regional manufactures, please let them know about the Bucks/Mont Manufacturing Alliance. They meet as a group 4 times per year to address how we, together as a community, can build and assemble more goods right here in Southeast Pennsylvania. That means we need to get to know who you are and what services you can provide.
Quarterly Meeting Recap
On October 28th, the Manufacturing Alliance held their quarterly General Session in Hatfield PA. The group was welcomed by Hatfield Township Manager Aaron Bibro and the current Board President Tom Zipfel. The group was reassured that the Montgomery County Township is business friendly. The First topic discussed at this meeting was:
Made in America: Growing Your Supply Chain Closer To Home
- Michael Araten – President & CEO, The Rodon Group/ K’NEX Brands
- Rick Smethers – CEO & CTO of Inteprod
- Tom Krol – President & CEO of IMET Corporation
This distinguished panel shared their insights on the topic and a description of what they are doing as an organization to bring back work (and jobs) from China and other countries. Many of the reasons companies chose to offshore their manufacturing 10 or more years ago no longer applies. Tom Krol encouraged all the supply chain manufactures to ask the question of their clients, “What other components do you manufacture offshore that can possibly be made right here in the US?” Rick Smethers shared that the #1 problem an end user deals with concerning foreign made goods and components is quality and compliance issues. Therefore the costs associated with inspection, QA, recalls and any related legal costs with less than favorable outcomes must be calculated into the total cost of ownership.
Michael Araten stated, “The 2nd most popular search phrase on Amazon.com is “Where Is This Item Made?”. That should indicate that consumers in the USA want to buy American Made products. Therefore there is an emotional investment by US based consumers and companies that manufacture offshore need to be aware of this. This conversation needs to happen at the executive level rather than in the purchasing office of a company. The DVIRC and other IRC network members have access to a state fund that can help you build a compelling presentation that calculates the Total Cost of Ownership that may help you win your next project. Those charged with building shareholder returns would be interested in what you can do to increase net profits over the long term.
Partner Opportunities Are Discussed Among Alliance Members
Tom Krol presented a new business opportunity complete with visuals. His company IMET Corporation is manufacturing 4 foot long printed circuit boards that he ships to a client in NY State. The client is manufacturing plastic tubes offshore at the moment and they assemble these components in New York currently. IMET is looking for a local manufacture in our region to make these tubes and together they can deliver assembled units to the client. A Win-Win for Everyone! It all started with a question…”What other components do you manufacture offshore?” With a community of like-minded Alliance members, we can win more projects, create new manufacturing jobs and develop a sustainable manufacturing community right here in the Philadelphia region.
Changing A Midset Starts With You
John Shegda, President of M&S Centerless Grinding challenged everyone in the audience. As business leaders in the Delaware Valley region, it is our job to help change the mindset of local manufactures. Let’s work together, partner with each other, communicate needs more effectively, learn more about our neighbors in manufacturing and Lead By Example. The other topic discussed that afternoon was:
Cyber Security and Its Impact on Manufacturing Companies
It was a great discussion led by Ken Krauss, President of US Axle, Tony Kratowicz, CIO of K’NEX Brands and Suzanne Smethers, President of INTEPROD. The big takeaways during this session were.
- Make sure you are backing up your data at least daily, preferably onsight
- Employee Training and Mindfulness of Cyber Security policies is a must!
- Data criminals with malicious intent are very creative and will attempt to steal your data, hold your data/network for ransom, find ways to get money from your organization…nothing personal, just their business.
Rather than go into a long synopsis, know that it was a lively discussion, great real life examples, a few solutions to the problem and confident we will be discussing this one again. A special thank you to Greg Olson of SEWN for organizing and moderating the discussions and the Sub Committee Chair Persons for their updates and announcements.
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