Takeaways from the MSPBJ’s panel discussion: Manufacturing

Tom Sellin

By Tom Sellin Director of Business Development at King Solutions

MSPBJ-MfgPicI am very fortunate and grateful to have been able to participate in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s “Panel of Experts” discussion regarding the state of manufacturing in Minnesota.

Some advantages of manufacturing in Minnesota include an excellent work force, strong work ethic and communities that embrace and understand the importance of a healthy manufacturing environment. The 7400 manufacturers in Minnesota account for 13% of jobs in Minnesota and 16% of total payroll.

Key topics discussed

The session provided a unique opportunity to network with a great group of experts, share experiences and learn from others. The entire group shares an obvious common interest in and passion for the success of manufacturing in Minnesota. Here are a few key topics of interest:

  • The efforts of educators and manufacturers to close the gap between skills that are taught in schools and the skills needed in the workforce.
  • The availability of credit, and the use of multiple lending sources.
  • Addressing the shortage of workers, and the costs of job turnover created by a competitive job market.
  • The importance of succession planning and maintaining company culture.
  • The need for supply chain optimization.
  • The use of technology, data reporting, and system integration.
  • Complacency is seen as the largest threat to manufacturers.
  • The importance of collaboration between manufacturers, communities, educators, and businesses that provide services that support manufacturing.

About the supply chain

Controlling supply chain cost has long been a key consideration for local manufacturers as they strive to compete with companies located closer to the major populations/consumers. Transportation programs that are designed to create supply chain visibility and leverage that information to help to control costs are vital.

Three tips to increase your manufacturing profits

  1. Find a way to capture and measure key detailed data about how your supply chain functions. You will most likely find ways to reduce your costs by leveraging that information in your purchasing process. That information exists today and can be captured and used very economically.
  2. Align yourself with a solid and progressive logistics partner. You can reduce the cost of having an in-house logistics team. Given the current stress on labor, you may need those labor hours elsewhere. Your new partner must provide the highest levels of services of course. They will also need to have the tools and information systems to create mutual benefit through system integrations
  3. Audit your LTL Transportation carrier invoices. You will find substantial savings there.

Staying connected with the industry
Connecting with other manufacturers is one of the best ways to stay involved with the challenges and solutions facing the industry. Here are a few good networking resources in Minnesota:

Midwest Manufacturing Association (MMA) and its three affiliates work to support manufacturing throughout Minnesota. The affiliates include:

Additional resources include:

If you work for a manufacturer with growing supply chain visibility needs or would like to continue the discussion with me, send me an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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