Thursday, October 1, 2015

New Funding Brings New Opportunities for Manufacturers in Nine States

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) will award $27 million to organizations in nine states to operate centers that help manufacturers innovate, compete and grow. The new awards are part of a multiyear effort to update funding for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which provides a wide range of services to small and medium-size manufacturers through centers in every state and Puerto Rico.

“There’s no question the MEP program has helped make thousands of manufacturers stronger,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Willie E. May. “These new agreements will allow the centers to provide increased support and reach new customers.”

The awards will go to organizations in Alaska, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Washington and West Virginia following an open competition announced in March 2015; two remaining awards are still in process. The announced funding is for the first 15 months of the five-year agreements. Continued funding is subject to the availability of annual appropriations and successful annual reviews.

“These new agreements will improve our processes and help the centers better align with local economic strategies,” said MEP Director Carroll Thomas. “They will also open up new opportunities to allow the centers to serve new customers.”

The following organizations will sign cooperative agreements to operate centers in their states:

Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, Enterprise Minnesota, Inc., West Virginia University Research Corporation, Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference, Boise State University, Washington Manufacturing Services DBA Impact Washington, New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc., Oklahoma Alliance for Manufacturing Excellence, Inc.
  • New York State Department of Economic Development (Albany) - $7,481,492
Proposals were reviewed by government and independent experts and evaluated against a number of criteria, including demonstration of a thorough understanding of market needs and how proposed service offerings would meet those needs. The reviewers also looked at the proposed business models, performance measurements and metrics, partnership potential, staff qualifications and program management, as well as financial and non-federal cost-share plans. The new agreement reduces the centers’ cost-share burden by reducing the amount of required matching funds from non-federal sources.

For every dollar of federal investment, MEP clients generate nearly $19 in new sales, which translates into $2.5 billion annually. And for every $2,001 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one U.S. manufacturing job. Since 1988, MEP has worked with nearly 80,000 manufacturers, leading to $88 billion in sales and $14 billion in cost savings, and it has helped create more than 729,000 jobs. Read about some of MEP’s successes on its website at:

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. To learn more about NIST, visit

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Building Your Business Plan

By: Scott Ferguson
A business plan can take many forms, depending on the venture. A four-person management consulting firm may produce a leaner plan focused on service expertise and industry experience compared to a 20-employee manufacturer, who would also have to describe products, manufacturing techniques, competitive forces and marketing needs, among other details. But most plans will include the following main sections:
  • Executive summary
    Your five-minute elevator pitch. It may include a table of contents, company background, market opportunity, management overviews, competitive advantages, and financial highlights. It’s probably easiest to write the detailed sections first and then extract the cream to create the executive summary. Try to keep it to just a couple of pages.
  • Business description and structure
    Explain why you’re in business and what you’re selling. If you sell products, describe your manufacturing process, availability of materials, how you handle inventory and fulfillment, and other operational details. If you provide services, describe them and their value proposition to customers. Include other details such as strategic relationships, administrative issues, intellectual property you may own, expenses, and the legal structure of your company.
  • Market research and strategies
    Spell out your market analysis and describe your marketing strategy, including sales forecasts, deadlines and milestones, advertising, public relations and how you stack up against your competition. If you can’t produce a lot of data analysis, you can provide testimonials from existing customers.
  • Management and personnel
    Provide bios of your company executives and managers and explain how their expertise will help you meet business goals. Investors need to evaluate risk, and often, a management team with lots of experience may lower perceived risk.
  • Financial documents
    Provide the numbers that back up everything you described in your organizational and marketing sections. Include conservative projections of your profit and loss statements, balance sheet, and your cash flow statements for the next three years. These are forward-looking projections, not your current accounting outputs.

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8 Action Items Required To Sustain Market Leadership

By: Marty Zwilling
Sometimes entrepreneurs are so focused on making change happen for others, that they forget that continually changing themselves and their company is equally important. Some get stuck in a rut and get run over by competitors with new technology, like Eastman Kodak, and others get pushed into a crisis, like Apple did, before they reinvent themselves into a new market.
Everyone and every company needs to continually learn from their experience and adapt to a changing world to thrive. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is an old adage that really doesn’t work in today’s business world. If you don’t plan to reinvent yourself regularly, your competitors will make you obsolete, and any success to-date will likely be short-lived.

In his recent book “Invent, Reinvent, Thrive,” Lloyd E. Shefsky, Entrepreneurship Professor at the Kellogg School, highlights this message, and provides some expert insight on how entrepreneurs can apply the principles to their own career and company. Here are the key recommendations from both of us, based on my own business mentoring insights:
  • Re-launch using your enhanced core competency. Use that same technical and business expertise that served you well on this startup to find the next opportunity. I’m sure you have seen many new ones, and now understand even better the due diligence required to validate the opportunity, and the executions steps required to make it happen.
  • Ignore the voices of dissent again. Negative advice on an unknown is easy and safe to give, so every entrepreneur hears it over and over. As an entrepreneur with some success, you had the confidence to prove them wrong once, so don’t lose your nerve and try to play it safe now. Proven problem solvers only get better with practice.
  • Listen and act on the ideas of others around you. Take advantage of the fact that you have surrounded yourself with key people who have good ideas, but may lack the skills or confidence to act on them. Skip the arrogance of “not invented here,” and re-invent your current company, or start a new one, before a crisis occurs.
  • Move to a higher platform. Many entrepreneurs get their first taste of success running their own consultancy or practice. A few are able to move to higher platform, like moving from a sole practitioner physician to create and run a much larger medical organization. That’s a type of re-invention that can give you a major advantage over competitors.
  • Changing times call for a new skill set. Smart entrepreneurs in any given industry, like publishing, recognize the appearance of new technologies which threaten their survival, including digital publishing and print-on-demand. The best immerse themselves in these technologies, and invent new businesses, rather than fight in the old one to the death.
  • Seek out customer trends before they become an avalanche. Don’t stop doing the in-depth communication with customers that brought you initial success. Plan an annual set of customer sessions that you don’t delegate to subordinates. If customers don’t convince you to re-invent a part of your business each year, you probably aren’t listening.
  • Find mentors who have the skills you lack. Proactively seek out mentors who will tell you what you need to hear, rather than what you want to hear. Work on the new skills you acquire from your mentor, and test incrementally what you have learned. With each new skill you acquire, your likelihood of long-term success is improved.
  • Expand your investment alternatives. If your business success so far is based on family and Angel investors, perhaps it’s time to start working with institutional investors and external business partners. Their expectations and insights will broaden your view, and may incent you to upgrade your strategy, or re-invent a portion of your business.
Entrepreneurship is not a one-time transformation that qualifies you long-term success. It is a lifestyle, like many others, which requires constant effort to keep you ahead of the crowd in a rapidly changing business environment. Standing still is falling behind. What is your action plan to continually re-invent yourself and thrive?

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Cultivating “Clean” Power

Think about the people who hold the power positions in your organization below the C-level. What did they do to earn these positions?

Chances are, they discovered the simple secret to growing power…by seeking out and solving the vexing challenges that no one seems to own. These problems are everywhere on full display, usually residing in the gray zone between functions. They’re system issues and process challenges that manifest themselves in quality problems (i.e. poor customer service, waste, excess costs etc.) that no one claims as their own.

These astute power-developers recognize the problems and build coalitions from across functions to resolve the issues. And (spoiler alert!), their real secret to power growth doesn’t come from solving the individual problem; rather, it’s how they treat their coalition members. They work hard to put their team members in the spotlight by providing opportunities and offering ample visibility, particularly when things go great. As the successes pile up, people are excited to work on this power-developer’s team and his/her reputation as someone who can make things happen through others grows naturally in the senior ranks.

It’s a great formula for growing your power base while maintaining your integrity.

No games, no backs stabbed and no hands stepped on in the process of becoming wildly successful!

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Opportunity To Help Students

Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) is an unprecedented program is designed to prepare economically disadvantage students for a career pathway in one of a number of growing Technical areas. The P-TECH grant is implemented by Binghamton City Schools but serves students in ten school districts in Broome and Tioga counties. The program partners with SUNY Broome, BT BOCES and local Industry Professionals. Several local companies including Lockheed Martin, Delta Engineering, Bothar Construction and Lourdes Hospital have signed on to support P-TECH students by participating in monthly workshops at BT BOCES and host students for site visits.

Students entering in grade nine are selected to partner with the P-TECH program for six years. Students will earn their Regents Diploma, an Associate Degree from SUNY Broome in either Engineering Technology; Computer Technology or Health Studies and participate in on going mentoring from specially selected professionals working with the industry partner organizations all at no cost to the student!

2014-2015 school year began with the inaugural class from the ten participating districts. Fifty students from the partner districts are selected for the program each year. Tenth grade students begin attending BT BOCES for a half day and take the first course in the degree path for SUNY Broome Credit. We currently have 34 students in the Computer Tech and Engineering Tech and Health Science Pathways in grade ten and 50 incoming ninth graders.

We are always looking to expand our partner base to help students recognize all the opportunities to pursue STEM careers in our area. The industry partners are actively involved in presenting about professional skills needed in to today’s work place, opening their businesses for site visits and mentoring students.

If your company is interested in working with or finding out more about P-TECH please contact Jim Cunningham at 607-725-1225 or for more information.

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Made in the Southern Tier

Increase Your Exposure – add your company to this FREE directory of manufacturers

AM&T has launched Made in the Southern Tier – an online directory that showcases our region’s companies and the vast array of products that are manufactured here.
Inclusion in the directory is free to all Southern Tier manufacturers. Benefits include:
  • Enhanced exposure to top-level search engines such as Google
  • Greater likelihood that worldwide customers can find you
  • Ease of finding regional suppliers and partners for your production needs
  • One source for regional companies to find manufacturing suppliers

In addition to descriptive text and contact information, the company profiles include logos, product images, videos, and more – a comprehensive yet compact showcase.

Learn more at Click on “About the Directory” or “View Manufacturers”.

To qualify for inclusion in the directory, a company must be a manufacturer, with a NAICS code between 311-Food Manufacturing and 339-Miscellaneous Manufacturing. Also, the company must be located in one of the following New York counties: Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Tompkins. When a new company profile is submitted, it will be reviewed and confirmed by AM&T staff before it appears in the directory.

If you represent a Southern Tier manufacturer and would like to include your company in the directory at no cost, please complete the information form at:

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Associates’ Corner - The Hilliard Corporation

The Hilliard Corporation has evolved from a one-product business into a special-applications engineering company with a worldwide customer base. Founded in 1905, the company employs approximately 600 people at three manufacturing sites in Elmira.

The company’s product lines include filtration systems, motion control devices, and engine starters. Hilliard works with customers to research and test products, thus the company has a large range of custom-engineered products that can be modified to meet new applications.

Hilliard’s filtration components are sold under the Hilco and Star brand names. The Hilco Division products include filter housings, reclaimers, vent mist eliminators, fluid filtration systems, and filter cartridges. Applications for these products include emission control, ion exchange systems, power generation, metalworking, transformers, turbines, chemical plants, pipelines, food and beverage processing, compressors, and pumps.

Industries targeted by Star Filters include mining and metalworking, food and beverage processing, chemical and petrochemical processing, wastewater, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and biotech processing. The stainless steel plate and frame filters for liquid processing applications were first introduced in 1904, and the current product line includes polypropylene a range of materials for both equipment and filter media.

The company’s Motion Control Division makes clutches of various types including industrial overrunning, intermittent motion, centrifugal, drivetrain, and torque limiting. Applications for these clutches include machine tools, robotics, mining, mills, industrial vehicles, cranes, marine, lawn and garden, elevator and escalator, material handling, and many more.

A wide range of pneumatic, electric, and hydraulic starters for large-engine starting are produced by the Starter Division. Typical uses for these starters include turbines, diesel and gas engines, and engine test and overhaul shops. Applications include gas transmission, power generation, oil exploration and gas lift, marine propulsion, cogeneration, and stand-by generation.

Four years ago Hilliard management engaged AM&T to provide training in lean enterprise concepts for Hilliard employees, and to assist employee teams in identifying improvement targets and implementing changes. AM&T also assisted Hilliard with earning a ISO 9001:2008 certification, and with training of their sales team.

“We are extremely satisfied with AM&T’s services and expertise. AM&T has helped us improve greatly in our processes and performance,” said Hilliard CEO & Chairman Arie J. van den Blink.

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Associates’ Corner - Doron Precision Systems, Inc.

Doron Precision Systems, Inc. has over 40 years experience with products that provide driving simulation training for law enforcement, fire and EMS, commercial truck, transit bus, and novice drivers.

After acquiring the Singer Company’s driver simulation business in the early 1970’s, Doron became the first company to develop and produce complete driving simulation systems, including hardware, computer software and audiovisual software with driving scenarios supporting specific training objectives.

From the company’s facility in Binghamton, more than 25,000 driving simulators and over 400 motion entertainment systems have been delivered to more than 60 countries, enabling over 10 million drivers to be trained using Doron’s products.

Employees at the company include training and traffic safety professionals, electrical/electronic engineers, mechanical and software engineers, technicians, and draftspersons. To create content and materials as well as the simulation technology, the company relies on advice from curriculum committees of nationally recognized traffic safety education experts.

A local example or Doron’s products is the 550Bus interactive driving simulator installed at the Broome County Department of Public Transportation. This system includes the Situation Display, Performance Evaluation System and Scenario Developer Software options. The Scenario Developer enables transit instructors to create unique training scenarios.

The company has approximately 50 employees, including service personnel who are strategically located throughout the country. These regional service personnel maintain an inventory of most commonly used parts to help keep down-time at a minimum.

Contact Doron at 607-772-1610 or visit

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