Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ed Gaetano Retires, Jim Cunningham Selected as AM&T's Executive Director

Congratulations to Ed Gaetano, who after many years of hard work and tireless dedication to manufacturing, has retired as AM&T’s Executive Director.

Through Ed’s direction and our excellent staff of professional consultants, trainers and support staff, AM&T has made a real difference to manufacturing. As measured by an independent survey company and reported through our primary stakeholder, the nationwide NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, AM&T has produced over $818 million of measureable impact from our work with manufacturers and technology companies in the Southern Tier over the last five years.

A job well done, and a retirement well deserved. When Ed is not spending time at home with his family, you can expect to see him on the ski slopes, golf courses, and sporting events around the area. Enjoy your retirement, Ed, and thank you for all you have done for so many, it has been a pleasure working with you.

I have been selected as Ed’s successor as Executive Director. I came to AM&T sixteen years ago after almost twenty-five years in manufacturing and distribution. In my years as Business Developer and Principal Consultant at AM&T, I have enjoyed working closely with our stakeholders, customers and partners to move us all ahead together.

As Executive Director, I look forward to building on those past successes into new areas of opportunity. Under my watch, AM&T will continue our passionate focus on our mission to help manufacturers and technology businesses plan, perform, profit and grow. I look forward to working with each and every one of you to make good things happen.

Thank you again for a job well done, Ed. I’ll take the baton from here. It is an honor and privilege that I take seriously.

JimCunningham, ExecutiveDirector

Hybrid CNC Machining Program: A Successful Partnership

At the request of local employers, AM&T, GST BOCES Adult Education and Career Services, CSS Workforce NY and the Workforce Development Institute (WDI) have partnered to provide an enhanced machining program available to adult students in the Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben County areas. As a pilot project, the Hybrid CNC Machining Program provided classroom instruction braided with internships with local employers. Upon graduating our second class of machinists, the program will be rebranded and further referred to as the Accelerated Machinist Partnership (AMP).

The resulting program includes 440 hours of classroom instruction at GST BOCES in addition to 280 hours of hands-on experience in local businesses. Current participating businesses include IDM, SEPAC, Emhart Glass and Tobeyco Manufacturing. We anticipate that other employers will decide to be part of this exciting way to partner with educational institutions to create a skilled machining pipeline.

According to Debra Harrington, GST BOCES adult training and development specialist, internship experiences are interspersed throughout the 7-month course. Students attend class for four weeks, then spend a full 40-hour work week training with a local participating employer. Students return to the classroom for another four weeks, then complete an internship with a different participating employer. This cycle runs for the duration of the program and exposes the students to several different manufacturing environments.

WDI’s input has been pivotal in the development of the machining program, as well as providing fiscal reimbursement to the participating employers. Reimbursement is for the time their incumbent workers dedicate to training the students in the internship setting.

As the course draws to a close, students will spend two days with each participating employer to evaluate how the student has progressed throughout the training program. At the end of this last rotation, the employers interview each student and give feedback on his/her work performance. At these interviews, employers may offer students an 80-hour internship that could lead to possible employment.

A graduation ceremony is planned for the end of the course in May. Representatives from the participating employers, as well as local dignitaries, will be invited to attend the event.

For more information about this program, please contact:
Debra Harrington, GST BOCES: dharrington@gstboces.org, 607-739-4296,
Kellie Christofer, CSSWNY: christopherk@csswfny.com, 607-937-8337 x1113,
Lynn Freid, WDI: lfreid@wdiny.org, 585-233-8818,or
Jim Cunningham, AM&T: jcunningham@amt-mep.org, 607-725-1225.

Some Recent AM&T Activities Promoting Growth, Collaboration and Innovation

Conducted Basic Project Management workshop at a company in Endicott. Trained six participants on basic project management methods as part of the 2014 CFA Training Award.

Conducted ISO 9001 Internal Audit at a company located in Rochester. There were minor findings and a summary report was prepared.

Provided Additional Quality Support to a company located in Endicott. Assisted with implementing opportunities for improvement from the AS9100c Surveillance Assessment in December 2015.

Conducted a Setup Reduction/ Quick Changeover workshop at an Elmira company. Trained six participants on SMED method and reduced setup times on the 200T Brake Press by 61%. This training was provided as part of the 2014 CFA Training Award.

Co-Sponsored and led a Pre-seed Workshop at Cornell University. Six teams of 5-8 people each spent a week assessing the commercial viability of bio-tech inventions that emerged from the university's research work. The workshop culminated with presentations to a feedback panel of investors.

Conducted a TWI Job Method Improvement workshop at an Endicott company. Three employees were trained in process improvement methods to build their supervisory skills.

Completed a five-day Setup Reduction event. The team challenged the current process and identified opportunities for improvement. The new setup process was designed, documented and its performance validated. The reduced setup will result in increased equipment capacity and productivity, and reduced inventory

Conducted a five-day order-to-delivery value stream mapping event on a major product family. It is anticipated that when implemented, the plan will result in a significant reduction in lead times, inventory, and floor space, and an increase in quality and productivity.

Conducted a five-day order-to-delivery value stream mapping event on a major product family. It is an­ticipated that when implemented, the plan will result in a significant reduction in lead times, inventory, and floor space, and an increase in quality and productivity.

Conducted a five-day New Product Development value stream mapping event with a team of ten people. It is anticipated that when implemented, the plan will result more effective product introductions which will improve on-time deliveries and reduce wastes.

Conducted a five-day Leader Standard Work (LSW) event in Quality and Support Areas. The LSW will create greater process control, reduce variability, create stability and predictable outcomes, make abnormalities visible, and set clear expectations; and most importantly, create a platform for individual and organizational learning.

Provided ISO 9001 consultation to Genesee Global Group, located in Rochester, in preparation for their Registrar Surveillance Assessment.

Conducted an ISO 9001:2008 & ISO 14001:2004 internal audit at a Rochester firm. Minor findings were noted and a summary report prepared. Their Quality Management System was deemed compliant and effective.

Conducted two (2) 5S/Workplace Organization workshops at a company’s Welding and Shipping Departments. Trained 11 participants on the Lean 5S method and organized both departments. This training was provided as part of the 2014 CFA Training Award.

Briefed High Tech Rochester companies on the process of transitioning to the 2015 version of the ISO 9001 & 14001 Standards.

Conducted an Internal Audit at a firm located Ithaca. One nonconformance was noted and a summary report was delivered. Their Quality Management System continues to be compliant and effective.

Continued to work with the Work­force Development Institute and other economic development entities to maximize our impact on manufacturers in the Southern Tier. Assisted several companies with grant applications.

Completed project mentoring, monitoring and advising local manufacturer for Lockheed Martin under the US Department of the Navy Protégé Program.

Worked with, and attended multiple meetings with the NYS Rail & Bus Supply Chain Advisory Group to support Rail/Bus segments of the Transportation Cluster.

Assisted a Binghamton company with preparation and documentation for AS 9100 certification effort.

Conducted Internal Audits and Management Reviews at companies in Hammondsport, Bainbridge, Hornell, Elmira, Endicott and Endwell.

Conducted Pre-Assessment Audits at companies in Norwich and Endicott.

Awesome Quotes on Collaboration

1. “It is the long history of humankind (and animal-kind, too), those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”
—Charles Darwin

2. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
—Helen Keller

3. “If two men on the same job agree all the time, then one is useless. If they disagree all the time, both are useless.”
—Darryl F. Zanuck

4. “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
—Henry Ford

5. “Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.”
—Oliver Wendell Holmes

6. “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
—Isaac Newton

7. “It takes two to speak the truth — one to speak, and another to hear.”
—Henry David Thoreau

8. “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”
—George Bernard Shaw

9. “Politeness is the poison of collaboration.”
—Edwin Land

10. “I never did anything alone. Whatever was accomplished in this country was accomplished collectively.”
—Golda Meir

11. “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.”
—Napoleon Hill

12.“No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.”
—Althea Gibson

13. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
—Phil Jackson

14. “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”
—Henry Ford

15. “The lightning spark of thought generated in the solitary mind awakens its likeness in another mind.”
—Thomas Carlyle

Five Principles for Remaking Economic Development to Generate Growth, Prosperity, and Inclusion

By Fred Dews – Brookings Now

“Embracing a broader vision of economic development is an economic and fiscal imperative,” Amy Liu writes in her new report, “Re­making Economic Development: The markets and civics of continuous growth and prosperity.” Liu, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, continues that “Our nation’s economic competitiveness and social cohesion remain threatened.”

In the report, Liu presents a framework for and case studies of a deeper practice of economic development that generates “continuous growth, prosperity, and inclusion.” All too often, she says, city and regional leaders focus too much on “topline” growth — such as taxpayer funded incentives for business relocation — that doesn’t “ensure bottom line prosperity.”

Liu lays out five action principles for regional leaders in all sectors to apply to put their regions on higher growth trajectories.

1. Set the right goals
“Leaders at the forefront of remaking economic development… set long term goals that go beyond traditional headline economic indicators to achieve more robust measures of regional growth, productivity, and inclusion while also setting shorter term metrics to monitor progress.”

2. Grow from within
“Leaders in new approaches to economic development focus on strengthening assets that enable their distinctive industries to flourish and grow from within, rather than rely primarily on marketing to recruit individual firms from elsewhere.”

3. Boost trade
“Contemporary economic development leaders actively support and promote export growth and trade with other markets in the United States and around the world to deepen their industry clusters and bring new resources and income into the region.”

4. Invest in people and skills
“With waves of retirements in the baby boom generation already underway — and increasing diversity amongst the youngest cohorts of workers — the economic potential of every metro region depends on its effectiveness at mobilizing talent and equipping workers with the skills demanded by the leading industries in their community.”

5. Connect
“The most forward-leaning leaders are harnessing regional markets and connecting local communities to them. Markets — industrial, labor, and housing — are regional, but the people and assets that matter to markets are local... To create the market lift that raises incomes and opportunities for as many people as possible, economic development should focus on regional scale solutions to support strong, innovative industry clusters.”

Five Strategies for Leading Breakthrough Market Changes

By Marty Zwilling

Every entrepreneur realizes that change is now the norm, and they have to adapt their business quickly to survive and prosper. In fact, the best entrepreneurs seem to see breakthrough changes coming even before they really happen, and are able to turn them into huge new opportunities. In the trade, this rare capability is called the ability to see around corners.

While only a few people seem to be born with the right genes, I’m convinced that it is also a skill that can be learned and even institutionalized. In a recent book, “The Attacker’s Advantage,” by world-renowned business advisor Ram Charan, I found some real guidance on what skills are required, what to look for, and how to react in time. Here is a summary of his five basic strategies:

1. Always on the alert, sensing for signals and meaning of change.
Technically, this is known as perceptual acuity. Smart entrepreneurs compare perceptions with a diverse group of leaders and experts on a regular basis. They search for impending changes across multiple environments, and reflect on these to spar knew ideas for growth.

2. A mindset to see opportunity in uncertainty. Uncertainty is an invitation to go on the attack and entrepreneurs need to be always ready to take their business to a new place in the changing landscape. They should never be defensive, and accept reality when core competencies are actually a hindrance to moving in a more promising direction

3. The ability to see a new path forward and commit to it. Leading entrepreneurs don’t wait for everyone to agree with their view of where to take the business, and have the courage of their convictions. They pursue new opportunities with tenacity, identify the obstacles they need to overcome, the blockages that stand in the way, and attack them.

4. Adeptness in managing the transition to the new path. These entrepreneurs stay connected to both external and internal realities to know when to accelerate and when to shift the short-term/long-term balance, with a sharp eye on cash flow and debt. They create and meet short-term milestones to win credibility with investors and stakeholders.

5. Skill in making the organization steerable and agile. No business leader can succeed in driving change without being able to bring key people on the team along. They learn to be agile, or steerable, by linking the external realities in real time to assignments, priorities, decision-making power, funding, and key performance indicators.

Too many entrepreneurs allow the pressures of daily crises and total immersion in tactical details to narrow their thinking and to lower the altitude of their view. Everyone needs to find and hone the techniques that work for them in maintaining that perceptual acuity. Here are a few that both Charan and I recommend to get started:
  • Set aside ten minutes of each weekly staff meeting for that pur­pose.
  • Seek contrary viewpoints from people you respect, rather than compiling support.
  • Regularly dissect the past, to look for change signals you and others missed.
  • Continually increase your mental map of key changes in multiple industries.
  • Evaluate who might use an invention, patent, or new law to create a bend in the road.
  • Use outsiders to multiply your capacity to scan for disrupting patterns.
  • Watch the social scene, looking for new consumer behaviors and trends.
  • Be a voracious reader in all forms of media, both online and offline.
Even if you can’t see around the corners, it helps to have the perceptual acuity to see bends in the road before others. With that, and the courage to accelerate towards them as opportunities, rather than slowing down to mount a defense, you too can be a winner, rather than a victim in today’s uncertain but unlimited market.

10 Things to Make Your Business More Effective

By Dino Eliadis

Have a Vision

Your vision is that ONE thing you ultimately want from life and you are using your business as a vehicle to get you there. Vision also helps you communicate your direct to others and becomes a “litmus test” for all your decision making.

Set Goals & Objectives along the Way

Goals & objectives help you create major milestones along the way to achieving your vision. They help you monitor progress and provide you with the focus needed to make sure your actions are directed toward the right things which is key to good business execution.

Create a Plan to Achieve Your Objectives

Action plans are what drive your goals & objectives. They help you define who does what by when. It’s just a project plan at its core which is what I’ve said a business plan is all along. It forms a scope of work for the next major skill to good business implementation – delegation.

Learn to Delegate

You need a team to achieve your vision primary focus to create self-sustainability. Delegation is the way you get there. However, delegation is a skill that is under­developed in most small business owners and beginning entrepreneurs. You want to improve your delegation skills because it increases the values of your business

Communicate Your Quality Standards

One of the most frequently forgotten aspects of delegating work is communicating expectations. That is how well do you need outputs to perform? This is all that a quality standard really is. But, it’s often hard work to document your specification and communicate this to others. This is why this step so often gets left out. Or even worse, the owner decides “I’ll just do it myself.” In which case the lack of delegation in the business perpetuates itself even longer and the business loses value as a result.

Lead Your Team

If you own a business you are a leader. The problem is owners don’t always act that way. Good leadership means tearing down the barriers for you team. It means motivate your team toward the vision by helping your team members achieve their goals in the process. Are you doing these things? If not, read more on leadership to improve your skill set.

Apply Discipline Every Step of the Way

Discipline is a term that gets used a lot but is not really well understood. In Scott Peck’s book, The Road Less Traveled he defines discipline as the ability to delay gratification. None of us do this very well. However, if you are not willing to endure the pain and discomfort necessary to accomplish your goals and objectives, your vision has little chance of being realized. Discipline means staying focused on your vision!

Hold Yourself Accountable First and Then Others

Accountability is discipline in action. You have to walk the walk if you’re going to talk the talk. If you tell your employees watch expenses, but you spend frivolously, chances are they won’t listen. Implementing accountability means having humility first. Show your team that you have discipline. Then teach them how to have discipline themselves. Everyone wins in this scenario.

Change and Adapt When Necessary

Change is the only constant in the business. Things never go as planned, so you have to be flexible. But, in order to know when to change you have to monitor with frequency to notice deviation and shifts in your plans. Then you have to be disciplined enough to make the tough decisions when the situation warrants. Not doing so will mean delaying success or possibly preventing it all together!

Celebrate Your Victories along the Way

You’ve heard the old cliché, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It’s not different in business. When you have success, reward your team. It is a great way to show your team that you appreciate what they’ve accomplished and to create solid indicators for achieved milestones.

Friday, March 11, 2016

5S: A Process for Your Entire Business

By Rebecca Morgan

Have you ever considered taking your 5S broom to your entire business?

Most people consider 5S an entry- level lean tool for the shop floor. They can tell you what each of the floor S’s is and too often suggest that the bottom line is “a place for everything and everything in its place.” They lay down yellow tape to outline where the trash can goes, create shadow boards for tools, and issue monthly trophies. None of that is inherently bad, but the concept behind 5S is so much more than that.

Why settle for 5 percent of the power of 5S thinking?

Like most lean tools, 5S is a concept designed to eliminate waste. Costly clutter exists far beyond the shop floor. In fact, it exists in every aspect of even the best organizations.

Have you 5S’d your customer base? What about your products, and the components that go into your products? Over time those things get just as cluttered as the shop floor and they can certainly benefit by applying 5S thinking to them as well.

Just as some people want to hang on to tools that haven’t been used in years, so too do many companies hang on to customers that simply do not make sense for the business any longer. Get rid of them. They sap valuable resources better used elsewhere.

The same is true for product offerings. It takes resources to support products that long ago lost their market luster. Additionally, too many choices can make it hard for your customer to fi just what they’re looking for. For many companies Life Cycle Management is about birthing products, failing to ever kill them.

One client had over 50 different switches in use to accomplish the same function in very similar products. They have reduced that to less than 10 now, and haven’t given up. Modular design can improve this problem immensely, but so can applying 5S thinking to your existing designs and part numbers.

Some of your suppliers are partners, focused on mutual benefit with you. A quick look at your supplier lists will undoubtedly reveal companies you shouldn’t be doing business with any longer. They can’t help you succeed and aren’t interested in your help in improving their capabilities. Why are they still on your list?

And just as on the shop floor, 5S thinking for your business has to become a way of being – not an annual event. 5S is a thought process designed to resolve a type of problem that occurs throughout your business. I challenge you to apply that seemingly simple tool accordingly. You’ll be surprised by all the costly clutter that you can eliminate.

George Washington’s 5 Lessons of Entrepreneurship

Edward G. Lengel

George Washington was among the most successful businessmen of his day. Raised in a single-parent home and bereft of formal education, he nevertheless parlayed a modest inheritance into what was by the time of his death one of the grandest estates in North America.

The odds were against him. Washington came of age under an oppressive colonial system that discouraged entrepreneurship and fostered debt. His increasingly passionate belief in economic freedom motivated his efforts to break free of this system, both personally and as an American patriot.

Guiding his country through eight years of debilitating war followed by a lengthy period of economic instability, Washington managed simultaneously to set the United States on the road to prosperity and ensure that Mount Vernon became a center of agricultural and technological innovation. 

Five principles that inspired his accomplishments may still serve to guide entrepreneurs in the twenty-first century:

Decisiveness. As a young entrepreneur in the 1760s Washington recognized that the colonial tobacco economy, which had been in place for over a century but operated on credit, stifle innovation and reduced Americans to debt slavery. After careful research, he moved decisively to abandon tobacco and change over his estate to the cultivation of wheat. The gamble paid off, not only making Mount Vernon self-sufficient but transforming it into a regional center of production.

Innovation. Technology fascinated Washington. He tinkered ceaselessly but never aimlessly. A firm believer in experimentation, he tested tools with a view to their capacity to save labor and boost productivity. Among other cutting edge technologies, he installed at Mount Vernon an advanced gristmill that allowed him to produce high-quality       “G. Washington” brand flour and even market it overseas.

Communication. After the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, Washington recognized that Great Britain—then in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution—was on the cusp of becoming a global economic powerhouse. He not only read the works of visionaries like Adam Smith, but fostered personal relationships with pioneering British innovators such as Arthur Young. Washington became a hero of the British manufacturing community as he worked to disseminate knowledge and promote trade.

Calculated Risk-taking. Martha quickly cured her husband of his youthful affinity for gambling at cards and billiards, but his entrepreneurial mind remained attuned to the thrill of the dice. Shortly after his retirement Washington’s Scottish farm manager James Anderson approached him with the seemingly reckless proposal to build a whiskey distillery at Mount Vernon. Previously ignorant of the industry, Washington researched it carefully and decided to risk a significant investment. The distillery quickly became one of his most profitable enterprises.

Attention to Detail. Washington kept astonishingly meticulous accounts. He also insisted onunderstanding personally how every operation on his estate worked from bottom to top. At any given moment, thanks to his demands for detailed reports and his frequent rides around Mount Vernon, he intimately understood every aspect of his diverse and far-flung enterprise. This attention to fundamentals was a bedrock of his success.

Managing Projects: a 3 Tier Approach to Achieve Better Results

by Ellen McKewen

Every year brings about new and more efficient processes that manufacturers can take advantage of in order to increase and enhance their upcoming projects. For example, a project management methodology might be used to implement a new software program or install new machinery. For your project to be successful, it has to include change management to ensure acceptance from the people using it. In addition, the project needs to support the corporate strategy. Managing projects can then be viewed as a three tier approach that is selected and pioneered by a leader and implemented by employees through change management.
Tier 1: Leadership: Doing The Right Project
The decision to determine which project to implement should be decided by your leadership team. Getting the leadership team on the same page with respect to determining the right project to implement is crucial for optimal global results.
Once the leaders have come to a consensus on which project to implement, they will begin designing a project management methodology.
Tier 2: Project Management: Doing The Project Right
A suitable methodology includes both the management and the strategizing of a project. Communication is critical to each level of the project’s hierarchy
-from the leader to the workers carrying out the project.
The goal of project management is to become more competitive and improve effi   anywhere within your manufacturing organization for better global effi              . In order for project management to be suc cessful, the overall direction must be properly set and communicated (Tier 1 Leadership). A well-defi project management plan ensures on time completion of the project.

Tier 3: Change Management: Doing The Implementation Right
While project management is the planning and strategizing of a new process, machinery, or software, change management is the implementation of it.
Change management focuses on the implementation of the project through the people who will be using it. The only way that a project will be successful is through the acceptance and adoption of it by its users. Therefore, the person (change agent) who carries out the change management of a project should look to encourage employee buy-in and foster acceptance from them.
The change agent should be able to recognize and be prepared to address some personnel factors that affect the speed of change, such as:
       Speed of adoption: Improve how quickly people get on board with the change and address resistance through effective communication, sponsorship and coaching.
       Use of a new system: Prevent people from “opting out” of the new system and reverting to the old system.
       Proficiency: Increase likelihood that people maximize proficiency in the new system by proper training.
Successful change management helps employees overcome reluctance for new buy-ins resulting in meeting your project’s objective, being on schedule, staying on budget, increasing your ROI, reducing push back and enhancing proficiency when using systems.
Implementing change management improves the predictability of project success by addressing people issues up front. Often times, the buy-in of change by your organization’s personnel can affect the speed of seeing the benefits  promised by your project.
Working Together to Achieve the Best Results
Managing projects using a three tier approach will improve the results and success of your project. While each tier functionally operates on its own, optimal results happen when all three are integrated and infused into managing projects.
Remember that you must choose the right project and clearly communicate its overall direction. Once the project is identified the project management methodology will need to be designed. Finally, change management is the implementation of the project to ensure there is internal buy-in from its users.