It’s true we love manufacturing! And the packed house at yesterday’s 2019 Manufacturing Survey Rollout Event was evidence that many others in our region do too. The survey results, presented by Purolator International, were a compilation of insights from 500 manufacturing companies and Manufacturing Works members that responded to the survey now in its third year.
The results indicate that the manufacturing industry in the region is alive and well, but the companies with the most growth are those making investments in new products, technology, and talent. Of those manufacturers surveyed, about 68 percent of respondents said their company grew revenues in 2018, and 77 percent of respondents expect their revenues to grow in 2019.
The top challenges and opportunities that were indicated in this year’s survey results are validation for the work we began in 2018 to address our members needs focused on the adoption of new technologies, talent development solutions, and succession planning. According to the survey results only 8 percent of companies in Cuyahoga County invested in IIOT, only 11percent offered formal training or apprenticeship programs, and 55 percent of companies were concerned about succession planning at their company. Ken Patsey, our new Executive Director shared with the audience next steps for ways we are working with local companies to address some of these challenges and get results.
To address companies’ concerns around new technologies he said, “Focus on adoption, NOT transformation. You're hearing that you need to transform your business, but that's expensive and takes time. Focus on adoption first.”
Manufacturing Works is helping local companies adopt new technologies through its Manufacturing 4.0 programs helping companies adopt technologies "not transform" as Ken shared at yesterday’s event. We are helping to connect local companies to scaled down versions of leading technology products and demonstrating applications using events, webinars, and partner resources which provide immediate results for small to medium sized manufacturers.
We are also doing a lot of work around talent development and succession planning. We are working with local high schools to develop pre-apprenticeship programs and a pipeline of talent for local companies. Through our Apprenticeship Consortium we are helping companies establish and administer training programs at their companies, in addition we continue to offer and establish new training classes to help develop employees’ skills so that they may effectively utilize new technologies.
We see succession planning as an economic issue in our region. Over the last few years we’ve learned that close to 60 percent of the companies we work with, maybe more, have no succession plan in place. In 2018 we began researching ways to help address this issue and have begun to identify alternative strategies and efforts to educate our community about this issue. We continue to work closely with our economic development partners, education partners, the City of Cleveland, the foundation community, other non-profits, our members, and many other corporate partners to enhance these efforts.
MAGNET and Team NEO released complementary documents at the 2019 State of Manufacturing event yesterday, which compiled many of these data points and showcases the influence of IIoT, additive manufacturing, and other new technologies on the rapidly changing face of manufacturing in Northeast Ohio.
Interested in learning more about our work? Visit our website at mfgworkscle.org.