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5 surefire ways to kill your company’s innovation

By Steven L. Blue, for Multibriefs, January 2019

Innovation is difficult to come by. It is a fleeting concept that eludes most companies. In fact, the odds of a new product idea reaching full commercialization are less than 4 percent. And that is the best case.

But, there are five surefire ways you can make certain innovation never sees the light of day at your company:

1. Don’t make innovation a top priority and an “all-hands” job requirement.

Many CEO’s want innovation but only after “the real work” gets done. Here is a new flash: if you want to survive you better make innovation “the real work.” Make it a top priority for everyone in the company, not just the engineering department.

How do you do that? By writing it into every job description. By rewarding and recognizing people who innovate. And yes, by asking people to leave if they don’t.

2. Don’t give people the training they need to innovate.

When you make everyone responsible for innovation, it can be very scary. People will be afraid they aren’t up to the job because they are “not creative.” Studies have debunked the myth that you are either born an Einstein or you’re not.

The truth is everyone can be creative if they are trained in the principles of creativity. So, your job is to train every single employee.

I hired the previous chief creativity officer of the QVC network to teach my entire workforce how to generate new and novel ideas. He rode shotgun with us for the better part of a year and now creativity is in our DNA.

3. Don’t give people the time to innovate.

It is all well and good to expect innovation but not give people the time and space to do it. If you don’t do this, employees will default to the tasks at hand-making the doughnuts. After all, they get paid to make the doughnuts. They are comfortable making the doughnut.

Unless you give them permission to do otherwise, that is all they will do. I tell my employees I expect 20 percent of their time to be spent on innovation. And I hire extra people, so we can still get production and innovation.

4. Don’t give people a place to innovate.

I built what I call a “Google-like campus in a factory,” which is a high-tech space designed to facilitate innovation. Our employees named it the “Creation Station.” My employees are welcome to gather there whenever they want to. And they often do, collaborating across the organization in the pursuit of new products and processes. Some people will tell you such a space is a waste of money and it has no ROI.

Most CEO’s won’t think twice about spending a ton of money on a CNC machine because it has a ROI. So does my Creation Station. It has returned orders of magnitude in ROI with new products and improved internal processes.

The difference between the Creation Station and a CNC machine is the CNC machine has a finite useful life and must be replaced. Not so with an innovation space, as it constantly renews itself.

Other critics have said building such a space only gives employees the excuse to goof off there. To that I say, you have the wrong employees. So, get the right ones.

5. Don’t take risks to innovate.

Without risk, there can be no innovation. The world of innovation is murky and uncertain. You must give people your permission to fail. Otherwise, they won’t even try. I tell CEO’s all the time, don’t take risks — take big risks.

Little risks have puny returns. Little risks don’t motivate people to do extraordinary things. I am not telling you to take “bet the company risks.” You should never do that.

Always validate risk as best you can with the information and market intelligence you can gather. And keep validating your assumptions along the way.

Bottom line, get comfortable being uncomfortable. Take the big risks and encourage your employees to do the same.

What should you do if they take a risk and fail? Celebrate! Reinforce the “risk is a good thing” philosophy because that is the only way that innovation can happen.


About the Author

 

Steven L. Blue is the President & CEO of Miller Ingenuity, an innovative company revolutionizing traditional safety solutions for railway workers, and author of the new book, “Metamorphosis: From Rust-Belt to High-Tech in a 21st Century World.” For more information, please visit www.StevenLBlue.comwww.milleringenuity.com and connect with Blue on Twitter, @StevenLBlue.

2019’s top 3 digital marketing trends that matter

Written by Emma Fitzpatrick Monday, January 07, 2019 from MultiBriefs 

 

All too often, trend roundups can be full of dreams that won’t become reality for years.

Of course, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI) and voice search will continue to grow this year. But those pie-in-the-sky trends likely won’t impact your business just yet.

Instead, read on for the top three trends that will affect how you market to your customers in 2019.

1. Social networks shift to groups. Instagram remains in the clear.

What’s happened: Facebook remains the biggest player in the social media world with over 2.27 billion monthly active users. But throughout 2018, the company was mired with problem after problem.

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, people began taking breaks from the platform or deleting the app altogether, which led to a 20 percent decrease in how much Facebook content each person reads. Page admins saw that impact directly after engagement rates dropped more than 50 percent.

Because Facebook is the top dog, other social networks are seeing the trickle-down effects. Nearly 75 percent of Americans believe that the integrity of Facebook and Twitter has diminished, and they’re less likely to find trusted information on those sites.

That lack of trust in how the networks are using private data also means users are sharing privately more than publicly. Social shares are also down 50 percent since 2015.

What’s next for 2019: While skeptical of the information posted publicly on Facebook and Twitter, Eighty percent of people do trust information posted on forums, which could lead to an increase in Group discussions.

Try to pivot to Groups in 2019 to see how it works for your business. Also, Instagram, though owned by Facebook, has mostly avoided the mistrust that plagues other sites, so continue to invest more time there in 2019.

2. Continue chatting, but start marketing in messaging apps.

What’s happened: Over the last few years, people took their conversations to private messaging apps instead of public feeds. As of June of 2017, 65 percent of links were shared privately while only 14 percent were posted publicly. Once people started messaging, they couldn’t stop!

80 percent of adults send at least one message per day, which has led to more than 1 billion people (and businesses) sending more than 8 billion messages per month. That’s more than double the year prior, and the growth shows no signs of stopping in 2019!

What’s next for 2019: If you have not figured out how to effectively handle the influx of messages, you’re missing out on sales and disappointing customers. This must be the year you get a solid system in place.

Start with these tips or look into a chatbot. Then, brainstorm how you can go beyond simply answering questions that you get and start marketing. Forty-six percent of people said they would like to receive deals over messaging apps while 24 percent said they’d received updates on products, too.

3. Have others tell your story (especially in ads).

What’s happened: People are skeptical of information on social media, but they also want brands and companies to tell the trust. Most Americans (86 percent) agree that transparency from companies is more important to them than ever before.

They want businesses to be open, honest, clear and authentic. That, of course, is easy said than done because most people are inherently wary of what brands say about themselves. But 37 percent of people trust influencers more than brands.

Enter influencer marketing. Global spending has more than doubled each year from 2015 to 2018. In 2018, advertisers spent $1.6 billion on Instagram influencer content alone.

What’s next for 2019: In 2019, budgets for influencer marketing are forecasted to grow about 30 percent. But, it’s no longer the smart play to use this content organically.

Instead, you should be paying micro-influencers (often real customers or moderately successful bloggers) to create ads for your business. They’re the ones who make content for a living, so creating a vertical, short video for them will be easy-peasy.

That way, you can easily take hold of two major trends (micro ads and the video-all-the-time phenomenon). Plus, people will trust what they create more.


About the Author

Emma Fitzpatrick is a freelance writer and marketer, whose specialties include content marketing, social marketing and short, snappy writing. Pick her brain more at emma.l.fitzpatrick@gmail.com.

The More You Know, Q&A with Wigglesworth Machinery Co.

A letter from our President: MDNA Member Profile

Question: When and how did you get your start in this business? 

Gifford Wigglesworth: “I am a fourth-generation machinery 

dealer.  For us this journey began in Chicago at turn of the nineteenth century, with my Great Grandfather Albert W. Wigglesworth.  He saw a business opportunity and shifted from selling new machinery to reconditioning and selling used machinery and for this he is known as the ‘Grandfather’ of the used machinery business.  In 1928 Albert W. sent his oldest of five sons, Albert G., to Boston (an up and coming Industrial Market) to practice the family business.  He tracked down every smoke stack in New England.  We have prospered here through several wars and survived several economic “downturns” and we are now celebrating our 90th year”. 

Wigglesworth 3 Generations
Question: Where are you located and do you have a warehouse? 
 
Gifford Wigglesworth: “We recently sold one of our two buildings. We consolidated into one warehouse and streamlined our operation. It is located at 276 Border St, East Boston, MA 02128. The entire warehouse is serviced by a heavy duty overhead crane and it is much easier to get trucks in and out”.  
 
Wigglesworth Warehouse
 
We have qualified mechanical and electrical repair personnel. We re-scrape slides, replace bearings and lead screws, and replace worn or broken parts as required. Many of our orders are from repeat customers who have been pleased with machines we have previously sold them.”
 
Question: Is there anything else you’d like fellow MDNA Members to know about your company? 
 
Gifford Wigglesworth: “We specialize in precision chip removal machinery; lathes, boring mills, grinders and gun drills.  From our beginning to today, and into the future, we have been and will continue to be in the business of reconditioning and adding value to our machines”.   
 
“My father, Albert Gifford Wigglesworth JR, ran the business for about 35 years. He past away 17 years ago. He said, “Our industry has certainly changed a great deal in a very short time. With the common use of the fax and now the internet, information is light years ahead of what it was a few years ago. There are darn few of us left doing things the “old-fashioned way”. When you buy from our stock, the machines are “right” when they go out the door”. I don’t have a fax machine anymore, but like my father, I make sure that the machines are still “right” before they go out the door.” 
 
Get In Touch With Gifford Wigglesworth
Tel: 617-567-7210
————————————–
 
The MDNA is made up of extraordinary companies and amazing individuals, unique because of our national and global reach.  MDNA is committed to sharing the story of each of our members.  If you are interested in having your company profile spotlighted in this way please email office@mdna.org and mention you would like your company profile shared.
 
MDNA President – Joe Lundvick, CEA
Perfection Global, LLC

Do I Need a Sheet Metal Folding Machine or Press Brake?

Written by, Andy KamashianAEA Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales, Inc. (MDNA Member Firm)  

There are many different kinds of fabrication equipment on the market intended to bend or shape metal in various ways. One question that the team here at SFMS is frequently asked is: “what’s the difference between metal folding machines andsheet metal press brakes, and which is best for my machine shop?”

At first glance, these two types of metal forming technology look similar, and even fill a similar role on the shop floor (namely, to bend metal into precise shapes). However, there are some key differences between the two types of machines that may make one better for your shop floor than the other.

What is a CNC Press Brake?

Sheet metal brakes see widespread use in manufacturing machine shops across the country. These machines have undergone numerous changes over the years, so it can be a bit difficult to generalize about their capabilities.

For example, there are four different methods that a press brake can use to apply force to a workpiece: mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, and servo-electric. Each of these methods has their own unique advantages and drawbacks. Hydraulic and mechanical drive systems are the most well-known types of press brakes, so we’ll use them as the primary point of comparison for this article.

The typical advantage of a CNC sheet metal brake over a metal folding machine is that the press brake has a higher tonnage than comparable CNC sheet metal folding machines—especially if it’s a hydraulic press. This allows the hydraulic press to shape much thicker metal workpieces than a CNC folding machine can handle.

What is a Metal Folding Machine?

In a lot of ways, a metal folding machine is very similar to a press brake. Even the general look of a folding machine is similar to a press brake. However, where a sheet metal brake gauges the flange and rotates the part up, the folding machine gauges the part (which is supported on the machine’s sheet support system) and turns the flange up. This is the key difference that separates the two types of machines.

Some key advantages of CNC folding machines include:

  • Size of Workpiece That Can Be Folded. A CNC folding machine’s integrated support backgauge holds up the weight of parts for the operator. Additionally, the way that folding machines bend metal makes it easier to bend multiple-setup parts that would normally require more manual interference. Because of this, metal folding machines are often able to bend larger (but not thicker) pieces of metal than press brakes.
  • Reduced Risk of Surface Damage. With limited movement between the tooling of a folding machine and the surface of the workpiece, there is typically less (if any) damage to the surface of the workpiece.
  • Multiple Station Setup Simulated in a Single Setup. CNC sheet metal folding machines can complete multiple complex operations by creating a multiple-station setup along the length of the machine. Throughout the motion of the part from one end of the machine to the other, the sheet support system holds the part while the backgauge moves it around. This allows for incredibly complex bends in metal with minimal operator input.
  • Simple Setup. Metal folding machines usually have a single set of universal tools that they use for all applications. This minimizes the setup time needed for changing tooling—as well as minimizing the storage space needed for spare tools.

Which is Better: Sheet Metal Brakes or CNC Folding Machines?

The answer depends on what kind of work you’re doing. A lot of the gaps in performance between hydraulic presses and metal folding machines can be closed by specific press brake features. For example, some sheet metal brakes have sheet lifters that support the weight of larger workpieces, making them easier for a single person to operate. Others have robotic interfaces that almost completely eliminate the need for a human operator.

In terms of accuracy, there’s not much of a difference thanks to advances in CNC systems.

Generally speaking, folding machines are better for more “delicate” work on large but thin pieces of metal that require multiple tooling changes and operations. Meanwhile, hydraulic presses are better for heavy-duty folding jobs that require a higher degree of force to complete consistently.

In many machine shops, there’s room for both types of metal fabrication equipment on the shop floor. However, if you have to choose between one or the other, ask yourself which type of work you do the most often, and which machine would be most compatible with that kind of work.


 

Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales staff are experts and can assist you in selecting the best equipment. You can visit Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales, a Member of MDNA at https://www.southernfabsales.com/ (Article Written by, Andy Kamashian, AEA Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales, Inc.)

For more information on this equipment or to buy, sell or trade them you can also contact any of MDNA’s machinery dealers, located around the world, by using the Find Members>Search tool on mdna.org  

MDNA Runs Miles for Manufacturing at IMTS 2018

MDNA Members Troy Clark, CEA, Clark Machinery and David Valitt, Machinery Values Inc. were up early to run the M4M 5k with almost 500 other registered racers during the 2018 IMTS show going on this week. Will you join them at the next race?

RACE 2
Troy and David at the starting line M4M 2018 5K

 

“Since its debut at IMTS 2014, the Miles for Manufacturing (M4M) 5K has been run at meetings around the country and has raised more than $60,000 to assist middle school, high school and technical college programs that promote careers in manufacturing.

The IMTS tradeshow covers all of the cost associated with staging and promoting the M4M, so that 100% of all sponsor revenue and every dollar of runner registration fees go directly to the schools. Your support, whether as a sponsor, runner or a contributing spectator, directly benefits the students!

Proceeds from the September 12th M4M event are slated to support FIRST® Illinois robotics teams, FIRST®Indiana robotics teams, the Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program, and STEM middle schools in the Chicago Public School System (CPS) among others. Donations are distributed by Smartforce Development at AMT.”- IMTS

Buyer’s Guide 2019, Reserve Your Space

Be a part of MDNA’s next Buyer’s Guide! Over 90,000 mailed to end-users and customers across the Nation and beyond!
Buyer’s Guide 2019

View the Order Form and Ad Options for Your Listing here

Members receive one FREE listing, but you must reserve this to be included.

Buyer’s Guide renewal deadline for submitting changes and orders is October 1, 2018.

The 2019 Buyer’s Guide is Offering: 

  • The inside front cover and inside back cover will be available by bid at this year’s Chicago Chapter Dinner Meeting Auction during IMTS this September. Members not present will be able to call in to place bids for these prime locations.
  • Pricing discounts available until October 1st
Don’t have an ad to include?
Don’t worry, MDNA can create one for you!

EAMTM RECOGNIZES MDNA MEMBER

John Marshall of Marshall Machinery Ltd. (EAMTM & MDNA Member) has been awarded aJohn Marshall

Fellowship of the EAMTM, in recognition of his hard work, dedication and commitment.

John has been a member of the EAMTM Association since 1991, has been actively involved on the British Board for many years and was Chairman of the British Branch in 1999 and 2000.   John was a member of the EAMTM Council from 1996-2014 and acted as a member of the IT committee.

Since the formation of the EAMTM Association there have only been 35 fellowships awarded (including John) and this is usually an honor bestowed on Past Presidents.

“The EAMTM is very grateful for all the work and effort John has put into the Association and I’m sure he will continue to do so in the future.” —Lorna Kesby, Chairman – EAMTM British Branch

eamtm british branch

How Getting Involved Changed the Game for this Member

Get Involved in MDNA Leadership and Enjoy the Rewards of Creating our History

By Kevin Brewster President / AEA, Brewster Machinery Sales Inc./ MDNA Chapter Leadership Chairman, New England National Board Representative, Proud Member of the MDNA & AMEA

At Fenway L to R: Mark Barowsky, American Systems & Equipment, Brian Besse, Wigglesworth Machinery, Kevin Brewster, AEA, Brewster Machinery Sales
At Fenway L to R: Mark Barowsky, American Systems & Equipment, Brian Besse, Wigglesworth Machinery, Kevin Brewster, AEA, Brewster Machinery Sales

As machinery dealers, we all know that sometimes our industry gets a bad rap. It only takes one bad apple to spread the taint through the barrel, and we all suffer when unscrupulous dealers take advantage of customers. That’s why it’s so important to encourage customers to buy equipment only from Machinery Dealer’s National Association (MDNA) Members. Our organization was created to promote the highest business ethics while furthering the interests of the industry. Every dealer in used equipment should belong to the MDNA and subscribe to its principles. Our organization, both in providing a bulwark against unethical business practices and helping to build dealer expertise, plays a critical role in creating respect for our industry.

MDNA New England Chapter meeting at OCC Orange County Choppers
MDNA New England Chapter meeting at OCC Orange County Choppers

Simply belonging to a chapter is just the beginning. You’ll start to accrue a wide variety of real benefits when you get involved. I’ve been heavily involved in chapter leadership for 4 years, and I can’t begin to describe how rewarding it is to know that you can make a difference in our industry and even throughout the U.S. manufacturing sector. And then there’s the satisfaction of getting to know fellow equipment dealers and helping less experienced colleagues build their businesses and address the challenges we all face every day.

ne 9.17 1
Kevin giving recognition during a New England Chapter meeting

I recently stepped down as the New England Chapter Chairman. Honestly, it was difficult. It was like letting go of a child. But I feel that it’s important to make room for others to become involved. I’m still the MDNA Chapter Leadership Chairman, I lead all of the chapter chairs throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. As part of that role, I want to encourage more members to attend chapter meetings and pursue chapter leadership roles.  There is nothing more inspiring and energizing than interacting with other dealers to share knowledge and experience. If it were possible I would attend every meeting of every chapter. I can’t emphasize enough how much I believe in our organization.

Kevin Brewster and guests at the New England Chapter Meeting at OCC
Kevin Brewster and guests at the New England Chapter Meeting at OCC

When you assume a leadership role in your local chapter, you’ll have the opportunity to identify priority issues in your local region and marshal the capabilities of your colleagues to address them. You’ll be able to leverage your experience in the business to generate new ideas that will help all of our customers do well. You can follow your passion, whether that be building our membership numbers, mentoring less experienced dealers, promoting the benefits of buying equipment from MDNA members, or spearheading educational outreach to customers.

MDNA's New England Chapter Meeting and tour of TRUMPF INC.
MDNA’s New England Chapter Meeting and tour of TRUMPF INC.

Chapter leadership has been working hard to make our meetings even more rewarding. Here are a few of the activities and initiatives we’ve implemented recently to add value and interest for our membership:

  • Chapter Leadership Boot Camp at the Weekend with the Pros
  • Chairman of the Year Award
  • Established a back office to make access to information easy
  • Created a Facebook page for our chapter leaders to enhance communication
  • Added chair photos and bios to the website
  • Encouraged involvement and excitement around chapter elections
  • Made plant tours a part of chapter meetings
  • Successfully involved local and state government officials, representatives from the Department of Labor, New York Council of Labor, and Smaller Manufacturing Association, and even end-user customers in chapter meetings
  • Invited celebrities to participate in chapter meetings “I.E. OCC”

This is just a beginning. Get involved in chapter leadership and help us add to this list. As a leader in our organization, you can help create a bright future for our membership, our industry, our customers and the manufacturing sector. Speak to your chapter leaders and find out how you can get involved. I guarantee the rewards will be enormous.

 

Kevin Brewster presenting a New Membership plaque
Kevin Brewster presenting a New Membership plaque

Being members of the MDNA offers us many benefits

“For over 30 years, Galaxie Corporation has moved plants and equipment around the GALAXY CORP IMG_8498[2]world. Membership in the MDNA offers Galaxie a large network of other dealers that we know we can trust to find the highest quality equipment for our customers if we do not have it in stock. Being a member of MDNA also gives our customers the assurance that Galaxie Corporation adheres to a high standard of business practice and strong Code of Ethics.”

— John S. Cauffiel President, Galaxie Corporation

Read More Testimonials 

Cobots are coming: When mech, man and manufacturing combine

by Delany Martinez, originally published via Multiview

0530humanrobot

While humans are capable of astonishing endurance and precision, repetitive motion tasks are bad news for manufacturing: they aren’t just physically harmful over time, they can lead to worker burnout.

When productivity is the main focus of most industries today, what’s a large company with large needs to do when faced with human limitations?

Hiring more workers is a huge drain on finances, but going fully automated isn’t likely to win any favors with the workforce, and by extension, the public.

The solution? Cobots, or collaborative robots.

What Are Cobots?

While they’ve been around in one form or another since the dawn of robotics, true cobots are robots that are purpose-built and field-tested to perform as reliably as their human counterparts — with one important difference.

Rather than advanced technology designed to replace humans, they’re made to work with and alongside their flesh-and-blood coworkers, reducing strain of both the mental and physical variety.

Instead of relying on a pair of human eyes to scan, for example, a conveyor belt full of components to spot damages, a cobot can be armed with visual guidance software that can complete the task in a fraction of the time. This leaves the cobot’s human co-worker the freedom to complete human intelligence-requiring tasks, thus increasing overall efficiency.

What’s the Holdup on Full Cobot Adoption?

Much like any industrial place where man and machine intersect, it’s complicated. The primary concerns are ethics and safety, and those aren’t small hurdles to overcome by any stretch of the imagination.

Safety comes into play when trying to balance the superior speed, longevity and precision of cobots with potential threats to their human handlers.

For example, if a human collapses or drops an item, they aren’t typically moving at high speed with hydraulics behind them: the wrong accident at the wrong speed can end up as a deadly accident. Likewise, if a limb, hair, or a piece of clothing becomes tangled in a piece of industrial equipment, workers may be literally putting their life in robotic hands — or lack thereof — by depending on a cobot to assess and address a looming emergency by cutting power.

Robots and cobots are, after all, a product of their programming, and scenarios like these are putting a lot of faith in programmers’ ability to encode every emergency situation before it has a chance to happen.

In terms of ethics, the issue is twofold: cobots may be taking jobs that humans either are or could be doing, and their human counterparts may face reductions in pay rates or hours of availability once cobots begin taking over repetitive or menial tasks.

Though they are intended for coworking with humans, it’s not hard to imagine the tension they bring to a competitive employment market. In all likelihood, even though they’re typically nothing more than a collection of metal, silicone and wires, cobots will invite the same uneasiness in certain situations that an overambitious co-worker driving to take over your job might inspire.

These concerns aren’t slowing down the gradual spread of cobots, however: at it’s core, they’re fed by a design market buoyed by the encroaching demand for personal assistance robots in the private sector.

It’s an industry that’s projected to be worth 10 billion dollars in only a decade, which is the kind of exponential growth its adopters can only dream about for their own products. While the proverbial bugs are being ironed out, cobots have most industry experts cautiously optimistic about the possibilities.

Only time will tell, however, if cobots will ultimately get a warm welcome or a cold shoulder from their carbon-based counterparts.

About the Author

Delany Martinez is a freelance writer with a passion for innovation, particularly in the manufacturing industry and within the supply chain. She’s had the privilege of working on several large logistics corporate blogs over the years, and can usually be found with her nose buried in industry trade magazines. Delany believes advances like driverless trucking will revolutionize the supply chain as we know it within a decade, and she is eager to see what the future holds.


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