June 23, 2014

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The Colorado Chamber’s Colorado Manufacturing Initiative

What are Manufacturers Worried About?
Manufacturers face a variety of challenges in the course of doing business. Three of the most common challenges are workforce development, taxes and regulation, and healthcare. People are beginning to understand these issues and leaders are working diligently to address these and other concerns. We will look at each concern individually over the next few e-newsletters.
Workforce Development
Many manufacturers struggle to find the employees they need to do business. There are several reasons for this challenge. Some still look down on manufacturing jobs as “dull, dirty, and dangerous”. Or they still associate manufacturing with the old Gates Rubber Factory in Denver or perhaps an abandoned mine along I-70. We continue to hear stories of outsourcing and off-shoring.
Another reason we lack adequate workforce is that many of today’s students are not learning many of the skills needed to begin a career in manufacturing. A lot of smart people are working to solve this problem.
Leaders are working at every level to address the shortage of qualified workers. One example at the national level comes from The Manufacturing Institute and others who have developed Right Skills Now which seeks to build on the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) endorsedManufacturing Skills Certification System. Through this effort, students would be able to prove through an industry-recognized certificate that they have some knowledge in areas like welding, machining, and more. Their knowledge in these areas should include a basic understanding of relevant machinery as well as safety equipment such as arm guards for welding for example. Safety in the construction industry is paramount and the next generation need to be educated about these concerns as much as possible, especially when potentially dangerous tasks such as welding are involved. This effort coincides with an effort at the state level to develop a manufacturing career pathway through HB13-1165. The Community College System is currently working with industry to implement this career pathway.
Do you have trouble finding qualified employees? Are you working to address workforce development in manufacturing? If you fit either of these categories, we’d love to hear your story. Please email Patrick Pratt at [email protected] or call him at 303-866-9657.

3 Tips to Improve Operations

Sean Nohavec, UMB Bank

Optimism is rising among manufacturers. This is the first year coming out of a down cycle in the economy and businesses are ready to grow, which means they are ordering, producing and shipping more product. As companies look to expand operations, hire new talent and purchase new equipment, so too are those in the manufacturing sector. Manufacturers are looking for new strategies, researching their financing options and exploring ideas for better market penetration.

Here are three tips to help improve your manufacturing operations this year and potentially generate new revenue for your business.

Learn from Those Around You

Manufacturers are always looking for ways to improve their business and learn from others. One of the best ways to do this is to attend roundtable events, guest forums or private events where manufacturers have the opportunity to talk to other companies and CEOs to brainstorm ideas and share best practices. Topics can include everything from changing phone systems (using sip trunk providers instead) or insurance, improving commission structures for sales, discussing lean manufacturing practices, exploring best hiring practices, examining international business options and more.

How Does Your Cash Flow?

Most manufacturers talk about the importance of cash flow, but not many go deep into the process and determine how to make it better. They need to be asked questions such as: How many days does it take to collect on receivables? How long are you paying on collectables? Are you getting discounts for paying early?

A lot of manufacturers are operating inefficiently. For instance, they are duplicating internal steps or creating extra steps to receive money. It costs $2 to $5 to mail a check, whereas sending an Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment costs less than $1. Businesses need to review how much time it takes to print, stuff and mail a check versus using a card or ACH payment.

Risk Management and Efficiency

When manufacturers think of risk management it may only be related to the safety of their employees on the floor. But risk management related to a company’s financial operations should also be explored. Anything manufacturers can do to manage risk – from their employees’ safety to their internal operations – will ultimately benefit the bottom line. This includes having dual controls with employees, utilizing an integrated workplace management system, doing regular inventory checks, having different people sign off on checks and having a process to detect and deter internal and external fraud. So much risk can be diverted simply by paying attention to detail.

Manufacturers should also review risk efficiency as it relates to items such as outsourcing payroll or return collections. Often times there are functions that businesses can outsource to save time and money. One of the main things to be outsourced is payroll using a service like this reliable payroll outsourcing in australia. A payroll provider can help save a company time and money. They may also accept tax liability so the employer isn’t responsible for tax penalties.

By looking more closely at operations and taking the time to learn from others, manufacturers have the opportunity to expand and grow in areas they never knew could be improved. Any operational, cash or risk management improvement will ultimately improve a company’s bottom line and their outlook for future growth opportunities.

Sean Nohavec is senior vice president of business development at UMB Bank in Colorado. He can be reached at [email protected].
In This Issue
What are Manufacturers Worried About?
3 Tips to Improve Operations
Upcoming CMI Events
Look for an invitation to the next Manufacturing Leadership Group meeting in early September
Thanks to our sponsors!
Member Spotlight
Harsh International, a 66 year old company located in Eaton, CO, is a world leader in the manufacture of hydraulic truck hoists, mixers and spreaders, and various other industrial equipment. Led by Bob Brown the company employs 86 people.
NAM News: NAM and U.S. Chamber Rally Hundreds for Export-Import Bank

The National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber announced today a coalition of more than 800 companies and associations who support re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). The Colorado Chamber is the Colorado Affiliate for both organizations. NAM and the US Chamber estimate that roughly 3,400 businesses representing more than 200,000 employees depend on the bank.”The Ex-Im Bank is critical to leveling the playing field in a fiercely competitive global economy where many foreign export credit agencies offer generous terms to our competitors,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the NAM. The Ex-Im Bank’s charter lapses on September 30 of this year. Read more…
Member Resources
Members of the Colorado Manufacturing Initiative receive a 20% discount on manufacturing databases from MNI when they order online.Click here to find out more!
Patrick Pratt
Program Manager
Colorado Manufacturing Initiative
Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry
1600 Broadway, Suite 1000
Denver, Colorado 80202
[email protected]