E-clusive: Enhancing the Image of Manufacturing

October 28, 2016 No Comments
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By Nancy Huddleston

Let’s face it – we’re humans and it’s in our nature to care about our looks and make improvements, where needed. But what are we doing to enhance the image of our businesses?

toc_eclusives50pxFor manufacturers, it’s a constant battle against the three D’s – dark, dirty, and dangerous. Fortunately, those who attended the 2016 Minnesota Manufacturers’ Summit on October 26, got some pointers about how to combat the industry’s negative image. Here are a few highlights of the “Enhancing the Image of Your Manufacturing Company” session from Eric Gibson, president, UMC; Kelly Hansen, director, human resources, Park Industries; and Steve Kalina, president and owner, Dynamic Group.

  • Improve your front office, and the back shop area, too, while you’re at it. Take down those tall beige walls and replace them with open workspaces and areas for collaboration. Create a way to let visitors see your manufacturing floor when they come in the front door of your business. Install LED lighting in your shop floor area to brighten it up. Paint the walls white, or bright colors. Keep the shop floor clean.
  • Start an apprenticeship program. There are grants available through the state and other business organizations. These apprentices can develop into valuable employees who help you grow your business.
  • Create attractive common areas where employees can relax, hang out, and even work. These can be inside or outside and aren’t just for lunch breaks anymore. Younger employees appreciate a change of scenery, so create spaces where people can work and relax outside of their normal work areas.
  • Update your website/create a website: In today’s world, this is the first impression most people have of your business. Make it count.
  • Give tours: To students, teachers, parents, federal, state and local politicians, and residents. Talk to as many people as you can about manufacturing and show them your business.
  • Embrace Technology: Robots can do the repetitive work and do it 24/7.
  • Use Social Media: Take pictures and post them. Create videos and post those, too. Make sure your employees know about your social media presence so that they can follow you, tag you, and share the good news about your business.
  • Define your differentiators: What makes your business unique? Different? Celebrate your accomplishments and awards.
  • Promote your business and what it has to offer: Minnesotans are humble, by nature (Think Garrison Keillor’s closing words of “A Prairie Home Companion” … “Well, that’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” It’s OK to brag about yourself!
  • Partner with your local school district: Get educational representatives into your business so they can understand what you do. Don’t forget to get involved in their programs, too.
  • Brand Yourself for Employment: Sure, branding is a marketing term – but you can use your differentiators to brand yourself and promote yourself as an employer. Don’t forget to create an awareness of why people should come to work for you.
  • Continuously Improve: Always look for better ways to do business.
  • Promote volunteerism: Pay employees when they are volunteering their time in the company’s name. If they volunteer with other groups, offer to make a donation in your company’s name to those organizations.

The 2016 Manufacturers’ Summit was sponsored by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. MPMA was one of the gold sponsors of the summit.pm_endmarkorg-e1320337214275

Nancy Huddleston is the editor and publications manager of Precision Manufacturing Journal. She can be reached at nancy@mpma.com.



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