How does the small manufacturer compete? The answers include investing in technology, not only for today, but also for the Industry 4.0 requirements needed to make tomorrow more productive; and investing in a future workforce by collaborating with other organizations to groom the valuable and dedicated employees of the future. Read these insights from three leaders who are committing to the future, rethinking risk and embracing collaboration.
It was a fairly typical day for Bob Messaros, former college football coach and current CEO at Commercial Metal Forming (CMF). As he strolled onto the production floor, he noticed an operator attempting to fix a piece of equipment—not the operator’s usual role.
“We consistently drove home the message that all of our associates could take the opportunity to lead,” Messaros recalls. “And we expanded on it to help them recognize when the opportunity might surface.
“And here in front of me was the result: a person willing to embrace the challenge by solving a problem outside his scope. He was thoroughly engrossed in finding the solution, and I was elated. Because let's face it, if everybody thinks I have all the answers, they're going to be sorely disappointed.”
In the not-too-distant past, manufacturing leaders often not only believed they had all the answers, but also focused on short-term profit at the expense of longer-term growth. Removing inefficiencies was the game plan, and it wasn’t out of the question to see employees, suppliers and certain customers as expendable.