Content By Steven Brand

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By: Steven Brand

Conferences are a great way for you and your team to network with others, demo exciting new technologies, learn about topics that interest you, and gain valuable insights from industry experts. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of events happening in 2020. Here are 29 conferences happening in California and throughout North America that you can attend.

Nine manufacturing conferences in California

Pacific Design & Manufacturing
Feb. 11–13, 2020: Anaheim, CA
Join 20,000 manufacturing professionals and 1,900 suppliers in Anaheim for this large–scale event. You’ll meet leaders in contract design and manufacturing, and gain insights during educational sessions at the “Design Dome” and the six–track conference on 3D printing, smart manufacturing, and MedTech.

Steven Brand’s picture

By: Steven Brand

If you remember the woodworking, metalworking, and auto shop classes that used to be taught in high school, you already have an idea of what a makerspace is. Makerspaces, sometimes called Maker Labs, are defined as “a place in which people with shared interests can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.” Of course, today, there is usually a lot more technology involved, as makerspaces put more focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) concepts.

Makerspaces can be found in classrooms, corporate facilities and manufacturing plants, and as standalone operations. Much like Manufacturing Day, makerspaces are inspiring the next generation of workers, fostering entrepreneurship, and giving employees at all levels the opportunity to innovate.

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By: Steven Brand

The food industry is evolving rapidly, with consumers demanding quality, authenticity, and transparency from food manufacturers. And they’re not just demanding it; they’re “voting with their dollars,” supporting companies that align with their personal beliefs. To keep up with consumer demand—and to keep up your bottom line—it’s important to understand their needs and make changes that support them.

In doing so, you can improve your product quality, reduce waste, inspire brand loyalty, compete more effectively, and avert potential media or food-safety disasters. Let’s look at six ways to improve product quality in food manufacturing.

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By: Steven Brand

Manufacturing Day, an initiative designed to inspire the next generation of manufacturers, arrives Oct. 4, 2019. The annual MFG Day (which can be held anytime during the month) involves thousands of manufacturers across the country holding events, tours, activities, and more. Last year, in California alone, more than 250 sites registered as event hosts, and more than 330 manufacturers and support organizations participated in or sponsored events throughout the month of October.

One of the great benefits of participation in MFG Day is recruitment, which is vital to the survival of many of today’s small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs). Why is recruitment so important? Because today, nearly 90 percent of these manufacturers can’t find the employees they so desperately need, according to new data from SCORE, a nonprofit resource partner and mentoring service associated with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

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By: Steven Brand

How do you know if your election vote is really counted? How do you know the person you’re chatting with online really is who they say they are? And how do you know if a product you purchase has really met quality standards?

These three scenarios may not seem like they have much in common, but there is a common thread: blockchain, a decentralized, open-source ledger that could hypothetically be applied to each to give you the certainty you want in each situation.

The business value-add of blockchain is projected to grow to more than $175 billion by 2025, and exceed $3 trillion by 2030, according to Gartner, a leading global research firm. But do you really know what blockchain is? Before delving into its benefits for manufacturers, here’s an explanation of blockchain.

Blockchain explained

Mention blockchain, and some people immediately tune out. So I’ll try to make this as painless as possible. Even if you determine that blockchain has no place in your small or medium-sized manufacturing business, it’s still good to have a basic understanding of the concept because it’s sure to come up sometime in conversation with others in your industry.

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By: Steven Brand

Each year, billions in funding for research and development as well as workforce initiatives is available for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) to help them get off the ground or aid in expansion efforts. Here are eight organizations that can help your business flourish in today’s competitive manufacturing environment.

Eight organizations that can help SMMs

Export.gov
Developed by international trade specialists and economists, Export.gov helps SMMs succeed in today’s global marketplace by providing market intelligence, practical advice, and business tools. The organization collaborates with 19 U.S. government agencies to help SMMs and others navigate the maze of government regulations and get answers to questions while providing expert knowledge in international sales.

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By: Steven Brand

Virtual reality (VR), sometimes referred to as augmented reality (AR), is shaking things up across all industries, including manufacturing. Although the technology is currently being employed mainly by large manufacturers, like additive manufacturing and the cobots before it, growing acceptance of the technology is likely to cause prices to drop, allowing small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) to take advantage of its powers as well. So what do you need to know about VR before it comes your way?

VR is defined by the Virtual Reality Society (VRS) as “a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and whilst there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions.” So how is VR benefitting the manufacturing sector? By improving worker safety, creating better products, and saving manufacturers money.

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By: Steven Brand

While manufacturers have traditionally been hesitant to invest in their operations due to cost, a recent National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) survey of more than 500 manufacturers reveals that 65 percent plan to increase capital spending during the coming years. Where is the money going to go?

Experts predict most manufacturers will look toward revamping their facilities to adapt to the demands of today’s digital world. This adjustment, which many call the “fourth industrial revolution” or smart manufacturing, will move manufacturers from mass production to customized production via a digital supply network.

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By: Steven Brand

Many consider 2017 the “worst year ever” for data breaches and cyber attacks, largely due to the rise in ransomware, and IT experts predict it’s only going to get worse. According to the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), a nonprofit that works to develop tools and best practices that enhance internet security, cyber attacks targeting manufacturers and others nearly doubled in volume from the previous year.

The worst of the worst? WannaCry, which struck in May 2017, infecting approximately 300,000 computer systems, encrypting files and demanding a Bitcoin payment to decrypt them.

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By: Steven Brand

By 2025, nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population is expected to be 60 years of age or older. With this demographic preparing to exit the workforce and enter retirement, what can be done to retain their knowledge and pass it down to the next generation of employees? After all, a good portion of the knowledge that our “employee elders” possess is not written down or stored within a computer—it’s stored in their heads. And this is especially true within the manufacturing sector.

A term first coined within the Six Sigma community, tribal knowledge is described as knowledge that is known, yet undocumented. It can consist of decades worth of valuable information and hands-on experiences, and losing this knowledge can be damaging to any organization.