Training Article

Matt Fieldman’s picture

By: Matt Fieldman

What is America Works, and why is it important to the future of American manufacturing?

The American manufacturing industry is at a crossroads, facing growing competition from foreign countries while struggling to develop a skilled, dedicated workforce here at home. American manufacturers are desperately searching for more employees in general, and more skilled workers specifically. Before the pandemic, it was widely reported that there were 600,000 manufacturing openings unfilled nationwide. Further, according to a November 2018 study in MIT Technology Review, during the next 10 years, 4.6 million manufacturing jobs will be created, with 2.4 million going unfilled due to a lack of skills and interest.

Manfred Kets de Vries’s picture

By: Manfred Kets de Vries

Serge faced a conundrum. One of his business partners was in a legal dispute with Serge’s father, Charlie, and asked for his help. Serge knew that his father was prone to suing everyone who crossed his path—including family members. The business partner had repeatedly tried to end this legal fight, to no avail. It seemed like Charlie didn’t want to find a resolution. He preferred to engage in self-sabotage to escalate the conflict. Impulse control was not one of Charlie’s strengths.

Many of us know people like Charlie who enjoy arguing for the sake of argument, and who thrive on drama and conflict. Personality types come in many shapes and colors, but quarrelsome people like Charlie don’t belong to a single one. Their combative behavior is an amalgamation of antisocial (psychopathic), borderline, narcissistic, and histrionic personalities.

The belligerent personality traits

Like many other psychiatric disorders, the specific causes of the belligerent personality have not been clearly identified. There is no known genetic link for this disorder. It is, however, associated with chaotic early child-parent attachment patterns in the form of abuse, neglect, and conflict.

Multiple Authors
By: Joseph Near, David Darais, Kaitlin Boeckl

Does your organization want to aggregate and analyze data to learn trends, but in a way that protects privacy? Or perhaps you are already using differential privacy tools, but want to expand (or share) your knowledge? In either case, NIST’s blog series on differential privacy is for you.

Why are we doing this series? Last year, NIST launched a Privacy Engineering Collaboration Space to aggregate open source tools, solutions, and processes that support privacy engineering and risk management. As moderators for the Collaboration Space, we’ve helped NIST gather differential privacy tools under the topic area of de-identification. NIST also has published the “Privacy Framework: A Tool for Improving Privacy through Enterprise Risk Management” and a companion road map that recognized a number of challenge areas for privacy, including the topic of de-identification.

Yves Doz’s picture

By: Yves Doz

There is no getting around the hype surrounding agile, the organizational concept originally codified by software developers in 2001. Powered by the demands of a fast-changing consumer landscape in recent years, agile’s reach has stretched beyond software development and now extends to customer relations as well as product and service development.

The agile school of thought holds that reorganizing business activities around cross-functional, self-managed teams, each with a clear purpose and focused on specific customer needs, leads to improved performance outcomes and customer-centric innovation.

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

Digital transformation is the integration of technology into all areas of a business, which fundamentally changes how organizations operate and deliver value to their customers. But what does success look like in a digital transformation? Project is on time and budget? Stakeholders are engaged early and often? Business objectives are met by implementing a digital solution? Stakeholders and end users are able to function in their jobs after go-live? Answer: All of the above!

All too often, change management is limited to communications or training. Although these activities are vital to a successful transformation, they are only components of a change management strategy that is focused on creating awareness, surfacing barriers to change, and achieving and sustaining end user adoption. The transformation is not complete at the time a digital solution is implemented. In many respects, the change is just beginning. A comprehensive change management program will continue to measure user adoption by monitoring quantitative and qualitative success metrics defined in the strategy.

Mark Schmit’s picture

By: Mark Schmit

During the Sept. 18, 2020, session of the “National Conversation with Manufacturers,” our three West Coast manufacturing leaders on the panel kept coming back to their critical need for skilled workers.

The conversation was one in a series of 11 virtual listening sessions hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP). The purpose of the listening sessions was learning how small and medium-sized manufacturers across the country have been handling the near-term jolt from the Covid-19 pandemic and preparing for success in the long-term.

Nicholas Wyman’s picture

By: Nicholas Wyman

It’s a new year, with a new president and new opportunities to boost modern apprenticeship programs in the United States that can help get people back to work and stimulate the economy.

Getting people into apprenticeships has never been more vital, as job losses caused by the pandemic continue to affect millions. Young people in particular have been hit hard, as they’re most likely to be employed in retail and hospitality, two sectors essentially shut down during the Covid-19 crisis. Speed is vital. We can’t risk losing an entire youth cohort to sustained joblessness that could affect their entire lives. Funding new apprenticeships not only provides jobs now, but also generates high, long-run gains in skills, productivity, and earnings for young workers and companies.

Luckily, there are proven strategies for creating apprenticeships and getting young people employed. We just need to look abroad: Australia and the United Kingdom have strong apprenticeship programs and moved quickly to protect apprenticeships when pandemic-related job losses hit last summer. Their experience highlights four strategies that could be adopted by the Biden Administration and funded through the next stimulus program.

Andrew Peterson’s picture

By: Andrew Peterson

Manufacturing robotics is to some extent following a similar path of advances to those in machining and fixed automation systems. Though the ROI is most easily measured in efficiency and cost savings, manufacturers are looking for robotic technology to help them resolve a pain point in their operation or to create new opportunities. It might be to link processes more efficiently or eliminate the need to outsource a specific function or two.

The growth path for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) with robotics is therefore increasingly focused on applications and added capabilities, not just efficiency and continuous improvement. The key to increasing adoption of robotics in SMMs is making the robots easier to use and reuse.

In essence, adoption is dependent upon robots having more human-like dexterity and self-control.

NIST Labs has designs on making robots easier to use

Scientists and engineers at NIST Labs are working to close a significant gap between cutting-edge technology and what is currently deployed on many manufacturing shop floors. This is largely due to the lack of measurement science to verify and validate emerging novel research and thus reduce the risk of adoption.

Henrik Bresman’s picture

By: Henrik Bresman

Right now it seems far away, but a post-Covid world is coming. Is it closer to us than the start of the pandemic? We can’t say with any certainty, but we must think about how we will work in the future. The sudden changes of early 2020 showed us how we are capable of extraordinary transformations.

Before the disease struck, teams were adapting to the tremendous pace of technological and social developments. In fact, the arc of change was very much in motion when it was slammed into overdrive by the pandemic-sparked move to working from home.

Teams had to adapt immediately. Previously one or two colleagues might have been “remote”—different from the rest of the group—but within days everyone was untethered from the physical office. Team members found new ways to connect, adding an extra layer of work in the midst of a global pandemic, itself a time of incredible stress.

Renita Kalhorn’s picture

By: Renita Kalhorn

Steffen Heilmann is a firm believer in empowering his people and giving them opportunities to grow. During his early weeks as CTO at Aroundhome, he and his staff were heading into an important negotiation with their data center provider to take over responsibility of a mission-critical database.

Steffen had confidence in the abilities of his head of ops to take full ownership of the process, so he said something to the effect of, “You handle it.”

A few days later, however, he sensed something was off. When he sat down with his head of ops to learn more, Heilmann realized the misunderstanding. Instead of feeling empowered, his head of ops felt abandoned—as if his boss were simply offloading all the responsibility and pressure onto his shoulders.

This was far from the case. In fact, Heilmann had plenty of negotiating experience and was only too willing to share his expertise.

Ah, the challenge of translating leadership concepts from theory into practice.

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