MEP logoThe Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) is sponsoring Manufacturing Day, an occasion to highlight the importance of manufacturing to the nation’s economy and draw attention to the many rewarding, high-skill jobs available in manufacturing fields. Taking place on October 5, 2012,  Manufacturing Day is co-produced by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International (FMA), the US Commerce Department’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and The Manufacturing Institute.

Through open houses, public tours, career workshops and other events held at participating facilities, sponsors hope to introduce as many people as possible to the important role played by manufacturing at both the local and national levels. The grassroots events will also introduce manufacturers to business improvement resources and services delivered through MEP, a network of more than 400 affiliated centers across the country.

Visitors to MEP’s website can find success stories in all realms of manufacturing. One example is Cloverdale Foods, which manufactures and distributes meats in the western US. It offers pork products through grocery and foodservice outlets and retailers. Founded in 1915 as Mandan Creamery and Produce Company, the business employs 300 people.

Cloverdale wanted to improve its business operations and manufacturing processes. The processor called upon the North Dakota Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Dakota MEP), a NIST MEP affiliate, to start a process of training and empowering the company’s management in leading and teaching other employees to better engage the workforce on initiating improvements.

Dakota MEP introduced the concept of Training Within Industry (TWI) to company employees to standardize job instruction, improve job methods and introduce a job improvement proposal program. Dakota MEP assisted Cloverdale in developing a continuous improvement mindset through the implementation of Job Instruction and Job Methods concepts.

In addition, TWI’s Job Relations taught supervisors to build effective job relations with people and provided them with a four-step process to identify issues early on and deal with them before they escalate. TWI’s Job Methods module also taught supervisors how to improve the way jobs are done. The aim of the program is to help produce greater quantities of quality products in less time by making the best of manpower, machines and materials available.

The results of the program were impressive. As a result of applying what was learned in Job Methods training, the setup time for each of Cloverdale’s two major machines was cut in half. In addition, employee turnover was reduced by 62 percent.

“TWI is a very powerful and proven tool that can help any organization achieve its goals through the effective management of its people,” says Sam Towner, Cloverdale director of operations. “The training is very effective, and Dakota MEP has a deep bench of talent to draw from.”