top-challenges-jul-2016-survey-results-01As part of the NIST MEP* survey each quarter, previous NWIRC clients are asked to identify the top three challenges their companies’ face. Over the past year, survey results have been consistent in showing those top challenges for the Northwest PA manufacturers to be:

1. Employee Recruitment and Retention

2. Continuous Improvement/Cost Reduction Strategies

3. Identifying Growth Opportunities

NWIRC’s mission includes helping manufacturers address their most critical business issues and challenges through professional consulting and training services. This includes tackling the top three listed above.

The STEM Manufacturing Internship helps companies with recruitment of high-caliber students for technology projects. Molly Kelsey of Global Fabrication, said “NWIRC provided us a valuable mechanical engineering candidate who has allowed us to grow business, manage costs, and improve through-put.”

Whether through robotics, automation, new IT-based systems, or Lean and Six Sigma methods, NWIRC has over 25 years providing improved operational impact for clients. Lean Training and onsite projects help move continuous improvement initiatives forward. “Our employees now have a fresh, clean approach. 5S has given them a goal for excellence and this training moves them in that direction,” said Al Barry, Keystone Automatic Technology.

In a recent interview on WPSE Radio, NWIRC President/CEO Bob Zaruta, noted “we help manufacturers find new markets for growth.” He cited a recent example of working with a powdered metal manufacturer who was starting to receive orders for different applications from new customers across the country. He said NWIRC subject matter expert, Michael Griffith, utilized a proven methodology and process to conduct market intelligence to learn about this specific application and potential industry sectors that could benefit from the client’s product. In the end, approximately 62 companies were identified that aligned with the company’s capabilities and their sales department took over from there. The first two companies contacted resulted in new orders for the client. Zaruta said, “they are excited about the early success and we anticipate significant, measureable results from this
engagement.” Jason Gabler, Advantage Metal Powders, Inc, said “the research and report identifying 14 potential markets for our industry, and 10-20 prospects in each market, is extremely beneficial for future sales and business growth. We are now getting business from companies we didn’t know existed.”

*National Institute for Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership