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Pete Conrad

Pete Conrad

Recent posts by Pete Conrad

4 min read

How US Manufacturing Can Realize Productivity Growth

By Pete Conrad on Jan 15, 2021 2:00:00 PM

US Manufacturing is lagging behind the overall economy in growth, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI). The sector is seeing limited growth, however, with a PMI above 60%. 

Topics: US Manufacturing
5 min read

Lean 4.0: How Industry 4.0 Is Evolving Lean Manufacturing Concepts

By Pete Conrad on Jan 13, 2021 2:30:00 PM

In today’s world, Lean is being challenged as never before due to higher customer requirements and the digital revolution of Industry 4.0. The challenge to keep up in the landscape leads to the questions: Are Lean principles in conflict with the digitization that is Industry 4.0? Are Lean principles in conflict with serving your customer in the manner in which they have requested? The short answer is mostly no, and we’ll dig into the alignments and variances below. But, in order to keep up in today’s world, Lean does need to evolve to match today’s quick response, digital environment.

Topics: Digital Manufacturing
4 min read

The Two Big Issues with Temp Labor & How to Avoid Them

By Pete Conrad on Nov 5, 2020 9:39:43 AM

Have you ever stared ahead at a busy next week and just knew that it will be a challenge with overtime on the rise, and the very real possibility of people taking unscheduled days off? If so, you’re not alone. Solutions to these problems have typically been to allow overtime to rise or risk customer dissatisfaction by pushing out customer promise dates.

Topics: On-Demand Labor Better Workforce Next Generation Labor Next Generation Workforce Flexible Capacity
6 min read

Traditional Staffing vs On-Demand Labor Platforms

By Pete Conrad on Oct 8, 2020 5:37:44 PM

You’ve just gotten a 10% increase in orders, 1 employee is out on a scheduled vacation, and another two have called off for the day. Now you find your operations team is short and you’re scrambling to make sure you can fulfill orders. What are your options?

Topics: On-Demand Labor
2 min read

Be Robust by being Local

By Pete Conrad on Jul 13, 2020 8:30:00 AM

The US Department of Commerce's GDP analysis of manufacturing estimates the industry represents ~11% of the economy and has 1.4x multiplier effect for every dollar spent.  Those figures are already quite significant; however, this article outlines research from the MAPI showing that the US manufacturing sector’s economic contribution is actually 32% and has a multiplier effect of 3.6x for every dollar created. Suffice to say, US manufacturing creates significant economic contribution to our national economy as a whole, as well as local economies across the country.

Topics: Next Generation Labor Digital Manufacturing Veryable Global Supply Chain US Manufacturing
2 min read

Be Resilient, But Cultivate It

By Pete Conrad on Apr 13, 2020 10:08:25 AM

Resiliency is becoming a buzzword now because of the global stress test that supply chains are facing today due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the vulnerability of the distributed network of global supply chains.  Starting in January, the COVID-19 effects on the global supply chain were starting to reveal themselves as product stopped moving from the Chinese interior to the ports.  As the factories started slowing, the linkage to the ports failed as well when Wuhan and surrounding provinces were quarantined.  Then shipping companies cancelled sailings causing vessels and empty containers to be out of position across the globe.  Even after countries and businesses re-open, the affects of this disruption will be felt for at least a year to reposition people, right-size assets, and determine the new demand profile going forward. 

Position to change

Topics: Flexible Capacity Coronavirus Global Supply Chain
2 min read

Automation Partnership

By Pete Conrad on Mar 28, 2019 8:59:00 PM

Even though automation has come a long way, its deployment on the shop floor must be executed within the framework of the entire production process. As The Goal (1) highlighted in 1984, automation is not always the right answer since the installation of those infamous robots resulted in: 1) no increase to sales throughput, 2) no reduction in the workforce, and 3) a steady increase in inventories. This certainly highlights a worst case automation installation.

Topics: Digital Manufacturing
2 min read

A New Approach to Millennials

By Pete Conrad on Mar 14, 2019 8:59:00 PM

In a recent conversation with an Operations Director, he was describing how his breakroom has grown quiet over the past few years. The change in breakroom atmosphere is not due to a poor work environment or staffing issues but rather to how everyone now interacts with their phones instead of each other. This story really brought home the fact that the workforce is changing right in front of us and fast, as I can relate to a few years ago when a manager could not get a word in edgewise in the breakroom – even when he was announcing he bought lunch for everyone!

Topics: Next Generation Workforce
2 min read

Clean Up Your Shop Floor

By Pete Conrad on Feb 28, 2019 8:59:00 PM

If your production facility or shop floor is struggling to maintain consistent results or reach productivity targets, then it’s time to step back and consider taking a more basic approach and cleaning up your facility. Uncontrolled production variability cannot be addressed until the work areas have been organized and eliminated as a source of variability.

Topics: On-Demand Labor
2 min read

Taking on Workforce Turnover

By Pete Conrad on Jan 25, 2019 8:59:00 PM

The US manufacturing sector is facing a significant challenge to fill 500,000 jobs and handle the constant workforce turnover that local competition for labor generates. Even as manufacturers’ optimism recently reached an all-time high of 92.4%, a large majority (68.2%) cited the inability to attract skilled workers as their top challenge.

Topics: Better Workforce