Impact Dakota Blog is a blog dedicated to supporting North Dakota’s manufacturing community improve People, Purpose, Processes and Performance. Entries provide information on opportunities, new ideas, quick tips, celebrations of success, and well, frankly, anything to help you become a better manufacturer.
Recently a segment on my favorite morning news program stopped me in my tracks. The young and attractive hosts (why are they always so young and attractive?) were demonstrating new appliances including a smart refrigerator. The fridge was equipped with all kinds of high-tech features including touch screen displays, a camera inside that allows you to see the contents and Wi-Fi connectivity. You can see inside your fridge while grocery shopping, how convenient! But I must ask, how secure is it?
Small businesses face unique challenges. Because of these challenges, business leaders need to have a strategic business plan in place to navigate toward their goals and objectives and prepare for any problems that may arise. Strategic management is essential to operating an efficient, successful small business enterprise.
Developing new leaders is the No. 1 talent challenge facing organizations worldwide, with 86 percent of companies rating it as “urgent” or “important.”
Consider this: 100 percent of domestic manufacturers in the United States procure some combination of materials, components, sub-assemblies, and/or assemblies from other companies—they buy stuff. And 100 percent of domestic successful manufacturers have end-user, other business or government customers—they sell stuff. In other words, 100 percent of domestic manufacturers are in supply chains.
Cybersecurity guidelines required by the Department of Defense (DoD) are likely to have an enormous impact on the over 700 North Dakota manufacturers that received a DoD contract in 2016. By December 31, 2017, all DoD contractors (including small business) must meet minimum cybersecurity requirements or risk losing DoD business. Alarmingly, most manufacturers aren’t even aware of the looming deadline or what they must do to comply.
Cybersecurity is paramount to our nation’s safety and our military’s viability. Having a sustainable plan in place to combat cyber threats also is critical to the survival of a small business because just one cyber-attack can be catastrophic. The following statistics underscore the severity of the issue:
One of the reasons President Donald Trump won the election was his promise to bring back American manufacturing jobs. Indeed, just a few weeks ago, he told a group of manufacturing CEOs that “[b]ringing manufacturing back to America, creating high-wage jobs was one of our campaign promises and themes, and it resonated with everybody.”
In early 2016, the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) published ISO Technical Specification (TS) 15066, which outlines safety requirements for collaborative robots. The American National Standards Institute, ANSI, adopted ISO/TS 15066 later that year as ANSI/RIA Technical Report R15.606 (RIA is the Robotic Industries Association). These documents outline safety functions that maintain a safe distance between people and active robots, and limit the transfer of forces and pressures should contact between a person and a robot occur. Robots that adhere to these requirements are considered inherently safe.
In today’s highly competitive marketplace, meeting customer demand isn’t enough. Small and mid-sized manufacturers must have a continuous pipeline of new sales in order to thrive and grow. However, it is becoming more challenging to connect with key decision makers to accomplish this. Technology is constantly evolving and has changed how people communicate, research products and parts, and make purchasing decisions. In comparison to the past, your target audience now has more control over the sales process. The internet enables them to easily research information and pricing at the blink of an eye. Caller IDs, gatekeepers, spam filters, and “no soliciting” signs are making it more difficult for manufacturers to proactively connect with prospects. And the nonstop barrage of advertisements and sales pitches are making it more difficult to become memorable.