Marketing for Manufacturers

What starts as an idea sometimes becomes a product; an opportunity for commerce, economy, jobs and prosperity. That production line is lubricated by hard work, quality control and customer service. Today, to ensure legacy and growth the manufacturer must utilize the same communications tools as the retailer, service industry and corporate entities.

Marketing to Manufacturing: The Eco-Technology Park

Sometimes it seems as if it’s almost impossible to take a complicated idea and break it down into an understandable idea for an audience unfamiliar with the subject. IdeaEngineUSA found itself in that predicament last year when they were hired by the Bridgeport Regional Business Council to put together a comprehensive, yet easily understandable presentation on the new Eco-Technology Park.

The BRBC had scheduled a full day of tours and presentations with all the relevant U.S. and Connecticut state regulatory agencies to show the concept of the Park. The overall description, plan and breakdown of the companies involved at the Park was ours to convey.

Eco-Technology Park

Over the course of a few weeks, we got a crash course in eco-technology and the manufacturing process of multiple eco-sciences. We learned everything we could and started mapping out a plan. Working with Jeff Leichtman of the BRBC, we decided we would introduce the piece by creating a short video of the history of Bridgeport manufacturing up until now. We covered more than two centuries of Bridgeport history in just over two minutes of video!

We then created a PowerPoint presentation that described the overall plan, the suggested location for each business and showed some of the eco-science processes. At each stage of the presentation the speaker could hyperlink to an individual company to demonstrate how that company fit into the plan. We also highlighted the major regulatory issues that would need to be addressed by the agencies in order to make the Park a model for future parks in the state and across the country.

This year eco-technology manufacturers continue to move into the park, the planned thermal loop that will heat and cool the downtown public buildings has begun to be built and problematic regulations are being actively reviewed by the agencies. Little by little, the next generation of manufacturing continues to come to Bridgeport and thrive.

Remembering Joseph Engleberger

Celebrate the Life and Accomplishments of One of Connecticut’s
Greatest Innovators in Advanced Manufacturing
By Dan Wisneski

Although it may seem odd to celebrate the work of a scientist whose greatest obsession in life was to take jobs away from human beings, had it not been for the work of Joseph Engleberger between the 1950s and the 1980s, advanced manufacturing would not be standing on the cutting edge of its current, massive expansion.

Unimate Photo #3

Engleberger, credited as the “father” of the industrial robotics sciences, formed a company in 1956 called Unimation with George Devol. Together, they built a rudimentary robot arm and held the first robotic patent. What they produced revolutionized the factory and manufacturing industry: a mechanical tool that freed workers on the manufacturing floor from simple and repetitive tasks.  This invention led to the creation of more advanced concepts, such as technology that allows robots and humans to work together.

Engleberger began his career as a young engineer at Manning, Maxwell and Moore, a company that was headquartered in Bridgeport for many years, but that recently moved to Stratford because the business was growing at an exponential pace. At the time, MMM was the industry leader in manufacturing products related to oil, natural gas, and petroleum. Engleberger, however, preferred not to work in MMM’s primary industries, and instead chose to work in a field he is passionate about: the aircraft division. Devol met Engleberger based on the strength of the concept, and Engleberger convinced MMM to allow Devol to begin working on the design and construction of a prototype of the robotic arm, which Engleberger eventually licensed as a patent.

While in the United States, the robots were initially met with much derision, their volume grew, and workers began to fear that they might lose their jobs. Engleberger’s plan, however, was not to produce something that would take away jobs, rather something that would elevate the workers to more skilled, higher paying jobs.

Today robots and humans work “side-by-side” on myriad of manufacturing floors and the technology driving them continues to change and adapt with the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, microchip technology, which continues to evolve, and much, much more. All the robots ever made share something in common: they began with the invention by Joseph Engleberger, father of robotics.

In Part II of the three part series we will look at the future of robotics in manufacturing, including a robot that is trained by in-house staff, not programmed, which will usher in the new era of collaborative robotic manufacturing. For more on Unimate, see Becca Rosen’s Unimate: The Story of George Devol and the First Robotic Arm.” Sources for this article include botmag.com, the New York Times and Wikipedia.

Manufacturing Mash-up

Manufacturing Mash-up

Will President Barack Obama’s promise from a little over a week ago to fund community college educations at 100% help cut the national skills gap in manufacturing? That is the question, or perhaps a better word would be “speculation” that spread through the manufacturing community last week as details of the “proposal” became known, dissected and analyzed.

It’s important to note that however a newsmaker it quickly became, currently this proposal is little more than a talking point in the president’s script at last week’s event. Critics immediately pointed to the issues the administration is facing in getting any legislation passed. Those issues include the Republican control of both houses of Congress, the appropriate financing to build manufacturing centers in many of the state community colleges where no programs currently exist, how to decide on a model to create the centers and standardizing the curriculum.

Enrollment in manufacturing-based education programs is up considerably across the country and wages are starting to creep up in some areas. Add this to the increasing demand for skilled labor and the continued drop in the need for unskilled labor and we have an economic growth gumbo stewing right in front of us.

Bridget Bergin, Associate Editor of Manufacturing.com took up the discussion the day the President made the announcement. Her comprehensive and nuanced article can be found here: http://www.manufacturing.net/blogs/2015/01/skills-gap-predictions-for-2015-rising-wages-and-more-training Let the debate begin!

Welcome

To our friends in manufacturing,

Many of you have heard that we (Frank and Dan) have recently joined forces to create a marketing and communication company to serve the needs of the manufacturing community.

We are both are passionate about investing in the future of manufacturing in the United States and here locally in the Greater Bridgeport and New Haven area.

We believe that manufacturing is the future for many in the middle class and that good manufacturing jobs are a great base to build families, communities, cities and regions.

We also realize that the business of manufacturing can bring unique issues into your marketing efforts and both horizontal and vertical communications.

With over 50 years combined in the marketing, communication and television production business, we believe we are uniquely positioned to analyze your needs and better serve you.

In our own way, much like the LEAN process (which Dan learned at GE,) we work closely with you from the very beginning in order to reduce cost, production time and get you the tools that will not only have the most impact, but have the longest and most visible effect on your marketing and communication efforts.

Last year we joined the NHMA marketing committee and we both served on committees connected to the newly formed American Manufacturing Hall of Fame, which provides scholarships to manufacturing students and funding to the Housatonic Community College Advanced Manufacturing Program. Dan is also a member of the Southwest Connecticut Manufacturing Consortium.

For the first induction of the Hall, Dan wrote and Frank produced and edited the videos for each inductee. Dan also served as the executive producer of the event.

So you can see, we are passionate about the future of manufacturing. And to further demonstrate this, we are planning a bi-weekly local manufacturing social media “mixer.” Every other week we will have snackable content each day of the week aimed at our local market. The planned schedule is:

Monday: Manufacturing quote or photo of the day (Hey, it’s Monday, let’s not do a ton of heavy lifting!)

Tuesday: A blog that we will write where we will take recent national manufacturing news and analyze it in local terms. (We’ll be asking many of you to contribute quotes.)

Wednesday: A spotlight on one of our local companies (we’ll need your help with suggestions and answering a few questions.)

Thursday: A link to a video on manufacturing that either we produced or that we find and think

you will enjoy.

Friday: Brief historical abstract or photo on local manufacturing history.

We hope you enjoy this “social media mixer” and take the opportunity to post comments, share with others interested in manufacturing and hopefully begin new dialogs on the issues facing us today.

In the meantime, please explore our website. If you are in need of marketing or communications advice or consulting, please contact us and we will arrange a meeting.

Thank you. We look forward to this new journey.

Frank Borres and Dan Wisneski