Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 03/02/2005 - 17:22.
The RAMTEC session had a remarkable attendance of leaders in education, workforce
and economic development and all aspects of manufacturing, drawn from many
counties throughout NEO - full house. REI Executive Director Ed Morrison
introduces the context of this session from his historical perspective
working with GE and in manufacturing, and observing manufacturing in NEO decline in many
ways - challenges are many - some manufacturers don't employ optimal practices
- lean manufacturing - basic common sense in regards to management. Some
manufacturers don't invest in product development - automation solutions - are
operating in isolation from each other - this decreases competitive strength opportunities.
Addressing issues requires many people from many sectors and
interests working together in many innovative ways. The session today
is focused on innovation for smaller manufacturers - under 100 employees. Case is
many years into analysis of component manufacturers - have found OEMs have
shifted their global strategies - are outsourcing here and abroad - delegating
more functions into their supplier base - squeezing suppliers. Supplier base is
getting pressure from many sides - top 10% of firms Case studied are twice as
productive as others - they "get it" - they cluster together to
develop stronger competitive positions leveraging cross-learning among firms -
get component makers talking to each other.
Need to constantly upgrade - local policy needs to support manufacturing.
Cluster strategy is important.
Obstacles to manufacturing innovation: Management knowledge, awareness,
attitudes - many manufacturers have been milked of wealth and value. Little
cross learning among suppliers. Gaps in tech and management training. High
The RAMTEC Proposal - this came to REI - does not come out of ED or policy
shop - came out of discussions on shop floors among manufacturers - based on
cooperative model - provides targeted response to a continuing challenge of
falling behind. Targeted to look at component manufacturers, in this case.
RAMTEC functions - small manufacturers teaching small manufacturers -
Automation solutions for smaller manufacturers - Management and technical
education at all levels (firm driven, not client driven) - lean automation
research, development and production design.
One interesting aspect of his for Case is exploring new ways to get schools -
students - engaged with this cluster.
RAMTEC business model - Aggregate demand among small component manufacturers
- accelerate adoption of innovation - commissions on automation equipment and
tooling - contract production - training contract from WIBs - research and applications
contracts. Closest like model is Hong Kong Productivity Center. If RAMTEC is
going to work it needs to be market driven.
RAMTEC Operations - repositioning manufacturing as clean, green and
efficient - creating state of art facility to reposition manufacturing in the
minds of our people - especially youth - for the benefit of our slimmer companies.
Values - transparency, collaboration, professionalism, flexibility, speed,
pragmatism - the proposal is not done - this is where we are in our thinking
and we are trying to model new civic behavior - open room to plan new
US lags dramatically in the application of robotics and we're falling behind
- yet our economy is about 3x Japan - robots per person is poor here
and we are not investing in future. Look at Europe - imagine repositioning
manufacturing in NEO like in Europe - clean, open. Now, to discuss how - Ed
turns podium over to the person who put this vision together - Mary Beth
How this idea emerged:
Educator - secondary education - Cleveland Muni district since 1988 - long
time - has been with Max Hayes vocational since 1998 - Chairwoman of the Fine Arts
Department. Why have art department in a vo-tech school? Hired to teach sign
painting - not booming field - convinced school to allow her to teach fine
art - at first she felt like a fish out of water â€“ but she saw the kids in the
shops using their tools and realized these people can make sculpture - but she
is a painter, so she brought in sculptors - she is a collaborator - she was
proclaimed arts education of 2004 for bringing CIA faculty in to teach at Hayes.
By bringing arts into the trades she challenges students to use their
highest level skills and thinking - lateral vs. linear thinking - teaches
creative problem solving - same strategies as in entrepreneurship.
Marybeth Matthews has been coming to Tuesday@REIs for the past year and
taken ideas back to Max Hayes - like appreciative inquiry - making a sustaining
change. At Max Hayes they need to prepare kids for jobs - working with
America's most impoverished demographic, in a school system millions in
NEO seeks to reinvent itself, but Cleveland is historically
industrial. She realized we shouldn't ignore our traditional strengths. And her
friends in manufacturing say they are always looking for workers - but her
graduates don't want to go into manufacturing... as a career it is not cool.
Manufacturers need employees with experience with advanced equipment - a
manufacturing school that sustains itself by producing products - while
teaching the skills employees and manufacturers need - robotics, high tech -
with students working in maintenance, and all other business support services.
Envision such a school that makes manufacturing sexy and is sexy - clean,
high tech, 24x7 robotics manufacturing products - bright glass showplace.
Case researcher Sue explains she has been interested in Economic Development
through leveraging small manufacturers - better payoff than throwing subsidies
at large firms like Ford to stay vs many small firms to grow. If they can't
find skilled workers they can't grow. But if there aren't good jobs available,
students won't enter the field. Sue has been studying these labor supply chain
issues to find challenges and solutions. Ed points out Sue is a world expert in
this area and we are lucky to have her here at Case.
Attendee points out in manufacturing there is concern about sharing information
- collaboration and co-ops - is it possible for them to share? - we need culture
change. Ed says we need to change - some of the interesting models are in
Europe - Wisconsin - need to look for solutions outside region. Sue says need
incentives to collaborate at the front end - needs to be value-adding to
What effects bottom line - attendee suggests there are ways manufacturers
can work together on business development issues like insurance and management
processes to bring business costs down. Other attendee says management won't
sit down to collaborate just for that - needs higher value all-win model.
David Watson of RAMTEC team is a manufacturing guy - looking at this from
market driven perspective - if everyone wins it will help every business
involved and related. David grew up and has lived here and seen manufacturing
decline over time - he wants to be part of solutions.
Ohio is #3 in US in manu with over 17,000 companies - 850K employees - lots
of that in NEO - Ohio is 6th largest exporter. Losing work to China is
something David has had to deal with and the pace is accelerating in the 2000+
years - losing higher value product manufacturing. 1 in 5 manu jobs in Ohio are tied to exports -
losing piece of global pie will have huge impact. As employer, David hires
people and specialized skills are needed. But manu pays 2x service wages. For $1 sold in manu
there are $1.5 in economic impact.
Theory time is over - we need to make changes that have impact. Japan
is world leader using robots because they had aging, small population - forced into
it - happening very quietly around world - we should have seen the importance
of this technology 20 years ago - even China lacks skilled workers and is
getting into advanced manu. Race we all need to get involved with - reduce
manhours per part - automate everything - every low tech application.
If nothing else comes out of this, David hopes NEO embraces importance of
3 Elements to RAMTECH -
1st educate in automation tech - grad school after vo-tech - places to go to
train next generation workers. Technical, hands on college - produce parts at
every level of enterprise - key is having state of the art equipment and having
students use that to to make real parts and products - work with Lincoln
Electric, Eaton, etc... retrain existing line workers on new automation
technology - teaching factory.
2nd - develop partnership with Case on lean product manufacturing. Case is a
leader in photo optics - Case has found way to reduce 7 lens robot to one lens
- but need for that is too small because US is not leading in robotics - RAMTEC
would be a place to apply Case R&D - showcase. Develop technology with end
user in mind - move tech forward to make cheaper faster.
3rd - provide automation solutions - co-op to provide better, cheaper, faster
- provide integration solutions - if manufacturer needs something automated
RAMTEC could do all the development and sell packaged solutions, with trained personnel.
Consulting, guidance, etc. Use revenues to be sustainable program - subsidize
Provide NEO with an model of excellence for automated manufacturing - small
shops may not be able to afford to get into some of these practices - but it
could work for manu as small as 10-20 person shops - more agile - analogy is
engine lathe has evolved to a point where we've gone as fast as we can go with
computing to accelerate manu, so now we need to automate
Thomas Strbac - by applying the technology that exists now we can be cost
effective - but we need the people to work supporting automation - need to open
up the black box - if you are doing something well we need to share - this is
WW3 - like in WW2 we need to work together - share technology - to compete in
global world - we're not competing as neighbors but in global marketplace -
RAMTEC should be done in every city in America - we are not prepared to
compete. In America, people don't want to go into manu and vo tech because we
as an economy have made that unattractive in every way - viewed as dirty - low-class -
vs. in Europe and Asia where it is clean, green and high-quality - respectable
- we can't all be rocket-scientists and PhDs.
We just need to do it, and this is a great idea - all of us need to pull
Tom and Dave work for different companies - 10 people are pooled together
collaborating on all of this - REI is an amazing platform to allow RAMTEC to
bring together a room full of the right people to brainstorm on solutions.
Q. Where did the trained people go... aren't they still here... took early
retirement... want to work but not full time? 100 companies in Lorain County
looking for trained workers so there is a workforce problem. Attendee doesn't
think it is a dirt problem it is an education problem.
Attendee works for a manufacturer and points out her company got a job to manufacture a part - 6 months into
contract she's asked to lower price 15% and eventually when she can't go any
lower the job goes to China - and she sees photos of the shop in China where it is manufactured and it is
state of the art and highly automated...
RAMTEC's vision of clean, green and
efficient allows for connection with the community and attract people to
manufacturing - she's been to Europe and seen how well things work there and
she believes we can do that here. She learned from Steve Rose to learn manu on
Representative attending this meeting says NEOMAC is all about being in the schools and this week she met with 8th
graders - they spread the word to students that manufacturing is
important and offers good jobs - in a study of 3K young people by D&T
not one wanted to go into manufacturing - says manufacturers are in a world of hurt -
if you want individuals out of the schools to work at your companies you need
to get in the schools early.
Representative from Cleveland Public Schools says they promotes partnership to provide good workers -
developing programs to prepare students who look forward to internships -
shadowing - wants to be responsive to needs of manufacturers - she wants to see
shift in culture and include creating right graduates
Ed stresses how REI is all about open floor collaboration - need mutual
respect - good civic behavior...
Woman from Lorain Community College advanced manufacturing program - students graduate and
work at GE or Ford and if they don't get job here they go to Detroit - timing
is everything and we have a glitch that there may now be jobs and not enough qualified workers - LCC can offer
RAMTEC a great model - LCC representative sits on national manufacturers board and she points out there are nationasl political
issues that must be addressed... points out improved process manufacturing means having computer attached - not
Tom says LCC is considered one of the best in the world in their manu training program - David points out that LCC teaches on 12 piece automated system while RAMTEC
is looking at how to help small manu use one or two pieces of automation.
Attendee says this is a great idea but consider the training capacity there
is already in place - Max Hayes is investing in infrastructure - educators need help
from manufacturers to communicate there are good jobs in manu - why it is
important to learn right skills
NEOMAC is in the process of raising funds to create mobile unit full of manu
equipment to take to all schools and staff with experts in manu to talk to
people about field. Kids are excited about robotics.
Still, dialogue returns to lack of people with skills to fill jobs - others
point to lack of awareness about job opportunities - others talk about
challenge of competition and confidentiality - clearly all the people in the
room need to expand this dialogue - connect - think way outside the box to the
point of shared workforce.
Attendee says he has alliances with other manu to co-op equipment they
couldn't afford - machine goes in one plant and each investor has access for so
many hours - share economies of scale - that is clearly a good direct fit with
the RAMTEC plan.
Cuyahoga Community College attendee points out we need to have confidence, commitment, and
intention - they have state of the art equipment and want to bring people
together alignment. Ed says we all need to partner on this - we're facing big
ditch and need to change approach. REI's role is to figure out how we build
collaborations that build better alignments - grow value with new approaches.
If Tom, David and Marybeth want to proceed with this we need a working group
- if we collaborate we will move this forward - we are a global player - can we
get to the next level? This will require a lot more than we have done in the
Attendee comment - technology sometimes drives industry - industry needs to
drive interest in technology
Another attendee points out he couldn't compete with his old technology -
bought automated machine and yesterday he got call that he "just won the
quote - brought the contract back from China".