Foxconn Exec Reinforces Commitment to Wisconsin at APICS Milwaukee Event

Is your business a potential supplier for Foxconn? Are you looking for ways to keep up with the latest trends in supply chain management?

Last week, Dr. Mitchell, chief executive officer of Foxconn subsidiary Aguila, attended our monthly professional development meeting to share an update on the Foxconn developments in Wisconsin. During the discussion, Dr. Mitchell reinforced that his company remains very committed to our state, despite some changes to original plans. He reminded the group that what Foxconn is planning has never been done anywhere in terms of the speed, scale, and scope so they don’t have a model to follow.

Dr. Mitchell was also a keynote speaker later in the week for the Manufacturing Matters! Conference ran by the WMEP. During his presentation, he reinforced the message that we are in an era of rapidly advancing technology and manufacturers will increasingly need to be flexible and collaborative to be successful.

Similar to the supplier readiness workshops this past Fall, Dr. Mitchell reiterated that they are not building a supply chain but rather, “curating an ecosystem.” He shared the steps below that Wisconsin companies should do now to prepare to be a part of the Foxconn ecosystem.

  1. Have a plan to make sure your business is ready to compete and able to scale up quickly by maximizing efficiencies, improving supply chain management, ensuring worker productivity, addressing skill gaps and embracing new technologies such as 3-D printing.
  2. Have a system to capture customer-derived loyalty and quality data scores as these will be key considerations in Foxconn’s supplier readiness scorecard.
  3. Visit the Wisconsin Supply Chain Workplace website and register your business. By creating a supplier profile, you will receive timely communication when Foxconn and other companies are posting RFPs to source suppliers for specific projects.
  4. Reach out now to Pendio Group, the third party company who is managing their vendor list. Todd McLees at Pendio Group is the contact available to assist companies to qualify as Foxconn suppliers.

Your APICS Milwaukee Chapter is a non-profit association with a mission to serve Supply Chain professionals in the Milwaukee area.  We help companies improve their supply chain management efforts through education and networking opportunities.

APICS Members receive discounts on training and we offer additional discounts for larger onsite training groups.  We look forward to hearing from you and working together to help find and retain skilled workers.  For additional information, contact your local APICS Milwaukee Chapter via our website at: http://apicsmilw.org.

Offering Flexible Employment to Manufacturing Employees

Photo source: Image by Yerson Retamal from Pixabay

Is your company struggling to find and keep skilled employees? Does your company offer flexible working arrangements for all employees? Despite the need for many manufacturing roles to be hands-on, companies can and should offer flexible working options to attract and retain top talent.  

With unemployment in Wisconsin remaining low around 3%, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers are struggling to find skilled workers.  The challenge will likely remain for some time as per Engineering.com, “Projections from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, among other industry analysts, predict that over the next decade, more than 2 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled across the U.S.

A big reason for the growing skill gap is due to older workers retiring. To combat this trend, companies will likely need to adjust their workforce management strategies to attract younger generations. Offering better work-life balance and agile, flexible options will appeal greatly to employees who appreciate working on their own terms and often have other flexible career options available. 

A few months ago, Manufacturing.net shared an article on the importance of offering flexible work options in manufacturing. They shared,

“According to the 2018 Mercer Talent Trends Study, 51 percent of manufacturing employees want their company to offer more flexible work options. Yet only nine percent of HR leaders in the industry say flexible working is visibly present in their organization. 

Workers increasingly cite flexibility as one of the top things they look for in a job. As a result, remote work has become more common in many workplaces, but this isn’t as easy for manufacturing companies to offer. For many roles, employees simply need to be on the factory floor to get the job done.”

In addition to attracting new talent, research has found that flexible work arrangements can improve employee engagement and effectiveness, which means increasing employee retention in a tight job market.  

So how can manufacturers offer more flexibility? For many allowing employees to work remotely is not an easy option, but there are other ways offered by Manufacturing.net including:

  1. Offer Flexible Hours: Allow your employees to choose their shift hours. Employees—especially those with young children who may need to do the school run—will see something as simple as choosing whether to come in at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. as a way to significantly improve their working lives.
  2. Shift Swapping: Common at retail companies and in restaurants can work well in the manufacturing setting. This flexible perk is exactly what it sounds like: employees are allowed to swap shifts with managerial approval. Some companies also allow employees to swap split shifts, switching just four hours out of an eight-hour shift.
  3. Compressed or Short Work Weeks: Employees work longer days in order to work fewer days. Compressed schedules are common among firefighters and nurses, who often work three 12-hour days and then have four days off. Other common compressed schedules include working 9-hour work days and taking every second Friday off; and working 10-hour work days and taking every Friday off.
  4. Be Flexible With Time Off: When it comes to offering your staff greater flexibility, it’s just as important to take into consideration the time your employees don’t spend at work. Create a Paid Time Off Policy that lumps together vacation days, sick time, and personal time into a single bank of days which employees can use to take paid time off work.
  5. Offer Floating Holidays: Where employees choose the days they take for vacation — subject to their manager’s approval and business needs, of course.
  6. Offer Part-Time Work and Job Sharing: Offering part-time positions, both on the floor and in the office, can make your company a more appealing place to work, helping you to attract and retain key team members. Employees at all levels — from entry-level manufacturing positions to senior-level managers — may be interested in part-time work if it’s available to them. For positions that require a full-time presence, job sharing allows two people to share a position, performing one job. One person might work from Monday to Wednesday and the other from Wednesday to Friday, with a handoff on the overlapping days.

Your APICS Milwaukee Chapter, the premier professional association for supply chain management, has a mission to serve Supply Chain professionals in the Milwaukee area. Starting in 1972, we help individuals and companies close their skill gaps through networking and educational opportunities. APICS Members receive discounts on training and we offer additional discounts for larger onsite training groups. We look forward to hearing from you and working together to help find and retain skilled workers.  For additional information, contact your local APICS Milwaukee Chapter via our website at: http://apicsmilw.org.

APICS Milwaukee Hosts Dr. Bill Mitchell, VP Business Operations Americas, Foxconn

Are you interested in hearing from Foxconn VP Business Operations Americas about their developments in Wisconsin? Is your business a potential supplier for Foxconn?

Per BizJournal last week, Foxconn’s statement said the company continues “to make good progress on all fronts related to the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park (in Mount Pleasant), while simultaneously broadening our investment across Wisconsin far beyond our original plans to ensure the company, our workforce, the local community, and the state of Wisconsin will be positioned for long-term success.”

APICS Milwaukee has been providing periodic updates on Foxconn progress. If your business is a potential supplier to Foxconn, last Fall we shared the following three ways to prepare based on input from the Foxconn Supplier Readiness workshop hosted by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

  1. Have a plan to make sure your business is ready to compete and able to scale up quickly by maximizing efficiencies, improving supply chain management, ensuring worker productivity, addressing skill gaps and embracing new technologies such as 3-D printing.
  2. Have a system to capture customer-derived loyalty and quality data scores as these will be key considerations in Foxconn’s supplier readiness scorecard.
  3. Visit the Wisconsin Supply Chain Workplace website and register your business. By creating a supplier profile, you will receive timely communication when Foxconn and other companies are posting RFPs to source suppliers for specific projects.

Your local APICS Milwaukee Chapter, the premier association for supply chain professionals, is proudly hosting Dr. Bill Mitchell, VP Business Operations Americas, Foxconn on February 18 at MATC in Oak Creek to provide an update on the Foxconn development. We hope members and guests can join us for dinner, drinks and the opportunity to learn more about this important topic for our state.

APICS Milwaukee is a non-profit association focused on helping our members and the community stay informed about local happenings that could impact supply chain efforts.  We also offer several educational programs and have three certification training courses below starting in early March.

 

For additional information, contact your local APICS Milwaukee Chapter via our website at: http://apicsmilw.org.

1 https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2019/02/07/foxconn-disputes-bloomberg-businessweek-article-on.html

Anticipating Supply Chain Disruptors

By: APICS Milwaukee Chapter, February 2019

Were you or your supply chain impacted by the frigid temperatures last week? Do you have a plan to mitigate risk for similar future events?

 

As you know, the extremely low temperatures that hit across the Midwest last week impacted key supply chain components including all forms of transportation and abilities to maintain production levels with plant closures and employee absences. Other extreme weather such as droughts, hurricanes and floods also often cause disruptions in your supply chain globally.

A few weeks ago, we heard from the CEO of Hellermann Tyton share with the BizTimes that her company is very alert to the volatility of the macroeconomic world we live in. In fact she stated she believed the level of volatility was higher than any time she could remember in business.1

So how do you best prepare for disruptors in your supply chain? We suggest the following three risk mitigation strategies:

  1. Invest time in careful preparation, risk analysis and contingency planning in case of both natural and man-made disasters and ensure you have the best people in place to monitor your suppliers.
  2. For your critical suppliers, representing at least 25% of your supplier network, you should document the following items and review them quarterly:
    1. Their performance levels with regards to quality, schedule and price
    2. Identified risks such as the likelihood of these suppliers getting bought out, financial strength, the quality of your relationship with them and locations that could be impacted by both natural and man-made disasters
    3. Document their length of time in business, how much research and development they do and if they are in danger of a buyout or merger
    4. Have suppliers answer these key questions in writing.
  3. Develop a specific risk mitigation action plan for each supplier to mitigate future risk including:
    1. A list of companies you could shift work to, if necessary
    2. Estimates of how long it would take to shift work
    3. An understanding of how much it would cost you

Overall, while most companies know the key is preparedness, many lack sufficient or current plans to handle extreme weather or disasters. You must make the effort now to determine if your organization can handle a major shutdown or break in supply chain.

As an additional resource for you, APICS conducted a supply chain management risk survey a few years ago with more details on protecting against supply chain disruptors.

Your APICS Milwaukee Chapter is a non-profit association with a mission to serve Supply Chain professionals and their companies in the Milwaukee area.

We also offer opportunities to invest in your employees with certification training and supply chain workshops. We can deliver the training at your location or frequently host educational programs at the APICS Milwaukee offices in Milwaukee. We have several programs coming up highlighted below.

 

APICS Members receive discounts on training and we offer additional discounts for larger onsite training groups.  We look forward to hearing from you and working together to help companies anticipate supply chain disruptors.

For additional information, contact your local APICS Milwaukee Chapter via our website at: http://apicsmilw.org.

1 https://www.biztimes.com/2019/industries/manufacturing-logistics/manufacturers-need-extra-vigilance-in-volatile-2019-environment/