Archives : Manufacturing

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    How to Recruit the Best Job Candidates

    An independent recruiter, recruiting agency or executive search firm is charged with tracking down excellent potential candidates for available job positions. Despite the fact that there are innumerable people seeking positions of employment in the 21st century, it often seems to a typical recruiting agency that qualified men and women are few and far between.

    Here are six easy tips that recruiting services, staffing firms, or executive search firms should keep in mind when on the hunt for outstanding potential job candidates in the 21st century.

    These tips are equally applicable to companies undertaking their own search without the help of recruiting agency services. Indeed, the headaches associated with finding qualified personnel is magnified for a company undertaking its own recruitment efforts.

    1. Post an Ad on an Industry-specific Job Board. Oftentimes, a recruiter will take a scattershot approach to finding candidates that are worthy of consideration for an available position. They broadcast far and wide the fact that a certain position is open and available, in big city newspapers and on major Internet job boards.

    If a recruiting agency were more thoughtful about its recruitment efforts, it would realize the benefits of positing an announcement of an available position on an industry-specific Internet job board. By posting in a selective and admittedly limited manner, recruiters and staffing firms would be reaching out precisely to the pool of people most likely to be qualified for an open position.

     

    2. Use Recruiters that Specialize in a Given Field. As with advertising, choosing an effective recruiter might be just a matter of targeting, particularly for a managerial or executive position. These positions can be very hard for in-house personnel directors and human resource managers. While these people do have responsibility for hiring, the search for a new employee with skills beyond the norm for their company can best be targeted by a professional executive head hunter.

    The same can be said for specialized fields, such as accounting or information systems. In-house human resources staff might know all about pharmaceutical skill-sets required for a multitude of research and administration positions, but they might rarely have to deal with hiring staff to track money or to keep the computers functioning. That’s when recruiting agency services specializing in IT or in accounting can come in handy.

    3. Develop an In-House Referral Program. In many instances, exiting staff members can help speed up the search for quality job candidates. Employees often have contacts elsewhere within the industry, some of which may be looking for a change of employment.

    By cultivating this internal resource, a personnel director can develop a wealth of ready information about prospective employees who might well serve the organization as valued employees.

    4. Search Resumes Posted on Job Boards. In addition to advertising on an industry specific job board, a diligent personnel director or recruiting agency will want to take the time to search and consider resumes that have been posted on job boards.

    Often, a person pounding the pavement looking for employment may not have the time to take in and review all of the various available positions that have been posted on a every job board. This is even more true if a given prospect is a highly sought-after candidate, who might be still busy in a current position of responsibility.

    5 .Use a Directory of Recruiters. Because there are so many different type of recruiters in business in the 21st century it can often be difficult for in-house human resources staff to pinpoint the recruiter that will be best able to meet the needs of a given employee recruitment campaign.

    By using a professional directory, in-house human resources staff will be able to identify the most appropriate resources for their company and for the recruiting task at hand. Even staffing firms can benefit from such a recruiters directory to seek help in a specialized field they don’t often work with.

    6. Don’t Rush the Process. Finally, while it is an overused saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” In the same vein, 99 times out of 100 there is no need to rush the process of seeking, identifying and hiring a new employee, particularly an executive level employee.

    A personnel director should take his or her time to identify, screen, interview and hire the best candidate. Throughout this process, a human resources manager or specialist will rely on the services and support tools identified in this article.

    By using these tips, in the long run the best possible candidate for a given position will end up being hired, and the company will benefit from the best possible employees.

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    Bulletproofing Your Career

    In the not-too-distant past, ascending the corporate ladder assured management professionals of a bigger office, a stronger compensation package and a more secure future. But today, executives are being told: Don’t get too comfortable in that corner office, and don’t buy that fancy new car or boat you’ve always dreamed of – because your job is just as vulnerable as everyone else’s. Evidence suggests that the higher up the ladder you go, the more precarious your position may become! The attitude toward executives and the roles they play within companies have drastically changed in recent years. I’ve seen executives who have been with the same company for 20 or more years. They’ve worked their way up the corporate ladder and felt that they had proven their value – then they were unceremoniously dismissed from their positions as if they had just been hired as an entry-level worker. As a Career Consultant, it’s my job to re-instill the client’s confidence, identify his or her strengths, and “re-package” that individual for the current job market. But, to navigate effectively through the career transition process and ultimately make your career bulletproof, you must first be informed about what’s really going on in the work-world. I see several important trends taking place with regard to executive-level job stability and security, including:

    TODAY’S CHALLENGING EMPLOYMENT TRENDS

    Job Market Trend 1:

    More and more positions, even at senior levels, are now being offered on a contract or temporary basis. The position, in these cases, lasts only as long as is needed to fulfill the employer’s contract with their client. This requires job seekers to think differently – more like an independent consultant who works on assignment – rather than as a permanent employee. In many business sectors and industries, it could be said that the “permanent, full-time job” no longer exists as we knew it. This trend also puts the responsibility on the part of the executive to consistently promote and market himself or herself for the next opportunity – and the one after that!

    Job Market Trend 2:

    Companies are still very cautious and careful about making any hiring decisions of high-paying, senior management positions. Executives seeking such jobs must now “sell themselves” more than in the past. They need to demonstrate just how they will enhance the company’s productivity, efficiency and profitability – or they probably won’t get the offer. This means that the job seeker really needs to learn how to effectively present and market himself or herself.

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    The Four Industrial Revolutions Infographic

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    Improving Manufacturing Cycle Times and Resourcing Manufacturing Jobs

    Improving Manufacturing Cycle Times

    Machining center manufacturers are all looking for and touting the ability to reduce part cycle times by offering faster and more efficient machines. That is what the job shop and part production customers of these products demand, because their end-product customers are driving a purchasing philosophy of lower costs per part.

    While the choice of a high-speed machining center makes a major difference in operational productivity and part cost, the tooling utilized on that machine can be another dominant factor. The efficiency of such new, special purpose proprietary tooling can even further enhance the output of a horizontal machining center. It can provide a wide degree of flexibility in compressing several machining processes, especially in parts production.

    As an example, there are a number of unique, special tools that can reduce the initial capital investment and drive out substantial process time in the machining of engine blocks. Cylinder bores can be finished and honed with a precise closed-loop boring system that automatically compensates for tool wear or thermal distortion and produces exceptional repeatability.

    You can also grind bimetallic surfaces utilizing a cubic boron nitrite super-abrasive grinding wheel all on a standard machining center.

    Machines incorporated with this special, multi-functional tooling will outperform a number of individual specialty-purpose machines when used in an integrated system. Mid- to high-volume parts manufacturers often invest in state-of-the-art machine tool technology, and can further enhance their flexibility and productivity with the use of such special-purpose tooling.

    With more and more demand to streamline processes and production cycle times, especially from original equipment manufacturer outsourcing operations, there is a growing need for more valuable and cost-effective solutions for jobs shops and production facilities. And, the solutions exist to allow them to “work smarter.” It is also important to note that the reason so many of the manufacturing jobs have been re-sourced to the US is that technologies like these have eliminated the price gap. It is now possible to manufacture in the United States what was once outsourced.

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    Improving Manufacturing Cycle Times

    Improving Manufacturing Cycle Times

    Machining center manufacturers are all looking for and touting the ability to reduce part cycle times by offering faster and more efficient machines. That is what the job shop and part production customers of these products demand, because their end-product customers are driving a purchasing philosophy of lower costs per part.

    While the choice of a high-speed machining center makes a major difference in operational productivity and part cost, the tooling utilized on that machine can be another dominant factor. The efficiency of such new, special purpose proprietary tooling can even further enhance the output of a horizontal machining center. It can provide a wide degree of flexibility in compressing several machining processes, especially in parts production.

    Makino, a global provider of advanced machining technology, says that the use of special-purpose and multifunctional tools, like the SmartTools it manufactures, helps in this process compression. These specially designed and patented tools reduce cycle times as well as production costs, which saves money.

    As an example, there are a number of unique, special tools that can reduce the initial capital investment and drive out substantial process time in the machining of engine blocks. Cylinder bores can be finished and honed with a precise closed-loop boring system that automatically compensates for tool wear or thermal distortion and produces exceptional repeatability.

    You can also grind bimetallic surfaces utilizing a cubic boron nitride superabrasive grinding wheel all on a standard machining center.

    Machines incorporated with this special, multifunctional tooling will outperform a number of individual specialty-purpose machines when used in an integrated system. Mid- to high-volume parts manufacturers often invest in state-of-the-art machine tool technology, and can further enhance their flexibility and productivity with the use of such special-purpose tooling.

    With more and more demand to streamline processes and production cycle times, especially from original equipment manufacturer outsourcing operations, there is a growing need for more valuable and cost-effective solutions for jobs shops and production facilities. And, the solutions exist to allow them to “work smarter.”

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    Part 7 B Intelligent Manufacturing: Manu-Services Part II

    Intelligent Manufacturing – Part 2: Manu-Services–Something New or Something You’ve Always Known?

    We’ve taken a hard look at every aspect of manufacturing, including the items that are part and parcel of modern manufacturing and how those services have changed. The new label, Manu-services, however is something with which many of us are not familiar. It’s a mysterious new concept, but it really shouldn’t be.

    In reality, Manu-Services is one of those new buzz words that is applied to something ages old in order to make it all seem new and much more mystery-filled than it was.

    What are Manu-services? Is this all something new that you’re going to have to study and work at to apply it to your company? The answer to that is “not at all.” You’ve probably been offering Manu-Services since time out of time if you were a smaller and more budget conscious company.
    Manu-Services is a new name for the services that the smaller business offered with products or services every day.
    What are Manu-services? The answer is, anything that really combines the manufacturing process and the services that support it. Some Manu-Services involve the design and planning or even the project oversight in a given process.

    Some of the Manu-Services might be after care, such as warranty considerations. Your version of Manu-Services might concern packaging or warranties or even proactive calling to ensure that your customers know how to use their products and are using them safely or effectively.
    What makes the biggest impression, what is the most important aspect of the Manu-Services is not the services that you offer, but the way in which they will benefit those who are using your services and products–your customer.
    In some cases, Manu-Services is nothing new at all. The nomenclature is changed. For other companies, Manu-Services is not only a new market, it’s a whole new model for the way in which they will do business.

    Companies today don’t sell just goods. They sell entire packages. They provide the advertising, the interaction, the packaging, the aftercare and the interaction with their customers. They build a relationship with the customers and sometimes that relationship lasts generations.

    Is Manu-Services something new and different or is it something that we’ve gotten away from and are migrating back to in a more modern and more diverse way?
    Manu-Services seem to, at least according to the experts, have replaced manufacturing. In some cases, companies who began as larger groups very specialized and offering only a product and not the services that go along with it will find themselves having to implement an entirely new group of employees and to implement an entirely new and perhaps a very foreign business model. In this instance, smaller companies, who have done this all along, forced to do so by budget constraints, may, at least for a time, be playing on a more level field due to their experience and expertise in Manu-Services.
    It’s a movement toward an older way of doing things as much as it is a movement forward in some cases. The small businesses at one time did their own marketing, their own selling and their own packaging. They also handled the disgruntled customer and they dealt with the causative agents of their distress. They had no choice, lacking the funding in many cases to do it any other way. It is for this reason that they may be less prone to the damages that the Manu-Services model can cause in larger companies.
    The larger companies may have a much more difficult time switching to this type of a business model and in fact, finding the experienced personnel who can help them to accomplish the switch. This new set of issues may actually cause real issues in the economy as well as to the businesses.
    The single biggest problem that exists with the Manu-Services model seems to be that those companies who are not accustomed to the business model and who are inexperienced in the Manu-Services aspects seem to be the companies which are most likely to end up going out of business. Oddly, these seem to be the larger companies, not the smaller ones.

    Where government as a whole may be able to help and to make inroads into the changes is by offering supportive policies that will make it easier and more cost effective for larger companies–which are the most vulnerable in this instance– to make the changes necessary to move into a Manu-Services type of atmosphere in their own company.

    James Kemper is the president of W. H. Meanor & Associates, an executive placement & training company specializing in engineering & manufacturing careers. He can be reached at: jms@whmeanor.com or 704-372-7640 #102 or visit at www.whmeanor.com

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    Intelligent Manufacturing – Part 7-A – Manu-Services, a new production paradigm?

    Intelligent Manufacturing – Part I: Manu-Services, a new production paradigm?

    In our previous reports and articles, we’ve examined a lot about the way in which we create goods, ship them, and even how we’re leveraging social media to change the way that the manufacturing industry is viewed. We’ve taken a look at technological progress, as well as how and why the changes in the way we produce goods and provide services to our customers are taking place.
    An examination of the services that we are providing and how they play into the manufacturing process, as well as how they affect the manufactured goods and the jobs required for support is also in order. It is that service and that change in manufacturing that we’d like to address here.

    Modern industry learned a lot of lessons from the recent financial recession. There have been literally decades of lassitude in manufacturing that quite simply contributed to the decay of the economy in their own way. Today, according to the experts, there is a serious need for broad scope reform in the way in which we see manufacturing in order to re-balance our efforts and our funding of manufacturing.

    The outlook today is that manufacturing; the making of items is not so much the area of importance and perhaps should not be the area of concentration in and of itself. It’s not the moral aspects of making things with our hands or the sense of satisfaction, or even the products themselves that are the most important aspect of manufacturing today, although of course those things do enter into play.
    What makes manufacturing so important today is not the creation of things or goods, but the way in which it feeds into the financial marketplace and because that manufacture is highly export-intensive, innovative and productive, three things that all advanced economies desperately need as explained in this article: 3 Things All Advanced Economies Desperately Need
    There’s one problem with talking about manufacturing as being nothing more than making things. It’s a great deal more than making things. It is creating products, manufacturing to exacting specifications and safety standards, working within specified legalities, taking the product to market, advertising it, shipping it, and a vast array of other things such as customer service and customer relationship management. There is nothing simple about manufacturing today.

    In a report that was done by The Work Foundation, a subsidiary of Lancaster University in the UK, More Than Making Things, Andrew Sisson writes that about 40% or a bit more of manufacturing jobs actually involve hands on manufacturing. The remainder jobs are in support services to the manufacturer or to the people who are creating the actual goods. To coin the term, the largest part of manufacturing is in Manu-Services.

    Today most companies in the United States, due to their massive involvement with other areas of support for the goods and services that they produce, consider themselves to be Manu-Services companies, selling both goods and services to the customers that they serve.
    In their report, the Work Foundation stated that they believed that most of the growth that will take place in the immediate future in manufacturing may not be in the actual processes involved in the making of goods but would take place in the Manu-Services that surrounded the process of making those goods.
    Specifically they believe–and many manufacturers agree–that the greatest need for growth and the best place to concentrate our energies and our funding for that growth will be in supporting services that bring the goods to market and provide for the aftercare of the customer.
    How and why can these services grow and how much growth is necessary to provide for the smooth delivery of our manufactured products to buyers from around the globe? Our next session will take a look at what the various Manu-Services actually are and how they play into our economy and our own business growth.

    James Kemper is the president of W. H. Meanor & Associates, an executive placement & training company specializing in engineering & manufacturing careers. He can be reached at: jms@whmeanor.com or 704-372-7640 #102 or visit at www.whmeanor.com

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    Intelligent Manufacturing Part 6: Leveraging Social Media

    Intelligent Manufacturing – Leveraging Social Media to Build Your Brand and Even to Rescue It

    Today there isn’t a major brand out there that isn’t leveraging the power of social media and trying to build their brand in that way. Tinu Cherian Abraham, described his own experience with major manufacturers and their methods of influencing their market. He shared a story of how Mercedes of India helped him to realize his dream of driving a Mercedes. This gave brand recognition and positive PR to the Mercedes Group, but that isn’t all that social media can do for us today.

    Major brands and even smaller ones are sharing more on social media and offering more details and deals about what’s going on in their business. Social media gives them the chance to build a bigger brand and to increase the number of people who follow the brand or even learn about it when they may have known very little prior to finding it on social media.
    Ford Motor Company believes that Facebook and Twitter and others have expanded their brand in a way that television would not have allowed them to do today.
    Ford, an older brand that was often associated with older people, knew that it had to find a way to reach out to younger people to build their brand and even for hiring. Ford went to work at their social media marketing and became–in a relatively short time, one of the leaders in social media.

    Ford gave away 100 Ford Fiestas, allowing the users to drive them for a full year. More, it gave them free gasoline, insurance and a video camera to enable them to make an honest video review about the Fiesta automobile.

    The campaign worked so incredibly well that they are modeling this year’s 2014 campaign after it and used it to introduce the Fiesta of 2014 too.

    Just how popular is Ford on social media?-How about 206K fans on their Twitter page and over a million on their Facebook.
    Not only can the “big players” benefit from social media interaction. Another great example of how social media can provide for growth is the story of how Madison Electrical Products took on the big guys and came out on top of the heap.

    Madison is a very small, privately owned and operated electrical manufacturer who was not considered a real player in the game. They are a perfect example of the power of social media. Madison was considered “a third-tier player that competed on price.” The new buyers of the company took a hard look at opportunities for growth and settled on using social media to bring that home.

    According to Rob Fisher, who is the Director of Marketing for Madison, the company wasn’t big enough to spend more than their competition but they believed that using social media was going to give them a real edge. They were more than right in their thinking.

    Rob states “We started off slow, initially created basic Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. The first few months, we did a lot of monitoring and listening to discover what electrical contractors and distributors were discussing. Once we began participating, we kept the focus on addressing industry issues and trends.”
    Based on a lot of what they heard on social media, the company launched a crowd sourcing methodology for new ideas, provided the means for their customers to give them new ideas and insights and they listened to what their social media followers had to say. These days, Madison is no longer seen as a third tier provider. With multiple new product releases that have been well-received, they are a major player in the game because they took the time and the initiative to use social media, not just for marketing, but for discovering what their customers really wanted–and then doing it. You can read a detailed article on them here: Madison Electrical Products & Social Media

    The smart companies today are leveraging social media in ways that can help them to build their brand but also in ways that can help them to rescue it or prevent injury or damage should the need arise.

    While many manufacturers are not yet using social media as well as it might be used, some are leveraging it to the fullest extent. Many manufacturers are using social media as a resource in their disaster planning. Price Waterhouse’s survey http://www.pwc.com/us/en/press-releases/2013/2013-bcm-survey-results.jhtml shows that about half of all manufacturers do not yet have a “Formal usage” of their social media pages as a crisis management resource but that about half do provide for that as part of their natural disaster recovery.

    One of those using social media as a means of recovery is Atlas Oil. According to Bob Kenyon, the Executive VP of Atlas, “Social media channels are now the connective tools that allow us to communicate when other means are compromised during natural disasters.” “Atlas Oil EFS used social media strategically to announce and update outreach efforts during Super-storm Sandy. It was really the only way to get the word out to employees and clients due to the extensive power outages, and weather severity on the ground was changing drastically by the hour.”

    When manufacturers are trying to find out what’s happening in the wake of any disaster, natural or man-made, social media can be the connective tissue that keeps them moving forward with some measure of knowledge. Everbridge, a California software company that makes emergency incident software also touts the use of social media. Jaime Ellertson, CEO commented “For a manufacturer trying to find out what’s going on in the midst of a disaster, social media can augment or replace traditional news sources.
    In many instances social media can make a real difference in a business, preventing loss and injury as well as providing for the users of the products or services to know what’s happening.
    Phil Harris who is the CEO of Geofeedia works with a company that permits users to monitor and to search out social media information in real time. He believes that the days of relying solely on traditional news or television news are over. Social media users are everywhere, providing real time updates and information in the event of storms or disasters. This data, including photos, videos, descriptive text and other information provided from mobile devices can be invaluable to manufacturers and even to EMS personnel and emergency management.

    In a time when power outages or phone outages may be rampant, social media can close the information gap and help people to see what’s happening in real time. What plans has your business made to make use of social media in the event of a disaster? Maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy.

    James Kemper is the president of W. H. Meanor & Associates, an executive placement & training company specializing in engineering & manufacturing careers. He can be reached at: jms@whmeanor.com or 704-372-7640 #102 or visit at www.whmeanor.com

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    Business Growth: Outsourcing your manufacturing

    The goal of every business owner is growth. One of the main reasons that you decide to undertake the challenge of developing a business is to create a venture that can improve your life. As your enterprise begins to expand, you will have to make some difficult decisions. One of those might be the need to establish a manufacturing process where outsourcing could be a possibility.

    Outsourcing business processes is getting very popular today. But did you know that you can also outsource a manufacturing process as well? Basically, you can ask another company to manufacture your product on your behalf. You may be wondering about the advantages of this choice since the goal is to manufacture your product without the help of another company. However, outsourcing part of your manufacturing process has several benefits that need to be considered.

    For example, when your peak season arrives, it is inevitable that the demand for your product will increase. Should you buy new equipment and hire new workers to meet this demand? In the past, this might have been the solution. Today, outsourcing your production enables you to avoid paying the higher costs for meeting the demand of the market during this particular timeframe.

    However, despite the advantages of outsourcing your manufacturing process, you should be aware of some of the risks that are involved. For example, you would not have the same control over the quality of the product that is being produced because you are not present during the manufacturing process. This is especially true if the outsourcing company you hire is new or if it has never produced the kind of product you are asking them to manufacture for you.

    You might observe that most of the companies that take advantage of outsourcing are usually the larger companies instead of the small and medium scale enterprises. But in fact, outsourcing could be more advantageous for small and medium scale enterprises. This is because even though manufacturing outsourcing may cost a larger company more money per unit produced, outsourcing can enable small and medium enterprises the chance to sell more products at a profit. Instead of paying the costs for using your own production resources, this overhead can be absorbed by the business you outsource to.

    Outsourcing the manufacturing process is also a good strategy for business start-ups that do not have the initial capital to build an entire factory by themselves. In the long run though, if your company is large enough to achieve economies of scale, it is recommended that you produce all your products yourself to maintain the quality standards that your company is known for.

    Obviously, manufacturing the products yourself can produce more money because you eliminate the overhead for using the outsourcing company and derive all of the profits for your own company. Overall though, the outsourcing of your manufacturing process can be advantageous if your profit margin is more when you outsource the process. It is a complex and difficult choice that should be considered very carefully.

    Any decision that is made to improve your business requires research, examination and caution. If your business has developed to the point where outsourcing is a possibility, consider the disadvantages as well as the advantages. The choice you make could propel your business to a new level.

    “When you cannot make up your mind between two evenly balanced courses of action, choose the bolder.”

    If you’re looking for the right manufacturing team, you have to start with the right recruiting team. Let WH Meanor put our experience to work for you.   Register now for a free ten minute assessment of your search efforts by clicking the link https://whmeanorassociates.as.me/

     

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    Intelligent Manufacturing Part 5: 3-D Printing

    Intelligent Manufacturing: 3-D Printing

    The Factories of the Future-Already Operational and Making a Difference
    There isn’t a technology out there that has had more buildup and more hype than 3d printing. The reality is that quite likely three dimensional printing is all that the hype says it is and quite likely more. 3 Dimensional printing has the ability, over time, to change the way that we accomplish things and to make lives easier.
    3 Dimensional Printing-an Overview

    Three-dimensional printing is by no means new to us. It’s not yet commonplace, but it’s been working for us for years and has changed the way that we do some things already. For about thirty years, 3 dimensional printing has been used by engineers who used it to create fast prototypes of things that they were building. It was, and to some extent remains cost prohibitive for the average person.

    Not only is 3 D printing innovative, but it has the capacity to change how we accomplish medicine and even marketing.

    What is 3D printing?
    From a purely technical standpoint, three dimensional printing is a printer that can make literally any object. It creates those objects out of plastic, composites, carbon fiber or even metal. They’ve been in use for many years but are not yet low cost enough to be common place. That’s about to change.
    The Future of Smart Machines like 3 D Printers
    Today three dimensional printers are going well into the range where the average consumer may be able to afford them. Factories and other places are already using them. Technology has changed and advanced to the point where 3D printers are becoming more and more affordable. The technology has the capacity to change the way that we do things from the creation and design of automobile parts down to making your own jewelry at home. The expectation is that pricing will continue to drop, putting 3D printers well within the realm of affordability for everyone and allowing them to change the way that they do things at home and in the office.

    The Present Day Use of 3D Printing

    3D printing is becoming very popular with small business owners because of the time and labor that it can save them. It isn’t only the small businesses who are reaping big dividends from 3 D printing however. Huge companies like General Electric and even aircraft companies such as Boeing are gaining steam in using 3D printers and finding big benefits from them. The two companies named here are finding that the 3D printers have the capacity to change their manufacturing methods and to help them to build their products. These companies are using 3D printers to help them to make parts for jet aircraft and for airplanes as a whole. In addition to Boeing & GE we have seen Amazon express interest and even NASA for use on the ISS.

    The need and desire for a 3D printer is becoming so rampant in the general public that crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are finding that they are a top growing category for people trying to raise money. They are also, coincidentally one of the categories that reap the most funding.
    While not yet in the “anyone can afford one” realm, 3D printers are rapidly dropping in pricing and their availability is rising. You can now find them in places like Amazon and even in stores such as Home Depot. They have become a real fixture in nearly every new startup office and are a real godsend for new companies in manufacturing.

    There is, according to ZDNet, a plethora of 3D printers available to the general public for under $100K. Allied Market Research says that the 3D printer market will hit 8 and a half billion by the year 2020. This is not small time, and the world is finding that 3D printers are more mainstream currently than anyone expected them to be by this time. Consumer and manufacturing markets are embracing what 3D printing can do for them and how it can change what they need to accomplish.
    The expectation is that the small hurdles that these printers need to overcome to become even more commonplace, such as high energy use and the unstable material problems will be overcome fairly soon and make 3D printers even more useful to us in areas such as manufacturing, medicine and engineering.

    James Kemper is the president of W. H. Meanor & Associates, an executive placement & training company specializing in engineering & manufacturing careers. He can be reached at: jms@whmeanor.com or 704-372-7640 #102 or visit at www.whmeanor.com

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