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Intellectual Property Challenges

Monday, July 6, 2015
posted by IMT-Webmaster

intellectual-propertyThere is rapid change in the manufacturing sector making it difficult for us to keep up with challenges and risks presented by the changing ways of working. The challenges and risks we face in intellectual property will differ with the different sub sectors. We have carefully considered the trends that are applied in the sector as they ensure our future foundations are supported and are robust. The changes we see that are driving the manufacturing sector to the future are;

  • Focus enhancement on development and research
  • Process efficiencies and innovations

The output of these changes will need design rights and patent protection so as to remain competitive. There is lack of harmony when registering the protections in different jurisdictions.

The management of intellectual property is another challenge we find in this sector. The complexity of multi inventions technologies has raised serious challenges for us that want to cash in on new interventions. From what we have observed, there is a need to integrate business strategies and patent from manufacturers.

Successful marketing of patent based products drawing from multiple inventions where ownership is spread across a number of manufacturers is quite cumbersome. As manufacturers we will have to think through our intellectual property strategy along the models of our business. Almost every complex product we produce today contains numerous inventions and technologies where most are covered by different forms of intellectual property and patents.

It will be a costly mistake for us to put off intellectual property till we are successful. The analytical frameworks that are there will help us devise patent strategies and business models. There are three main intellectual property strategies we use in different combinations are leverage, defensive and proprietary.

Additive manufacturing commonly known as 3D technology is different from traditional manufacturing and uses s to create 3D models where the 3D printer then creates the objects layer by layer. It results in cheaper missed more versatile products raising several challenges to the intellectual property laws. This creates challenges on our Intellectual property rights affecting patents, trademarks, industrial designs and copyrights.  We will need to have these laws changed so as to adapt to the issues that have been raised by 3D technology. Despite the fact that intellectual property rights are constantly being challenged by new inventions, we have adapted to the changes and flourished in the new technology era.

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Kryton’s Place in the Changing Manufacturing Industry

Monday, June 29, 2015
posted by IMT-Webmaster

krytons-place-in-the-changingWhile strong underpinnings are an integral key to success in any industry, an ability to weather the storm and grow with the times are also necessary components.  American manufacturers capable of accomplishing this then serve as the “go to” business model ~ ever-affirming that a steadfast commitment to provide quality, exceptional products matters most. Kryton Engineered Metals is one such phenomenal manufacturer; here’s why:

Company Faces Challenges Head-On

When Kevin Harberts, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Kryton Engineered Metals started his company in 1982, it was just a dream fueled by a “can do” attitude. Kryton  has experienced tremendous business growth over the past 30+ years, but finds himself challenged by the recession that is hanging on in the Midwest. “Growth is hard, and growth is a challenge,” Harberts said. “It requires strategy and patience and an ability to keep both yourself and your entire company motivated and focused on keeping things moving forward in the right direction.” Kryton  repeatedly relies on a “make it happen” philosophy to meet customer demands while moving in a positive direction.

Looking for Record Growth by 2017

Business growth is a challenge even in the best of times, but when an economy is mired in a slump it makes the task just that much harder. Harberts looks for Kryton Engineered Metals to double in size by 2017, but he’s not expecting the growth to be easy. “We realize the process is going to be very strategic and is going to require a change in training and an overall change in the culture of our company,” he said. He’s looking to expand his sales base globally now that the company is the major supplier in North America. That doesn’t mean advancing globally won’t be a challenge. Europe’s economy continues to struggle. Metal exports to the region have dropped from 24% of all exports to just 9%. China is predicting a bad year as well, which, when combined with a strengthening dollar, means bad news for metal exports. Strengthening U.S. demand could offset a weakened picture overseas.

The Painted Vision Provides Clear Picture of Future

By providing a clear mission statement and spelling out the responsibilities on the shoulders of each employee, Kryton  paints a picture of the roadmap to business growth.

  • Accountability,
  • Integrity,
  • Improvement,
  • Quality,
  • Teamwork, and
  • Enthusiasm

are the values that make up the building blocks of Kryton’s  planned growth. The company focuses on exceeding customer expectations by utilizing continuous process improvement and building relationships with clients. “Kryton very much so has its eyes on the future. And, that’s why I liked the idea of instituting the Painted Vision idea,” Harberts said. “It’s a way of getting employees on board and in the loop.”

Business Growth at 12% Over Last Three Years

Through Kryton’s commitment to customer satisfaction on all levels, the company has experienced a 12% rise in profits in the last 36 months. Much of that is due to a satisfied customer base, but a good part of the growth goes back to the creation of the Z-team, a unit of super sales pros that keep the work flowing into the manufacturing group. The rise in sales translates into more modern equipment, better wages and expansion.

A Clean Facility is a Growing Facility

Visitors to Kryton’s manufacturing center constantly comment on the cleanliness of the facility. An organized and clean shop floor lends itself to more efficient production and reflects the pride the employees have in a job well done. Despite the constant hum of machinery and buzz of activity on the manufacturing floor, there is a real sense of teamwork between different departments and shifts.

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6 Potential Transportation Trends in 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015
posted by IMT-Webmaster

Forbes Future Focus

The most important seat in the future car will not be behind the wheel. It will be in the back, behind the transportationdriver, where you don’t have to concern yourself with insurance, gasoline or electricity, mapping, road rules or any of the other tedious things you do in the car today. That is the promise made by the futurists of Forbes. Business Growth will continue but man will have a very different philosophy.
Mass transportation by bus and train will be electrical because their large drive trains are perfectly suited for electrically powered short or extended trips, and people will have no responsibility beyond inside the industry itself. If that sounds too Jetsonesque to you, fear not, because we won’t be zipping around in the air, according to the prescient transportation gurus. Business growth will keep us traveling by ground for short distance and air for long distance, but always at a modicum of cost and virtually no capitalization enhancement.

Eco System Wins Over Ego System

Roadways will be electronically accessed, and the private automobiles we have today will dissolve into miniature conveyances of light construction and low electric costs, following the charted highways. The current mystique autos have for the public ego system will fail in favor of the eco system. There will no longer be an auto for every driver in the home. Many homes, in fact, will not “own” a vehicle in today’s sense, but only rent one for short term trips and low fees. The automobile will settle into the disposable tool it was meant to be all along — getting us from point A to point B with the least amount of dirt, stress, noise and cost. Kryton Engineering Metals will have a much broader range of products, including in-sourcing work from smaller companies.

3D Tools Make a New Detroit Unnecessary

Today’s 3D production/manufacturing industry becomes a transportation supplier. Vehicles will be made from 3D tools serviced and maintained by 3D parts. Most tantalizing is the prediction that upon a 3D vehicle’s duty ending, it is recycled, never having been a pollutant and threat to life and limb.
Most amazing in Forbes’ prediction for our transportation futures is that it arrives starting now, in 2015. We should look around slowly at global partners and interests. Who will be the worldwide Business Growth leader in tomorrow’s transportation? They must have begun already.

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The Skills Gap and the Manufacturing Industry

Monday, May 18, 2015
posted by IMT-Webmaster

The Skills GapThe Days of Pensioned Retirement

In the past twenty years, American industries have rolled over and many went belly up, and not all of it was due to the national and international economy.  In my father’s time, blue collar and white collar workers alike had goals of gaining a position with an established and growing company, where the ultimate objective was to stay with that company employer, working your way through the levels, until you could retire with a comfortable pension.  Companies felt an obligation to workers, and the workers reciprocated with loyalty and remaining with the company for the duration.

Change of Need, Change of Speed

Today when I look around my durable metals manufacturing company, There are vacancies where skilled workers should be plying their trade.  The German expression that man with a trade has a golden foundation should be even truer today, but sadly, there is an ever present gap between employee training skills available in my workers and the employment billets I need to fill.  I know the work force is available, ready and willing to do a hard day’s work for a good day’s pay.  I need to develop a program to initiate, educate and retain employees today to train and stay,  proficient with the tools and programs coming down the future years. I feel it is my responsibility to turn off the negativity toward company loyalty, tenure, apprenticeship, and trade skill levels and turn on the younger new hires to the goal of joining my company and learning everything they can about the metal manufacturing industry so that they are assured of a seat in our company’s ride to success.

My check list for achieving tenured employees:

  • Organizing school (public, trade, college) field trips to the manufacturing plants.
  • Arrange personnel visits to schools to give presentations, answer questions and encourage apprenticeship and employee training in our company.
  • Promotion of apprenticeship programs.
  • Offering internship and apprenticeship positions in the manufacturing sector.
    • Have the manufacturing skilled position waiting for the successful intern in employee training so they know they are working toward a future with the company.
    • Open avenues for other companies to source work to  us.

Importance of Training Youth.
Everyone wins by empowering youth. I will  build  growing a workforce to suit my company needs from the local people.
• Engaging youth builds a long term solution to my supply and demand flex of skilled labor vacancies.
• By giving work experiences and employee training; I encourage skilled workers.
• They learn to make informed job choices.
• Young talent comes with ideas, innovations and willing to change status quo.  They still think the impossible is possible.
• The young are ambitious, achievement-oriented and  crave meaningful jobs that really do something.  Give one a job with a future and he will have pride in it being performed correctly.

For most youth, landing that first job is a  huge milestone. They greatly contribute to productivity and quality.  My company needs them now, honing skills and making improvements in the old ways.

Summary

I want this generation aware that we used to be a great manufacturing nation and the silent steel mills of the  Rust Belt are a tragedy.  I want them to know they can take back the title of Great Manufacturing Nation, and by doing it, they  guarantee good careers not only for themselves but their offspring.

If our youth have a future in the U.S., it is because they have a future in our industries: manufacturing, research, assembly, transportation and holding the reins to the galloping digital tech industry.

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The Importance of Transparency Among Leadership and Employees

Monday, April 6, 2015
posted by IMT-Webmaster

importance-transparencyMany positive trends have been linked to transparency among leadership and employees. This includes loyalty among employees, increased productivity and higher employee retention rates. To ensure that my business remains afloat I make decisions that are thoughtful through several ways that ensures I and my employees benefit from transparency through:

  • Efficient problem solving by laying all the cards on the table from the beginning
  • Greater respect and trust for company employees and leaders
  • Interpersonal relationships between the members of my organization
  • Team building through acknowledgement of weaknesses and strengths openly

These four have resulted to higher levels of performance. In some businesses I find there are leaders who are not willing to cultivate transparency as they think they will be viewed to be less authoritative. Additionally, in this era I have seen changes and I believe executives should come out of the boardrooms and discuss matters routinely with members of their organization to have an input from the workforce.

Transparency is not as easy but it helps deliver benefits to the company and bolster satisfaction from the employees. The desires of all leaders need to be aligned for everything to be in sync and differences between leaders need to be addressed to narrow the gap in different perceptions affecting the company. It is necessary to communicate every aspect of business that workers need to know

Employee training and development

For me I find training to be very important in business relations and the topics that are covered include;

  • Sexual harassment
  • Safety
  • Quality initiatives
  • Human relations
  • Ethic
  • Diversity
  • Customer service
  • Computer skills
  • Communication

This will help foster;

  • Job satisfaction
  • Increased motivation
  • Increased efficiency leading to increased financial gain
  • Reduction in employee’s turn over
  • Enhances the image of my company

If I and those in leadership have the time to take the employees through the training process, it will be one way we can be transparent as well as ease communication. When our employees are well trained they can easily get involved in the activities of the company that will foster its growth.

My business is growing and includes making adjustments in the way things are done. Having respect for the employees is ideal so they can also be into the things that my company is about. People do not want to work for companies with no vision. They all want a company that offer them a meaningful career.

Changes are occurring in the market on a daily basis; new technologies and innovative ideas that impact the way business activities are done. To stay on top of the evolving economy, my operations need to be flexible with the changes. For my business to keep moving I need to be open with the employees as their inputs can go a long way in promoting the growth of my business. They can;

  • Help in remodeling the goals to meet the needs of the consumers
  • Use their social network skills to help market my business on social media and making use of the wealth of information found online that will help my business create new connections with customers and people of influence in the industry

Due to this, my employees are at the forefront of the business plans as they will be directly affected by the changes. They need to be kept motivated and that is why I respect their effort, time, family needs and culture. Businesses are changing as well as the market trends and that is why open relationships with the employees will make me be flexible and adventurous in my business as I have an effective team to back me up all the way.

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