Brewing up some new connections – KCMN, AWS and SME Summer Networking Event

Join us August 22, 2012 at the Boulevard Brewery – Brewhouse Bar

Kansas City Manufacturing Network members – you asked for more opportunities to meet,  exchange ideas and forge new relationships with manufacturers.  In response, KCMN is teaming up with the American Welding Society and the Society for Manufacturing Engineers for Networking, Appetizers and Boulevard beer.

Learn more about three great organizations who provide resources and support to the area’s manufacturing community, and participate in discussions to help you get to know your fellow manufacturers.

  • Signup is limited to the first 75 people who sign up
  • Appetizers by Blanc Burgers and Bottles
  • Cost is $20 per person
  • Advance registration is required, no walkins will be accepted at the door
  • Pay online at BY CLICKING HERE or cash or check at the door – due to 3 organizations involved, no invoicing

Boulevard Brewing
Brewhouse Bar
2501 Southwest Blvd
Kansas City, MO 64108
August 22, 2012
4:00-7:00 PM

As this is a manufacturers event, attendance will be limited to KCMN, AWS and SME members and their invited manufacturing company guests.

KCMN, AWS and SME would like to thank Spencer Fane for being the exclusive sponsor for this event.

At Spencer Fane, we take pride in our ability to work in partnership with our clients to achieve their goals. Our client engagement philosophy highlights three critical steps: We identify achievable goals. We work to find the best strategy for achieving those goals. We implement powerful legal strategy in a skillful, aggressive and cost-effective manner. We believe our success is measured by our results. Spencer Fane has a wealth of experience representing regional, national, and international manufacturing companies. We have guided our clients through the complex legal issues that arise including contracts, employment issues, asset protection, and environmental requirements.


Kansas City Manufacturing NetworkThe Kansas City Manufacturing Network (KCMN) was established in 1993 and provides educational and   networking opportunities to strengthen the region’s manufacturers. Manufacturers can learn through real world experiences such as plant tours, presentations by local subject matter experts, and panel discussions sharing lessons learned from fellow manufacturing companies.


The American Welding Society (AWS) was founded in 1919 as a multifaceted, nonprofit organization with a goal to advance the science, technology and application of welding and related joining disciplines. From factory floor to high-rise construction, from military weaponry to home products, AWS continues to lead the way in supporting welding education and technology development to ensure a strong, competitive and exciting way of life for all Americans.



The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is the premier source for manufacturing knowledge, education and networking. Through its many programs, events, magazines, publications and online training division, Tooling U, SME connects manufacturing practitioners to each other, to the latest technologies and to the most up-to-date manufacturing processes. SME has members around the world and is supported by a network of chapters and technical communities. A 501(c)3 organization, SME is a leader in manufacturing workforce development issues, working with industry, academic and government partners to support the current and future skilled workforce.  Click here for the corporate brochure on SME.

KCMN is supported by   Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center  and Missouri Enterprise  as Network sponsors. The event is open to KCMN, AWS and SME members and their invited manufacturing company guests. 

KCMN Quality Panel – Making Quality Programs Work for You

KCMN’s June meeting featured 3 manufacturing company leaders who shared the results of their quality program implementation. Curtis Lopez, of Missouri Enterprise, who has more than 20 years’ experience in quality management and systems led the discussion. Steve Shockey, President/Owner, Evans/EVCO is certified with the ISO 9001:2008/AS9100 quality management system requirements. Mike Miller, Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE), Plant Manager, said that Webco Manufacturing, Inc. had held the ISO 9001:2000 registration since 2005. Dave Thornsberry , Quality Manager/QMS-ISO 9001, led Computech Manufacturing’s successful registration for ISO 9001:2008 without exclusions including several successful follow-up surveillance audits.  While all 3 company representatives spoke of the value of their quality registrations, they also noted that a specific return on investment calculation was nearly impossible to make.

The value of implementing a QMS system is that it does provide a framework from which to address quality issues, or non-conformance within the plant. The system also provides management with more information when internal audits bring non-conformance to light.  In addition, some companies can see boosts in sales, as some customers and potential customers see QMS certification as an indication that companies have high quality standards and so have systems in place to assure those standards are met. However, certification is not a guarantee of new business, and some companies may initially lean towards a particular standard for suppliers, and then back away from it.

Some best practices shared by the panelists:

  1. Quality systems must be internalized by all employees, from top management to floor personnel.  No system works unless top management is committed to making changes and sustaining the system.  All 3 companies noted that this did have to involve making some personnel changes due to some employees being unwilling to change the way they do things or by not following the processes.  Computech noted that trying to conform without taking the next step to registration would not work, the organization must be all in for an effort to be successful.
  2. Don’t wait until the last minute.  Webco does internal audits monthly, and recommends that internal audits be performed no less than quarterly.  Steve noted that if you wait until right before an annual audit to review your processes, it will be too late to correct issues.  Internal nonconformance can be a good thing – it gives you the opportunity to understand where the problems are and work towards a solution.
  3. Look at your internal processes first, rather than try to re-write all of your processes around the standard.  Evans/Evco’s first attempt at a QMS certification was hamstrung due to too much reliance on trying to interpret the standard rather than trying to fit existing processes to the standard.
  4. Utilize your QMS system in employee development.  Utilizing information from internal audits can reveal opportunities to provide additional training and development for employees. In doing a root cause analysis, you can bring in employees to help develop solutions.

Finally, the cost of implementing and maintaining a quality system is not just a dollars and cents calculation.  There is an opportunity cost to tying up employee’s time with issues that are caused by a lack of good quality system.  There is a cost to business that is not awarded or lost due to the lack of a quality system.  Just as not all of the benefits can be qualified to the penny, the costs are not always easily measured, but the speakers agreed that the long term benefits are a more efficiently and effectively run operation.