The Benefits of Supply Chain Optimization

KCMN November Meeting

Is your supply chain running on all cylinders all the time?  If you have supply chain concerns, or simply would like some ideas for improving yours, join us for our November KCMN meeting.  The MEP Supply Chain Optimization program is a strategic approach to solving the challenges of U.S. manufacturers by promoting a better flow of product from suppliers to customers resulting in reduced costs, improved quality and shortened lead times.

The NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program conducted research to identify the critical needs of supply chains. John Remsey, Senior Manufacturing Specialist, Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) will discuss MEP’s two-phased Voice of the Customer survey, which provides 12 competitiveness drivers discovered and the six most critical gaps identified.

Companies should begin by understanding and defining their supply chain strategy and aligning it with their corporate strategy.  Due to ever increasing volatility in the global manufacturing environment, companies can no longer rely on a strategy of lowest price, shortest lead time and acceptable quality.  Today, high performing supply chains are collaborative through their multiple tiers.  They quickly identify and mitigate volatility and have the capability to develop, manufacture and distribute new or improved products more rapidly than ever before.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
7:30-9:00 AM
Hilton Garden Inn, 520 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas

Cost is $15 for members and $25 for manufacturing company guests. Due to an increase in service provider attendance, we are not accepting guest service providers at this time.   Guests may attend 2 meetings before having to join as a member.  Sign up today BY CLICKING HERE, or contact Donna Gordon at 816-304-7958, or


John RemseyJohn Remsey, Senior Manufacturing Specialist, Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) - John has more than 19 years of business and manufacturing experience with an emphasis in supply chain optimization, information technology, lean manufacturing and production control.  As a member of the MEP SCO team, John has provided leadership to the development and deployment of SCO tools and services throughout the national network of MEP Centers.

He has worked with numerous companies to identify, select, implement, and support manufacturing systems.  John also provides in-depth business services in strategic planning, feasibility analysis, financial analysis, and business expansion. His background includes positions in information technology, production control, activity-based management, logistics, and small business counseling.

John has earned a BS in finance, a BS in business economics, and an MBA, from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and has attended training/education by the Shingo Institute on the Shingo Prize standards for Operational Excellence.

Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center  and Missouri Enterprise  are our NIST MEP Network-affiliate sponsors. Due to our need to cover the event costs, no shows will be billed. Cancellations will be accepted no later than 3 business days prior to an event. Cancellations of reservations paid by credit card will be assessed a $10 processing fee by the registration service, or contact us for event credit for a future event.

Spreading the Word about Manufacturing Careers


Manufacturing Day is October 2nd!

Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center (KCKCC-TEC) is celebrating ‘Manufacturing Day’ on October 2, 2014.  Please see below on how we could use your help.

In partnership with MAMTC, Manufacturing Institute, KC-NTMA, KCMN, A&E Custom Manufacturing and GM we will be celebrating ‘Manufacturing Day.’  We will be inviting young adults from Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools and Leavenworth Public Schools to be a part of this great day.

The event includes a career jumping session during lunch time at the GM Plant in Fairfax from 11:15- 12:10.  Career Jumping is a fast-paced career exploration experience where professionals talk with 3-5 students at a time, much like speed dating.

Are you interested in sharing your career story and helping spark students’ interest in careers in Manufacturing? Then share your time and your talents and volunteer!  If possible we are looking for all the colors in the diversity rainbow to represent the different career choices in manufacturing. In addition if we have any ladies in the careers mentioned on the agenda that would be fantastic.

To volunteer, or to discuss other opportunities to share career advice with a broader student population at future events, please contact Rich Piper at or 913.288.7808.


Networking: It’s About Relationships

What can you get from your network?  This question, posed by David Cacioppo, President of emfluence, launched the networking discussion at the September KCMN meeting held at Alphapointe.   The answer was broader than the handful of typical responses:

CustomersPanel Discussion
Service Providers

Networking is not a ‘one and done’ exercise, it’s a process by which all of us can grow and learn, but there is some effort involved.  David noted that there are different kinds of networks for different purposes, but all should be fully leveraged to gain your maximum benefit.  If you meet new people, follow up with them. If you are attending an event, get there early to meet new people. Make networking an opportunity to forge personal connections.

Brad Carl, from Allied Products, noted that networking has enabled him to see new perspectives, become aware of new trends and to meet new people.  It’s also led him to a new career opportunity.  Dave Coughlin from Heatron stated that for him, networking was all about helping others.  In helping others, you gain respect, trust and better working relationships with those around you.   Chris Klope of Mobile Hydraulics jumped into networking with both feet when a job change brought him from St. Louis to Kansas City.  His network has created opportunities to work with new customers, suppliers and business associates, and he noted that Kansas City has an open and welcoming networking scene.

The group discussed social media, and it’s role in manufacturing. David noted that on LinkedIn, his 1300+ connections really could translate to over 1 million people.  Brad noted that he uses Twitter to listen to what others have to say, and to keep in contact with others, and despite the funny sounding name, there is great business value in utilizing the network provided you have a plan.

Brad noted that social media is  not just marketing’s job.  He also dispelled some other social media myths:

  • It’s not just what you ate for breakfast
  • It’s not a place to sell or cold call
  • It’s not a place to sell products
  • If you build it, they won’t just come.

The group agreed that today your brand (personal and company) is not what you say it is, it’s what others say that you are.  It’s important to keep that in mind as you are out there, in person, and on social media.  It’s about forming relationships, and through those relationships your message will have resonance and staying power.

Dave noted that listening is key. His rule of thumb is to hear before heard.  Ask yourself, “Who do you want to be in the room with?” , then strive to be that person.

Chris talked about crowd-sourcing.  Originally the concept gathered steam as a funding source, with sites like Kickstarter and Indigogo, but has expanded to problem solving and collaboration solutions.  He gave the example of a toothpaste production line whose engineers were stymied over productivity improvements as they sought to increase the fill rate.  Putting the problem out to the crowd unveiled the solution that pulling vs pushing through the tube provided the solution, that was obvious to an MIT student who was not so close to the problem that he couldn’t see alternative solutions.  Chris noted that intellectual property concerns preclude some crowd-sourcing solutions, but open innovation contractors may provide the opportunity to present issues in a more confidential manner.  The bottom line is that not all solutions can be found internally, and reaching out to others can provide valuable insight.

Pet Peeves:  All panelists discussed networking pet peeves, and the audience shared some of their own as well.   Bottom line in this discussion:

  • Be sincere. People want to know you are genuine, and are not just looking to get something
  • Listen
  • Realize not everyone is in it for the same thing
  • Be considerate of people’s time

Dave noted that networking works best for you when you have a plan.  Whether your networking activity involves social media, the phone, email or in person, decide in advance how you intend to utilize your networking avenues, and have the discipline to stick to your plan.   He makes an effort to identify those he wants to have in his network, touch base with them on a regular basis, listen to what they have to say, and be helpful to them when you can.  Chris commented that networking is key to avoid being myopic.  Getting out and meeting new people and learning new things helps to avoid tunnel vision.

In conclusion, the panelists agreed that there was benefit to forming, growing and sustaining networks in their business, career and personal lives. At the end of the day, it’s about reaching out to people, on a personal basis, not just amassing cards or contacts or likes.


Forecast: Opportunities in 2015

KCMN October Meeting

The Outlook for the US Economy – Jon Willis, Assistant Vice President and Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City  Jon Willis will give a presentation on the state of the U.S. economy and discuss the economic outlook for 2015.  In the presentation, he will discuss recent developments in labor markets and inflation with an emphasis on the manufacturing sector.

Transforming Your Manufacturing Company With Technology – Greg Deitch, President & Partner, Trabon Strategic Technology Group.     Greg will discuss the benefits associated with creating actionable insight from data can bring to manufacturing companies. While data is all around us, harnessing that data for business decisions can be a challenge. Greg will present examples and case studies where a platform for capturing data can produce tangible value and new opportunities

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
7:30-9:00 AM
Hilton Garden Inn, 520 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas

Cost is $15 for members and $25 for manufacturing company guests. Due to an increase in service provider attendance, we are not accepting guest service providers at this time.   Guests may attend 2 meetings before having to join as a member.  Sign up today BY CLICKING HERE, or contact Donna Gordon at 816-304-7958, or


Jon Willis  Jon Willis is a Vice President and Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.  He joined the Economic Research Department in September 2000.  A native of Iowa, Jon received a B.A. degree in economics from Grinnell College in 1993 and a Ph.D. degree in economics from Boston University in 2001.  Jon conducts research on labor market dynamics over the business cycle and the relationship between the price-setting behavior of firms and inflation dynamics.  In addition to working at the Bank, he has served as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Greg Deitch  Greg is a seasoned software innovator and leader. His projects have pioneered new uses for technology that led to business improvements in diverse industries such as healthcare, home building, hospitality and telecommunications. Greg joined Trabon in 2001 from Cerner Corporation where he was Director of Product Management. Prior to Cerner he held positions with Price Waterhouse Management Consulting and Olsten Kimberley Quality Care. Greg earned an MBA and a BA in Computer Science from Rice University in Houston, Texas.


Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center and Missouri Enterprise are our NIST Network Affiliate Sponsors. The event is open to area manufacturers and their suppliers.