Thriving in a Changing Industry – H&H Color Labs Tour

KCMN February MeetingH&H

This event is sold out. Please contact to be added to the waitlist.

H&H Color Lab, begun nearly 50 years ago as a resource for photographic prints on paper from film, has weathered an industry in constant change. Through all the changes, H&H has survived and thrived through continuous innovation, customer education, and a relentless  focus on quality and customer service.

Join us for our February meeting and plant tour at H&H Color Lab, where they will discuss:

-Adapting and growing in a rapidly changing industry

-Managing the ups and downs of a seasonal workforce

-Utilizing Lean principles for more agility in the production process

Tuesday, February 14
7:30 – 9:00 AM
H&H Color Labs 8906 E. 67th Street Raytown, MO 64133


Cost is $20 for KCMN members, $25 for manufacturing company guests, and $50 for non-mfg company guests. Guests may attend 2 meetings before having to join as a member.  Sign up BY CLICKING HERE or contact Donna Gordon  816-304-7958,

Maximum attendees: 40  Open to KCMN Current members through Jan 12, then will open to guests if space is available.

7:30 AM Breakfast & Networking

7:45 AM Company Presentation

8:15 H&H Tour


About H&H Color Lab

H&H Color Lab has served the needs of the professional photographer for 47 years. As the industry changes, the H&H mission remains the same: to support and serve our customers by providing the highest quality photographic printing, customer service, and education to help maximize their business potential. Operating within a set of core values, and lean manufacturing principles, lab employees work diligently to deliver the very best product to its customers.

H&H takes pride in offering an extensive line of high-quality albums, beautifully printed press products, photo jewelry, innovative metals, specialty products and much more. Production capabilities in their 55,000 square foot facility include photographic, ink jet, digital press and dye sublimation. Other services include color correction, printing, finishing and shipping. H&H also supports the independent school and sports photographer with complete turnkey programs designed to help them compete in this competitive market.

Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center and Missouri Enterprise are our NIST Network Affiliate Sponsors. We welcome all regional manufacturers to join us to make KCMN the central resource for manufacturing company managers and owners who are working to grow and improve their businesses across many functional areas.

Congratulations to our Fall 2016 Emerging Leaders

Seventy one members of KCMN and NTMA wrapped up sessions to improve their leadership skills, and make connections with those who have similar goals and challenges, as part of the Emerging Leaders Program this fall.  Emerging Leaders was launched in 2014 as a result of a joint effort between Kansas City Manufacturing Network, the Kansas City Chapter of NTMA (National Tooling and Machining Association)  and Johnson County Community College.  The genesis of this effort was the feedback from our respective members who noted a dearth of options for developing improved leaders in their businesses, and the advocacy and planning efforts of KCMN advisory board member Ben Troja.  Along the way, additional guidance was provided by participant feedback, and from the leadership efforts of Thomas Dunbar, Rehrig Pacific Company, Jason Heidbreder, LPF High Performance Coatings, and Jimmy Woodall, Livers Bronze.   To date, 308 participants from 40 companies have enrolled in the program and 262 have earned certificates for attending at least 5 of the 6 sessions.

Sessions include Communication, Delegation, How to Read People, Driving Change,  Conflict Management, and lively discussions around cross generational motivation.  Among participant comments:

“Gave me ideas to take back to work to help me delegate, to lighten my load and help develop others”

“Caused introspection, made me realize there are things I need to improve upon”

“This information was new to me, and I learned a lot about myself”

New Emerging Leaders sessions will be rolling out in 2017, for more information, click here.

Emerging Leaders T3  Fall 2016Emerging Leaders T2 Fall 2016 Emerging Leaders Tier1 Fall 2016

Are People Happy When You Enter the Room, or When You Leave It?

IMG_1038KCMN’s October meeting featured author, coach, triathlete and inspirational speaker, Karin Lindner, author of ‘How Can We Make Manufacturing Sexy?’ Karin’s message centered on the concerns of many in the manufacturing space: how to get and keep good people.  Karin discussed the evolution of the modern workforce of today, noting that when we evolved from the hunter gatherer mode, that an agricultural society left 90% of the hunter gatherers obsolete.  As we move from the industrial age to the age of information, the labor intensive assembly line single function worker jobs are rapidly going the way of the hunter gatherer; we are entering the age of the knowledge worker.  While companies attempt to trim waste, Karin argues the #1 waste in manufacturing is human potential.

When asking about stresses of the people in the room, a common theme emerged: getting, keeping and motivating people.  While Karin noted that indeed this could be a problem, she countered with, “You can’t change your people, but you can change yourself”.  She recounted that when speaking to a manufacturer who noted, “All of my people are stupid”, she countered with, “Did you hire them that way, or did they become stupid in your work environment?”  Too often, in production the focus is on the process, not the people, and Karin argued that production is really 10% process and 90% people. Too often, managers are so focused on the tangible: the deadline, the product, the process. They forget that people have different motivations, needs, and goals which can be harnessed to make many small, incremental changes that can add up to bigger gains and a more productive workforce that is engaged to contribute.  She asked “Are you the person who makes people happy when you enter the room, or when you leave the room?”  With employee engagement levels at less than 50% in manufacturing, it is critical to find ways to harness the potential of your employees, if you want to keep them.

Karin noted that you can have a fixed mindset, or a growth mindset.  A growth mindset focuses on what can be, vs. feeling like nothing is going to change; “it’s only failure if you stop trying”.  She challenged the audience that some of their beliefs could change in order to improve their way of getting the maximum potential from their employees and their work.  A belief is a thought that you think over and over again. Her tips:

-Positivity: Train your mind to see the good in every situation; don’t get hung up on the little things

-Clarity: Be clear in how you express yourself, and what your goals are; and communicate to employees how they contribute to the bigger picture.

-Identity: What you believe – “Operational excellence is not a skill. It’s an attitude.”

Karin’s overall message focused on the need to focus on people, not processes, numbers or tasks. She challenged the audience:

-To create a vision for what the ideal situation looks like

-Ask meaningful questions

-Refuse the status quo: always ask if there is a better way.

If your employees don’t want to come to work, what is your role in changing that mindset?



Planning for 2017: what’s Next for Manufacturing?

KCMN November Meeting

As the dollar has strengthened, US Exports have dragged. Policy uncertainty from both the US and Europe have frozen some from taking action. The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) indicates declining growth.  There has been an ongoing concern over the lack of skilled workers in the manufacturing sector.  Given this spate of less than optimal economic news, what’s a manufacturer to think when planning for 2017 and beyond?

Despite the gloomy news, Kansas City is seeing much activity. The Kansas economy showed some strength in manufacturing, outpacing the nation in both durable and non-durable manufacturing. Missouri’s GDP in 2015 grew at a 1.8 percent rate – slightly ahead of the national rate of 1.7 percent. Manufacturing, construction and healthcare were particularly strong in Missouri as each sector outpaced national rates.

Join us for our annual forecast meeting on November 1 to learn more.  Jon Willis, economist with the Federal Reserve, and KCMN favorite since 2011, will present his overview of the current economic conditions in both the US, and in manufacturing.  Following Jon’s presentation, our panelists will present the view of the Kansas City Manufacturing and Industrial economy from the perspective of those who are out in the marketplace daily.  The event promises to be a thorough look at what’s happening, and what’s next for manufacturing in Kansas City.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

7:30 – 9:00 AM

CBIZ MHM, LLC 700 West 47th St. 11th Floor, Kansas City, MO 64112

 Cost is $20 for KCMN or KCIC members, $25 for manufacturing company guests, and $50 for non manufacturing company guests. 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


Jonathan L. Willis, Vice President and Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

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, Willis received a B.A. degree in economics from Grinnell College in 1993 and a Ph.D. degree in economics from Boston University in 2001. Willis 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.

Panel Discussion Leader: Mark Chalfant, CEO, Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center (MAMTC) Mark leads the MAMTC team, not only providing direction and guidance to the state’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, but also working with other agencies and organization to help build the manufacturing sector in Kansas. Mark is a graduate of the Industrial Engineering program at Kansas State University, and has a Master’s degree from the University of Southern
California in Systems Management. He has 30 years of manufacturing and industrial setting experience working for both large and small companies in California, Utah and Kansas. Mark is an Innovation Engineering Black Belt
working with companies on growing their top line utilizing the Innovation Engineering Management System.

Rob Bratcher, Senior VP, Commercial Banking Division Manager, Kansas City, Commerce Bank Rob joined Commerce Bank in early 2012 as the Commercial Division Manager for Healthcare Banking across the  bank’s Western Region.  Beginning in 2014, Rob was promoted to serve as the head of Commercial Banking for the Kansas City Region.   Rob has spent 20  years in the financial services industries, providing guidance to medium and large middle market companies. Rob’s community interests include serving as Treasurer of the Kansas City Repertory Theater, and serves in multiple leadership roles for the United Way of Greater Kansas City. Rob is a cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri- Columbia with a BSBA in Finance & Real Estate from the Trulaske College of Business.

Chris Gutierrez, President, Kansas City SmartPort, Inc. Chris Gutierrez is the President of Kansas City SmartPort, Inc., a non-profit economic development organization that promotes and enhances the Kansas City region’s status as a leading North American logistics hub. SmartPort is an affiliated group of the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC). Chris has been active in logistics and international business for more than twenty-five years. He has worked in the public and private sector in international business and logistics. Chris’ community involvement includes his positions as a board member of the Board of Advisors of the University of Kansas Supply Chain Management Program, CSCMP, and the World Trade Center – Kansas City and Feed Northland Kids. He’s also alumni of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions.

Bob Dowling, Lead Managing Director, CBIZ MHM, LLC Bob is a Lead Managing Director in the Kansas City office and serves as a Lead Managing Director responsible for supervising, reviewing and performing attestation engagements for a variety of middle to large market-sized clients. Formerly an audit partner at a Big Four firm, Bob has over 30 years of experience as a public accountant. He works with clients in a wide array of industries, including retail, manufacturing, distribution, consumer products, software and life sciences. Bob is responsible for business growth, particularly in the public company arena and he is the leader of the local Manufacturing, Retail and Distribution (MRD) industry practice. Additionally, Bob is responsible for performing independent quality reviews of financial statements and served as the technical leader of the Kansas City Attest Practice for many years.


Summer Networking Success!

Our Annual Summer Networking event was a great success! Over 100 manufacturers and those interested in manufacturing, from 8 area associations attended the event at the 28 Event Space.  Drinks, food and lively discussions were offered.  The event also gave area manufacturing and technical societies an opportunity to expand their networks and introduce their organizations to a wider audience.  An added bonus was a book giveaway–retiring engineer Arwayne Peters brought his personal library of business books to give away to help the next generation of manufacturing leaders in their careers.  Thanks to David Lippe of Mid America Commerce and Industry Magazine for covering the event, and supplying the photos! Also thanks to Spencer Fane, for buying the drinks, and to our event sponsors:  Johnson County Community College, GLMV Architecture, Inc., MIQ Logistics, Kelly Engineering, Union Bank & Trust, Greater KC Chapter of NTMA, and Kansas City Industrial Council.   We couldn’t do this without you!


IMG_7327 IMG_7338 IMG_7340 IMG_7321IMG_7318

How Can We Make Manufacturing Sexy?

A KCMN Manufacturing Day Special Event – October 13

Sexy manufacturing?  For some, this may sound contradictory. But in her book, How Can We Make Manufacturing Sexy?, Karin Lindner outlines that in reality, every organization needs an element of sexiness – the creation of an initial interest into something exciting and appealing. She advocates a mindset of passion and purpose from the production floor to the executive suite. In the 2016 MHI Annual Industry Report, developed in collaboration with Deloitte, 900 industry insiders stated that workforce issues were their #1 challenge.  A survey by SME found that more than 20% of parents surveyed view manufacturing as an outdated and/or dirty work environment. Many of you have noted difficulties in recruiting skilled workforce, so retaining employees is even more crucial in today’s challenging job market.  If recruiting, retaining and engaging your people is one of your challenges, don’t miss this event!

Please join us as we invite national speaker and author Karin Lindner to Kansas City to discuss:

  • The need for rebranding of manufacturing – How Can We Make Manufacturing Sexy?
  • Engaging your employees by creating an environment of respect in which people are appreciated and new ideas are encouraged
  • Inspiring young people to develop a passion for excellence
  • Changing the tone of communication within your organization from issues and problems, to a focus on opportunities

Thursday, October 13
7:30 – 9 AM
River Market Event Place
140 Walnut St, Kansas City, MO 64106

Cost: $25 per person. Sign up today BY CLICKING HERE The first 80 to sign up will receive a copy of Karin’s book. 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. For questions or comments, please contact Donna Gordon at 816-304-7958 or

Premier Sponsor:


About Karin Lindner: Karin is the founder and owner of Karico Performance Solutions. She has found her calling and her true passion in helping individuals and manufacturing companies to become the best they can be. An author, corporate coach and reputed keynote speaker, Karin enjoys working with leadership teams to increase their personal and organizational effectiveness by fully engaging the energy, talent and intelligence of the workforce.  With more than 25 years of international corporate experience, Karin has acquired the knowledge and developed the tools to make a positive impact on her clients’ lives. Karin is a passionate promoter of the manufacturing industry. She is determined to help people discover the sexiness of the manufacturing industry – an industry that is critical to the wealth and prosperity of any country.

Supporting Sponsor:





Please observe our no solicitation policy.  Due to our need to cover the cost, no shows or cancellations after Fri AM of a Tuesday meeting will be billed. Cancellations of reservations made by credit card are assessed a $10 fee by the 123 signup service, but we can apply your charge to another event should you have to cancel before the deadline, if you contact us directly,

Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center and Missouri Enterprise are our NIST Network Affiliate Sponsors. We welcome all regional manufacturers to join us to make KCMN the central resource for manufacturing company managers and owners who are working to grow and improve their businesses across many functional areas.

Energy Savings for Manufacturers

KCMN September Meeting

 KCP&L rates in some areas are set to rise 12% in September. Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU) Estimates a 20% electric rate increase without escalation cost due to the Clean Power Plan (CPP).  In an environment with energy costs rising, and set to rise more, how can manufacturers remain competitive? Join us for our September meeting to hear Senior Energy Management Specialist, and long time KCMN favorite, Gary Hogsett, discuss ways you can cope with rising energy costs.

  • How to evaluate new energy saving technologies
  • Programs to facilitate energy savings, and
  • Practical strategies for reducing energy costs

Tuesday, September 13
7:30 – 9:00 AM
Johnson County Community College
Regnier Center, Room 101
12345 College Blvd Overland Park, KS 66210-1299 

Cost is $20 for members, $25 for manufacturing company guests, and $50 for non manufacturing company guests. 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 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.


About our Speaker

Gary Hogsett, P.E., CEM, LEED-AP, Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center (MAMTC) Senior Energy Management Specialist

Mr. Hogsett served as the worldwide President for the Association of Energy Engineers in 2012.  He has two engineering degrees specializing in industrial energy management and has performed more than 4,000 energy analysis studies.  But what makes him unique among energy engineers is that (1) he serves as the Mayor of Independence, Kansas, and (2) he has also found time to win 10 humorous speaking contests.

Gary’s expertise allows him to work with Kansas manufacturers to develop and execute an Energy Management plan for the company.  In partnership with the Wyandotte County Economic Development Center, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and MAMTC, Gary has managed a successful program in the Wyandotte County region focused at business attraction and retainment by working with company leaders to determine potential savings opportunities within their facility.


Mark your calendar for upcoming events!

KCMN membership is a company membership for manufacturers, so anyone in your company is welcome to participate in any of our meetings.  Interest groups are open to manufacturers only, with the exception of Emerging Leaders, which is open to any member of KCMN whose membership is current.

EHS Group Launch meeting – (members only) July 20, 7:30 AM, Robbie Flexibles, 10810 Mid America Drive, Lenexa KS
This is a new interest group we are forming to promote the exchange of ideas and best practices for those who are charged with Environmental, Health and or Safety responsibilities in their companies.  The initial meeting will determine when, where and how often the group will meet, and how topics will be suggested. If there is time available, we will also discuss OSHA’s new “anti-retaliation” rule and its implications for employers. Please RSVP for the meeting by emailing

New Rules for Overtime Pay – KCMN Workforce Support Group (members only) August 17th, 7:30 – 9:00 AM at SOR.
This group is for HR and operations professionals who are KCMN manufacturing company members. They meet every other month on 3rd Wednesdays at 7:30 AM.

Summer Networking Event (members only) – August 23rd, 4-7 PM 28 Event Space – details at
This annual event is a member favorite, and has grown from 3 participating organizations in 2012 to 7 participating organizations this year! The event features appetizers, drinks and a fun structured networking activity that ensures that you will have the opportunity to make some new connections with other manufacturers.

Emerging Leaders (members only): Spaces are filling fast for our Fall sessions – learn more at   Many of you have participated or sent members to our leadership development program, but others of you may be on the fence, or want to know more.  We are holding 2 executive briefing sessions this August that are designed to provide insight for those who want to support employees who are in the program. NEW! We are also offering these sessions for anyone who would like more details about the program.  Sign up with by August 1st if you plan to attend.

8/17/2016 -Emerging Leaders Executive Briefing by instructor George Ferguson, Johnson County Community College, Regnier Center 145 7:00 – 8:00 AM


8/31/2016 – Emerging Leaders Executive Briefing by instructor George Ferguson, Johnson County Community College, Regnier Center 145 7:00 – 8:00 AM

Energy Savings: Current Strategies and New Technologies – September 13, 7:30 – 9:00 AM, Johnson County Community College, Regnier Center, Room 101 
September’s meeting will feature Energy Engineer Gary Hogsett who will discuss energy savings and how to evaluate energy saving technologies.

Lean Benchmarking and Support (members only)– Our next meeting will be held at UltraSource, September 20, 7:30 – 10 AM.  Schier Products will host the meeting in the 4th Quarter.

How Can We Make Manufacturing Sexy? October 13, 7:30 – 9:00 AM, River Market Event Space,  Details at 
October 13 will feature nationally recognized speaker and author Karin Lindner, who will be discussing her book, How Can We Make Manufacturing Sexy?; Employee engagement, and branding manufacturing for the workforce of the future.

Manufacturing in Today’s Economy: Now and in 2017, November 1st   CBIZ, 700 W. 47th Street, Kansas City
November will feature our ever-popular Economic Forecast meeting featuring economist Jon Willis and a panel on economic trends in the KC region. Details are coming soon!

The end of Summer event you won’t want to miss!


This is our 5th Annual Summer Networking event, and it keeps getting bigger and better! Wrap up your Summer by having a beverage with your fellow manufacturers, and making some new connections.

28 Event Space
1300 W. 28TH ST., Kansas City, MO 64108
August 23, 2016  4-7 PM
Logo merge

Just off Southwest Boulevard near I-35, minutes from downtown Kansas City, the 28 Event Space is set in an old warehouse that has been fully remodeled to bring you that vintage vibe with a cool, modern feel. Admission includes 2 complementary beverages, as well as great appetizers from crowd favorite Dean & Deluca, plus an opportunity to network with fellow manufacturers- all for only $25 per person

  • Event limited to the first 150 people who sign up
  • Networking activities, delicious food and an amazing drink selection!
  • Proceeds benefit the scholarship funds for the participating organizations.
  • Advance registration is required, (online or No walk-ins will be accepted at the door
  • Pay online BY CLICKING HERE or contact Donna  816-304-7958
  • Cash or check at the door – due to 6 organizations involved, no invoicing
  • Download the event flyer Summer Event Flyer 2016

Your choice of beverages, thanks to our Premier sponsor:


Spencer Fane logo (2)-cleaned-cleaned


Spencer Fane is the law firm where your business leaders work with our business leaders. We provide an unconventional approach to legal services geared toward protecting and advancing business and personal interests. Our clients are certain that their interests are our priority, because they work with leaders – leaders who work decisively, execute with purpose and understand the importance of flawless timing. Be certain.


Sponsors 2016


Principles of Lean: Beyond the Shop Floor – May Meeting Recap

May’s Kansas City Manufacturing Network meeting featured a panel of manufacturing professionals, who shared their best practices for expanding Lean concepts to processes and services, and not just on the production floor.

Principles of Lean: Beyond the Shop Floor

May 10 2016













May’s Kansas City Manufacturing Network meeting featured a panel of manufacturing professionals, who shared their best practices for expanding Lean concepts to processes and services, and not just on the production floor.  The panel was led by Joe Torrago, Project Manager for MAMTC, who has helped Kansas-based organizations achieve their growth plans since coming on board with MAMTC in early 2015, and has led Lean implementation in 3 companies and 2 countries.  Joe noted that a current project he is working on with a local municipality was helping to streamline the permitting process, as the existing process was eliminating wasteful steps that did not add value to the process.

Talli Denney, Retail Technology Director, Sally Luck, Director of Corporate Services, and Mark Pettit, Corporate Services Manager, Hallmark Cards, Inc. discussed Hallmark’s transition from Lean in plant operations, to a broader tool for all areas of the business.  The ultimate driver for their Lean initiative was to help determine if services and processes were adding value to the customer.  For example, help desk functions were being considered for outsourcing.  However, with the implementation of Lean problem solving tools, help desk employees became empowered to add value by seeking solutions to common problems, thus eliminating or reducing issues that increased call volume. This led to increased customer satisfaction, as well as cost savings for the company.

The panelists noted that Hallmark’s creation of Lean coaches helps to sustain the Lean efforts, and also had the benefit of creating new challenges and development opportunities for those who are coaches, which boosts morale in an environment where not everyone can earn a promotion.  Another key to success of Lean efforts was changing the culture where it became OK to challenge management, to point out problems, and have a hand in creating solutions.  This change created momentum for the company’s Lean efforts, as empowered employees worked to solve problems using the Lean tools.

Additionally, the complaint that people don’t have time to devote to Lean efforts can be overcome by taking small bite sized efforts – 30 minutes a day, and over time the participants can see that the Lean efforts actually result in time savings as wasteful processes are eliminated or changed.


Thomas Dunbar, Mechanical Level Production Supervisor, SOR, Inc. discussed the success he has had with expanding the concept of Lean beyond just seeing it as a tool to solve problems.  SOR holds Kaizen events not just to discuss problems, but to also discuss what is working well, and how that success can be built on in other areas. Thomas noted that there were those who saw the efforts in a negative light, and that early on, it’s important to start with some ‘quick wins’ that are more visible – employees won’t always buy in to benefits they can’t see, which is more common in an office environment where work is less visible than in production.  He also noted the importance of building a Lean team that has multiple perspectives – sales, purchasing, accounting, etc, so that the issues are viewed from different problem solving angles.  Finally, he noted that when looking to prioritize issues, choosing the laziest person you know can help bring problems to light, as the things they are complaining about most are likely also the most in need of improvement.

Among the takeaways noted by the panelists:

  • Seek opportunities to benchmark performance measures and differentiate between value added and non value added activities.
  • Don’t get caught up in terminology – using common terms instead of some of the ‘Lean’ terms removes some of the mystique around Lean and makes it more accessible.
  • Creating Lean champions, or inside experts is key to creating and building on momentum.
  • Find ways to celebrate wins, and recognize the people who contribute to gains and efforts.
  • Understand that there will always be naysayers, or those who don’t buy in completely.  Try to focus some effort to make the complainers part of the process, but don’t let managing them bog you down
  • Remember that value is determined by the customer, that the ultimate goal of any Lean effort is to improve the customer experience.