Teamwork Leads to AS9100 Certification

February 18, 2014

“With aerospace function and safety criticality, we absolutely need to know the status and location of every piece that could be considered a part. We have definitely upped our performance in the accuracy,  flow and knowledge of status of “what’s in the bin.””- Tammy Wilson.

Permac Industries recently announced that they were just awarded their AS9100 certification, on their first try.  AS9100 Certification is required by many OEM’s in the Aerospace industry.

Lots of Teamwork.

Lots of Teamwork.

I asked  a group of employees at Permac what were the unexpected challenges and what made their efforts work.

If you are a manager, you might want to jot a few of these down.

Challenges

  • Weren’t able to foresee many of the additional requirements.
  • Weren’t able to understand the impact of some of these requirements on our processes;
  • Weren’t really expecting additional paperwork- Our previous experience with Quality System implementations were that they helped us lean out our paperwork;
  • Really had to embrace the Authority of piece count and build processes based on count.

Enablers of Success

  • We really did have the right people  in place;
  • Those people had both the responsibility and authority to make the system and process improvements demanded by the AS9100 standard;
  • They had management support when the changes were difficult to implement
  • They felt that management was confident in their ability to make the changes.

Members of the team told me that

  • Having strong existing systems made their job easier- they didn’t have to reinvent anything.
  • They did need to tighten up procedures;
  • They did need to add some additional procedures;
  • They have focused more on supplier and production control

Congratulations to the team at Permac for getting this done right first time.

Do you have a success story to share?

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Find a Cool Career at Manufacturing Day

September 30, 2013

There is a critical shortage of talented people in the advanced manufacturing fields- Precision Machining, Welding, Robotics and Mechatronics, Industrial Control Systems, Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing.

Nothing dull, dirty or boring going on here.

Nothing dull, dirty or boring going on here.

Most PMPA member shop CEO’s tell me that they would hire a qualified machinist on the spot- even if they didn’t have an immediate opening- because the need for talent is so great.

This Friday,  October 4, 2013, across the country, cool careers in Advanced Manufacturing are going to be open for you to check out as part of MFG Day 2013.

Check out what Precision Machining as a career can be like at the following PMPA company MFG Day 2013 open houses:

AccuRounds   Avon, Massachusetts

E. J. Basler Schiller Park, Illinois

Cox Manufacturing San Antonio, Texas

Lisle Corp Clarinda Iowa

Mastercam

Miller Products Osceola, Iowa

North Easton Machine North Easton Massachusetts

Permac Industries Burnsville Minnesota

Polygon Solutions Fort Myers Florida

Precision Plus Elkhorn Wisconsin

Prince Industries Carol Stream Illinois

Sandvik Coromant  Ca, Il, NJ, Tx

Small Parts Manufacturing Portland, Oregon

Smith and Richardson Geneva, Illinois

SwissTurn USA Oxford Massachusetts

Thuro Metal Products  Brentwood New York

Tomak Precision Lebanon, Ohio

Trillium Machine Sandy, Oregon

PMPA MFG Day


Congratulations- 122 Women in Manufacturing Honored at STEP Awards by Manufacturing Institute.

February 7, 2013

When I started in manufacturing, “The Gals” were in the office- not the shop.

122  women who make a difference in Manufacturing today

122 women who make a difference in Manufacturing today

The inaugural group of 122 STEP honorees recognized by the Manufacturing Institute on February 5th in Washington D.C.  showed me that the times have changed and that there are many, many ways  that women can and do meaningfully contribute to manufacturing at their companies as

  • Plant and Production Managers,
  • Operations,
  • Engineers,
  • Technologists,
  • Process Control,
  • Regulatory Affairs,
  • Certified Welders,
  • CNC Machine Operators,
  • Weld Process Specialists,
  • Quality Control,
  • Health,
  • Environment,
  • Process Safety,
  • Chief Financial Officer,
  • Designers and Design Engineers,
  • Compliance Officers,
  • Chief Scientists,
  • Safety,
  • Quality,
  • Black Belts,
  • Training and Apprenticeship Instructors,
  • Manufacturing Lead,
  • Product Development,
  • Sales and Marketing,
  • Information Technology,
  • Lead Analyst,
  • Business Development,
  • Continuous Improvement,
  • Planning and Shipping,
  • Designer,s and Design Engineers
  • Information Security,
  • Assembly,
  • Legal and Corporate Affairs,
  • Systems Development,
  • President,
  • CEO
  • Owners

I am certain that I missed a few…

PMPA is proud to recognize our member and Vice President Darlene Miller, CEO of Permac Industries in Burnsville MN as one of this inaugural group of honorees.

Darlene Miller Nak“Darlene’s leadership  reaches far beyond PERMAC. As a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness she recognized the need for trained high skill workers and led the creation of Right Skills Now training program and helped support the 10,000 Engineers nationwide engineering student retention program. She was named small business person of the year in 2008 by the U.S. Chamber, and serves as an officer and board member at PMPA as well as a number of other nonprofits.”

Congratulations to Darlene and all the women recognized for their vital role in manufacturing today. And thanks to the Manufacturing Institute for helping raise the awareness of the vital need for the talents that these and all women bring to our shops.

Yes, I would like to see my daughter get into manufacturing. Wouldn’t you?


Teaching For Future Jobs Skills- Right Skills Now

October 8, 2012

USA Today has an extensive article and video segment on Right Skills Now, the skilled workforce development program spearheaded by Darlene Miller of Permac Industries, in Burnsville, Minnesota.

Darlene is an elected vice president of PMPA and a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Effectiveness (PCJC).

Thanks Paul Davidson at USA today for a great story about how to get started in a career in machining / advanced manufacturing.

We can’t wait two years or four years,” for students to graduate college, says Darlene Miller, CEO of Permac Industries, a contract manufacturer in Burnsville, Minn., who promoted the idea for the program last year when she was unable to find seven CNC operators. “We need people now.” 

Experts say the program could serve as a national model for employers needing skilled workers yesterday and many jobless Americans unable to spend two years earning an associate degrees.

A pipeline of skilled factory workers is sorely needed, especially with Baby Boomers retiring. A year ago, 600,000 skilled manufacturing jobs were unfilled, and 80% of manufacturers couldn’t find proficient workers, according to a survey by the institute and Deloitte.

“Our programs, especially Rights Skills Now, are generated by industry needs.” Deborah Kerrigan, Dunwoody College of Technology. “There is a huge need for skilled labor.”

Read the full story and watch a great video at USA Today Right Skills Now

Right Skills Now


Right Skills Now Launches Pilot Machinist Training Program

October 31, 2011

Right Skills Now will provide fast-track training for skilled manufacturing jobs- starting with  entry level precision machinists.

Right Skills Now for manufacturing

According to a Skills Gap study by the Manufacturing Institute, more than 80 percent of U.S. manufacturers can’t find qualified people for the nearly 600,000 skilled production jobs that are currently unfilled.

For American manufacturing to be successful, employers need machinists that have the right skills, and they need those skills now. That is the impetus for a new, fast-track education initiative called Right Skills Now.

The program is an accelerated, 16-week training course for operators of precision machining equipment. It provides classroom and hands-on shop experience to prepare students for immediate employment. It also allows individuals to earn college credit and national industry certifications.

One of the founders of Right Skills Now is Darlene Miller, CEO and owner of Permac Industries in Burnsville, Minn. She helped launch the training program for CNC machinists in her home state.  PMPA provides staff support to Ms. Miller’s PCJC work. Miles Free, Director of Industry Research and Technology helped develop an initial outline of the curriculum to assure relevance to today’s advanced manufacturing shops.

Darlene Miller Announces Right Skills Now At President's Job Council Listening and Action Session at Productivity Inc, in Minnesota

As a small business owner representing the manufacturing sector, Ms. Miller was asked to serve for two years on the President’s Council for Jobs and Competitiveness. The Jobs Council is comprised of citizens chosen to provide non-partisan advice to the President to help foster economic growth, competitiveness, innovation and job creation.

According to Ms. Miller, the first time she met with President Obama, she was asked to talk about the economy as it related to manufacturing and small business. “One of the things I said to the President was, ‘Not every student needs to go to college,’ she says.

“He had recently made a speech saying that every student should go to college. But he later agreed that while not all students must go to college, they do need some educational training beyond high school.

“I told him that in the precision machining industry, we have an urgent need for skilled people,” Ms. Miller continues. “We can’t afford to take just anyone off the street, provide some training and then put that person in a machining job.”

Despite the nation’s high unemployment rate, attracting workers with machining skills has been difficult for small manufacturers. “Because of the recession, we’re all strapped financially,” Ms. Miller explains. “We need people that have math skills. Our equipment is very high-tech, and our customers expect zero ppm performance so we can’t afford to hire someone that hasn’t had technical training.

“It is critical that new hires have the necessary math and safety skills to understand and operate the machines,” she adds. “There is so much more involved now than there was 10 years ago.”

Serving on the Jobs Council with Ms. Miller are some of the country’s top corporate leaders from GE, American Express and DuPont. After the council meeting with the President, the members were divided into sub-committees. Ms. Miller was asked to co-chair the High-tech Education Sub-committee with Intel’s CEO, Paul Otellini.

The group held meetings and brought in two of Minnesota’s technical schools—Dunwoody College of Technology and South Central College. The sub-committee was also able to elicit help from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM); the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS); and American College Testing (ACT), the company that developed the testing for applicants. The program has also received funding from the Joyce Foundation.

“To make this work, there had to be a partnership between the business community, the technical schools and organizations like NAM, NIMS and ACT,” Ms. Miller emphasizes.

This photo shows a small fraction of the almost 200 attendees for the launch of Right Skills Now.

To be eligible for the program, applicants have to pass the ACT test, which is geared towards the machining industry. If an individual doesn’t qualify for the program the first time, there are remedial classes available.

“Problem-solving is huge part of the curriculum,” Ms. Miller says. “There is a mix of both classroom learning and shop time. After sixteen weeks, the student will intern at a manufacturing company for eight weeks.

“That person can stay with the company and continue his or her education in a specific field,” she adds. Some go into programming, Swiss machining or advanced CNC skills.   Others may end up as operations managers, quality managers or even entrepreneurs.

“We intend to replicate Right Skills Now nationally,” Ms. Miller sums up. “It’s not just for CNC machinists. It can be used for nearly any job skill. The program is so well-defined and accredited, it can be tweaked very easily to train anyone from welders to healthcare technicians.”

Click this link for more information on Right Skills Now,


PMPA Member Darlene Miller Appointed to White House Jobs and Competitiveness Council

March 2, 2011

Darlene Miller, Chief Executive of Permac Industries in Burnsville Minnesota, was named last week to President Obama’s 22-person Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

 
 

Permac Industries' Darlene Miller visits the White House Thursday February 24, 2011.

 

The council was created by President Obama last month to advise him on economic issues, and is focused on jump starting employment recovery and other issues. Other members of the panel include the heads of American Express, Intel, DuPont, and leaders from labor unions, economists, and others.

In her comments to the President and the Council, Miller focused on the need for talent and skills, not mere labor- “The biggest challenge, even though there is huge unemployment, is that we don’t find skilled labor. In our shops we need people with talent and skills. We really don’t have any unskilled labor jobs.”

Miller’s comments were picked up by national media including the Washington Post, and the Minneapolis StarTribune. 

Her comment about the need for skilled talent resonated with the committee and the President who mentioned the need for skilled talent in his remarks.

Miller also discussed the especially heavy burdens that regulations place on small businesses like her precision machining shop, which produces precision machined components for almost all industries including medical, aerospace, food service equipment and many more. 

Ms. Miller has been an active member of the PMPA since 1997, where she has been a member of the board and served on several committees and currently chairs the Statistical and Financial Resources Committee. 

PMPA is proud that our member was selected to serve on this important council and is confident that Ms. Miller will carry the message from Main Street to the White House that “Small and medium enterprises are the key to job creation and economic recovery. Identifying and acting on issues that prevent smaller companies from operating effectively will be positive for both job creation and economic recovery.”

Permac Industries

Small Business of the Year