Women in Business & Manufacturing
A Round Table Overview for GBIG
This series of three features women in manufacturing and/or allied to industry.
Including in this, Part 1:
Hosted by Susan Stansbury, Industry Consultant
Barb LaMue, President & CEO, The New North
Cassie Diedrick, Business Development, Robinson Inc.
Mary VanVonderen, Marketing Manager, The CMM Group
Susan: What is your outlook for 2022?
Barb LaMue:We anticipate that 2022 will see increased sales growth and capital investment within the region, but unfortunately supply chain disruptions will continue. The number of job opportunities will also continue to increase, but the tight labor market will also remain.
Cassie Diedrick: We see more collaboration, automation, and custom tailoring to meet market needs. Customization, for example, does not need to be expensive when you consider the gains in efficiency and productivity that result.
Mary VanVonderen: We see markets are opening up in the industries we serve. Money is being spent on long-delayed projects. Companies are spending on new equipment and expanding production in many of our core markets. We also see an uptick in companies taking proactive steps for preventive maintenance and upgrading existing equipment.
Susan: What do you see regarding workforce issues?
Barb: Companies are investing more in technology and increasing job training to grow from within, along with increased workplace flexibility. Our institutions of higher learning are also increasing the methods of learning with more certificates and shorter-term focused curricula.
Susan: Not too long ago, the focus on fuller employment was the major workforce issue with companies. Now, with automation and lean manufacturing, the difficulties in finding workers with current low unemployment, may be overcome somewhat.
Mary: While companies are expanding their production, the concerns remain for finding qualified people to fill positions and finding new ways to retain them. We believe in listening, really listening to teams—they have good ideas. I’d advise; Don’t be afraid to try new ideas brought forth from your team. Build relationships within your team.
Cassie: Our approximately 500 employees are more productive than ever by cross training in our segments including robotics, smart controls, and custom tailoring solutions for customers. Our expertise in double stacking items like wipes; product handling that has become automated; and modular metal fabrications—are some of our diverse offerings.
Susan: Where are the growth areas?
Barb: We expect to see increases in the number of diverse business opportunities in our region, as this becomes more of a focus within organizations and corporations. We expect continued growth in transportation and logistics as consumer buying habits trend to on-line activity.
Mary: We are offering regenerative thermal pollution control systems and industrial ovens and dryers where use of less energy is a major benefit to our customers. Aftermarket services that help customers upgrade; improve their production equipment; and extend the life of existing equipment are another growth area.
Susan: Markets ranging from retail packaging and printing support to business-to-business supplies continue to grow among Northeast Wisconsin manufacturers. With the last two years’ growth in hygiene disposables like antibacterial wet wipes and masks, line extensions will occur as converters branch out into other areas using similar technologies.
Look for Part 2 next, featuring three women with the spotlight on the converting industry.