May 2019
Check out this awesome video produced by a group of 8th graders at Lone Star in Yuma, Colorado featuring our good friends at Agri Inject and then scroll down to find out more about the "What's So Cool About Manufacturing" program!
In this issue:

Upcoming Events
successLocal Family-Owned Business Serves Up High-Quality, Wholesome Food Across the Rocky Mountain Region for More Than 45 Years
A Manufacturer's Edge Success Story
"We are a mid-sized company that was beginning to plateau. With Manufacturer's Edge's assistance we have been able to get back on a growth trajectory. We have been very happy with their services and we are looking forward to deepening our relationship."
- Marco Antonio Abarca, Owner, Ready Foods, Inc.
Ready Foods is not a household name in Colorado. However, after 47 years of selling soups and sauces into restaurants, supermarkets and other foodservice outlets, you have probably eaten their food on multiple occasions. Ready Foods was founded in 1972 by Luis Abarca, a Mexican immigrant. Their first kitchen was located in a small meat plant located under the Colfax viaduct. In 1992, the reins of leadership were passed onto his children Marco and Adrianna. They have been able to grow the business from a small facility to four modern food plants with over 200,000 square feet of combined production and storage space. The company now employs over 300 people.
While over the years company revenues have grown quickly, Ready Foods has worked hard to maintain a solid company culture. Ready Foods has always had a strong commitment to excellence and continuous improvement. From the very beginning, the company's leadership has understood the importance of investing in its own people. They understood that Ready Foods' people were their greatest resource. In turn, they have been fortunate to have many long term employees and a lower than average industry turnover rate.
After twenty-five years of learning how to make the company grow, Marco understood that most of the low-hanging fruit had already been picked. To take the company to the next level, new sources of ideas were needed. Yet, he was reluctant to hire consultants. He noted, "I always thought consultants would tell me what I already knew. I had confidence that with enough hard work, we could figure out any problems. But eventually, it became clear that we did not have to teach ourselves everything. Why not learn from the hard-won lessons of other people?"
After researching the Toyota Production System and lean theories of continuous improvement, Marco turned to Manufacturer's Edge. Ready Foods' first step with Manufacturer's Edge was to engage in creating a strategic plan. After understanding where they wanted to take the company, Ready Foods began reexamining all elements of the company. "There were no sacred cows.", Marco observed. "Everything was on the table." While many of the company's practices were already "lean", there was still room for improvement.
Ready Foods was an already successful medium-sized company when it first started working with Manufacturer's Edge. However, Marco understood that for the company to pass to the next generation of ownership, Ready Foods needed new ideas. In conclusion, Marco remarked "Manufacturer's Edge has a been a great partner. We have been very happy with their services and we look forward to deepening our relationship."
Cost Savings: $1,000,000
Increased Investment: $950,000
New/Retained Jobs: 35
coolKids Connection: What's So Cool About Manufacturing?
Video series program aims to connect students with manufacturing community
"What's So Cool in Manufacturing" was designed and created by our counterparts at the Manufacturing Extension Partnership center in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 2013. This program pairs groups of middle and high school students with manufacturers and challenges them to delve into the world of manufacturing by creating a video highlighting the organization. Since its inception, the program has been adopted by more than a dozen other states and has proven to be a fun and amazingly effective way of inspiring the next generation to get involved in manufacturing. The students are equipped with GoPro cameras as well as editing software, providing them with the tools and the skills necessary to produce high quality videos. They then meet and get to know their manufacturer, which also teaches them professional communication skills. As they tour the facility and learn about the organization, what they do, and how they do it, they also acquire first-hand knowledge about business practices, innovation, challenges facing the manufacturing community, as well as the wide variety of exciting career opportunities available in the industry. Once the videos are finalized, students premiere their work for the community and can receive various awards for their work.  
This year Josh Gibbs, Youth Career Coach at the Fort Morgan Workforce Center, introduced the program to the Northeastern Colorado community by pairing a handful of students from Akron and Yuma with local manufacturers. Last month, the students presented their work to the companies, their instructors, as well as local business leaders and legislative representatives at a luncheon hosted by Akron Schools. The students were, prior to this project, previously unaware of the manufacturers and their contributions to the community and were excited to gain a new-found appreciation for manufacturing as well as a sense of pride to see members of their hometown producing valuable goods that are being shipped around the world. In exchange, the manufacturers were grateful for the opportunity to connect with the students and show off their work.  
For more information about the "What's So Cool in Manufacturing" program, visit the website. Or contact Josh Gibbs to see how you can help or participate! 
simplycyber(Vol 15) Cyber Spring Cleaning: Kata Takes  
Jennifer Kurtz, Cyber Program Director, Manufacturer's Edge 
To keep or not to keep, that is the question, whether you celebrate National Spring Cleaning Week (UK: March 4 to March 10), or National Pack Rat Day (US: May 17), or National Cleaning Day (Sierra Leone: monthly). Whether a day, a week, a month . . . the point is to start changing behavior so that making choices about what we stow and what we throw becomes easier, more autonomic, like riding a bike or buckling your seatbelt before starting the car engine.
The Japanese-inspired Kata technique for making incremental changes to learn a new skill or mindset can be applied to our data practices. The objective is to find the balance between change that is meaningful and sustainable-and change to address a compliance need or auditing critique but that is only superficially adopted (and quickly abandoned). One expectation of Kata is to "fail early/fail cheap": Try a fix, learn from the results, and then continue to adapt that fix so that it truly fits the business culture, business model, and operating environment. Another expectation is that the four steps (articulate the challenge, define the current condition, launch experiments, identify next target) guide the behavioral change process. The questions posed below outline-no real spoiler alert-an adaptation of Kata to promote "cyber spring cleaning."(...)
camaThe CAMA Conversation
by Dave Jeffrey, Chair of the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Association
Dave Jeffrey, CEO & Owner, JPM Prototype & Mfg, Inc. 
Avengers: Endgame - have you seen it yet? I have not, so you'll see no spoilers here, but it begs the question, what is your endgame?

Max DePree, an American businessman and writer, once said, "We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are."Whether you are an owner of a successful manufacturing company, a startup, or just getting a start in your career, having an endgame in mind is critical to one's success in business and in life. As I look back on my career, I realize that my endgame has evolved. Sometimes it has been in my mind, and sometimes it has been on paper, but there has always been an endgame in sight.
Part of what has helped that endgame evolve is linking arms with great organizations like CAMA, Manufacturers Edge, NAM, the Chamber and EDC  and others and taking advantage of the benefits they have to offer.
Know your endgame, make the connections, and find ways to reach where you and your company need to go. We can choose to go it alone, or we can connect and understand those best practices that will get us closer to the endgame.
events Upcoming Events
Visit our website for a complete calendar of
manufacturing events taking place around Colorado
CO-LABS: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Global Monitoring Division Tour

May 30 @ 3 -5 pm
 Come learn the "HOW" behind the climate science conversations in the news. 
Find out more
Gear & Beer Summer Festival    
June 19 @ 5 - 8 pm
Wayfinder Co-op 
Gear & Beer is a festival celebrating the hustle and entrepreneurial spirit of independent emerging outdoor, travel, adventure, and lifestyle brands. Come shop from our vendors, grab craft beer, listen to music, and enter for chances to win some swag.
Find out more

FRCC: Center for Integrated Manufacturing Information Session
July 11 @ 5 - 7 pm
1351 S. Sunset St, Loveland
Want a great job in advanced manufacturing? FRCC's programs provide industry-focused education and hands-on training.  

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