November 2018
The November edition of the Small Manufacturer's AdvantEDGE Highlighting Colorado Manufacturers video series features Fountain-based manufacturer RMB Products
In this issue:
Upcoming Events
by Tom Bugnitz, CEO, Manufacturer's Edge
Cynthia Christie and family
We are both delighted and saddened to announce that Cynthia Christie, our Director of Client Services, will be leaving Manufacturer's Edge at the end of November to take the next step on her own personal "Lean Journey". Cynthia will be moving to aerospace company Woodward Industries in Ft. Collins as an internal quality and lean process champion. While this is certainly a loss for Manufacturer's Edge, Cynthia is very excited and almost giddy about a really great opportunity to continue learning and helping others in manufacturing.
Cynthia has spent over 20 years with the MEP National Network in Colorado and has contributed greatly to our progress and success, both nationally and in our great state. She has always kept her eye on the future and brought a number of new products and service to us with her constant scanning of industry trends and work at other centers, looking for the best of the best. She has been an integral part of the Manufacturer's Edge family and we'll miss her eclectic ideas, easy laugh, and intellectual leadership.
Most significantly, Cynthia leaves behind a long trail of people and companies who have benefited from her warm personal style, her deep expertise, and her tireless preparation and attention to quality. Companies that she worked with 10 or 15 years ago still ask us about her when we call on them. Notably, a company we hadn't worked with in over ten years specifically asked for Cynthia to be their consultant when we started a new project with them this year. Her impact throughout the Colorado manufacturing industry has been deep and impressive, and her impact on the people she worked with is the best part of her legacy.
So, with mixed feelings we wish her good luck in her next adventure. While we will miss her, she will always be part of the Manufacturer's Edge family.  
"Cynthia has a knack for making others feel at ease with a softly southern sensibility that cushions insights that are to the point but not pointed. Thank you, Cynthia, for being the friendly, encouraging face during my first client training workshop delivery--and for leading us all through a highly entertaining manufacturing work process flow simulation."
- Jennifer Kurtz, Cyber Program Director, Mfr Edge
"Cynthia's passion for serving our clients is matched by her kind and caring demeanor. She has been wonderful to work with and I'll miss her! I wish her all the best in her new role - Woodward is lucky to have her."
- Tracey McCarthy, Business Manager, Mfr Edge
"Cynthia's personal contribution and economic impact to manufacturing in the state of Colorado over the past 20+ years probably exceeds $50M+ and I'm sure that is a  conservative estimate. She is well-known and well respected by many manufacturing clients and partners. Thank you for your dedication to Colorado manufacturing. I wish you well in your new career, my friend, you will be missed!"
- Cindy Nowak, Regional Manager - Southern CO, Mfr Edge
skillfulSkillful Colorado and Manufacturer's Edge Partner to Strengthen Colorado's Skilled Workforce
By Beth Cobert, CEO of Skillful, and Sumer Sorensen-Bain,
Chief of Programs and Operations at Manufacturer's Edge
Skillful Colorado, a nonprofit initiative of the Markle Foundation, and Manufacturer's Edge are partnering to help Colorado manufacturers find the skilled talent they need to grow and to put more Coloradans on paths to good jobs in the manufacturing sector.  

Together, we aim to help Colorado's manufacturing companies adopt skills-based hiring and employment practices that deepen talent pools. We are also intent on exposing more people to the variety of career paths available in the manufacturing sector so that more Coloradans see themselves in these jobs and pursue them.
Skillful Colorado and Manufacturer's Edge are a natural pairing. We have a shared interest in strengthening the competitiveness of Colorado's manufacturing companies; our work together focuses on workforce development and the talent pipeline. We recognize Colorado's manufacturing companies often struggle to find the talent they need given Colorado's historically low unemployment. And we know that by adopting skills-based hiring and employment practices, which focus on the skills needed to do a job rather than proxies for skills like degrees, employers can more quickly find the talent they need to succeed.
Clarifying Roles and Metrics Through Visual Management Systems and
Continuous Improvement Allows Local Manufacturer to Launch their
Most Successful Product to Date
"I've partnered with Manufacturer's Edge at a few different facilities over the years. The expertise and coaching abilities have had a measurable impact in each of my organizations. The work we completed with them this past year at Mesa Labs was a quality investment once again." - Bryan Leo, Vice President of Operations  
Named the "18th fastest growing small company in America," by Fortune Small Business Magazine, Mesa Laboratories, Inc. is a Denver-based public company that was founded in 1982. Mesa is known for their high-quality monitoring instruments and consumables that cater to the needs of a wide variety of industries, including medical, industrial, pharmaceutical, and food processing. Their offerings include mail-in spore testing kits, DryCal Gas Flow Calibrators, and a line of products used for measuring and recording temperature, humidity, and pressure called the DataTrace Data Loggers. The Mesa Labs product that sees the highest rate of demand, however, is their line of dialysate meters-most notably the recently launched pHoenix XL meter.
Although Mesa Labs had been firmly committed to developing and maintaining a culture of continuous improvement for many years, they were concerned about a potential misalignment of departments that was resulting in missed deadlines and a higher rate of re-works and re-dos. As they approached the upcoming release of the pHoenix XL, Mesa decided to contact Manufacturer's Edge to discuss possible strategies for unifying the team around clear, common goals that would strengthen the organization while also correcting course by giving them the tools necessary to successfully launch the new meter and, thus, reestablish their reputation for high-quality products and on-time delivery.
Despite the positive atmosphere and commitment to continuous improvement, it became clear to the team at Manufacturer's Edge that the 29 middle managers overseeing sales, delivery, research, and development were not necessarily clear on their own roles and expectations. This lack of clarity was, unfortunately, leading to a variety of missteps and missed deadlines. Manufacturer's Edge worked with the administration to custom design a series of activities designed to give context and instruction in order to clarify those roles and develop the proper strategy for success.
Using various simulation and process observation exercises through Kata, Kaizen, Lean Management Systems, and Value Stream Mapping (VSM), Manufacturer's Edge was able to partner with the team at Mesa Labs to determine what was working and what was not while also helping them identify and adopt the attitudes and behaviors that support lean. From there, Mesa decided to integrate those lessons into daily huddle sessions, particularly in the service/repair and the new product development departments. This gave leadership the tools to identify and clearly communicate the metrics used to define "good performance" and effectively drive lean. As a result, Mesa Labs has dramatically accelerated their process improvement, their overall performance, and they are now enjoying unprecedented growth, which they attribute primarily to the successful launch the pHoenix XL meter.
Increased sales - $3M
Retained sales - $8M
Jobs created - 5
Jobs saved - 5 
simplycyber(Vol 10) You Better Watch Out: Securing Holiday Shopping and Travel 
Thanksgiving comes early this year-and with it, the dilemma of whether to queue up for Black Friday deals in person or online (although Colorado "Scrooges" might be queuing up for first tracks down already snowy slopes). Since the 1960s, the day after Thanksgiving has marked when retailers go from being "in the red" to "in the black." More recently Thanksgiving week, extended into Cyber Monday, also marks prime time for cyber attacks, as opportunistic hackers follow the money:
  • The National Federation of Retailers predicts a 4.1% increase in holiday spending in 2018 over 2017 (and 2017 holiday sales were up 5.5% over 2016)
  • Combined, Thanksgiving Day plus Black Friday in 2017 realized $7.9 billion in online sales (up 17.9% from 2016 per Adobe Analytics)
    • $5.03B spent on Thanksgiving Day with 12.5M online transactions processed
    • $2.87B spent on Black Friday with 13M online transactions processed
RSA, a global cybersecurity leader, has estimated that by 2018, e-commerce fraud-related losses would double. It also noted in its 3Q2018 fraud report that phishing attacks were behind 50% of all observed cyber attacks-a 70% increase from the second quarter-and that mobile device fraud is on the rise (27% over 2017). Whether individuals encounter such attacks at home, at work, or on the road, the risk of introducing a compromised device into your business network is high. Here are some online shopping and traveling safety tips to share with your staff:
  • Visit websites safely. Activate your own personal hotspot when away from a known, trusted, secured network (e.g., home or office). Key in the URL-never click on a link contained in an email, text message, or online coupon(...)
events Upcoming Events
Visit our website for a complete calendar of
manufacturing events taking place around Colorado
Champions in Industry Awards
Dec 3 @ 11am-1pm
The Cable Center, Denver
This event offers the opportunity for Colorado Business Roundtable to recognize the champions within Colorado who stand out and make a difference in their industry. Please join us as we recognize these champions and hear from our keynote speaker, Reggie Rivers, former NFL running back. 
Find out more
Addressing Colorado's Manufacturing Skills Gap   
Feb 7 @ 12-1pm
Skillful Colorado, a nonprofit initiative of the Markle Foundation, and Manufacturer's Edge are partnering to help Colorado manufacturers find the skilled talent they need to grow and to put more Coloradans on paths to good jobs in the manufacturing sector. 
Find out more

Technology AdvantEDGE Series: Composites & Manufacturing
Feb 26 @ 9am-4pm
Wells Fargo Center, Denver
Join us to learn more about the benefits of materials like carbon fiber and other high performance composites from industry experts and manufacturers who have implemented these innovative technologies.

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