November 14 – 20, 2016 was National Apprenticeship Week. This was an opportunity to highlight how Registered Apprenticeships meet the needs for a skilled workforce for employers, education, and industry associations. 47 states made proclamations and participated in the celebration. New York was not one of them. The reason why New York passed it by is not clear. But just because New York wasn’t part of NAW 2016 does not mean that those of us who live in New York don’t appreciate, applaud and celebrate apprentices. The trades and the opportunities they bring are critically important to New York as they are to the rest of the nation.
The New York Times recently ran a story about how Small Factories Emerge as a Weapon in the Fight Against Poverty. Their story centered on urban manufacturing. I live in upstate New York where there are lots of small manufacturing companies scattered across rural communities. Small manufacturers who exist in inner city neighborhoods or small rural towns are a critical part of the employment opportunities for those living near them.
“We’ll take away your pain!”
That is one of our favorite tag lines here at Optimation. We have many customers that come to us with different problems, but the bottom line is they are experiencing “pain” of some type – facility shutdowns, short-staffed internal teams, looming capital improvement budget deadlines, custom testing requirements for safety and quality, and many more. We are here to take away that pain!
At Optimation, we provide a variety of goods and services to our customers who manufacture a range of products for numerous markets. One of the verticals that we service is that segment of the manufacturing population that produces goods continuously in web form (or roll-to-roll). These products can be commodities like garbage bags and food wrap, or they can be more high tech, such as printable electronics. In either case, in order to take advantage of the attractive unit manufacturing costs that uninterrupted production garners, these companies need to have sufficient knowledge of the process and machinery that is the platform for their operation. It is this knowledge of the science behind the web machinery that drives troubleshooting, new product introductions, diagnostics, and improvements.
The oil and gas market took a huge hit and went under some significant changes in the past two years. There were many factors which caused this to happen, including decreased demand and increases in the supply. There are new sources of supply including fracked natural gas which is converted to liquid chemicals or fuels. Others are working on cost effective processes to convert coal to gas. Their goal is to deliver gas to drivers cheaper and much cleaner than traditional oil to gasoline conversion methods. As the oil industry rebounds the playing field will never be the same as it was in the past. The winners and losers in the changed landscape are yet to be determined but it is clear that the landscape is changing.
A great deal has been studied, written about and taught on the subject of selling. All of us in our daily lives are salesmen of some sort and all of us in our daily lives are consumer and buyers as well. If we think about our own buying experiences, we can begin to understand what it takes to be a better than average salesperson.
Recently we received some excellent feedback from a client at the conclusion of a project. The scores were glowing, but one remark surprised us: the client stated that we might have been too transparent.
In today’s age, it’s easy to search and get reviews for pretty much any product or service. If you’re looking for a hotel, you probably read the reviews of the hotel before you book. If you’re looking to buy a new product, you do the same before adding it to your cart.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of customer feedback. I would like to continue on that thread. Many people wonder if anyone really reads the feedback that they submit. I can assure you that we do, and that we take it very seriously.
As we are all well-aware, technology is moving at a lightning pace. It's often difficult to keep up with the newest features, capabilities and strategies. As system integrators, it's incumbent on us at Optimation to be current on all of these, let alone being expert practitioners of our full potential.