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Preparing for Manufacturing Day 2018

MFG Day logo on a manufacturing background

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Another productive (I do believe that manufacturing productivity is on the rise) year has flown by and it is once again time for Manufacturing Day. This year, Manufacturing Day, also known as MFG Day, will be held on October 5th – the first Friday of the month. It is a day devoted to celebrating modern manufacturing and designed to motivate upcoming generations of people to explore the nearly limitless career possibilities in today’s manufacturing companies. Manufacturing Day has gotten so big that’s it doesn’t fit into one day anymore. All around the country there are manufacturing weeks and months too.

Manufacturers have been crucial to the U.S. economy from the very beginning. The importance of manufacturers was publicly recognized by Founding Father Alexander Hamilton in 1791, when he presented a report to Congress titled, Report on the Subject of Manufacturers. In it, he stressed the important role manufacturers play in providing a foundation that the nation rests on, “…Not only the wealth, but the independence and security of a country, appear to be materially connected with the prosperity of manufacturers.” 227 years later, manufacturers still play a central role in the nation’s wealth, independence and national security. (An alternative ending to this paragraph could have been, 227 years later, people sing about Alexander Hamilton.  And then I got to thinking about manufacturing being responsible for the stage, the props, the seats, the lighting, the signs, the costumes, the auditoriums and the playbills. But I need not belabor the point of manufacturing’s ubiquity.)

The widespread adoption of digital design and production systems, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the training of a modern, skilled workforce is the future of American manufacturing. Manufacturing Day is linking the here-and-now to the future by inspiring and recruiting the next generation of the manufacturing workforce, while spotlighting manufacturers across the country.

If you are one of the more than 2000 manufacturers looking to have the most productive Manufacturing Day (or week, or month) possible, below are a few proactive steps that will allow you to blow the back doors off the celebratory mood of the day, make a good impression on attendees and optimize the time for you and the people coming to check you out.

Don’t Overbook Your Day

It’s easy to get excited about all the activities and opportunities that surround Manufacturing Day. Demos. Tours. Fiery inspirational speeches. While it may be tempting to create a jam-packed agenda, try not to make too tight of an itinerary. When the day comes, you will want to have enough time to really invest in networking with your attendees. Manufacturing Day is all about connecting and motivating your community to take an interest in the manufacturing industry, so give yourself the time to make a lasting impression.

Choose Inspiring Speakers

If you’re going to have a speaker at your event, it’s important to pick someone who will represent your company’s mission and vision for the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing Day is all about inspiring the upcoming generation of manufacturers and connecting with those already in the industry.

Motivate the Staff

Having your staff involved in the planning process will not only boost morale, but also create excitement for your event. There’s no better spokesperson for a manufacturer than those that are on the factory floor each day with a hand in the important work being done. Employee enthusiasm about your company, the work they do and the positive impact it has on your community will carry over to your attendees. People networking is like social media only without the media. It’s people being social and connecting with other people.

Social Media

With manufacturing predicted as one of the four industries that will dominate social media in 2018, there’s no better time to connect with the national MFG Day movement across all your social channels. Including the hashtag #MFGDay18 in your relevant posts helps reach a broader audience that may not know about your event otherwise. Sharing content from @MfgDay on Twitter and Facebook, @mfgday on Instagram and Manufacturing Day on LinkedIn also provides you with material to keep your audience engaged like stats on why Manufacturing Day is important.

Find Out What Will Have the Biggest Impact on Your Audience

Manufacturing Day doesn’t have to be limited to only one day, but it’s still key to develop your schedule by featuring the most worthwhile events. Before the day comes, take time to understand what your audience is looking for and what will excite them the most. The Manufacturing Day by the Numbers infographic is a great place to start. By taking steps that will contribute to the success of your Manufacturing Day event, you can make this Manufacturing Day the best yet!

If you’ve participated in prior year’s Manufacturing Day events, your insight could be beneficial to manufacturers and students who are getting involved for the first time. Add a comment to answer any one of the questions below:

  1. What were some of your favorite highlights from last year’s Manufacturing Day?
  2. What impacts have your prior Manufacturing Day events had on the next generation of manufacturers?
  3. How do you ensure you make a good impression on attendees at your event?
  4. What advice would you give someone who’s attending their first Manufacturing Day event?
  5. Who has the best SCHWAG?

About the author

Mark Schmit

Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), since 1988, has been committed to strengthening U.S. manufacturing, continually evolving to meet the changing needs of manufacturers. As division chief for regional and state partnerships, Mark is the lead for division policy and has assisted in the development of programs supporting manufacturing and industrial extension technology-based economic development, and entrepreneurship practices with state elected officials and policy makers, including the MEP policy academies, which were designed by MEP and partners to help states build upon existing strategies, leverage available resources, and spur creative new ideas about how to address major challenges or leverage opportunities around the manufacturing sector.  Mark is responsible for developing partnerships with both the public and private sector entities. He was an MEP co-lead for the creation of MFG Day, an outreach program held on the first Friday in October to show students, parents, and the public what modern manufacturing is all about, with growing annual participation across the United States. Mark was a 2001, 2005, 2014, and 2020 recipient of NIST’s George Uriano Award.  The George Uriano Award recognizes outstanding achievements by NIST staff in building and strengthening NIST extramural programs and partnerships.

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