As U.S. manufacturing employment continues to take two steps forward, followed by two steps back, factory output has rallied and surged on the backs of motor vehicle assemblies, machinery, consumer goods, and electrical equipment. That’s certainly good news and sets the table for an encouraging finish to 2013.
But how do you parlay that into a strong run well into 2014 and beyond? Last year, I was invited to chair the Annual American Manufacturing Strategies Summit in Chicago. It was one of the better conferences of the year with presenters from companies such as Lockheed Martin, Coca Cola, Dell, Gartner, Eaton, Ford, Kaiser Aluminum, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, SAP, Harvard Business School, University of Wisconsin, and MillerCoors.
This year, the conference moves to Chicago’s western suburbs at the Renaissance Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois, a bit closer to O’Hare Airport. I will once again be chairing the event, Oct. 21-13, and this year’s lineup is power-packed and ready to roar.
Susan Elkington, vice president, manufacturing, at Toyota, and Ken Dean, vice president, quality systems, at Nestlé Purina, will open up the sessions during the first day’s afternoon sessions. Elkington will discuss Toyota’s work with Project Lead the Way to create a science- and math-literate workforce, and Dean will explain Nestlé Purina’s 15-year journey to improve capabilities and exceed customer expectations.
To commence the first full day, Christine Furstoss, global technology director, manufacturing & materials technologies, at GE Global Research, will deliver the keynote address on inventing the future of American manufacturing. The second full day’s keynote address will be given by Lynn Gambill, chief engineer, manufacturing engineering and global services engineering, at Pratt & Whitney, who’ll discuss what “Made in America” means in the 21st Century.
Additional speakers at this year’s event include individuals from Subaru, Kennametal, Nike, Caterpillar, ABInBev, Tyco, Halliburton, Archer Daniels Midland, Husky, Honeywell, Kraft Foods, Royal Air Force, and Purdue University.
A variety of tracks are set up to meet the needs of every attendee. From workforce development, manufacturing leadership, manufacturing strategies, and operation excellence to innovations, maintenance and reliability, and tools, tactics, and technologies, the sessions fill the needs of every plant and manufacturing executive.
So, put on your climbing shoes, and let’s make our way to the top. This year is finishing strong, but next year will be here before we know it. Your plans are most likely in place for 2014, but there’s a lot to be learned that can still be implemented. Make your arrangements now to be at one of my favorite events of the year. You’ll learn a lot. And be sure to stop by and say, “Hello,” when you meet me at the Summit