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5 Questions with Zenagui Brahim, New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Manufacturing in New Hampshire’s largest industry and a vital cog turning our economy. We caught up with Zenagui Brahim, president of the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership, to catch up on what’s happening and how his organization is working to make manufacturing even stronger.


Zenagui Brahim ~NHMEP

Zenagui Brahim ~NHMEP

1. When people think of manufacturing, they often think of big factories, but the reality is much different. What does New Hampshire manufacturing look like today?

Thriving. New Hampshire manufacturing has evolved and is becoming a vibrant and growing sector of the economy. It may best be described by what high school students said after they visited neighboring manufacturers during Manufacturing Week in 2013 and 2014.

I learned that in a manufacturing company, there are many jobs and a lot of them seem very interesting.

… that manufacturing is a field where there will always be room for improvement and you can always better yourself as an employee; it is very hi tech and clean.

Manufacturing is a lot more advanced than I once thought.

Manufacturing got its upgrade to the 21st century.”

Today, manufacturing in New Hampshire is more advanced and productive. Manufacturers are more agile as they become more engaged in operational excellence in design, production, delivery and service. NH MEP’s survey last fall shows that 62 percent of respondents from the 88 participating manufacturers (in Manufacturing Week) reported growth of some level during 2013. A number of reports show that our manufacturers will continue to see growth. However, our survey also shows that more than 50 percent said workforce limitations ranks as a significant barrier to growth. The workforce skills’ gap remains a challenge to the manufacturing community across the nation.

Manufacturing here is recognized for its contribution to the state economy. There is now more collaboration between educators, manufacturers and decision makers to address these workforce challenges.

2. You just wrapped up the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? contest, matching up middle schools with local manufacturers for video projects. What are some of the biggest benefits to come out of that challenge?

First, we have made the participating middle-schoolers new stars, for putting together videos that highlight and showcase what is cool about manufacturing. Second, this endeavor has clearly shown that educators and manufacturers can work together and collaborate in the promotion of New Hampshire manufacturing. Third, the team at the NH Division of Economic Development and their partners have learned a lot. Fourth, with these videos, I hope more middle schoolers will have the opportunity to learn about career in advanced manufacturing, get more engaged and learn about STEM, and pursue experiential learning opportunities when they reach high school.

3. Where is the manufacturing industry headed in 2015 and beyond? What are the top trends to watch?

As we move forward, more manufacturers will embrace advanced technologies, automation and digital manufacturing. Small and medium sized manufacturers (SMEs) are asked to participate in design endeavors with their customers. As more OEMs become system integrators, they will be asking their suppliers to be involved in some ways in the design of their products.
Our survey shows that 81 percent of the 88 decisions-makers polled said that new technology and their ability to adapt to change are important to extremely important for them to grow.

I believe we will see industry clusters, such as the aerospace and defense cluster, solidify. Continuous and effective collaboration between educators, manufacturers and policy-makers will certainly pave the way for an advanced manufacturing ecosystem that will help rebrand the industry.

But a significant new trend has evolved during the last few years and that is the growing involvement of New Hampshire manufacturers in building the future skilled workforce in advanced manufacturing. Last fall, 58 manufacturers held open houses during Manufacturing Week, which resulted in 1,100 high school visits to these manufacturers.

To continue to grow, the state’s manufacturers will need to rebrand and build on the strength of the existing and growing industry clusters such as the aerospace and defense, medical device and biotech, electronics and precision machining.

4. How is MEP helping New Hampshire manufacturers to get the skilled workforce needed to help the industry thrive?

Over the last six years, NH MEP has trained over 6,600 manufacturing employees in continuous improvement, quality management, leadership and supply chain management. More information on our programs is available at www.nhmep.org.

NH MEP, in collaboration with the Division of Economic Development; the Department of Education; the Community College System of New Hampshire; New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, and the New Hampshire High Tech Council, and as well as a large number of local economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, and high schools and career and technical education centers and others, has organized New Hampshire Manufacturing Week during the last couple years. The week consists of two days of visits by high school students to local manufacturers; one day of visits to the CTEs and community colleges, culminating with the annual Governor’s Advanced Manufacturing and High Technology Summit.

NH MEP also helps high schools establish manufacturing advisory boards to develop advanced manufacturing curricula, provide guidance to the faculty and internships and mentoring to students.

I, along with David DeWitt of Phase 65 and Gary Groleau, from New Hampshire Ball Bearing, visit high schools and middle schools to speak about careers in advanced manufacturing.

5. What events or programs are coming up to assist manufacturers with their businesses?

In addition to continuing offering proven programs such as Principles of Lean, Lean Certificate, Six Sigma and our always-popular ISO Collaborative, NH MEP plans to launch an exciting new initiative on Technology-Driven Market Intelligence (TDMI). TDMI is a growth service that provides a systematic and comprehensive approach to technology-focused market intelligence. Specifically, TDMI identifies the benefits and the market impacts related to our clients’ technology-based assets and provide the customized actionable intelligence our clients need.

NH MEP is also scheduling its second Business Growth Collaborative, which is a program of six workshops designed to identify critical strategic and tactical actions clients can take to improve revenue, profitability and position their organizations in the marketplace. The program also includes one year of coaching and advising with the instructor.

9th Annual Governor’s Advanced Manufacturing and High Technology Summit to Focus on “Growth Through Collaboration”

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

“Growth Through Collaboration” is the theme of the Ninth Annual Governor’s Advanced Manufacturing and High Technology Summit to be held Wednesday, December 7th from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Center of New Hampshire Radisson Hotel in Manchester. 

Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer and Principal of Patriarch Partners, LLC will speak on “How to Save American Manufacturing” at the 9th Annual New Hampshire Advanced Manufacturing and High Technology Summit on December 7th at the Center of New Hampshire Radisson Hotel in Manchester.

The annual event is presented by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the New Hampshire High Technology Council and will bring together state and national leaders of business and industry who, in thought-provoking presentations and workshops, will focus on how New Hampshire’s high tech and manufacturing industries can stimulate growth through collaboration. 

“Manufacturing and high tech sectors continue to be very important to New Hampshire’s economy,” Gov. John Lynch said. “We have a successful economic strategy in place here in New Hampshire that has allowed us to be a national economic leader. That is why it is important we continue to work together to ensure we are making the right investments as a state to strengthen our economy for the future.” 

Speakers at the summit will include Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer and Principal of Patriarch Partners, LLC; economist Dennis Delay of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies; and Roger Kilmer, Director of Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a program of the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology. Tilton, whose company bought and reopened the former Fraser Papers paper mill in Gorham in May as Gorham Paper and Tissue, will speak on “How To Save American Manufacturing;” while “Smart Manufacturing/High Technology – NH’s Leading Economic Sector” will be the subject of Delay’s address. Kilmer, the keynote speaker at the summit luncheon, will address “Becoming a Next Generation Manufacturer.”

Three one-hour workshops will be offered concurrently and presented twice during the morning session by a panel of industry experts: “Supply Chain Development and Collaboration,” “Developing the Future Workforce in NH Advanced Manufacturing” and “Technology-Driven Market Intelligence.” 

Sponsors for the event include Citizens Bank, BAE Systems, Chapter #327/Southern New Hampshire of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, New Hampshire Business Review, the New Hampshire Department of Education, Southern New Hampshire Chapter #253 of the Association for Operations Management, TradePort USA and the New Hampshire Machining Association.

Cost for the summit is $95 per person. For more information, contact Zenagui Brahim at 603-226-3200 or email zenaguib@nhmep.org To register online, go to http://www.nhbia.org/CWT/External/WCPages/WCEvents/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=92. Phone registrations should be directed to Christine Ducharme at the Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire at 224-5388, ext. 113.

NH MEP Refreshes Next Generation Manufacturing Study

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

A 2009 research study, presented by the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NH MEP), has recently been refreshed and is being launched today to reassess state manufacturers on strategies that win in the global economy. The 2011 Next Generation Manufacturing Study provides a framework for understanding Next Generation Manufacturing (NGM) by identifying competitive performances and corporate best practices for achieving world-class status in the 21st century.

manufacturing-nhThe web-based NGM Study questionnaire can be accessed at www.NGMStudy.com. Any manufacturing owner, CEO or senior-level executive is eligible to participate. Participation in the Study is confidential or anonymous and takes 20-25 minutes to complete. Deadline for participation is June 21, 2011.

“Study participants who participate confidentially will receive a comprehensive Next Generation Performance Report showing how their organization compares to other manufacturers (all participants as well as groups of manufacturers similar to their organization) in the key strategic areas. This Report will be invaluable in helping companies manage their operations for Next Generation Manufacturing success,” stated NH MEP’s Center Director Zenagui Brahim.

The strategies explored by the Next Generation Manufacturing Study are customer-focused innovation, superior processes/improvement focus, human-capital management, supply-chain management and collaboration, sustainability, and global engagement.

“A focus on the six Next Generation Manufacturing strategies strongly correlated with success in the first version of this Study,” said John Brandt, CEO of the Manufacturing Performance Institute (MPI), a global research firm that is conducting the Study. “Two years later, we’re interested in finding out what’s changed for U.S. manufacturers in a post-recession economy.”

The national sponsor of the Study is the American Small Manufacturers Coalition (ASMC), an organization composed of all of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers in America. MPI Group, an internationally recognized research firm that specializes in manufacturing issues, is conducting the Study and compiling the Reports.

The Study results will provide a wealth of valuable data for manufacturers, business leaders and state and national policymakers. “Manufacturers can see how they rank against world-class performance benchmarks and target improvements where needed,” said Sandy Johnson, ASMC Board Chair. “In addition, policymakers can strengthen and improve programs and services supporting manufacturers knowing the critical needs.”  

For more information on the Next Generation Manufacturing Study, call NH MEP Center Director, Zenagui Brahim at 603-226-3200 or email zenaguib@nhmep.org.

NH MEP Survey Finds Job, Sales Payoff

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Here’s a great Nashua Telegraph story about the effect of the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership on the state economy.

Survey finds job, sales payoff

A total of 885 jobs and $232.3 million in sales: That, says the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership, is how it has benefited the state in the past five years.

mep-logoBetween April 2006 and February 2011, companies working with the MEP have created 425 jobs and retained 460 that “otherwise would not exist,” according to a survey of 204 companies.

Those companies also reported $232.3 million in increased sales, spent $81.8 million on new investment, and experienced $36.3 million in cost savings.

New Hampshire MEP is a federally funded nonprofit that provides assistance to small manufacturers. It is a network of technical, manufacturing and business specialists linked together by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards.

The five-year executive summary released last week estimates the total economic contribution to the New Hampshire economy from firms whose employment, sales or investment activity changed as a direct result of assistance provided by the New Hampshire MEP. It comes at a time when funding for MEP is on the chopping block amid federal budget negotiations.

light-manufacturingMEP’s job, executive director Zenagui Brahim said, is to “help New Hampshire manufacturers in productivity so they can compete globally.”

It does that, he said, by working directly with companies, but not just at the management level.

“We go in the field at the shops, on their floor and front office, and work with a team there, from senior management to technicians, the whole process of making the product,” Brahim said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

The idea is to keep companies competitive by helping them streamline their operations and cut down on costs, he said.

“Every time they see an opportunity to cut down on costs and render the services or product and ship it on time with very good quality, they have a competitive advantage,” Brahim said.

A year after MEP works with them, companies respond to a survey conducted by an independent, third-party survey company. Clients are asked a number of questions relating to changes in efficiency and output as well as the quality of the MEP services they received.

According to the MEP, it’s not only the clients who are benefitting from MEP services. Increased sales by New Hampshire MEP clients require that they increase their purchases of goods and services from other companies. The supplying companies, in turn, generate additional demands of their own, the MEP said.

“In this way, dollar expenditures for final demand can be traced to all of the affected industries in the regional economy,” a press release from MEP said. “In addition, the income from new jobs generated by New Hampshire MEP clients and the supplying firms results in increased demand for consumer goods. Each of these effects, in turn, generates subsequent ripples throughout the New Hampshire economy.”

According to the five-year summary, the sum of these direct, indirect and induced effects are responsible for:

*Creating or retaining 3,794 jobs that paid $187.5 million in employee wages and benefits.

*Increasing or retaining economic output worth $719.4 million.

*Contributing or retaining $297.8 million of gross state product.

*Generating or retaining $97.9 million in additional tax and non-tax revenues at the federal, state and local government levels, including $21.8 million at the state and local level.

Governor Announces First in Nation Partnership for State’s Manufacturers

Monday, April 11th, 2011
Gov. John Lynch today unveiled a new Web site designed to better connect New Hampshire manufacturers with New Hampshire suppliers and buyers. The Web site is an outgrowth of a suggestion Gov. Lynch received from businesses during his Job Cabinet Roundtables.
Governor John Lynch unveils the partnership between the State of New Hampshire and MFG.com.

Governor John Lynch unveils the partnership between the State of New Hampshire and MFG.com.

The State is partnering with MFG.com, the largest global sourcing marketplace for the manufacturing industry, for this first-of-its- kind partnership. The unveiling took place at Burndy LLC, an electronic components manufacturer in Londonderry. Alan Beck, Burndy LLC Vice President of Application Tooling, made the suggestion for a better way for New Hampshire businesses to connect during the Manchester Jobs Cabinet Roundtable.

Gov. John Lynch joined representatives of several Granite State manufacturing firms and state economic development officials in unveiling the new site.

During Gov. Lynch’s Jobs Cabinet Roundtables last year, the Governor heard from business leaders who said it is a challenge for them to easily identify New Hampshire suppliers. A number of companies expressed a desire to contract with New Hampshire suppliers when at all possible rather than contracting out of state. The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development worked with MFG.com to develop this new Web site.

“We want to make it easier for New Hampshire businesses to support and work with other New Hampshire companies. That will help our businesses grow and create jobs here in the Granite State,” Gov. Lynch said. The more New Hampshire manufacturers can work with other New Hampshire companies, the stronger our economy will be.”

As part of the partnership, local companies registered on a special “New Hampshire only” page on MFG.com, will be able to purchase goods and services from each other, creating a heightened awareness of resources within the state.

MFG.Com Senior Vice President Adam Oaks describes the many services that his company provides to the manufacturing community.

MFG.Com Senior Vice President Adam Oaks describes the many services that his company provides to the manufacturing community.

Adam Oaks, Senior Vice President and General Manager of MFG.com, stated that he believes this new partnership will open new doors for New Hampshire suppliers and buyers to engage in locally-based matchmaking. 

“We are extremely excited to be part of this initiative that essentially enables the local New Hampshire manufacturing community,” he said. “The sourcing portal will effectively promote economic development within New Hampshire through intelligently connecting local manufacturing buyers and suppliers at the exact moment they need each other.”

The link for the specially designed page will be housed on NHEconomy.com, the State’s economic development Web site. Those suppliers who complete a registration for the MFG.com service through the New Hampshire landing page will receive an optimized profile, Atlas listing and projects from all Granite State buyers for $99 a month. Buyers registering via the landing page will have access to the New Hampshire information for free.

“What a wonderful way to stimulate commerce and build new relationships among New Hampshire manufacturers and prospective buyers,” said New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Director George Bald. “This first-in-the-nation pilot program gives our state an incredible edge as we further develop and strengthen our manufacturing sector.”

“A local supply base can provide a very competitive advantage particularly for developing new product and processes,” added Alan Beck, Burndy LLC Vice President of Application Tooling. Burndy has offered high quality, competitively priced connectors, wiring accessories and installation tooling that have solved connection problems for over 85 years. “The application that the Division of Economic Development and MFG.com have facilitated was created expressly for New Hampshire businesses and is a powerful tool that allows companies to easily find the core competencies that exist locally. This will create healthier businesses and a stronger local economy.”

 “The New Hampshire page is of tremendous value to Granite State manufacturers,” Zenagui Brahim, director of operations for the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) said. “By giving us a new and innovative addition to our toolkit, we have improved the prospects for all engaged in this vital industry.”

A recent New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies report sponsored by the Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire High Tech Council noted that Smart Manufacturing/High Technology (SMHT) is the single largest sector of New Hampshire’s economy (19 percent). In 2009 alone, the SMHT sector encompassed 3,700 New Hampshire companies employing almost 80,000 people and paying out $6.4 billion in wages and benefits. Exports from the state’s manufacturers directly support more than 77,000 jobs, compared to about 52,000 jobs in travel and tourism.

The “New Hampshire only” MFG.com page can be accessed at www.mfg.com/nheconomy.

About MFG.com
MFG.com is the largest global sourcing marketplace for the manufacturing industry. MFG.com’s platform enables companies to intelligently connect, source, collaborate and perform due diligence with transparency and intellectual property protection. It supports virtually all manufacturing process and industrial components, is in seven major languages, more than 50 currencies and has more than 200,000 members on five continents. MFG.com is based in Atlanta and has offices in Shanghai and Paris. For more information: www.MFG.com.

RF Hunter Celebrates 65 Years of Innovative Excellence

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

RF Hunter, manufacturer of oil filtering equipment for commercial kitchens is celebrating 65 years in business with a recognition dinner for customers, friends, employees, and business partners. The private affair will take place at the Cochecho Country Club in Dover on November 18th.  The keynote speaker for the event is Mr. Zenagui Brahim, Director of NHMEP (Manufacturing Exchange Partnership). Congratulatory comments will also be delivered by Mayor Scott Myers, and Dover Economic Development Director, Daniel Barufaldi commending RF Hunter’s contribution to the city.  

“RF Hunter is a tremendous New Hampshire success story,” said New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald. “Not only have they contributed to the economic vitality of our country for 65 years, they have also created innovative products that have improved the environment and provided a blueprint for other New Hampshire companies dedicated to sustainability.”  

rf-hunter-headerIn 1945 after attending a local culinary institute, Robert Hunter started a classic fish & chip shop south of Boston. In order to get the traditional New England flavor, he knew he had to find a way to make sure the hot cooking oil he used was clean and did not pose a safety hazard to his employees.   

The safety issue kept him awake at night. Being an engineer at heart, Hunter started experimenting with industrial designs in his garage. After testing several prototypes, Hunter designed the perfect oil filtration machine allowing kitchen staff too safely and cleanly filter, remove, or reuse cooking oil. He immediately saw the commercial impact of his design and launched a company to sell his new product commercially.  

rf-hunterBy 1952, Hunter patented his invention. Sales were one restaurant at a time, from the back of his car, where he would demonstrate the equipment and tell his story. Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King, and others jumped on board. In 1988, RF Hunter relocated to New Hampshire and has been here ever since. Their client base grew internationally serving marquee clients like Disney, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. 

“Running a small family owned business presents a myriad of challenges and rewards. We are  fortunate enough to have terrific staff who is dedicated to providing the very best products possible, said Richard Santoro, President and CEO of RF Hunter. “The future holds great promise and I am confident that the company will continue to grow with the initiatives we have put in place. Great products and great people are an unbeatable combination.”  

After spending several months investigating the Lean manufacturing enterprise, RF Hunter adopted Lean manufacturing practices in 2008. And they did so in a traditional family fashion. Richard Santoro’s son Gary, was at the time a United States Air Force Reserve Major stationed at Warner-Robins AFB, a logistics depot for C-5 Galaxy aircraft. Lean manufacturing practices were being implemented and Gary was deeply involved in the implementation process.  

Upon Gary’s return to New Hampshire, Mr. Santoro discussed his conclusions from studying Lean and they along with son Paul Santoro decided that Lean was a key strategic initiative for the future. The result was reducing their inventory cost by over $ 60,000 per annum. Additional savings included a significantly reduced lead time for processing orders and better utilization of shop floor space. Everything now is neat, clean, tidy, and efficient.  Subsequently, Paul Santoro, Director of Operations, has been certified in most of the NHMEP (New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership) Lean programs offered.  

“RF Hunter is a great example of the kind of cost savings that can be achieved by our Lean Program,” said New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership Director of Operations Zenagui Brahim. “RF Hunter’s team used lean principles to analyze the production process with the goal of cutting cost and increasing productivity. In the case of RF Hunter, by constantly reengineering products, creating custom designs, and becoming Lean, they have proven to be sustainable as an organization.” 

Today RF Hunter celebrates over 65 years in business as a family owned and operated company. They provide safe, reliable, and durable supplies and equipment to restaurants, cruise lines, resorts, hotels, universities, and health care institutions world-wide. They look forward to prosperous growth in the future.

Collaboration Focus of Manufacturing Summit

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Charles E. “Gus” Whalen Jr. has boldly gone where other business owners can only dare to dream. In addition to operating the Warren Featherbone Company, a major children’s wear manufacturing facility in Gainesville, GA, Whalen has overseen the development of the Featherbone Communiversity, a collaborative, cross-generational learning alliance that allows entrepreneurial ideas to take flight. Clearly, this isn’t your “grandfather’s CEO.”

Gus Whalen

Gus Whalen

Whalen, keynote speaker at the Eighth Annual Governor’s Advanced Manufacturing & High Technology Summit scheduled for September 28th from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, also directs the efforts of The Warren Featherbone Foundation and is author of “The Featherbone Principle,” “The Featherbone Spirit,” “The Gift of Renewal” and “Hooked at the Roots – the Evolution of Featherbone Communiversity.”

“Warren’s work has not only transformed the manufacturing industry, but also the way that communities are built and sustained,” said New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership Director of Operations Zenagui Brahim. “By constantly reinventing his company and taking the additional step of creating innovative learning centers like the Communiversity, he has proven to be one of our nation’s true visionaries.”

Developed by the Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development and the New Hampshire High Technology Council, the summit will bring together industry leaders for a day of information sharing, networking and best practices.

In addition to the keynote address by Gus Whalen as well as a related interactive session, the summit will feature a series of workshops including “Is Everyone In Your Organization Working Effectively Toward the Same Ends?,” “How Are You Sustaining Lean?” and “Advancing Talent Management.” New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald will also give an overview of the state’s manufacturing industry.

The 8th Annual Governor’s Advanced Manufacturing & High Technology Summit is sponsored by Citizens Bank, BAE Systems, APICS, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and media sponsor New Hampshire Business Review. The registration fee is $95 per person and includes lunch. For more details, visit www.nhbia.org.

“Opportunities in the Middle East” Focus of International Trade Seminar

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Recognizing the fact that New Hampshire exported approximately $93M of goods to the Middle East in 2009 alone, the New Hampshire International Trade Resource Center (ITRC) will host a seminar titled “Opportunities in the Middle East” at the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development (172 Pembroke Road) on Wednesday, March 24th from 9 a.m.-noon.

middle_east_mapThe seminar will feature Kam Shah of the U.S. Commercial Service’s Middle East/North Africa Business Information Center and Zenagui Brahim, New Hampshire Commercial Consul to Morocco discussing the culture, business and religion of the Middle East. The program will begin with an overview of the region followed by an in-depth examination of the business opportunities in the following markets: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel and Morocco.

Following the country profiles will be a panel discussion on the culture, history and major religions of the Middle East and how they influence business opportunities. Top exports from the Granite State to the Middle East currently include transportation equipment and parts, medical device technologies, industrial machinery, plastics, aerospace components, food products, iron and steel articles, glass articles and electrical machinery.

The cost of the program is $40 per person. To register, please visit http://www.exportnh.org/calendar/registration.aspx. For questions, contact Katy Reno at (603) 271-8444 or katy.reno@dred.state.nh.us

Administered by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s Office of International Commerce, the ITRC plans, develops and administers programs for international trade promotion and foreign market development.  For more information about the ITRC, call (603) 271-8444, or visit their website at www.exportnh.org

Sig Sauer Captures Top State Economic Development Honors

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Sig Sauer was named “Company of the Year” as part of the “2009 Commissioner’s Awards for Economic Development Excellence” announced Tuesday at the 14th Annual New Hampshire Economic Development Summit held at the Radisson Hotel Nashua.

NH Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald (l.) and Governor John Lynch (r.) congratulate Sig Sauer Counsel Steve Shawver on Sig's designation as "Commissioner's Company of the Year."

NH Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald (l.) and Governor John Lynch (r.) congratulate Sig Sauer Counsel Steve Shawver on Sig's designation as "Commissioner's Company of the Year."

“Sig Sauer is a company that truly exemplifies the meaning of the word ‘innovation’,” New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald said. “With a skilled workforce that is forward thinking and dedicated to creative product development, Sig Sauer has built a world class firm that New Hampshire can be proud of.”

The Exeter-based handgun manufacturer and distributor is an ISO 9001 certified company with over 380 employees. Sig Sauer has more than tripled its workforce in the past 30 months, invested $18M U.S. dollars in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and equipment and significantly expanded its engineering base.

Other category winners are as follows:

“Commissioner’s Special Achievement Award” – The Town of Colebrook for their community commitment to keeping Le Rendez-Vous bakery open when the business was in danger of closing due to a visa issue.

“Commissioner’s Exemplary Effort Award” – New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership Director of Operations Zenagui Brahim for his leadership in spearheading the Governor’s Manufacturing Leadership Series and the New Hampshire Advanced Manufacturing & High Technology Summit.

Pat McDermott (c.) was given a special commendation for his years of exemplary service to the economic development community.

Pat McDermott (c.) was given a special commendation for his years of exemplary service to the economic development community.

“Commissioner’s Teamwork Award” – WMUR, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Southern New Hampshire University for organizing the two WMUR Project Economy Job Fair & Career Expos that helped to re-employ hundreds of New Hampshire workers.

“Commissioner’s Award for Media Excellence” – Jack Heath of WTPL for his outstanding “New Hampshire Today” program and his “First Class Business” segment which highlights positive business happenings in the state.

“Special Governor’s Commendation” – Public Service of New Hampshire Economic & Community Development Manager Pat McDermott for his support of State business recruitment efforts and ongoing commitment to the New Hampshire business community.

The 14th Annual New Hampshire Economic Development Summit was sponsored by Public Service of New Hampshire with support from media sponsor New Hampshire Business Review.

National Manufacturing Survey Results Announced

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

The New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NH MEP) today announced the results of the first national survey of world-class manufacturers, hailing the findings as valuable to both state policymakers and New Hampshire companies. 

nh_mepBased on an in-depth national survey of more than 2,500 manufacturers, including 74 firms in New Hampshire, the study identifies six crucial strategies necessary for world-class manufacturing success.  The most unique aspect of the ground-breaking study, however, is the evaluation instrument utilized in the study.  It provided participating manufacturers with a detailed assessment of how their management practices compare to global industry leaders and can evaluate whether individual firms are implementing the procedures and strategies that will enable them to thrive and succeed in the coming decade.

“The Next Generation Manufacturing Study is probably the most exhaustive and detailed survey of the US manufacturing base ever conducted. In today’s climate of globalization and the threat of lost manufacturing jobs, it’s important to know where the U.S. stands as a player in the international market. The study was also illustrative for Graphicast, as it highlighted where we stand compared to the more than 1,000 companies that responded to the study. This information gives us a clear path to follow to achieve world class status in technology and service,” said Val Zanchuk, president of Jaffrey-based Graphicast.

New Hampshire manufacturers like Graphicast that participated in the study received a free customized benchmarking report comparing their progress to the overall state and national results. Each confidential benchmarking report was prepared by the respected research and strategic consulting firm, the MPI Group.

Commissioned by Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers across the country, including NH MEP, and the American Small Manufacturing Coalition, the study offers the most detailed description yet of what it takes for American manufacturers to compete in the global economy.  The study was designed as the first step in a long-term effort to help U.S. manufacturers survive the recession and renew America’s manufacturing leadership over the next decade.

manufacturing_welding_lg“New Hampshire’s economic recovery depends on the ability of its manufacturers to maintain profitability in the face of fierce competition.  Manufacturing remains the state’s largest industry in terms of gross state product, accounting for more than 13 percent of state GDP.  The challenge to policymakers is not to give up on manufacturing but to support the transformation of the state’s manufacturing sector into a faster, more flexible industry capable of outperforming their non-world-class peers,” said Zenagui Brahim, NH MEP director of operations.

“The study itself is only the first step in NH MEP’s efforts to assist local manufacturers,” Brahim stated.  “Although the national study is complete, New Hampshire manufacturers can take advantage of the evaluation instrument and work with NH MEP project managers to conduct an assessment of their company’s strategic policies, investments and performance.  Every manufacturer in the state has the ability to utilize this valuable new resource.”

The Keys to Next Generation Manufacturing Success

Next Generation Manufacturing (NGM) refers to a framework of strategies that will drive manufacturing growth in the 21st century.  Developed by leading manufacturers, industry thought leaders and the MEP centers, Next Generation Manufacturing reflects the best practices and performance strategies of world class companies.  To remain competitive, manufacturers in New Hampshire and across the country need to achieve world-class performance in at least some of these key areas.  The study identifies six essential strategies:

• Customer-focused innovation: Deliver new and better customer solutions at a faster pace than the competition.

• Advanced talent management: Secure a competitive performance advantage by having superior systems in place to recruit, hire, develop and retain talent.

• Systemic continuous improvement: Record annual productivity and quality gains that exceed the competition through a companywide commitment to continuous improvement.

• Extended enterprise management: Leverage a flexible network of supply chains and partnerships to provide competitive advantages of speed, cost and quality.

• Sustainable product and process development: Design and implement waste and energy-use reductions at a level that provides superior cost performance and recognizable customer value.

• Global engagement: Secure business advantages through people, partnerships and systems capable of engaging global markets, talent and resources.

The survey administered to the initial 1,500 companies nationwide employed 63 questions to drill down and measure each firm’s progress, or lack of progress, in implementing strategies in these six essential areas.

Sobering Findings

• A serious gap exists between the strategies that New Hampshire and U.S. manufacturers believe are critical to their future success and their actual progress in implementing those strategies. Currently, only a fraction of New Hampshire manufacturers are at or near world-class in any of the six NGM strategies.

• Small and midsize manufacturers are less likely than larger firms to be at or near world-class status in each of the NGM strategies. One-third of respondents nationwide with less than $10 million in revenue were not at or near world-class in any strategy, compared to just 14% of manufacturers with more than $100 million in revenue.

• Measurement systems are inadequately deployed.  Even in one of the most fundamental and easiest-to-measure areas – process improvement – 46% of respondents in New Hampshire and across the country had no measurement system or only ad hoc measurement systems.

• Effective partnerships with employees, suppliers and regional support organizations are the exception rather than the norm.  Nationwide, a majority of respondents (56%) engage less than half of their employees in improvement initiatives, falling far short of industry best practices that require company-wide participation. In New Hampshire the results were modestly better, but 45% of respondents still engage less than half of their employees.

• In New Hampshire and across the nation approximately 40% of companies fail to reach or approach world-class status in the ability of their supply chains to respond to unexpected customer demand for existing products.  In part this is due to the failure of companies to implement supply-chain measurement systems.  More than 45% of New Hampshire firms said that they have no measurement system or only ad hoc measurement systems in place to review the return from supply chain management and collaboration.

• Energy efficiency remains a weak link. Less than five percent of New England firms are at or near world-class status in terms of annual reduction of energy consumption per unit of product output.

• Only 28% of respondents nationwide and 35% of firms in New Hampshire believe global engagement is highly important, despite a near-term future in which markets, talent, competitors and partner opportunities are growing faster outside the U.S. than within its borders.

New England’s Strength: Advanced Manufacturing

The survey data reveal a sobering picture of the challenges facing American manufacturers.  But the report highlights an important distinction that characterizes New England manufacturers in general and New Hampshire manufacturing sector in particular.  New England possesses a robust advanced manufacturing cluster that distinguishes itself from manufacturers nationwide in some very notable ways. 

• New England manufacturers devote more resources to new product development and R&D than their counterparts nationwide. 
o 23.8% of New England manufacturers invest more than ten percent of sales in new product development versus 14.6% of firms nationwide.
o 48.9% of New England manufacturers dedicate more than five percent of their workforce to new product development versus 34.6% of firms nationwide.

• New England manufacturers launch significantly more new products annually than their counterparts nationally (23.5% of New England manufacturers launch more than ten percent of their total SKUs annually versus 15.7% nationally.)

• New England manufacturers derive a significantly larger percentage of annual sales from new products than their counterparts nationally (33.7% of New England manufacturers derive at least one-quarter of their annual sales from products introduced in the last three years versus 24.8% of manufacturers nationally.)

• New England manufacturers derive significantly more value-added per employee than their counterparts nationwide, with 34.9% of New England respondents reporting that they receive more than $125,000 per employee versus 28.0% nationwide achieving that level of value-added.

manufacturingThese findings confirm the results of another recent study on manufacturing conducted by Deloitte Consulting LLP for the New England Council, which found that New England enjoys a strong cluster of advanced manufacturers whose productivity improvements have been transformational.  That report, Reexamining Advanced Manufacturing in a Networked World: Prospects for a Resurgence in New England, noted that advanced manufacturing has reversed the decline associated with traditional manufacturing in New England by developing a talent-rich network of advanced manufacturers with skilled workforces capable of creating complex product solutions.

“New England manufacturers clearly out-perform their counterparts nationally in terms of developing new products and gaining a higher value-add from each employee.  But the Next Generation Manufacturing study clearly shows how far many manufacturers still have to go to reach world-class status,” said NH MEP Operations Director Brahim.  “In many strategic areas our state’s firms are just as challenged as manufacturers nationwide and need to take major steps to improve their performance or else risk being left behind by the global competition.  New England’s economic future will be determined by how the region’s manufacturers respond to this challenge.”

Attention manufacturers! Growth and sustainability will be the theme of the seventh annual Governor’s Advanced Manufacturing and High Technology Summit, scheduled to take place from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord.

Coordinated by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire, the summit will provide participants with tips for accelerating reliable growth in their businesses.

Sponsors of the event are Citizens Bank, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the Association for Operations Management and New Hampshire Business Review.

Registration fee for the summit is $85 per participant; lunch is included. Interested parties can sign up online by visiting http://www.acteva.com/ttghits.cfm?EVA_ID=23444.