SME Speaks SME: Making It Possible
By Dennis S. Bray, PhD, FSME
Member Since 1985
As we recover from our New Year’s celebrations, it is a good time for us to start thinking about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in 2013. The world is still trying to recover from its political and economic hangover. We now have to start focusing our attention on what we are going to do to keep manufacturing moving forward, which grows our businesses and puts more people back to work.
Keeping manufacturing moving forward continues to be SME’s focus, and our New Year’s resolution is to do our best to do even more in 2013. SME accomplished some significant milestones in the past few years and plans to accomplish even more this year. As the incoming SME president, I look forward to helping accomplish this goal.
SME has a wide range of products and services that we offer, as well as many different ways we interact with individuals and companies in manufacturing. I know that a significant opportunity and challenge is to make sure we effectively utilize all of SME’s resources, working together to achieve a high level of synergy among all our SME activities.
If we look at all the things that SME does, you can see why SME is “making it possible” for manufacturing to move forward and be a strong foundation for our country and the world to prosper.
• Look at how our Education Foundation is “making it possible” for manufacturing to thrive in the future by inspiring and helping to prepare the next-generation manufacturing workforce.
• Look at how our chapters and other membership activities are “making it possible” to bring people together to meet new people, share their expertise, and improve their companies and local communities.
• Look at how our tradeshows and other events are “making it possible” for companies to improve and expand their businesses, and expose thousands of people to the latest manufacturing technology, products and knowledge.
• Look at how our Tooling U and Professional Development offerings are “making it possible” for many individuals to learn new skills and enhance their careers, and for companies to improve their current workforce to meet global manufacturing needs and beat international competition.
• Look at how our Manufacturing Engineering Media products are “making it possible” for people to connect with the latest technology, ideas and trends that are happening all around us every day at an ever-increasing pace.
• Look at how our relationships with government, educational institutions and other organizations are “making it possible” for us to be relevant, as well as an integral part of improving the image of manufacturing, which ultimately helps manufacturing and society prosper.
These are truly exciting and significant activities.
Contributing Member Engagement
In addition to our goal of taking advantage of the synergy within SME in 2013, we want to find ways to improve the engagement of our membership. We have members who are simply consumers of SME products and services. At the same time, we also have members who are contributors to our products and services. Those volunteer members, who share their time and expertise, truly make SME special. They are an integral part of SME’s intellectual capital, which defines our value proposition for members and customers.
Members have many ways to be contributors.
Our chapters provide an engagement opportunity in a member’s local community.
Our Technical Community Network (TCN) provides an engagement opportunity in a member’s technical area of expertise.
Our Manufacturing Knowledge Base Wiki provides an engagement opportunity to enhance the availability of the latest manufacturing techniques and practices in a wiki environment.
Our PRIME schools and student competitions provide an engagement opportunity to help inspire and mentor the next-generation manufacturing workforce.
Many contributing members freely give their time and expertise because they want to help, and, most importantly, be a part of an organization that is doing good work. But, we know that being able to provide a fulfilling answer to the question “What’s in it for me?” is also an important part of enhancing membership engagement. Providing more value back to these contributing members will help us grow and expand this critical group of people. Our goal for this upcoming year is to plan and implement new ways to grow and enrich the engagement of our contributing members.
Relevant Products and Services
Our products and services are an important component of our value proposition, not just for our members, but for the entire field of manufacturing. Our world-class offering of tradeshows, conferences, online learning, certifications, media products, and many other products and activities give all levels of people in manufacturing an opportunity to meet new people, have access to new knowledge and create opportunities to grow and enhance their own careers.
Our goal in 2013 is to continue to work on improving the relevance of our products and services. As the global landscape of manufacturing has changed and continues to change, SME is committed to providing relevant ways for individuals, companies, communities and other organizations to have access to the most up-to-date, credible and impactful information, knowledge and connections related to manufacturing. We will continue our plan-do-check-adjust process for all of our products and services, which starts by listening, to ensure that our products and services are world-class and meeting the needs of all of our stakeholders.
An important aspect of SME, as a not-for-profit organization, is that the revenue we receive from our products and services gives SME the ability to give back in the form of scholarships and support of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and PRIME schools, engaging in student competitions to inspire the next-generation workforce, helping with workforce development of our returning veterans, promotions to improve the image of manufacturing and many other activities.
“Making it possible” requires a lot of work by a lot of people. We have an outstanding Board of Directors, and some great new directors and officers who will be joining us this year. We also have an outstanding staff whose talents, commitment and dedication are remarkable. And, we have the true power of our Society, which is our volunteers, those individuals who give their time for their own personal reasons to help make SME better and more meaningful to more people. I look forward, as the incoming president, to working with all of them for a successful and satisfying year for SME and everyone it impacts.
So, as we enter 2013, and you are finishing up your New Year’s resolutions, remember that SME is here for you, and we are focused on “making it possible” for you, your company and our society to prosper in the New Year. ME
This article was first published in the January 2013 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.