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New Study from Tooling U-SME Reveals Serious Execution Gaps Related to Key Manufacturing Initiatives

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(CLEVELAND, Sept. 10, 2014) — New research supports there is a direct connection between a skilled, highly trained manufacturing workforce and organizational improvements that boost the bottom line. According to Tooling U-SME’s Manufacturing Insights Report: Winning Practices of World-Class Companies, conducted by the MPI Group, world-class companies are outperforming others in large part because they manage and train differently.

One of the main findings of the report is that there are dramatic “execution gaps” between high executive awareness of the importance of three key manufacturing initiatives – continuous improvement, workforce development and production planning for new products – and low support (e.g., resources, investments) for their implementation.

For instance, nearly four-out-of-five respondents acknowledge training and development as important to facility success, but barely half of those report success at achieving world-class status.

“A well-trained workforce is a competitive advantage,” said Jeannine Kunz, managing director of workforce and education for SME. “The Manufacturing Insights Report shows that what sets world-class companies apart from their competitors is an understanding of, and commitment to, investing in their people, the ultimate resource when it comes to building a winning organization.”

Some of the findings include:

  • Just 39 percent of manufacturers acknowledge approaching world-class manufacturing status, underscoring the potential for most organizations to improve via these three initiatives – all of which require training.
  • Manufacturers that excel at continuous improvement are dramatically more likely to achieve overall world-class manufacturing status for their operations.
  • These manufacturers score better than their peers when it comes to important operational metrics such as deliveries, first-pass quality yield, scrap and rework, machine availability, OSHA incident rates and gross profit.
  • Many manufacturers are struggling with production planning for new products.
  • One in five manufacturers failed to hit both the budget and time specifications for half or more of their product launches.
  • While many manufacturers clearly rely on new products to sustain their organizations, they may not be considering the need to train management and employees on how to improve the production planning process — and, thus, squander away both revenues and profits with late, over-budget launches.

Now available, the Tooling U-SME Manufacturing Insights Report reveals critical information to help manufacturing executives and leaders make better strategic decisions and more efficiently manage operations.  Through this report, manufacturers will learn:

  • Best practices and performances associated with three key manufacturing initiatives.
  • How an execution gap between high awareness of the importance of these initiatives and low support for their implementation is holding back many companies from becoming world-class.
  • How productivity and profitability are directly improved by moving closer to world-class manufacturing status.
  • Why and how world-class companies manage and train differently to outperform others.

The Tooling U-SME Manufacturing Insights Report is available at:

About Tooling U-SME
Tooling U-SME delivers versatile, competency-based learning and development solutions to the manufacturing community, working with more than half of all Fortune 500® manufacturing companies, as well as educational institutions across the country. Tooling U-SME partners with customers to build high performers who help their companies drive quality, productivity, innovation and employee satisfaction.  A division of SME, an organization that connects people to manufacturing solutions, Tooling U-SME can be found at, or follow @ToolingU on Twitter.

About SME
SME connects all those who are passionate about making things that improve our world. As a nonprofit organization, SME has served practitioners, companies, educators, government and communities across the manufacturing spectrum for more than 80 years. Through its strategic areas of events, media, membership, training and development, and the SME Education Foundation, SME is uniquely dedicated to advancing manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skill needs for industry.  Follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or


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