Manufacturing Talent in a High Tech World podcast features NCMS’ Pam Hurt

NCMS’ Pam Hurt joined Michigan Spotlight Radio’s Business Rap Program for “Manufacturing Talent in a High Tech World,” with a panel of experts including, Gary Carr, Bekum America Corp., Tom Alongi, UHY Advisors, Brett Gerrish, Michigan Manufacturers Association (M.M.A), moderated by Elyse Kopietz, of the M.M.A.

This 4 part series covered the following topics:

Industry 4.0: Opportunities & Threats for the Michigan Manufacturer;

  • What is Industry 4.0?
  • Looking back 10 years, what has changed in the industry? In how we use technology?
  • Paint the picture of the future, what is the manufacturing environment going to look like 10 years from now?
  • How will Industry 4.0 be a disrupter? Or a game changer?
    • Autonomous vehicles, internet of things, electrification, direct to consumer, sharing economy, car as a service
  • What opportunities does Industry 4.0 bring?
  • The bulk of MMA members are small to medium manufacturers, with fewer than 200 employees—how will this impact them?
  • What does a manufacturer need to be doing now to be prepared to be a player in Industry 4.0?

Manufacturing Technology: A spotlight on the Industry;

  • A lot of people who aren’t familiar with manufacturing might think is dark and dirty, that it is hard manual labor—help listeners understand what it really looks like to be a manufacturer today
  • What does the term smart manufacturing mean?
  • Lets talk about some of the technology being used in manufacturing:
    • What have you seen? What’s exciting?
    • System integration, robotics, internet of things, simulation, additive manufacturing, cloud computing, augmented reality, big data, cybersecurity
  • How are these technologies changing the manufacturing industry?
  • Big Data. I first heard this term a few years ago at an Association Tech conference… it blew my mind! Explain big data and the challenges and opportunities it brings.
  • I’ve heard the expression that manufacturers are moving from being product producers to service providers—what does that mean and how is technology playing a role?

Manufacturing Talent in a High-Tech World;

  • Manufacturers continue to sight talent as primary struggle, what are the current workforce challenges?
  • What workforce challenges do you see looming on the horizon?
    • Impact of boomers
    • Skilled trades
  • Automation and robotics—are we eliminating people?
  • What are some of the characteristics an employee in a technology rich manufacturing world will need?
    • Tom Alongi, presentation slide
  • One suggestion I’ve heard is for a business owner to develop a skills matrix, to evaluate if you have the right skills. What do you think of this, do you have suggestions on how a manufacturer can do this, other suggestions to identify if the workforce has the skills you need
    • Identify current skills and skills needed in the future, circle back to characteristics that will be needed
    • Hire for leadership, culture more than skill? “Soft Skills” like critical thinking, independent worker, will play a bigger role
  • What are the benefits, or opportunities, for a career in manufacturing?

Cybersecurity: Impact on the Supply Chain.

  • Why is cyber security a growing issue of importance for manufacturers?
  • Explain the security challenges of working in industries, such as manufacturing, with supply chains
  1. A lack of awareness of the sensitive information being shared in contracts
  2. Too many contracts to assess individually
  3. A lack of visibility and control as information is shared in the supply chain
  • What is corporate data?
  • How can a company protect their corporate data?
  • Do small Michigan suppliers have the resources to adequately implement widely accepted information security standards?
  • What about costs? How much do businesses spend on cyber security as part of their IT budgets? How much should they be spending? Are there costs associated with a cyber attack?
  • What type of risks do businesses face?
  1. Interruption of business
  2. Ransomware
  3. Theft of Assets
  4. Social engineering
  • How do you know what data is important? How does a company define what assets are worth protecting?
  1. Strategic plans, intellectual property, personally identifiable information (PII)


Each segement can be streamed here: