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Tackling the Gender Gap in Manufacturing

July 28, 2014

Fotosearch_k0604970In our previous blog, we discussed the importance of boosting interest for the next generation of workers. While we believe getting any worker into manufacturing is key, we can’t help but think about the specific importance of recruiting women in manufacturing.

As a certified woman-owned small business, we realize that we need to band together to spark interest to a different gender. On average, women make up nearly one-third of employees in the sector, according to a Women in Manufacturing study. Women in the manufacturing industry peaked in 1990, making up 32 percent of the workforce, and we believe we can get there (and even higher) once again.

Similarly to our discussion on spreading the word of STEM education, there are plenty of high school and college-level female students who do not realize their options. These are the types of students we need to be focusing our efforts on—even starting as far back as elementary school.

Our CEO, Trisha Mowry, spent a lot of time growing up in our facilities, and we wish more women had the opportunity to do so. She believes women bring a different perspective to the rapidly evolving manufacturing industry. Today, technology is more advanced and the importance of precision planning is now more critical than ever. Because of the increasingly flexible working patterns allowing more women to combine employment with caring for children; women now play a significant role in mentoring, leadership, communication development, management, as well as manufacturing best practices. Their participation is on an upward trend due to the economy’s changing social and behavioral norms of women and the impact they have on the market. Another defining factor is the rise of urbanization and the growing consolidation of manufacturing sourcing sites being brought back to the United States.

While we know this is part of a longer-term strategy, we wanted to bring attention to the gender gap and highlight the importance of narrowing it. If you aren’t already involved with STEM education and gender gap awareness, social media is a great place to start. There is plenty of chatter on Twitter with the #STEM and #GenderGap hashtags, and it’s good to get involved with one of the many LinkedIn groups on both subjects.

For more information on our company history, visit Metal Craft’s website.

Encouraging the Next Generation of Manufacturing Workers

July 7, 2014

Fotosearch_k1099017Earlier this year, our CEO Trisha Mowry and our president Jack Mowry were highlighted in the Bone Zone publication. The article centered on a recent major growth spurt for Metal Craft, stemming off of their outstanding leadership and commitment to customer support, and as the second-generation leadership for the company, they have a lot of insight on what it’s like to be successful.

For Trisha and Jack, the introduction to this industry started at a young age when they would stop by (or work) Metal Craft, but not all young Americans get the same exposure. Because of this, the siblings are looking to raise awareness to not only help their own business, but the future of all others. Metal Craft has made a considerable effort to reach out to local colleges and partner with school to get students familiar with the industry and future possibilities.

“It is important they recognize what the requirements are to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S. rather than going offshore,” Trisha said. “It’s critical as funding is getting cut for schools and their extended programs.”

Not only is STEM education an important part of curriculum, but there needs to be an emphasis on communication and accountability. To build a sustainable future, we need to get the next generation more involved—and we’re not alone in thinking this way. There are plenty of movements on social media looking to raise awareness, and many manufacturers are joining forces to getting the word out.

In a time when many manufacturers are cutting back and reducing labor, we’re thriving—and we’re looking to continue. Part of this lies in finding the right people, which has proven to be more of a challenge than expected these days—putting an emphasis on the importance of STEM.

What part does your business have in building the future of manufacturing workers? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting at us.

Why Testing Is Vital to Manufacturing

May 5, 2014

The manufacturing industry encompasses an abundance of processes and products, which means it can be somewhat difficult to identify all of the sectors within its grasp. Ranging from military and defense to orthopedic and medical manufacturing, it’s important to monitor every piece of product and machinery closely.

We believe the only way to guarantee excellence is with thorough quality control and testing with such a high volume of products coming out of businesses. If you know every single product you ship is completely effective, it gives your customers confidence in your commitment to their satisfaction and safety.

Because we do complex assembly projects in our Minnesota and Wisconsin facilities, Metal Craft and Riverside Machine & Engineering makes product testing a top priority. We see a number of different reasons why product testing is a key to our success:

  • Proper testing can instantly make your products superior to those of your competitors.
  • If you make quality a top priority, it will find its way into all aspects of your manufacturing process.
  • Testing has the ability to lower costs because it can highlight inefficiencies before it’s too late.
  • It allows you to judge if raw materials meet your demands. If not, you can make changes before it costs you time, money, and customers.
  • Perhaps the most important of all: the safety of the public.

In the end, proper testing is a sign that you are committed to the highest levels of quality. Extensive testing of your manufactured products shows the world that you care about more than just profits; you care about people. If you are interested in learning even more about Metal Craft and Riverside Machine’s detailed testing procedures, please contact us today.

The State of the U.S. Orthopedics Industry

March 6, 2014

Fotosearch_k11390307It seems new and exciting medical breakthroughs are constantly being revealed on television programs and in newspapers—and there’s a reason for it: The 21st century has offered amazing opportunities for the medical industry. This sector is expected to be worth a staggering $127.1 billion this year in the U.S.

Thanks to the growing interest in health and life-extension, the U.S. ranks as the world’s largest spenders per capita on medical devices—and within the medical device market, the orthopedics industry is a major player. As the massive “Baby Boomer” generation ages, the demand for orthopedics (such as knee and hip replacements) grows as well, and according to the Millennium Research Group, the U.S. orthopedic extremity device market should be worth $4.2 billion by 2016.

While knee and hip replacements make up a large share of the orthopedics industry, plenty of other innovations and inventions are in the spotlight as well, including:

  • The growth of the sports medicine industry.

These are just a few of the interesting and exciting trends that will help orthopedics in the U.S. grow over the next decade, and we’re working to continue to boost the industry. For more information on how our products function in this growing sector, check out Metal Craft and Riverside Machine & Engineering.

How Metal Craft and Riverside Machine and Engineering Serve Customers

January 8, 2014

We recently wrote about Metal Craft and Riverside Machine and Engineering celebrating 35 years of quality, service, and innovation. While both companies celebrate this accomplishment, we reflect on the separate paths each took to get here. Although they are very similar with shared customers and capabilities, they each have their own special functions which help them stand out in their respective industries.

Metal Craft
Started as a small job shop, Metal Craft has grown steadily since 1978 mastering the trade of Machining. The majority of Metal Craft’s business today falls within the medical industry, with a small portion being in the aerospace industry. Today you can find us at plenty of medical and orthopedic tradeshows throughout the year promoting our precision instruments and complex assemblies.  From long run production to prototyping, we can manufacture even the most complex projects in house.

Specialties: CNC Milling, CNC Turning, Swiss, Wire EDM, 7-Axis CNC Grinding, Gundrilling, Welding, Passivation, Complex Assembly, Prototype & Production, and Manufacturing Engineering Support.

Riverside Machine and Engineering
Unlike Metal Craft, Riverside was originally opened as a manufacturing facility for Cray Inc. specializing in manufacturing aluminum brazed cold plates for the original supercomputer. In 1996 it was purchased my Metal Craft and re-named Riverside Machine & Engineering.  Keeping their current customers and adding medical customers, Riverside is a dual industry supplier. Best known for its Aluminum Furnace Vacuum Brazing, Riverside specializes in cold plate and heat sink manufacturing.

Specialties: Aluminum Furnace Vacuum Brazing, Heat Treating, CNC Milling, CNC Turning, Swiss, Laser Etching, Passivation, Prototype Services, & Complex Assembly.

Although the two companies are about 120 miles apart and considered separate entities, they owned by the same management. Many other employees are shared and cross trained, which allows us to utilize the same standards and work together as a team—helping us live up to our promise of Quality, Service, and Innovation!

For more information on Metal Craft and Riverside Machine and Engineering, head over to their respective websites.

Why It’s Important to be Made in America

November 7, 2013

American FlagWith Manufacturing Day and American Made Matters Day just past us, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what it means to support American manufacturing. We’ve been leaders in precision machining for the medical device, aerospace, space and defense, and electronics industries for more than 35 years, so we know the importance of keeping products made in the U.S.

It’s no secret the manufacturing industry and varying sectors have seen ups and downs over the past few years, but there has been a steady uptake of contributions to the U.S. For example, last year, manufacturers made up $1.87 trillion in the country’s economy, supporting more than 17 million jobs, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. If the manufacturing sector were to separate from the country, it would be the 10th largest economy in the world—and with that kind of growing capacity, why would we be shipping our business elsewhere?

NAM also calculated (based on data from United Nations, Bureau of Labor Statistics and the International Labour Organization) that manufacturers in our country are the most productive in the world. Yet many companies manage to outsource millions of jobs per year. Although big names such as Apple and many well-known automotive companies are bringing jobs back, there are plenty of reasons to push for even more companies to bring manufacturing back home.

When you support American manufacturing, you’re supporting the American workers, the economy, and future generations of this country, and we at Metal Craft and Riverside Machining and Engineering are dedicated to keeping the Made in the USA initiative alive.

We’re Celebrating 35 Years of Quality, Service, and Innovation

September 9, 2013

35 Years of Metal CraftIn the past 35 years, Metal Craft and Riverside Machine and Engineering have seen major growth and innovation while delivering the highest quality and services to our customers. As we celebrate this major milestone within our company, we can’t help but want to share a little about our journey and how we got to where we are.

Metal Craft and Riverside Machine & Engineering trace our roots back to farms in rural Minnesota and South Dakota, where founder Jack Mowry spent his childhood. As years passed, he eventually left crops behind and moved toward machining by taking a six-month course at Dunwoody College of Technology.  Jack worked his way up to night foreman, but grew tired of the nights. After another stint in school (earning his degree in mechanical drafting), he attempted a new career. Realizing that he could earn more money as a machinist than a drafter, he returned to machining and being a night foreman.  One day, an opportunity presented itself for Jack to start his own business. Feeling like he could do the work better he started Metal Craft in 1978 in the basement of a small strip mall in Elk River, MN.

At the beginning, the main focus was on computers, electronics, and the food and drug industries. After a decade of steady growth, Jack became interested in looking for another way to boost business. While doing research, he discovered expected growth in the medical-device industry and decided to start creating close-tolerance parts for surgical instruments, which is a majority of Metal Craft’s business today.

As the need for more employees and space grew, the Mowry’s looked to expand out into other areas of manufacturing. A small machine shop originally owned by Cray Research, Inc. for manufacturing cold plates for super computers was for sale. In August 1996, The Mowry’s purchased the facility from then Silicon Graphics and Riverside Machine and Engineering was born. This acquisition allowed Metal Craft to expand its capacity and hire more employees. Today the company services the medical, aviation, space and defense, and electronic industries and specializes in aluminum vacuum furnace brazing.

Currently, the two companies have more 180 employees combined. Metal Craft moved into a new 83,000 square foot facility in 2009 and Riverside is working on a plan to expand their 40,000 foot facility over the next couple of years. Jack has moved into an advisory role within the company but the business he built is still in the family—his son, Sean, and his daughter, Trisha, lead Metal Craft to its continued success.

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