In the October 2016 issue, this column was about Manufacturing Day 2016. Created by Founding Partner Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) in 2012, Manufacturing Day (MFG DAY) has “enjoyed support from many organizations aligned with its mission of positively changing the public perception of modern manufacturing.”
Organizations that have played a vital role in working with FMA to successfully grow this national celebration of all things manufacturing include the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Institute (MI) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). MFG DAY is now produced annually by NAM with key contributions and support from MEP and MI.
The first MFG DAY was held in 2012 and included 240 events nationwide. Subsequent MFG DAYs were held annually on the first Friday in October. In 2013, the number of local events more than tripled to 834. Three years later, in 2016, the total number of events tripled again to reach 2,807, and indications were strong that the number of local events in 2017 (held on Oct. 6, 2017) exceeded 3,000. This represents approximately a twelve-fold increase in the number of events in the short span of only five years and six MFG DAYs.
MFG DAY events include factory open houses, presentations to students and the community at large, product and capability demonstrations or combinations thereof. It turns out that MFG DAY is an excellent opportunity for manufacturers to let their neighbors know what they do, educate students about how they operate and the technologies they use, and to generally enhance the good will toward the manufacturing sector held by the public.
Every state in the union participated with a MFG DAY event. Not surprisingly, California, Michigan and Ohio had the highest number of events, along with second-tier states such as Iowa, Colorado, Florida, Illinois and New York. In looking at the shaded map, there is plenty of room for growth.
For this year’s MFG DAY, even the White House weighed in, with President Trump proclaiming this past Oct. 6 as National Manufacturing Day. In his proclamation was the following excerpt: “Today’s American manufacturers are consistently finding new ways to incorporate advanced technology into the traditional assembly line to produce previously unfathomable breakthroughs in areas like aerospace, medicine and computers. These manufacturers are writing their chapter into the story of American innovation while providing countless job opportunities to machinists, designers, computer programmers and engineers, among others. In 2016, manufacturing contributed more than 11% to our gross domestic product and employed more than 12 million workers. The American manufacturers of the 21st century employ innovative minds equipped with problem-solving skills and knowledge steeped in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to build their incredible products.”
A survey of participants in 2016 MFG DAY events indicates that 84% were more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding and 89% became more aware of community manufacturing jobs. Among hosts of MFG DAY events, 89% valued their participation and 86% said they would host a future event.
The lesson here is that Manufacturing Day is gaining traction on a national scale. This makes it a good opportunity for forging operations to open their doors to students and their local communities. In this way they can gain the good will of their neighbors, help educate students and aid recruiting efforts in the long run.
In 2018, MFG DAY will be held on Oct. 5. Go to www.mfgday.com to find out how you can be a part of it.