For more than 30 years a local nonprofit has helped companies train employees, increase productivity and open the doors by introducing students to the career possibilities in manufacturing. Now, it is looking to capitalize on that growth and offer more services and education to its clients.
Manufacturers Resource Center recently moved from its office in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, where it shared space in an office building on Marcon Boulevard with several other tenants, to a new location on Windsor Drive in Upper Macungie Township.
And members of the organization, which serves about 2,000 clients in its five-county region, offered an open house Tuesday morning to show off its new, larger space and training equipment.
About 150 people turned out to learn about what MRC does and how it’s using the new space, said Richard Hobbs, president and CEO of MRC.
“The challenge is to look ahead to 2020 and beyond,” Hobbs told an audience of professionals who gathered to hear a few presentations on what MRC offers. “Think about how we can help.”
MRC helps its clients learn new techniques, which can include organizing a shop floor for better production, using new coaching strategies, or devising better communicating methods to provide effective leadership.
“The goal is to do the projects and train the people at the companies so they can do them when you leave,” Hobbs said.
The new office offers about 10,000 square feet on one floor, almost double what the previous space offered, he said.
The old space had one conference room, the new one has three, he said. The extra space allows for multiple uses at the same time.
It also has a dedicated room for a lean workshop, complete with manufacturing training equipment that can remain in the room. In the old location, equipment had to be put away after a session to the room could be used for something else.
“We’ve got a lot more flexibility with space and training facilities all on one floor,” Hobbs said. “It’s a little more centrally located.”
Being farther west in the valley puts the new office closer to its Berks County clients, but farther from those in the Easton area, he acknowledged.
However, the wider rooms and single-floor layout appear to be serving the organization well.
At the open house, several instructors offered brief presentations about programs and services of use to manufacturers.
These included information about:
- The PA Dream Team, a career awareness program that spotlights young adults in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers at advanced manufacturing companies;
- Industry 4.0, a program that explores new technologies and the digitization of manufacturing;
- Coaching and Improvement Kata, which deals with patterns of scientific thinking designed to strengthen problem-solving skills and reflections on how to improve.
- The Lean Master Certification, a program designed to help manufacturers minimize waste and develop a lean culture, learn lean management systems and obtain structured problem-solving skills, among other topics.