MRC - Manufacturers Resource Center


Manufacturing Leadership Institute (MLI)


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For more than a decade, MRC has provided a leadership certificate program for the region’s current and up-and-coming leaders.

The resulting Manufacturing Leadership Institute (MLI) program has graduated more than 300 participants, helping them to enhance their skills, strengthen their companies’ competitiveness, drive growth, and create sustainable business models that lead them into the future.

MRC achieves this goal by providing participants with a comprehensive strategic leadership training curriculum.  Over a five-month period, eight industry experts with real-world expertise guide MLI students through training each month.  Class sizes average just 20 in order to encourage personalization and participation.

The breadth of instruction would carry a price in excess of $30,000 if booked separately, but for just $4,995, MRC gives MLI participants a solid instruction base in the following topics:

Topics to be Covered:    MLI Brochure 2023 | MLI Fast Facts 2023

Thinking Like a Leader – In the opening session we present an overview of leadership attitudes and explore our understanding of ways of thinking, doing and being that serve growth and innovation. Each company will be expected to provide a short introduction of its products and services.  Next, we interactively survey participants’ process expectations and assess the direction of MLI as it relates to their businesses.

Creating the Right Vision – This topic explores each enterprise’s vision statement (where possible) and evaluate its capability to define the future and inspire the workers to realize that vision.

Supply Chain Management & External Intelligence – We will discuss the concept of external intelligence and how it affects business success, including external information sources. We also explore supply chain concepts within the context of small- and medium-sized firms. Topics include target market positioning and assessment of industry competitors, relationship management, Lean supply chain, market trends and changes, and the financial implications of supply chain decisions.

The Role of Leadership in A CI Culture Transformation – Participants learn how to transform their organization (and themselves) into high-performing entities that can deliver sustainable business results.  Because leadership is the most frequently identified gap in a Continuous Improvement (CI) Culture Transformation, this workshop explores the role of leadership in CI, facilitates gap analysis, and reviews practical methodologies and processes to address these gaps.

Strategic Financial Management  – Finance is a critical success factor for any business owner or investor, so understanding finance is vital for all team members. Every business decision has financial implications, and it is everyone’s job to contribute to the firm’s financial health and well-being. This session discusses the analysis of historical, planned, and targeted financial information, as well as working and fixed capital investment valuation. It creates awareness while developing a common language to communicate objectives and results.

Leveraging Human Capital – This topic reviews the alignment between Human Capital, high morale, customer service, and the bottom line. From talent recruitment to training and retention, learn how to create and nurture business culture.

21st Century Marketing and Sales Strategies – Explore the latest marketing and sales strategies to capture new business and increase repeat business from current customers. Today, small- and medium-sized businesses have access to a wide range of resources that enable them to compete with lager players. Yet with so many choices, how do you decide what really works and what doesn’t for your specific situation? Get the answers you need to effectively differentiate your products and solutions in today’s hypercompetitive, and price-driven market. By developing a cohesive organizational marketing and sales approach, you and your team will win more business and increase profit margins with less effort.

Organizational Leadership & Culture – Leaders can rely on themselves to have all the answers, or they can motivate and energize their workforce to high performance standards, leveraging the strengths and synergy of the entire team and carrying the organization far beyond one person’s individual talents. Values-based leadership is the best way to create a high-energy, committed workforce that achieves incredible results. Powerful, effective leadership has always been important, but in critical financial periods it is even more so. This class is both practical and theoretical, emphasizing and teaching specific behaviors that enhance leadership effectiveness and create a high performance culture to position your company for growth.

Strategy and Operational Decision Making – This topic examines the decision-making process in detail. We begin with a lively introduction into decision science, followed by a discussion of strategic decision making focused on competitive positioning, product and market priorities, and implementing and aligning your company or business unit strategy. We will devote the afternoon to building operational decision making skills using decision process tools to achieve more effective decision outcomes.

Invention, Innovation, and Successful Products – This program introduces the innovation management process with an emphasis on design for value. We discuss strategic concepts and tools such as conjoint analysis, product architecture, product platform, Six Sigma quality, design for manufacturability and customer value development.

Change Management – This program enables individuals to identify and develop the skills that make them more effective at leading change, whether that change has internal or external origins. Attendees also gain an understanding of change reactions and how to deal with them.

Company Growth Direction – Participants learn to evaluate their organization in ways that will improve the current state. The topic helps in the development and presentation of new company initiatives aimed at organizational growth, culminating in a peer-based presentation and feedback session.

Who Should Attend – MRC’s MLI topics are intended for those who hold—or aspire to hold—leadership roles. With more than 300 graduates to date, MLI has a proven ability to enhance the skills of our region’s leaders, strengthening their company’s competitiveness, driving growth, and creating sustainable business models to benefit our service area and beyond.


The MLI experience was the best course I have had in my professional career thus far.  Learning to think like a leader versus a manager has been an awakening experience.  Change has occurred immediately at ProtoCAM since graduating.  I would recommend this course to anyone looking to change the culture within a company or just better themselves as a leader and a person!”

~ Ed Graham, ProtoCAM

The MLI program provided valuable leadership training for me to improve my performance and to help drive performance improvements of my organization. I highly recommend this training for people who want to improve the performance of their manufacturing organizations.

~ Ron Moritz, Lutron Electronics