Marketing to millennials

December 1, 2017

Take two ideas and put them together to make one new idea. After all, what is a Snuggie but a mutation of a blanket and a robe? ~Jim Kukral For years now, I’ve been endearing myself in meetings with manufacturers by asking questions like: “So when will there be an awning that is delivered by …

Manufacturing fuels innovation

November 1, 2017

And I know this happens because I took economics, and I’d explain it to ya, but I flunked that course. Not my fault. They taught it at 8 o’clock in the morning. And there is absolutely nothing you can learn out of one bloodshot eye.   ~Lewis Black When I was in college, I took a …

Disaster relief and rebuilding

October 1, 2017

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. ~Douglas Adams Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Floods. Fire. It’s only September 18 as I write this, and this month is already on the record books. And, according to today’s paper, the atmospheric parade just keeps on coming, Atlantic and Pacific: Maria. José. …

Community service

September 1, 2017

Vision is dandy, but sustainable company excellence comes from a huge stable of able managers. ~Tom Peters September is IFAI Expo month, and this year’s programs, events and exhibits are focused more than ever on making the workmanship surpass the materials—even the amazing materials on the show floor in New Orleans. It’s an education in …

The latest at IFAI Expo 2017 in New Orleans

August 1, 2017

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. ~Abraham Lincoln I can’t believe it’s August already. Next month we’ll gather in New Orleans to celebrate the people, products and ideas across our industry, from specialty fabrics and fabrication, shade and weather protection and advanced …

Planning for the circular economy

July 1, 2017

Economics is an older science than ecology, created (if not perfected) during times when there were no scarcities of natural resources (and no wild-eyed college freshmen running around flashing their “Earth Day 1970” buttons at each other). In ecological science, there really is no concept of unlimited resources. Economics is necessarily focused on short time …

The only strategy

June 1, 2017

At the recent MMPA (Minnesota Magazine & Publishing Association) Summit & Expo, focused this year on digital publications, I attended a session on how to enforce trademark and copyright laws when much of the public feels that anything found online is free for the taking. According to our speaker, a patent attorney, if you find …

The radishes strike back

May 1, 2017

Some weeks ago, I listened to my cousin’s husband Fred as he told a tale of shopping and marital compromise. Apparently he’d gone out to run some errands, was attracted by a nearby brewery, and completely forgot that he’d been firmly instructed to pick up some cat food. Wishing to maintain household harmony, Fred sent …

Beware the local radishes

April 1, 2017

Whenever anyone says something about being on Cloud 9, I have to wonder about the populations of Clouds 1–8. Are there predestined atmospheric locations for those having a bad hair day, a flat tire, two flat tires, a screenwriting career? Is Cloud 1 the lowest level, or does it continually sow discord by boasting the …

From custom to customer

March 1, 2017

Manufacturing USA—the new name for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation—has established nine manufacturing innovation institutes, with six more planned in 2017. These public–private partnerships each have distinct technology focus areas but work towards a common goal: to secure America’s future through manufacturing innovation, education and collaboration. The mission of the Advanced Functional Fabrics of …