Not Your Grandfather's Factory: Modernizing Manufacturing to Attract Millennials

Why is engagement such a big deal in manufacturing and the skilled trades? Because according to a 2013 industry report, for every four trade positions that workers retire from, the industry is producing only one replacement. Worse yet, it's predicted that in the next decade, that 2 million out of the 3.5 million manufacturing jobs available will go unfilled because of the lack of available talent.

Now you may be asking, how can that be? With millions of jobless Millennials, who happen to be facing an unemployment rate that is double the national rate, don't we have enough people to fill those positions? Not until we change the image and perception of manufacturing – for both kids and their parents.

For the past two generations, young professionals haven't exactly been leaping at the chance to work in manufacturing. Part of the problem is the stigma that manufacturing has – working in an unclean environment, with outdated thinking, and little room for growth. The other, bigger issues are the parents who have discouraged their kids from attending trade or technical school and instead promote the value of a four-year degree from a college or university. According to the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute (NAM), only 3 in 10 parents would consider encouraging their child toward a manufacturing career. The perception has been that you go into the trades if you are not "college material." And parents want their kids to be "college material."

As the United States is now undergoing a "manufacturing renaissance" and looking to produce their goods on American soil again, there is an urgent and growing need for new talent.

So, how do you make manufacturing jobs more attractive and appealing to prospective employees? You can start by modernizing your brand. If your company is stuck in an old, calcified way of doing business, you're going to have a hard time finding and keeping younger workers.

Today's workers are digital natives. They are "wired" for technology in a way unlike any previous generations, and they expect to access it in the workplace. That's why it's critical for manufacturers to not only have cutting edge Industry 4.0 technology available, companies need to promote the technology used in their production process. Millennials will be pleased, if not surprised, so know that more than two-thirds of US manufacturing companies are adopting 3D printing and more than half use robots.

Look for ways to better utilize mobile devices, videos and virtual reality in your hiring process as well as throughout the plant. Millennials are used to watching videos to learn about new things, so why not use YouTube or another video website to give potential hires a realistic view of "a day in the life" of a worker at your facility. Keep the videos to 2-3 minutes of less and capitalize on the "wow" factors of the job. Not sure what they are? Ask your current team members what they enjoy most about their job. You may even want to interview them and let them share their story in the video. In doing so, you're letting job applicants know that this isn't their grandfather's factory!

One of the first places to start is your company website. Yes, it's a great place to share what your company is all about, but it needs to be real – not a bunch of mumbo-jumbo "marketing speak." Look for ways to share your company culture and mission. What is it like to work there? Demonstrate how your products and services serve a greater mission that simply making a profit. Take advantage of your online presence to show how your company makes a positive impact on society.

Next, check out your social media. (Now, if you're saying "What's that?" Or "That's just a fad," you have your work cut out for you.

Figure out where your potential hires are hanging out. They may not be on Facebook, they may choose Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn instead. It's important to make sure your channels are active and up-to-date. Give your employees opportunities to share what's going on from their perspective. Post pictures from social events, charitable projects, and other fun occasions. Does your company look like a fun place to work from a social media standpoint? If not, look for ways to improve public perception. When done well, this can be a relatively quick fix – just start posting! When you have an active, engaging online social media presence, it builds credibility with potential hires from the younger generations.

Finally, keep in mind that Millennials are always connected. They look for one-on-one communication and immediate feedback. They consider their managers and leaders their peers and want to have access to them. If the only time you're giving feedback is during the annual review process, you're going to lose. There are lots of online tools, pulse-type surveys, and artificial intelligence programs that can help give feedback on demand. Communicating frequently and keeping employees in the loop will do wonders for engagement and performance development.

The digital nature of today's manufacturing is opening up many opportunities for skilled positions, transforming the manual nature of a factory job to the high-tech environment it is today. According to Vicki Holt, President and CEO for Protolabs, "Digital manufacturing is revitalizing our industry and is igniting new opportunities. The skills gap presents a critical roadblock for all of us. But it's encouraging to see a renewed optimism from a new generation of workers , and to hear that they understand this isn't their grandparents' manufacturing industry. Much work remains ahead of us, but this is a good start. "

Is Your Company Ready For Industry 4.0 Transformation?

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is the 4th industrial revolution. To give a little history, industries used steam to make the machine work which increased production and reduced cost in the industrial revolution. The next phase of the revolution was the mass production with implementing electricity and assembly lines. The third revolution introduced automation and computers. We are now here in the fourth revolution through digitizing and networking where we can connect the digital world with the physical world.

With hassle free wireless networking you educate the machine. Earlier the intelligence lied with the humans and machines just helped with the physical work, but now we can educate the machine and the products itself, also get a virtual image. Using Internet of Things (IOT) you can connect all the physical machines with software, networks and censors and they would exchange data with each other making human life and production much more simpler.

How many hours have you spent to hire a mechanic because your machine stopped working and the mechanic failed to understand what went wrong with the machine? With Industry 4.0, the machine will tell you what part has been failed and what has to be replaced. With artificial intelligence, it also tells you which spare parts need to be fixed.

Why Transform to Industry 4.0?

The Cyber ​​Physical systems enable your product to communicate with your machine. Your product will instruct the machine as to the quantity and the type of product that needs to be produced, and the machine is then produces and labels the products. After detecting the product, you can never go wrong with packaging, also your quality check has been performed by the machine while packaging itself.

Industry 4.0 allows you to have a flexible manufacturing process that will better react to customer demands. This new manufacturing technology reduces your cost of production, cost of wastage, reduces errors, increases efficiency due to use of robotics, yields higher revenue, improves customer service and increases innovation. It also allows you to create a virtual image of the real world using 3D printers and help you test your product and know your contingencies beforehand which would allow you to change the process in order to avoid the contingency before you even start your production.

You don't need to manually check your stock. You can add a censor to your forklift and your products, and while stacking up your goods, you get the data of the quality, description, weights and dimension as well as the location of the product. This would immensely reduce errors and damages.

Feed your machines, knowledge of automated systems with this new manufacturing trend and let them communicate with each other while you see your profits rise up high and costs go low.

Clean Technology

Clean technology refers to renewable energy sources (such as wind power, solar power, biomass, hydropower, and biofuels), recycling, information technology, green transportation (such as electric motors), green chemistry and many other sources of energy efficiency. Its purpose is to create electricity and fuels with a smaller environmental footprint, to minimise pollution, and to make buildings, transport and infrastructure both more energy efficient and environmentally neutral.Clean technologies can be competitive with, if not superior to, their conventional counterparts, and many offer significant additional benefits. Many countries now have clean technology advocates to speak about the countries’ problems with pollution and inefficiency.New clean technology projects can obtain finance through the generation of carbon credits. A carbon credit is the term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide, or another greenhouse gas equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide.Carbon credits and carbon markets are a facet of national and international attempts to limit the growth in concentrations of greenhouse gases. The aim is to allow markets to drive industrial and commercial processes in the direction of lower emissions and less carbon intensive approaches than those used when there is no cost to emitting carbon dioxide and other green house gases into the atmosphere.Investments in clean technology have grown considerably since around the turn of the century. According to UN figures wind, solar, and biofuel companies received almost $150 billion in new funding in 2007, as rising oil prices and a shift in political thinking regarding climate change (in the US, both John McCain and Barrack Obama supported climate change policies in the 2008 Presidential election) encouraged investment in renewable energy. Around $50 billion of that funding went to wind power and, overall, investment in clean-energy and energy-efficiency industries rose 60% from 2006 to 2007.Cleantech is the term used to describe any product or service that improves operational performance, productivity, or efficiency while at the same time reducing costs, energy, inputs, consumption, waste, or environmental pollution.The idea of cleantech first emerged among a group of emerging technologies and industries, based on principles of resource efficiency and new production concepts in basic industries. Since the end of the last century interest in these technologies has increased for two main reasons – a decline in the relative cost of these technologies, and a growing understanding of the link between 19th/early 20th century industrial practices (such as burning fossil fuels, the internal combustion engine, chemical manufacturing), and an emerging understanding of human-caused impact on earth systems resulting from their use.

How a Governor Stopped the Beet Sugar Industry in Its Tracks

Historians generally agree that Michigan Sugar Company constructed the first beet sugar factory built in Michigan in 1898 in Essexville, a suburb of Bay City, Michigan. It isn’t entirely true. The first beet sugar manufactured in the United States occurred simultaneously in the states of Massachusetts and Michigan in 1839. The earlier Michigan effort preceded the Essexville endeavor by sixty years but was doomed to failure when a future governor declared that Michigan was unsuitable for growing sugarbeets.By the 1830s, the new European practice of extracting sugar identical to cane sugar from beets had captured the interest of like-minded small groups of investors in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Michigan. The latter group took the name “White Pigeon” after the town in which the company was organized when establishing the White Pigeon Sugar Manufactory.The Michigan and Massachusetts enterprises predated the construction of factories in Michigan beginning in 1898 that today provide a direct annual contribution of approximately $298 million to the Michigan economy. Adding the indirect effects, the total contribution to business activity approaches nearly one billion dollars annually. Those first factories averaged a modest five tons of sliced sugarbeets per day, an amount processed in less than sixty seconds in today’s modern factories.Early experiments in sugarbeet processing in America were directly related to the formative stages of a bold new economic paradigm taking root in Europe-one which held that commerce and free trade between nations might generate more revenue for governments and more prosperity for the governed than simple taxation. For commerce to demonstrate its superior power as an economic driver, governments dissolved two pivotal institutions, protectionism and slavery.The realization that commerce could replace taxation as the fount from which governments would draw their means of support did not, however, come without a price. The price was war, actually a series of wars that began with the American Revolution and ended with the American Civil War. The leaders of America’s Sons of Liberty, those who first raised the specter of war against England, were men engaged in commerce as traders, warehouse owners, bankers, and lawyers. Their goal was to put an end to trade practices that favored England to the disadvantage of the colonies and to taxation that either limited or prohibited trade. The French Revolution, hard on the heels of the American Revolution, similarly began as a tax revolt before blazing out of control into a bloodbath that turned that nation’s aristocracy into fugitives from the guillotine.When presenting the Declaration of Independence, the thirteen colonies listed among injuries experienced at the hand of King George III “… cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world” and “imposing Taxes on us without our consent.” The obstacle to fair trade was protectionism, a practice whereby a country uses tariffs or import quotas to shield its internal commerce from competition by more efficient producers.Protectionism became a pervasive practice in England in the mid-seventeenth century. At that time a series of parliamentary acts controlled trade by decreeing that only British-owned vessels would convey imported goods from Asia, Africa, and America. Worse yet, the British Navigation Act of 1660 specifically prohibited the colonies from shipping tobacco, sugar, cotton, and other named products to any country other than England.The American colonies had enjoyed a flourishing trade in the enumerated goods with a number of countries, and strict enforcement of these acts would have caused economic ruin. Fortunately, because England lacked sea dominance, its bark was worse than its bite. In addition to financial losses experienced by the colonists, was the idea that the British could so severely affect the fortunes of nearly two million people in the colonies. It rankled. Nonetheless, in succeeding decades England enacted a succession of additional trade suppression measures, including laws that outlawed the export of corn to England, sharply limited the production of some goods outside of England, and prohibited entirely the manufacture of steel in the American colonies.The harshest suppression on colonial trade was the Molasses Act of 1733, a law that placed prohibitive duties on molasses and sugar deliveries from the French West Indies to the colonies. The measure held potentially dire consequences for the New England colonies where prosperity relied upon the importation of those commodities. Had England the sea power to enforce the act, the colonies would have been left without a market for the flour, lumber, and fish that was exchanged in trade with the French West Indies. America’s war of independence and later the War of 1812 (called by some, the war for “Free Trade and Sailors Rights”) ultimately broke the stranglehold of British protectionism.One further obstacle to the realization of international fair trade remained. That was the institution of slavery. If governments were to achieve the goal of securing recurring revenues from the manufacture and sale of products-sugar for example-then slavery would have to go the way of protectionist measures.Those who operated sugar plantations in the world’s tropical and subtropical regions held a marketing advantage in that the labor-intensive process of planting, harvesting, and manufacturing sugar was provided without labor cost other that which was associated with acquiring and maintaining slaves. The terrible human cost notwithstanding, from the point of view of an economist slavery retarded technological advancement of every kind and thus deterred the establishment of sugarbeets in the northern latitudes of Europe and North America.On the European continent, a twenty-two year struggle between France and England that began in 1793, during which each tried to starve the other of foreign trade, showed the wastefulness of protectionist policies. It was that struggle, however, that gave sugarbeets the opportunity to climb onto the world stage when, in response to an embargo, France began to extract sugar from sugarbeets which until then had been confined to laboratory experiments. For the first time in world history, sugar, the only commodity that grows with equal success in both temperate and tropical regions, could cleanse itself of the twin blemishes of protectionism and slavery. Europeans, having learned during the Napoleonic era, the disadvantages of depending upon imported cane sugar, adopted with enthusiasm the new sugarbeet technology.Attracted by reports of new settlers that sugarbeets had gained popularity in France, some Pennsylvania investors headed by James Ronaldson organized the Beet Sugar Society of Philadelphia and in 1830 sent James Pedder to France to study the industry. Pedder subsequently shipped six hundred pounds of seed for distribution to farmers near Enfield, Pennsylvania, where for the first time in American history, the sugarbeet was grown. Nonetheless, while Ronaldson and Pedder vigorously promoted the idea, they were unable to develop a sufficient number of adherents to support a manufacturing process.In Massachusetts, attorney David Lee Child acquired a farm in Northhampton which became the nucleus for the sugar factory he organized in partnership with others. Child visited Europe in 1836 to study the sugarbeet industry. He came away from the experience filled with enthusiasm that led to the founding of the factory in partnership with Edward Church and Maximin Isnard, an early developer of the beet sugar industry in France. Child, however, was handicapped in his effort to persuade prospective investors of the promise he had seen in the European sugarbeet factories because of a reputation for personal improvidence. For an income, he relied upon his wife, Lydia B. Child, at the time the country’s foremost woman author who was noted for penning, in addition to more serious works, the still popular poem that begins “Over the river and through the woods to grandfather’s house we go.” Equally troubling was his altruistic preference for defending clients who could not pay a fee–not to mention a six-month stint once spent in jail on a charge of libel.Perhaps of greater concern to potential creditors was Child’s inclination to take up causes that were ahead of the times or in opposition to public sentiment and then meld these social concerns with his business interests. He fought on the side of Spain in that country’s war with France, opposed ill treatment of Native Americans, and protested the annexation of Texas. More pertinent to Child’s promotion of a sugarbeet enterprise, both Childs made known their ardent opposition to slavery and in public speeches, writings, and personal actions amply demonstrated a determination to help dismantle an evil system. Child aimed to secure the freedom of slaves in the South then take them to Massachusetts where he would employ them in his sugar factory, thus relieving the North’s dependence on slave-labored cane sugar while at the same time providing a means of independence for freed slaves. Confidence in the Childs couple withered. Lydia’s brilliant writing career dived into oblivion; David’s less spectacular presence in the business community became unwelcome.David Lee Child’s inability to secure financial support caused the Northhampton sugar factory to close after two seasons of operation. Eventually Child authored a technical book on sugar manufacture, corresponded with other Americans who shared his interest, proposed a school in which he would train technicians, and in 1839 won a silver medal at the Massachusetts State Exposition for the first manufacture of beet sugar in the United States, having produced thirteen hundred pounds of sugar.The Northhampton factory, short of capital and a credible manager, struggled for two years before closing its doors forever in 1841, ending the dream of David Lee Childs and those who had come to depend upon him. Childs’ struggles rung a familiar note in Michigan where investors sought to found an industry that would enjoy success similar to that enjoyed by the French. The White Pigeon firm announced the Niles Intelligencer, that it would commence operations on March 14, 1839, confidently promising the availability of sugar for coffee the following morning.Michigan achieved statehood in January 1837 and immediately found itself in desperate need of an economic underpinning. A tripling of the state’s population between 1830 and 1834 caused by the westward movement of New Englanders created new demands for economic activity, demands that would not be met by the state’s primary industries, agricultural, mining and fur trapping. It cast about for new industries. One which was showing great potential in Europe was the manufacture of sugar from sugarbeets.In its 1838 session, the Michigan legislature adopted a bill introduced by Representative Thomas Gidley of Jackson that provided a bounty of two cents for each pound of sugar manufactured from beets in Michigan. The bill was the first of its kind in the United States. (Sponsorship of private industry with public funding was a common practice adopted by several states but would fall into disfavor in a later era and regain favor in still another.) The House of Representatives’ Agriculture and Manufacturing Committee placed Gidley’s bill under consideration.The committee’s report stated:The manufacture of sugar from the beet, has for many years past been considered a subject of great importance, and has directly or indirectly received governmental patronage, from many of the governments of the old world, but has not, until within the last few years excited much attention or interest in this country, from the impression that in the manufacture of sugar, the beet could not come in successful competition with the sugar of the south. Recent experiments, however, in the middle and eastern states, fully demonstrate that such an impression was an erroneous one…. The Committee, from their acquaintance, with the nature of the soil and climate of this state, and from their experience in the growth of the beet, do not hesitate to express the opinion, that no part of the United States, or perhaps of the world is more favorable to the growth of the raw material for the manufacture of beet-sugar, than the greater portion of the state… [Since it is our aim] to be as independent of the other states or countries as possible, and liberally to encourage the agriculture and manufacturing interests of the state…[support is advocated].”Stimulated by the support of the legislature, investors Chapman Yates, Samuel Chapin, and several others formed the White Pigeon Beet-Sugar Manufactory, the only manufacturing firm of its kind in the United States with the exception of David Lee Child’s Northhampton, Massachusetts, factory.White Pigeon lies on the edge of a vast prairie in St. Joseph County, a few miles north of the Indiana border. In 1837, the year of its formation, White Pigeon was a stopping off point for Indians traveling to Chicago for distributions of treaty goods. Its name honored an Indian chief named Wahbememe, or White Pigeon, who had run several miles on foot in 1830 to warn settlers of an impending attack by an unfriendly tribe, thus saving them from certain destruction. The effort cost him his life. He collapsed from exhaustion and died at the feet of those he had saved.The nearby prairie supported an abundance of whatever farmers decided to plant: corn, wheat, oats, and, during the years 1838-1841, sugarbeets. Proximity to the rapidly developing Chicago market assured success for farmers and manufacturers. For that reason, many small manufacturing firms would eventually set up shop in or near White Pigeon.Lucius Lyon, an early observer of the beet industry, believed the White Pigeon experiment relied upon technology expounded by Count Jean Antoine Chaptal (1756-1832), former president of the French sugar commission. If so, the technology was twenty-five years out of date in 1839 when the White Pigeon Sugar Manufactory was constructed.In 1839, the White Pigeon investors sent John S. Barry to Europe for the purpose of studying and reporting on the prospects for sugarbeets. He visited a number of factories in France, Belgium, and Germany during which he collected information about operating costs, sugar recovery, and the political climate in those countries. An attorney with a reputation for thorough attention to detail, Barry appeared to be ideally suited to the role of investigator. To his credit, this reputation would lead the people of Michigan to elect him governor in 1842. The future governor’s lack of business experience, however, and his complete lack of prior knowledge about the properties and economic potential of sugarbeets, put him at a disadvantage when interviewing French sugar manufacturers-with whom he spent the greater part of his time-including many who had become dispirited by the political clout of cane sugar importers who had gained political ascendancy in France. Barry arrived in France at the very moment the French beet sugar industry was confronting governmental pressure to cease domestic production of beet sugar in favor of slave-produced cane sugar. By 1836 there were 436 factories in operation. This alarmed the importers of cane-sugar and led to legislation which was unfavorable to beet sugar producers. This legislation caused the abandonment in 1837 and 1838 of 166 factories. Beet sugar production in France continued to be spasmodic until 1873.Barry approached his task much in the manner of the cautious attorney taking depositions on behalf of a litigant. He compiled careful notes and wrote memorandums even before leaving the factories he visited and interviewed those he met with the aid of written interrogatories prepared in advance. To his credit, he collected ample information about the operating costs, sugar recovery, and the political climate of the countries he visited. The use to which he put it is another matter.In forming his opinion, Barry assumed conditions and experiences in Europe would transfer to America in whole. For example, he gave no credence to lower land and labor costs then prevailing in America and assumed the French answered his questions with the candor equal to his own. He did not consider that those who advised him had little or no information about America’s markets, agriculture, or economics, nor did he seem to realize that those advisors, burdened with competition from cane sugar, saw little need to give encouragement to prospective competitors. Unlike David Lee Child who had visited the European factories three years earlier when conditions were more favorable to French sugar manufacturers and returned home in a state of great enthusiasm, Barry returned from his visit disheartened.Perhaps Barry was unaware that hundreds of sugarbeet factories had sprung up like wildfire across Europe in the quarter century preceding his visit with locations in every European country except Norway. Similarly, he seemed unaware that in each of the countries hosting factories to process the new crop, the climate, terrain, soil conditions, and cultural appetites of the people were remarkably similar to features found in Michigan. Barry solemnly entered into his notebook as gospel, viewpoints that would doom the new Michigan industry at birth. His report, conveying the advice of his French counselors that sugarbeets were unworthy of the time and investment of Michigan farmers, was devastating.Although there was an outcry in opposition to John Barry’s opinion during which many suggested that productivity in America was greater than in France and that Barry had been duped, investors and farmers lost heart and set aside their dreams. An economic depression (described as a “panic” in the public media of the day) beginning in 1837 increased investor caution and shriveled the nation’s money supply. The least cloud of doubt chased money away from new ideas. The future governor met accusations that the Europeans hoodwinked him by showing compassion for his detractors. In reply, he wrote, “It is possible, though not probable, that I might have been imposed upon and deceived by those engaged in the business of making sugar, of whom my inquiries were made, and from whom my information was obtained. I think, however, that such was not the fact, as the information obtained at one establishment was always in the main, of a character similar to that obtained at another.”An earlier decision by the owners of White Pigeon Sugar Manufactory to employ outdated French machinery reinforced support for Barry’s opinion that sugarbeet factories in America would fare badly in any effort to compete with cane sugar. The absence of trained technicians added considerably to the factory’s poor performance, with the result that it tended to produce a large amount of molasses but little crystallized sugar. Molasses is a byproduct of beet sugar manufacturing. A processed sugarbeet results in some sugar, some pulp (The remains of the sugar beet after the sugar has been separated.), and some molasses. The molasses represents all the impurities present in the beet when it arrived at the factory’s door plus actual sugar that escaped during the process only to end up in the molasses tanks. Even a well managed factory will experience high ratio of sugar lost to the molasses stream resulting in a sugar content of 50% in the molasses. A poorly managed factory will allow much more sugar to enter the molasses stream, thus causing the molasses to have a high purity. Its brackish nature caused by the presence of salts makes it unfit for the human palette but ideal for cattle. The molasses found in the kitchen cupboard is blackstrap molasses, produced as a byproduct of cane sugar.John Barry noted that the molasses was not “tolerable to the taste”, an observation that betrayed his lack of understanding of the beet sugar production process. Had he but asked, his French advisors would have revealed that molasses had an outlet as livestock feed.One year after the Michigan legislature approved the sugar bounty, Samuel Chapin, who in addition to serving as an officer of White Pigeon Sugar Manufactory also served as a legislative representative from St. Joseph County, sponsored a bill to loan five thousand dollars to the struggling company. The measure was referred to a select committee of which Chapin was named chairman. The committee reminded the legislature Michigan was committed to ventures in economic development, including agricultural experimentation, and that the White Pigeon effort would establish, once and for all, the practicability or impracticability of sugarbeets in Michigan. The proposal passed both houses but conditions were attached that would make it highly unlikely the loan would ever become reality. The first of the conditions was that the company secure a mortgage in an amount equal to twice the value of the loan. Second, the appropriation would occur only if in the opinion of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction it would not lessen sums distributed among the state’s school districts. The probability of the state granting the loan, especially during a period when Michigan was still in the grip of the 1837 financial panic, was on the far side of remote. Despite failure to receive state assistance, the White Pigeon company, having started at exactly the wrong time, with outdated equipment, a lack of technical knowledge, and too little capital, held on for two years.When the doors closed forever in June 1841, concluding an experiment that met a fate made even more ignominious by the fact of the White Pigeon Sugar Manufactory became a lost chapter in the state’s history. It would not again come to the public’s attention until 1939 when the Detroit Free Press made passing mention of White Pigeon in its “A Hundred Years Ago” column, where it was observed that the company had opened its doors a century before. A sugar executive of the day, astounded by the account, immediately wrote the Free Press, suggesting an error and that to his certain knowledge no sugar company existed in Michigan until 1898.Sugarbeets would have their day but that would come only after all those who had struggled to make the industry a reality had passed from the scene.By 1841, when Michigan farmers were casting about for anything that could serve as a cash crop (including a short-lived scheme to process cornstalks for sugar production), another crop emerged that would hold the attention of investors for nearly three-quarters of a century. The crop was timber and for the next fifty-nine years pushed all thoughts of beet sugar from the minds of investors. It wasn’t until lumber petered out toward the end of the century that Michigan once again expressed an interest in sugarbeets, an interest that would result in the formation of a credible industry that continues to thrive more than a century later. The Michigan Legislature, acutely aware of the need of industry to replace lumber, in 1897 passed Act Number 48 which provided a bounty of one cent for each pound of sugar produced in Michigan from sugarbeets. Although the bounty would have a short life after failing to overcome legal hurdles, it succeeded in sparking the founding of an industry that still serves the people of Michigan.Copyright, 2009, All Rights Reserved

Looking For A Job? You Better Be Up To Date With The Newest Technology

As a career professional that has been advancing in the workplace; you have a need to stay up to date on the influx of new technologies that affect your job performance and daily duties.Whether you work in the office or out in the field; the last few years have brought about a wealth of new technologies that make you more efficient, productive and most importantly to employers a profitable employee.With this new technology though comes the need as a job seeker and employee for you to stay up to date and aware of the advancement of these new technologies around you.In today’s marketplace employers expect existing and new employees to have a strong understanding of smart phones, web-based platforms / productivity applications, and social media. These applications are the basis of many day to day activities that all employees need to interface with to be a productive employee (MS Office Suites, Email Platforms, Facebook, Twitter,etc..).Beyond these basic applications are industry specific applications for engineering, construction, marketing, business development, etc. (, CRM’s, Primavera, JD Edwards, etc..) that are all necessary talents an employee needs to have to function daily and advance within an organization.Efficiency is the name of the game today for employers. “How do we make our employees more productive, by utilizing technology efficiently..” Employers see the need for efficiency and technology allows them to reduce costs, increase efficiency and manage projects corporate wide as a whole.So as an employee here are a few tips to stay ahead of the technology trends in your industry.1. First assess what technologies are being used in your work environment currently? Do you have the proficiency in those applications? If not start learning them..2. Examine how your industry is utilizing technology outside of your workplace. Subscribe to trade journals, read product reviews, read developer websites, etc. to stay up to date on the newest trends in the marketplace. Why are employers utilizing this software, how are they using it, and what benefits will it have specifically to your workplace. Learn what trends are advancing in your industry.3. Invest in your success!! Take training courses, online webinars, attend seminars, or trade shows and learn how to use these up and coming technologies.4. Interact with your IT department. Most IT professionals are well aware of the existing technologies and developing trends for your industry. Take your IT manager to lunch or sit and talk with them over a cup of coffee about your company’s existing technology and things you have seen in the marketplace. Ask to be involved in BETA testing new technologies that they may be implementing.The demand for efficient technology will continue to evolve in the years ahead, and become even a more integrated part of our lives and work. Staying up to date on these new technological advances will require you to do some work, but the rewards and advances to your career will make it well worth it.