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MC, MMA partner on manufacturing manager education

Clinton — Recognizing the continuing importance of manufacturing in the state, Mississippi College partnered with the Mississippi Manufacturers Association to offer a class for manufacturing managers. Titled “Certified Manager of Performance Excellence in Manufacturing,” the course was built around the Baldrige criteria for performance excellence, which is recognized as one of the finest management criteria in the world.

Ending last week, the course met for seven full-day sessions in January, February, March and April covering a different topic each day. Those topics were leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; human resource focus; process management; and business results.

It was the first time for the workshop, but MMA’s Jim Stringer, director of membership and educational services, says it will be offered again in the fall. “We’re tickled to death with it and the participants tell us they are too,” he said. “If word gets around we will have to offer it twice a year.”

All MMA members were notified of the workshop. There were 15 in this initial class with two of those coming from out of state. Manufacturing companies participating in this initial class included Pioneer Aerospace, G&C Industries, Double G Coatings, Ergon, Thermoprobe and Raytheon. Stringer says Mississippi College did it right, providing classroom space and instructors. The Baldrige criteria is known for quality control but in this case is used to set the standard for managing in manufacturing settings.

“We hope the participants will be better managers and better competitors; all this intermingles,” he answered when asked what MMA hopes to accomplish with the workshop. “If we can improve those, we’ll have world-class manufacturing here and that’s what we must have for the global economy we’re in.”

Stringer said the partnership between MMA and Mississippi College was the brainchild of Bill Barnett. Retired from working with community colleges and workforce training, Barnett is now director of the executive development program for the college’s School of Business.

“Our goal is to get MC much more involved with businesses and to help promote better management development,” he said. “I’ve always felt the biggest problem any state has with economic development is mid-level management. How do we get people trained with structure and background?”

He feels the Baldrige method is the finest all over the world. It provides a way for workshop participants to assess themselves with such questions as ‘how do you communicate with employees?’

Mike Meadows is plant manager for Double G Coatings, a manufacturer located in the Greater Jackson Industrial Park that employs 78 workers. As a participant in the management workshop, he said. “It’s been very interesting and helpful. I plan to put a couple of my supervisors through it, too. In positions of management, we should always be looking to improve.”

Jay C. Moon, MMA president and chief executive officer, says the program fills a real need of manufacturers. “We’re proud to offer this vital program. By joining with Mississippi College, we are able to offer manufacturers the opportunity to gain valuable management certification that will enable them to continually improve their operations and to become more competitive,” he said.

Dr. Marcelo Eduardo, dean of Mississippi College’s School of Business, says the program has enough flexibility as a strategic planning program to also be useful for municipalities.

“We are excited about providing a valuable experience that will give participants an understanding of the tools and techniques that lead to performance excellence in manufacturing and are being used by world-class organizations,” he said. “We are also very proud of our partnership with the Mississippi Manufacturers Association in the creation of this workshop. We believe that this partnership helps strengthen our program and ensures that we will always maintain a practical focus to our educational mission.”

Duane Hamill, who has extensive manufacturing experience with GE Aircraft Engines and Hughes Aircraft, served as chief course facilitator. He has spent eight years as an examiner on the Baldrige National Quality Award’s Board of Examiners and consults with multimillion dollar organizations. Other instructors were Dr. Randall Robbins, who has extensive teaching experience and has consulted with many organizations throughout the state in human resources and organizational behavior, and Dr. Mark McComb, who has held senior management positions with Case International and American National Can.

“The Baldrige Criteria is designed to give people a very in-depth understanding of all the attributes of a world class organization,” Hamill said. “It covers all aspects of what an organization should be doing. We use applications from past Baldrige Award winners.”

He likes the small class size to maximize discussion. “The people who come have real insights they want to share and that’s an important part of what we do,” he said. “Using the Baldrige Criteria and being able to go into this much detail is very helpful for them.”

The learning method includes intensive, interactive groups, experienced manufacturing leadership and extensive resources that utilize real application from the participants’ organizations.

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.

About Lynn Lofton

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