Webinar: Interviewing for Results in Manufacturing

Date March 20, 2024
Authors HBK Manufacturing Solutions
Categories

Join HBK Manufacturing Solutions and special guest Ron Bower, Founder and President of the Brickpath Group and InterviewPath, in a discussion of the interview process. The Interviewing for Results process is a simple, powerful, and proven approach to acquiring the skills required to make the right hiring decisions and avoid costly mistakes, improve your quality of hire, and provide a positive candidate experience.

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Webinar: Manufacturing Extension Partnerships: How MEPs can help Manufacturers Innovate, Grow, and Prosper

Date February 21, 2024
Authors HBK Manufacturing Solutions
Categories

Join HBK Manufacturing Solutions and special guests Darlyn McDermott and Janelle Lee, Directors of Client Engagement for The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), to discuss how Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEP) can help small and medium-sized manufacturers. Darlyn will discuss the Future of Manufacturing Blueprint developed by MAGNET (Northeast Ohio’s MEP) and how MAGNET and other MEPs can support your business initiatives.

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Webinar: 2023 Tax Planning Update for Manufacturers

Date November 15, 2023
Authors HBK Manufacturing Solutions
Categories

As we approach the end of the calendar year, manufacturers should begin their planning processes. This includes planning for tax obligations that may come due in 2023. Join HBK Manufacturing Solutions to discuss tax planning strategies that are important for all manufacturers to consider.

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Introduction to Government Contracting

Date October 30, 2023
Authors Elizabeth P. Becherer
Categories

Domestic manufacturers engaged in research and development activities may want to explore how their efforts can align with government needs. Contracting with the government can not only help fulfill these needs but can also provide manufacturers with a source of funding. This prospect is especially appealing to companies specializing in fields such as software, biotechnology, electronics, and various science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) disciplines, as these often align with government-funded opportunities.

APEX Accelerators, formerly known as Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, offer a valuable starting point for manufacturers looking to delve into government contracting, whether at the federal, state, or local level. These organizations, spread throughout the country, were established by Congress in 1985 to bolster private sector involvement in government contracts. Their programs facilitate the registration process for companies seeking to participate in the government marketplace, guiding them in identifying agencies and offices that may require their products and services. APEX Accelerators routinely receive notifications of contract opportunities, serving as a crucial link between companies and the government agencies they aim to serve. To locate your local APEX Accelerator, visit this link.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers two primary programs to promote domestic participation in federal government research and development projects: the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs To explore government agencies with contract solicitations, visit www.sbir.gov.

Agencies providing contracting opportunities include the Department of Defense (including the Air Force, Army, NASA, Navy, Marines, and more), as well as the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, and Transportation, along with the Environmental Protection Agency.

If a manufacturer identifies a viable need for their product or service among the agency solicitations, they enter the first of three funding phases.

  • Phase I involves establishing the technical merit and potential of the proposed research and development efforts, as well as defining quality specifications before awarding funding. At this level, awards ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 are available for periods spanning six months to a year.
  • Phase II builds on the efforts and successful projects of Phase I, providing awards typically amounting to $750,000 for two years.
  • Phase III, where applicable, helps businesses pursue commercialization objectives.
  • Eligible small businesses participating in government contracting retain intellectual property rights to their contributions. It’s worth noting that SBA funds are not loans, and no equity is taken from the company by the SBA or any other agency.

    For more information on eligibility requirements and the necessary steps to consider, please visit www.sbir.gov. To discuss issues specific to your manufacturing company, contact a member of HBK Manufacturing Solutions at manufacturing@hbkcpa.com.

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    Webinar: State and Local Tax Considerations for Manufacturers

    Date October 25, 2023
    Authors HBK Manufacturing Solutions
    Categories

    Join HBK Manufacturing Solutions and special guest, Tim Adams, Principal, National Director, State & Local Tax, to discuss how state and local taxes affect manufacturers. Tim will lead a discussion regarding Sales/Use Tax, Income Tax, Ohio’s Commercial Activity Tax, and other state and local tax developments, including legislative changes for 2024. Our discussion will assist you in ensuring that your business is in compliance and actions to take if you are uncertain of your status.

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    Reflections on National Association of Manufacturers Outlook Survey – Q3 2023

    Date September 29, 2023
    Authors Elizabeth P. Becherer
    Categories

    Though respondents to the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) third quarter 2023 survey reported outlooks less favorable than in the previous quarter’s study, their insights highlight several industry strengths and forecasts to watch as 2023 comes to a close. Business owners in manufacturing facilities of all sizes expressed less concern than previously about the likelihood of a recession, and notably, said they expect increases in sales and production in 2024.

    In NAM’s 24-question poll, more than 300 respondents contributed to the data accumulated for survey insights. Overall, they demonstrated less enthusiasm about future business than they expressed in the previous quarter’s survey; however, their expectations still exceeded the uncertainty of pandemic levels. Much of their concern appeared to be a side effect of general economic challenges, such as inflation and workforce shortages. Nonetheless, consumer spending has remained resilient throughout recent quarters. With inflation gradually improving in many sectors apart from food prices and energy, a recession appears more distant to many manufacturers.

    The upcoming 2024 presidential election also has the attention of most respondents, as many fiscal and production decisions hang in the balance due to potential regulatory changes. Many manufacturers categorized the current business climate as “unfavorable,” with regulatory burdens influencing their decisions to delay capital spending and/or increases in compensation levels. Relatedly, most manufacturers expressed a desire to reduce these same regulatory burdens to hasten the approval process for new projects.

    On an optimistic note, respondents reported that many supply chain challenges from the prior year have begun to subside, evidenced in the fact that most who took the survey anticipate shrinking inventories in the coming year. With less supply chain uncertainty, manufacturers say they are continuing to reduce existing stock and instead are buying to meet demand as it surfaces.

    Respondents projected sales and production increases of roughly 2 percent for the coming year, which, the survey indicated, would likely be channeled to new capital purchases and further attempts to increase their workforces. The greatest production challenge in recent quarters, employers’ ability to attract and retain competent works, remains strained. However, quit rates have declined from the prior year and unemployment remains at a low, around 3.5 percent. Creative hiring processes and retention strategies, such as employee benefit plans, continue to be seen as keys to healthy production levels.

    Overall, the Q3 2023 survey highlighted many key issues for manufacturers to keep their eyes on going into 2024. Regulatory changes, cost inflation, and the workforce pool remain front and center concerns as healthy production levels continue.

    To read the Q3 2023 NAM Outlook survey, visit https://www.nam.org/2023-third-quarter-manufacturers-outlook-survey/. To discuss issues specific to your manufacturing company, contact a member of HBK Manufacturing Solutions at 330-758-8613 or manufacturing@hbkcpa.com.

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    Webinar: Attracting and Retaining Manufacturing Employees with Employee Benefit Plans

    Date September 20, 2023
    Authors HBK Manufacturing Solutions
    Categories

    Join HBK Manufacturing Solutions and Special Guests from Arthur J. Gallagher & Company to discuss the benefit programs that manufacturers should consider to attract and retain employees. During this webinar, trends among manufacturers will be discussed so that you may help benchmark your business against your competition.

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    Webinar: Improving Business Operations & Efficiencies in a Manufacturing Environment

    Date August 16, 2023
    Authors HBK Manufacturing Solutions
    Categories

    Join HBK Manufacturing Solutions and Special Guest, Tyler Gargano, CPE, CSF-CCSFP, Director of Advisory Services to discuss how management of manufacturing companies can improve business operations and create efficiencies in a manufacturing environment.

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    The AI Era: Who Will Fill the Labor Gaps?

    Date August 16, 2023
    Categories

    With projected labor shortages of 2.1 million by 2030 and the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence), Industrial Robotics is expected to increase by nearly 14 percent by the end of 2023. But the replacement of manual labor with advanced technologies creates its own demand for workers, including programmers, engineers, and mechanics, as well as traditional line workers.

    Historically, automation has been thought to eliminate jobs, and indeed, has slowly phased out an estimated 1.7 million manufacturing jobs. But studies also predict that AI will create 97 million new jobs by 2025.

    Who will fill these jobs? One large market of potential workers: young people who have grown up playing and programming games and watching online videos. Students are encouraged to pursue their likes and follow their ambitions; many students have honed skills that complement or match the new demands of manufacturing by “playing.” Those acquired skills could lead to fulfilling careers. If presented in the right light, even as early as middle school when kids are beginning to consider “what I want to be when I grow up,” appealing to their love of gaming could produce more workers to fill the new-era manufacturing labor gaps.

    Promoters of AI argue that it will augment workers’ productivity not replace them. They propose that it is not good at work that requires precise hand-eye coordination, complex strategic planning, or dealing with unknown and unstructured spaces. It is, however, credited with improving goods and services by streamlining tasks. So as opposed to being replaced, workers will need to adapt through training to collaborate with AI for greater productivity.

    People are needed to use and improve technology. Automation brings a need for training and analytics. Workers will need skills such as basic mathematics, strong verbal and written communication, creativity, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and problem solving. The reimaged jobs will range from highly technical to basic. In manufacturing, the implementation of AI ranges from predictive maintenance and back-office robotic process automation to inventory and supply chain management. AI can be used to detect errors and speed the production process, but it doesn’t replace the need for humans.

    If the future of manufacturing is more electronic and computer based, today’s younger generations are preparing themselves to be perfectly suited to fill those jobs and eliminate those labor gaps.

    To discuss options for addressing your labor needs, contact a member of HBK Manufacturing Solutions at manufacturing@hbkcpa.com or 330-758-8613.

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    Webinar: Improving Business Operations & Efficiencies in a Manufacturing Environment

    Date August 16, 2023
    Authors Tyler Gargano
    Categories
    Join HBK Manufacturing Solutions and Special Guest, Tyler Gargano, CPE, CSF-CCSFP, Director of Advisory Services to discuss how management of manufacturing companies can improve business operations and create efficiencies in a manufacturing environment. Watch on demand.

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