Demand Innovation

Overtime: Rewriting the Playbook

Similar to many other manufacturers, Alexandria Industries has long been aware of and affected by the worker shortage. This trend will continue according to market predictions. The worker shortage was unmistakable recently when we experienced a significant increase in customer requests. Current production workers could not keep up with the mounting work and the pipeline…

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Carefully Choose Your Aluminum Alloy

More than one aluminum alloy could be suitable for your product component needs, which is why you should not set your mind on a certain alloy. At least without understanding the value different alloys can bring to your extrusion profile. At Alexandria Industries, we understand the different alloy elements and their characteristics. We understand details,…

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Help Wanted (Part 2): Five Steps to Change Manufacturing Misperceptions

At our exhibit at the Minnesota State High School Trapshooting Tournament, I was showing a student’s father some items we make, while also discussing the opportunities that exist around manufacturing careers. Out the corner of my eye, I noticed the student’s mother stick a finger down her throat as if she would gag at the…

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Help Wanted: Changing Misperceptions about Careers in Manufacturing

Over the next decade, there will be approximately 3.5 million manufacturing job openings in the United States (Deloitte 2017). Predictions are that nearly 2 million will go unfilled. As manufacturers, we are already challenged to fill our open positions with skilled employees. To find them now, or in 10 years, we need to continue to…

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Tick-tock, the ISO’clock is Ticking

Organizations that have earned ISO 9001:2008 certification, and want to recertify to the new 2015 standard, must do so by September 2018. After this date, a certificate to ISO 9001:2008 will no longer be valid. At Alexandria Industries, we rely on ISO certification to demonstrate our ability to provide products and services that consistently meet…

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Listening Drives Strategy

Listen. Have you ever caught yourself listening but not really hearing? With so many distractions arounds us, it can be difficult to focus our full attention on one thing. But if we are going to be effective in our communications, we need to hear what others have to say. Listening is something we have always…

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It’s a QRM Revival

The Center for Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) website defines QRM as a companywide strategy to reduce lead times across an enterprise. The Alexandria Industries QRM journey began around 2002 when Tom Schabel attended a QRM seminar and decided the company may benefit from implementing this time-based strategy. QRM uses tools like POLCA cards to shorten…

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Partnering for Success

Part 1 (Note: This article is the first of a two-part series. Part 2 will be featured in our February 2016 newsletter.) Long before worker shortage and the skills gap became part of daily conversation, the leadership at Alexandria Industries anticipated these issues would become significant. They recognized that approximately a third of our workforce…

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Extrusion E-Pullers

Traditional press puller systems typically use hydraulics and chains to transmit power and pull extrusions down the leadout table. These aluminum extrusion systems tend to run into trouble from chain-stretch (slack), and process control issues. As they age, maintenance issues surrounding the hydraulics also become increasingly troublesome. With the growing use of electro-servo motor technology…

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Working Differently

During the last two years, the growing requests of our customers have called us to adjust to ever-increasing higher levels of productivity. This new normal requires us to work smarter and continue to develop innovative manufacturing solutions to operate successfully. Some ways we are working differently include: Project Development: Every customer project requiring engineering services…

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