So Many Things to Share!
Sharing industry news and what we know with the people who are most important to our success – customers, employees, business and community partners – is critical to our business. Learn how we help:
- Manufacturers and design engineers discover new ways to create innovative product development solutions
- Develop our future leaders
- Change the misperceptions about working in manufacturing to help fill the skills gap
The skills gap has been a growing problem with manufacturers for years, at one point even inspiring legislation to encourage on-the-job training and ongoing analysis of the issue... During an interview, Al Sholts, chief operating officer for the Minnesota-based company, Alexandria Industries, explains how manufacturers can take the initiative to train employees and work with schools to close the gap.
Suppliers are already seeing significantly strained capacities generated by ever-increasing product demand. As 2016 develops, the solar market could see unprecedented sales volumes for photovoltaic system suppliers. There are even indicators that great demand will continue into 2017 and beyond based on cost-reduction trends. With all of the action in the market, mounting and racking suppliers may face an extremely high demand for aluminum extrusion or steel components.
Alexandria Industries reaches out to future employees with the Not So Heavy Metal TourMore than 130 prospective employees (and, importantly, their parents and grandparents) toured Alexandria Industries earlier this month as part of their annual Not So Heavy Metal Tour, the company's annual attempt to interest young people in manufacturing.
People working together for the common good – not laws – can play the biggest role in closing the gap of getting skilled workers to fill high-tech manufacturing jobs.That was one of the lessons the Center for the American Experiment learned from a public meeting in Alexandria last Wednesday.The center, a Minneapolis-based think tank, selected Alexandria to lead off a dozen informal town meetings because of its track record of success.
The annual statewide Tour of Manufacturing running through October featured Alexandria Industries’ Not So Heavy Metal Tour on Saturday morning.Alexandria Industries’ director of organizational development Lynette Kluver stated that this tour functions to highlight manufacturing careers within the community via local businesses and the Alexandria Technical and Community College.Part of this event’s goal is to inform the public on several misconceptions of manufacturing as a profession.
Gordon Knott, medical market leader with Alexandria Industries, said, "People often forget that aluminum extrusions can provide improved mechanical properties over castings when comparing the same alloy, including decreased porosity, greater resistance, and ductility, as well as other strength characteristics. Extrusion tooling brings a more cost-effective solution compared to casting, forging, and injection molding. Due to the ability to make near-net shape components, aluminum extrusion can reduce the number of overall components and the need for additional manufacturing processes.
Good news at Alexandria Industries in Douglas County, the heart of the Minnesota manufacturing mecca.The aluminum fabrication company, which employs 480 in the Alexandria area, is investing several million dollars to expand its production and warehouse space.The bad news: The privately held firm, which has long surpassed pre-recession revenue and employment levels, is struggling to fill the 50 jobs that are open or anticipated over the next six months at $15 to $30 an hour, plus benefits.
Automation in manufacturing is here to stay, and two Minnesota firms are using robotics with great success.
Alexandria, Minn., has a strong business/education partnership that can serve as a model for other communities.That’s what Al Sholts, chief operating officer of Alexandria Industries, and Laura Urban, president of the Alexandria Technical and Community College (ATCC) told the Civic Caucus in an interview released last week.
As the solar market continues to grow, managing logistics and supply chains are essential in order to stay competitive. Working with suppliers, including aluminum-extruded racking system suppliers, can add value beyond the cost of parts, help reduce risk, keep construction timelines on schedule, and improve site installation quality.