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August 2021


The Manufacturing Update is a bi-monthly electronic newsletter from Industry Expansion Solutions with up-to-date manufacturing news. Below you can view past issues.

Lead Stories

MFGCON 21 Registration Open

Mark your calendars! Registration for the 7th annual state-wide manufacturing conference, MFGCON 21 is now open. Attendees will have the opportunity to network, learn best practices and grow for a better business and a better North Carolina. The conference, hosted by the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) and Business NC, will feature the most up-to-date and relevant topics from North Carolina’s most influential manufacturing thought leaders. MFGCON 21 will be held in Durham, NC, in the Durham Convention Center on November 3–4, 2021.

Register for MFGCON 21 today »

MFGCON 21 Leadership Awards 

NCMEP is looking to recognize manufacturing excellence across North Carolina, seeking manufacturers that are delivering truly exceptional performance. The 2021 NCMEP Leadership Award is presented to a manufacturing company in North Carolina with 500 or fewer employees demonstrating excellence in developing markets/economic development, continuous improvement, innovation, advanced talent management/workforce development, sustainable manufacturing, community outreach or excellence in manufacturing. 

The nomination deadline is September 20, and winners will be honored at the MFGCON conference during a special luncheon ceremony on November 4. The 2021 MFGCON conference will be held November 3-4 at the Durham Convention Center in Durham, NC.

Self-nominate or nominate a manufacturer today »

Save The Date: MFGDAY 2021

MFGDAY is scheduled for October 1, 2021. This annual event celebrating manufacturing is held on the first Friday of October, although any day can be MFGDAY. By hosting an event on MFGDAY, you can share your company’s story with your community and showcase your products and processes through tours and presentations. MFGDAY events are also an excellent way to inspire the future workforce by hosting student groups. Students will learn about what modern manufacturing is and isn’t and explore manufacturing as a career opportunity. Events can be in-person or virtual.

Learn more and discover additional resources »

Coolest Thing Made in NC

It’s that time of year again! Vote for what you think the coolest product made in North Carolina is in the Coolest Thing Made in North Carolina contest. The contest is spearheaded by the North Carolina Chamber and is designed to highlight the most interesting made-in-NC products. Nominations are open until August 17. Voting begins on August 19.

Vote Now »

MNC Community Forum: Learn and Engage!

The MNC Network is launching a new community forum program! Each month, we will present a topic relevant to manufacturers followed by an open dialogue among attendees to ask questions and to share successes and challenges with one another. Our first session is scheduled for September 23 and the topic will be “Succession Planning to Protect Your Business.” Watch for an email with additional information and registration or email us at to express your interest.

If there are other topics you are interested in learning about, we invite you to complete this brief survey to share your thoughts.

What is Lean? 

Do you encounter too much waste when it comes to your operations and production processes? Do you want to maximize your organization’s productivity? LEAN is a methodology that helps you to cut away all the unnecessary production steps and time-wasting methods for a “leaner” and more efficient organization.

Read more about how lean can propel your organization »

Advanced Functional Fabrics of America Survey

Gaston College is conducting a survey on behalf of the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) to better understand workforce development regarding the NC Textiles Industry. Your input is essential, so we would appreciate you taking time to participate. We will share survey results with all who complete the survey and provide contact information.

Take the survey »

New Episode of Clocking In—Voices of NC Manufacturing

In the newest episode of Clocking In, Phil Mintz sits down with the Zeis Textiles Extension associate director at NC State University Wilson College of Textiles, Melissa Sharp. They discuss highlights of the Wilson College of Textiles’ services, some breakthroughs being made with textile innovation, thoughts on where the textiles industry is headed and more.

Listen Now »

Future of Factories: The Movement Behind Employee Wellness in an Increasingly Employee-Centric Economy 

NCMEP client HAAND, a pottery store located in Burlington, NC, was featured in a Courier-Tribune article discussing how NCMEP services helped the organization through the pandemic. Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) assistant director of technology management, Kevin Grayson, assisted HAAND with organizing employees and assigning them specific jobs which put them in a position for professional development.

Read More »

Workplace Development is the New Workforce Development 

According to a study conducted by Deloitte, American manufacturers will need 2.1 million qualified workers by 2030. The ever-present need for manufacturing workers is reaching a tipping point and finding a solution to this challenge is instrumental in keeping the manufacturing industry a substantial part of the US economy. MEP Centers like NCMEP are working with manufacturers to turn their cultures into legitimate career paths for the future workforce.

Read More »


We engineer success for manufacturing businesses one solution at a time by understanding our clients’ needs and then crafting meaningful and sustainable solutions to address their business requirements. Through our tailored programs and research-based, time-tested methodologies, we provide solutions to assist in strategic direction, improve performance and processes and address top line growth. We collaborate with clients to develop and implement comprehensive services and solutions across:

Upcoming Courses

Featured Courses


Lean 200: Applying the Fundamentals
September 7, 2021 | Greensboro NC

Discover the fundamental principles of Lean with Industry Expansion Solutions’ Lean 200 course. Two days of hands-on learning examines tools many organizations use to start their Lean journey such as Value Stream Mapping, 5S, Standardized Work, A3 and Kaizen.


Lean 300: Facilitating Continuous Improvement Activities
October 12, 2021 | Greensboro NC

Improve your organization’s kaizen event. Industry Expansion Solutions’ Lean 300 course provides the training needed to prepare and facilitate continuous improvement activities and successful kaizen events.


Upcoming Courses

OSHA #510 Standards for Construction

August 31-September 3 |  Raleigh, NC (In-person)


OSHA #501 Trainer Course for General Industry

August 31-September 3 | Charlotte, NC (In-person)


Lean 200: Applying the Fundamentals

September 7-8  | Greensboro, NC (In-person)


OSHA #2264 Permit-Required Confined Space Entry

September 14-17 |  Raleigh, NC (In-person)


OSHA #7845 Recordkeeping Rule Seminar

September 28  | Irmo, SC (In-person) 


OSHA #2045 Machinery & Machine Guarding Standards

September 28-October 1 | Raleigh, NC (In-person) 


OSHA #7105 Evacuation and Emergency Planning

September 29 | Irmo, SC (In-person) 


OSHA #7115 Lockout/Tagout [Controlling Hazardous Energy to Prevent Workplace Injury]

September 30 | Irmo, SC


OSHA #7210 Pandemic Illness and Workplace Preparedness

October 1 | Irmo, SC


OSHA #2225 Respiratory Protection

October 5-8 | Raleigh, NC 


OSHA #501 Trainer Course for General Industry

October 5-8 | Greensboro, NC



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