Construction Training and Internship Program for Detroit Students

Wednesday August 24th, 2016 at 7:12am
Written by Michelle Knierim - Associate Consultant

Over the past 3 years, The Construction Association of Michigan (CAM) has been approached by several of its member companies about the lack of young people entering the construction industry. During a series of roundtable discussions, workforce development continued to be a trending topic. To address this growing concern, CAM joined forces with EDSI to develop a pilot program called “3D.” 3D stands for develop, design and deliver.

EDSI just completed the first 3D boot camp training at the UAW Ford building in Detroit, Michigan. The training was a 5 day training that taught juniors in high school more about the construction industry. They learned about careers in the industry, workplace readiness skills, communication, construction terminology and overview, the construction process (development, design, bidding, pre-construction, close out), money management and basic finance, technology in the construction industry and safety requirements. We partnered with 6 different schools throughout the city of Detroit to include both charter and public schools.

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Workplace Safety: 5 Critical Things to Know Before Addressing Lockout Tagout

Wednesday July 27th, 2016 at 10:30am
Written by Jennifer Giannosa - Senior Consultant

Have you been put in charge of developing a program to address lockout tagout (LOTO) safety concerns?

The process can seem overwhelming and difficult to manage, yet lockout tagout programs are a basic safety requirement for most manufacturing plants. If successfully implemented, such programs can help prevent workplace accidents, promote a safe working environment, standardize safe working procedures and reduce company liability.

There are many components to a comprehensive LOTO program including standardized procedures, training and inspection. Below are 5 important things to consider before developing, updating or seeking assistance in the development of a lockout tagout safety program.

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Are We in a Recession?

Wednesday April 13th, 2016 at 8:16am
Written by Chuck Mouranie - Partner and Managing Director

I find the talking heads from Fox Business and Bloomberg to be quite entertaining. They appear to have vast business and economic backgrounds, yet can’t agree on whether we have entered into recession or are on a path of expanding growth. They both could be right.

Traditionally, a recession is deemed to have occurred if the gross domestic product (GDP) shrinks for three consecutive quarters. This theory may no longer apply to a world economy. China’s GDP has declined to approximately 6.5% growth from double-digit territory. This is suspect as the Chinese Government restricts data defining the economy. In addition, Japan, Russia and the European Union economies have been in the tank for years. These reductions impact the US, and commodity prices (raw metals, oil, consumer goods, etc.) fall as these major world producers demand for these goods drop.

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Manufacturing Can Be Competitive in the United States

Friday July 11th, 2014 at 8:04am

Written by Chuck Mouranie - Partner & Managing Director with EDSI Consulting, CTP, 6σ Black Belt 

Increased foreign competition continues to drive much of the U.S. manufacturing sector overseas to take advantage of cheap labor. However, there are still many ways to improve performance and become more competitive while keeping operations in the United States.

It is no secret that American manufacturers must contend with challenges many of their foreign counterparts don’t, such as higher labor and healthcare costs, pollution abatement fees, and relatively higher business taxes. Add a shrinking skilled labor pool, and one can see why the U.S. manufacturing sector has turned elsewhere - i.e., outsourced labor overseas - to bolster its survival. This has been bad news for the overall well-being of the domestic manufacturing industry, a sector that remains a powerful economic engine and source of employment.

In 2012, U.S. manufacturers generated $2.03 trillion worth of value-added. In the 20 years ending in 2012, manufacturing output increased more than 83 percent. The U.S. manufacturing sector is so huge that if it were its own country, it would rank as the eighth-largest world economy, according to the Manufacturing Institute. 

However, those manufacturers who wish to stay in the U.S. and succeed have the tools to do so. An increasing number of domestic manufacturers are countering the notion that one must turn to cheaper labor to reduce their expenses. Instead, they have turned to lean manufacturing, which has increased their productivity, strengthened customer relationships and most importantly, kept jobs at home. To top it off, they don’t have to worry about paying the skyrocketing transportation costs that come with shipping foreign-made parts back to the United States.

Flexible and Integrated

Lean manufacturing is effective because - when done right - it can make a business flexible and integrate its supply chain, which streamlines production flow and assists just-in-time delivery.

But we should remember that although the continuous improvement philosophy behind lean manufacturing has seemingly limitless potential, it is not an immediate fix-all. Businesses must make holistic and long-term commitments to these principles to stay on a profitable course.

Companies who have truly embraced lean manufacturing have incorporated it into their culture by focusing on improving cash flow, enhancing their organizations through leadership and continuous improvement, driving out operating waste and building a profitable sales pipeline.

For example, a Switzerland-based supplier of measuring instruments with U.S. headquarters in Greenwood, Ind., has exemplified this focus. Ninety percent of its products are manufactured in the United States, and the company is currently expanding its Greenwood facilities. The manufacturer credits much of their success to its commitment to lean principles. The company has dramatically improved productivity since adopting lean strategies, and in 2008, reorganized its inventory and reduced it by 27 percent, making it that much more nimble in responding to customer demands. The manufacturer improved its cash flow by increasing inventory turns and also enhanced its operations by putting an emphasis on continuous improvement. The company made "lean" a mindset adopted at every warehouse within its operations, and continually seeks employee feedback, holds regular staff meetings to stay proactive and always sets higher goals.

A Columbus, NE-based manufacturer has also benefitted significantly from practicing lean strategies specifically by driving out operating waste. This company took part in the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s lean program to streamline its operations in the long-term. According to the Manufacturing Institute’s 2009 Facts About Modern Manufacturing report, this company rewarded employee feedback on how to increase operational efficiencies. With this new insight, the manufacturer was able to take critical action. The company’s lead time dropped from a matter of days to hours, product changeover reduced from nearly 30 minutes to less than a minute, and employees became at least 29 percent more productive.

Onshoring Gaining Strength

Although increased foreign competition continues to drive U.S. manufacturing sector overseas, many are pulling operations back home to save on shipping costs. Known as onshoring, this rapidly-growing trend recently caught the eye of the Wall Street Journal, who reported that manufacturing behemoths such as Caterpillar and General Electric are moving production home to save money.

With the dollar so weak, an increasing number of manufacturers find it is more cost-effective to consolidate manufacturing domestically and pay a higher working wage than to import foreign-made products back into the country.

Shipping cost savings aren’t the only motivation for manufacturers to bring their production back home. The federal government offers incentives to manufacturers who take this course of action. With tools such as lean manufacturing in their arsenals, manufacturers are more able than ever to create competitively-priced, efficiently-made products here in the United States, and it looks like the best and the brightest have already begun.


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Using the process laid out by EDSI helped us to create the right gatekeeper responsibilities and tasks, so we can ultimately focus more on the fit of candidates to the Cornerstone culture. Tom Willis; CEO - Cornerstone Charter Schools

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