Last updateWed, 25 Nov 2020 4pm

Trends & Forecasts

The VMA Knowledge Forum, Part Two: The Human Factor

Louis LessigFinding and retaining the right talent is a continual challenge to manufacturers who say the skills shortage has negatively impacted their ability to expand. You’ll find this subject on the agenda at nearly every manufacturing and industry gathering, including those held by the Valve Manufacturers Association during the past few years.

During VMA’s first multi-track Valve Industry Knowledge Forum, held April 11-13 in Savannah, GA, human resources professionals and company executives learned about employment law, workforce development and ways to use training as a retention tool.

The VMA Knowledge Forum, Part One: Technology at the Forefront

The first VMA Valve Industry Knowledge Forum, April 11-13 in Savannah, GA, provided a potpourri of topics for valve industry professionals from all disciplines. In addition to 20-plus excellent presentations, from onboarding new employees to the evolution of control valve diagnostics, lively conversations and networking opportunities inspired new collaborations among attendees. Participants could also mix and match tracks (choosing from Human Resources, Technical and Manufacturing), so engineers who would normally not have an opportunity to attend HR events could learn about successful training programs and top employment cases, while HR professionals had the chance to learn about robotics and understand how that could affect their workforce.

In Part 1, we focus on the Technical and Manufacturing tracks; the second part of this article will cover Human Resources presentations.

Weathering the Snow, Preparing for the ‘Winds of Change’

Despite thousands of flight cancellations and challenging travel conditions resulting from an unexpected snowstorm, most members headed for VMA’s Valve Industry Leadership Forum made it to the meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City in Arlington, VA, March 22-23.

Speakers focused primarily on governmental activities and regulations, as was befitting an event held just a couple of miles from the nation’s capital.

Shaping the Valve Industry’s Future

The British Valve & Actuator Association (BVAA) is coming to the end of the second year of its innovative Future Leaders Program.

“It is quite possibly the most rewarding activity of my career.” said BVAA’s Director & CEO, Rob Bartlett. “The program has had an amazing effect on all those involved in it. I believe we all instinctively knew the BVAA Future Leaders Program had terrific potential, but all my colleagues have been blown away by the successes of the first cohort, and the tremendous impact it had on the second cohort in 2017.”

A Pragmatic Approach to Adopting Industry 4.0

In a previous article on VALVE, we queried if results were matching the hype for manufacturers adopting the Industrial Internet of Things—also known as Industry 4.0. For those who have dedicated sufficient resources to making it a success, the technology has made it easier and faster to develop, manufacture and even sell products.

However, many manufacturers, including those who make valves, actuators and controls, have hesitated to embrace the IIoT. Deloitte did several studies over 2017 and found that 45% of the surveyed executives feel that the biggest issue in beginning a digital pilot is an overall roadmap. They don’t know where to start, where to invest and when to do it. In that same Deloitte survey, 92% of CEOs responding believed that their organizations are not correctly structured to operate in this new environment and only 11% of survey correspondents believed their current talent pool can compete in the space being created by the IIoT.1

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