Cybersecurity Starts with Your Employees

by Pat Toth, NIST MEP Cybersecurity Program Manager

This article originally appeared on the NIST Manufacturing Innovation blog.

We’re all familiar with Smokey the Bear and the “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” slogan. In 2015, Smokey got an update and the new “Receive a Bear Hug” ads ran nationwide. In the ad, Smokey runs out of the woods and gives a big bearhug to a camper for properly checking camp fire embers. The new, more huggable version of Smokey rewards campers for making responsible decisions rather than scolding them to prevent wild fires. Fear and anxiety are not always the best motivators, and many people respond better to positive motivation through awareness activities.

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Small-Business Cybersecurity is Twice as Nice as Pumpkin Spice

by Pat Toth, NIST MEP Cybersecurity Program Manager

This article originally appeared on the NIST Taking Measure blog.

I think we’ve taken this pumpkin spice thing too far. Don’t get me wrong, I love fall. That first crisp evening when you need to put on a sweater, the crunch of leaves under your feet, homecoming football games, but pumpkin spice? It’s obvious that the pumpkin spice council’s marketing team has done an outstanding job because it’s in everything now: cookies, chocolate candy, ice cream, oatmeal, pancakes, marshmallows, and now even in a special “limited edition” of my favorite breakfast cereal. Read more


The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

By Ken Voytek

Every January, I take some time to look at what our MEP clients are saying about the future and the challenges they face. It’s usually part of my New Year’s resolution to rack up the responses. I’ve been writing this basic story for eight years. Especially this year, it’s useful to take the time to step back and consider what is happening with our manufacturing clients and their businesses. This exercise provides a look into the minds of some of the CEOs who run the over 200,000 small manufacturers across the U.S. and provides important market intelligence to guide future MEP activity. Read more


Manufacturing: It’s Unbelievably Exciting and Nothing Like the Past

By Carroll Thomas, Director of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The revolution will not be televised—but it will be digitized!

Taken from a famous poem and song by Gil Scott-Heron first recorded in 1970, this was a popular slogan in the African-American community back in the day. The lyrics in the poem refers to television series, advertising slogans and icons of entertainment and news coverage that feature examples of what the revolution will not be or do. Read more


Manufacturing as a Vacation Destination

By Mark Schmit, NIST MEP National Accounts Manager

Summer is a great time to catch up on reading. I suppose that’s why there’s such a thing as summer reading; it starts in grade school and extends a lifetime (or so goes the theory).

My initial attempt at summer reading was complemented by a July 4th military flyover of two F16 jets. The jaw-dropping visual and ear-popping soundtrack to celebrating the birth of this great country of ours was a sobering reminder of current world events. It was a reminder of the awesomeness of American manufacturing. The ubiquity of all things manufactured did not escape even my vacation-dulled mind, not even with my feet in the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina sand I might add, with an American-made beer by my side. Read more


From Makers to Manufacturers

By Dave Cranmer, Deputy Director of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Make (n) – to bring into existence by shaping or changing material, combining parts, etc.
Manufacture (n) – the making of goods or wares by manual labor or by machinery

In the past six weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to see making and additive manufacturing from multiple perspectives. In Niskayuna, NY, it was about companies, universities and the State advancing technology and building businesses and ecosystems based on additive manufacturing. In Washington, DC, at the White House and on Capitol Hill, it was all about Makers and their communities. The reality – both are manufacturers and both are makers, just at different ends of the spectrum of production. Read more


Five Technological Applications Impacting Manufacturing Innovation

By Ben Vickery, Senior Technical Advisor with NIST MEP.

A manufacturer can be innovative in various ways beyond the use of technology. Innovation can include the utilization of new business models, the development of new processes and services, and the enhancement of existing products too. Read more


Gaining a Competitive Advantage

Have you ever found yourself going to a movie because the starring actor was an Oscar winner?
After the Grammy Awards, are you more inclined to download a song because of the results? You’re not alone. It’s human nature to embrace credibility.

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Challenge Forecasting for Very Small Manufacturers

Recently there has been an increasing appetite for information and results around working with the smallest manufacturers. Not just the generally defined small manufacturer with under 500 employees, but the very small manufacturers with under 20 employees. MEP is focusing more on serving the very small manufacturer, but to do so we need more information. How do you define these very small manufacturers? What support do they need? Is it different from the needs of the regular small and medium manufacturing base? These questions are important to define if we are going to increase our positive impact with this select group. Read more