Manufacturing Pain Points

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by | Sep 3, 2021

Kevin Fuoroli leads Polaris MEP's Kathie Mahoney and a small group on a Herrick and White tourWhen I meet with Rhode Island companies, one of the questions I ask is: “What are your biggest pain points right now?”

Inevitably the top two manufacturing pain points are workforce and supply chain.

(I asked that question of Kevin Fuoroli of Herrick & White, seen in this picture graciously leading a small group through their Cumberland facility to show how Lean Manufacturing is helping their company thrive.)

While both materials and prospective workers are in short supply at the moment, there are resources to help Rhode Island manufacturers.

Grants & Good Ideas to Help with Hiring

Last month I wrote about Manufacturing Day. (Did you miss this email with suggestions to promote long-term manufacturing career opportunities? Please be sure to click on the big yellow “Subscribe to Our Newsletter” button that follows you around the site. These posts will be delivered to your inbox from now on.)

Rhode Island recently announced a new employer incentive — the Qualified Hiring Opportunity Grant (“Quahog”) program. Quahog provides a 25% wage reimbursement to eligible Rhode Island businesses for work experiences up to 300 hours (120 hours minimum). If you hire an unemployed individual and pay them no less than $15/hr for no less than 30hrs/week, you could be eligible for the reimbursement. Click here for program details.

Manufacturing companies think a lot about product positioning. They also need to be thinking about how to position their company as an “employer of choice” in order to attract future workforce.

IndustryWeek reported on a Parsable survey that showed our sector had gotten a perception boost with younger folks who saw manufacturing keeping the world moving forward. The article suggests ways companies can recruit from an untapped pool of workers — those not considering traditional education past high school or past community college.

Recently I had the privilege of facilitating a panel discussion on advocating for your company as a place to work. On the panel with me were 3 other women who all entered the workforce field from different, non-traditional paths. Click here to take a listen.

New Supply Chain Resources

As I am writing this Ida is approaching the East Coast and I am sure some supply chains will be disrupted even more in the near future. What could help?

As part of the MEP National Network, Polaris MEP has access to about 3,000 Project Managers in 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Like our team of Project Managers, these manufacturing experts are tightly connected to their area’s manufacturing companies.

Like manufacturers in Rhode Island, those companies have pivoted and are developing new materials, products and resources. The result is that the manufacturing landscape is different than it was prior to the pandemic, and the MEP National Network PMs are on top of the changes.

Do you need to find a new resource for your material or do you think there might be a new market for your products? Reach out to us, and we’ll see if the MEP network can help.

The manufacturing pain points of workforce and supply chain are real and really common in RI right now. Please email me at Let’s talk about what you are experiencing.

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