2016 Top Plant

The 2016 Plant Engineering Top Plant winner, MFC Netform, makes people the cornerstone of their manufacturing philosophy.


Courtesy: CFE MediaWe talk a lot about technology in manufacturing-about the machines and software and the strategies around them that make our plants safer and more efficient. Those are important advancements in developing a modern manufacturing facility.

One aspect we try not to overlook, but one that is even more crucial to a plant's success, is the human element. Improving the way humans work with the plant operations and with each other go a long way to making your plant more successful. People are at the cornerstone of the manufacturing philosophy at MFC Netform, the 2016 Plant Engineering Top Plant recipient. As Tim Cripsey, the executive vice president of MFC Netform, notes in the story to follow: "The technology is a secondary tool. What makes us successful is our people and how we trust our customer focus and our employee focus."

When asked why his plant was recognized as this year's Top Plant award winner, Cripsey said simply, "There are only two real reasons in my opinion: The people and the culture."

As manufacturers aspire to be a Top Plant, the focus is on metrics and measurements. Plant managers offer key performance indicators and overall equipment effectiveness-data we reduce to acronyms such as KPIs and OEE. What we cannot reduce to data is the way workers feel about their jobs and about their organization. In developing a plant strategy, MFC Netform started with its customers and built a manufacturing process that met their needs. This allows for MFC Netform to customize and even redesign products to meet the needs of their end users.

To accomplish this, MFC Netform's focus on employee input and employee training makes every worker part of quality control and of process improvement. They also have embraced a Lean manufacturing philosophy, which brings workers and processes closer together. They also have a fundamental commitment to safety at all times.

All this reliance on people doesn't mean the company has overlooked technology of course. Quite the contrary; MFC Netform has a sophisticated enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, and it uses robotics and automation extensively to enhance the manufacturing process.

But it was the people-first commitment from MFC Netform of Shelby Township, Mich. that elevated the facility to this year's Top Plant Award. It stands as an example of just how important people are to building a successful manufacturing plant.

-Bob Vavra, content manager, Plant Engineering

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
June 2018
2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
August 2018
Choosing an automation controller, Lean manufacturing
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me