Types of MFG DAY Events
There are many ways to celebrate Manufacturing Day. The only real requirement is that an MFG DAY event should be designed to expose more people to present-day manufacturing while showcasing manufacturing in a positive light.
Having said that, there are a few types of events that have been especially successful during past Manufacturing Day celebrations:
- plant tours,
- manufacturing community events and expos that include many companies,
- job fairs,
- educational fairs
- celebrations of the manufacturing community
Below are descriptions of what each type of event entails, along with a few tips for making them successful. We hope these examples will help spark some ideas!
1. PLANT TOUR
The most straightforward way for manufacturers to get involved in Manufacturing Day is to host a plant tour. This is the type of event that forms the backbone of Manufacturing Day.
A plant tour is fairly self-explanatory: a manufacturer opens its doors and invites members of its community to observe its operations first-hand. This type of event can be a modest affair held for local students and community members. If your company ever conducts tours for prospective clients, you can model your Manufacturing Day plant tour on your existing walkthrough and presentation.
A plant tour can also be staged as a more elaborate event, with structured activities such as equipment demonstrations, hands-on exhibits, speeches, and question-and-answer sessions. Hosts may want to invite local politicians and media to stress the civic importance of their company and the newsworthiness of their Manufacturing Day event and MFG DAY in general.
Tips for Hosting a Plant Tour
Visitors who attend plant tours are undoubtedly interested in manufacturing. What they likely need help with is figuring out how they can get involved. One of the most helpful things you can do is introduce them to some of the different aspects of running a manufacturing business: accounting, administration, customer service, engineering, estimating, information technology, logistics, purchasing, sales, etc. Don’t limit yourself to the production activity on the shop floor.
Some manufacturers have indicated that there are parts of their facility that are “off-limits” due to confidentiality agreements with customers, so they think they can’t have a Manufacturing Day event. Not true. You don’t need to take visitors through every inch of your facility. Seeing one particular part of the shop, and learning about the product you make on one particular machine can be just as interesting to a guest as a walk-through of the entire facility, which might be overwhelming.
2. MANUFACTURING COMMUNITY EVENTS AND EXPOS
Small groups of manufacturers in the same industrial park have pooled their resources to offer successive plant tours at each of their facilities. This is a great way for the local manufacturers to work together to expose visitors to a range of manufacturing work environments and to drum up local interest in the manufacturing segment of their respective communities.
If your business is located in an industrial park or close to other manufacturing businesses, encourage your manufacturing neighbors to get involved in Manufacturing Day. If they are interested, you can collaborate to put together a collective MFG DAY event and jointly approaching important community partners such as businesses, schools and political leaders to take notice of you and MFG DAY.
It has also become common for groups of manufacturers to come together in an Expo format away from their shops. Often these expos are organized by community groups such as chambers of commerce, local manufacturing associations and chambers of commerce.
A Tip for Organizing a Manufacturing Community or Expo
Go to your alderman or another member of your municipal assembly and ask them to deliver a speech at your Manufacturing Day event. If your alderman gets involved, they may reach out to other community leaders such as the mayor or representatives in the state legislature. Your alderman can also speak to local education leaders and help organize transportation for students to your event.
3. JOB FAIR
Job fairs have been organized in dozens of cities by companies in the temporary placement industry. Often these will take place at a manufacturing employer, but they can also take place at the offices of the placement firm with several representative employers participating.
4. EDUCATIONAL FAIR
Educational institutions such as community and technical colleges can be excellent venues for MFG DAY events. Working with local manufacturers to plan career-fair-style happenings can be a great way for high schools and technical colleges to inform their students about careers in manufacturing. Manufacturers can also use these opportunities to share information about their companies with a wider audience of students and parents.
A Tip for Putting together an Educational Fair
Within reason, educators organizing educational fairs should encourage participating manufacturers to bring examples of their work or to set up demonstrations. Hands-on activities always generate interest and get more people involved. The overall goal of these events should be to spark the imagination of students and give them a more concrete sense of what manufacturing is all about.
Celebrations of the manufacturing community are springing up all over the country as a way to kick off Manufacturing Day or Manufacturing Week activities. They can be organized by Chambers of Commerce, local or regional manufacturing associations and economic development groups. They have even been organized by banks, accounting firms and other businesses that do a significant portion of their business with manufacturers. These can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner events.
The event types listed above are just examples of the most common and successful MFG DAY events. If you have other ideas, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share them with other Manufacturing Day event hosts. Tips are always appreciated!