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Manufacturers Highlight Best of 2020

03 February, 2023

The final chat of 2020 reflects on what manufacturers and supporters learned and ending the year on a lighter note, hosted by Kirsten Austin of DCSC Inc.


This year has had its unfair share of gloom, but there have been some great bright spots as well. There were several disease breakthroughs, astrological discoveries, and of course, #USAMfgHour continued throughout all of 2020. As this year ends, Kirsten Austin of DCSC Inc., developer of DCWarehouse, a WMS shipping and supply chain solution for distributors and manufacturers, along with mascot Buddy, closes out the chat with a "Cheers to the Year" roundup and send off into 2021.

New Ideas

#USAMfgHour has covered topics ranging from sharing manufacturing tools and resources to educating on ISO, manufacturing employment programs, and more. Austin started the chat by asking attendees the top new ideas or concepts learned from past chats

"I can't even begin to tell you how many new ideas and good information I got from this," she said. 

"First and foremost, we learned how to engage with the #USAMfg community! And, another notable talk for us was learning about Lean Manufacturing from @GraphicProducts," said Snaptron.

"Just discovering this chat was an amazing new way to network and gain new followers. All of the advice for working in this new norm has been helpful & knowing we are not alone in this," said DuraTech.

" There were so many favorites! The two that stand out for us were on ISO and MEPs ? very educational and something for everyone in any part of their business journey," said Duralabel.

"Oh, so many! Most memorable for me has been some of the social media advice from others," said DSI/Dynamatic. "Yes, MEPs, too! I have been using ours as a resource so much more now."

"For us, the most relatable and helpful topic was re: ISO 9001 as it's on our road map for 2021/2022 and, we must admit, it's a whole new learning experience for us," said Foxmere Technologies.

"I will not be able to let you know in a tweet how much I learned, but I will tell you that since I joined the chat I have learned something from someone in this group and I have put it into action. I look forward to seeing you all in 2021," said SCTools.

"I learned from many of you. And many thanks for that. But what stood out for me is that chat led by @GraphicProducts on focusing on a few things because that resonated with my word for the year, FOCUS. #USAMfgHour," said Ruby Rusine of Social Success Marketing.

"I learn so much each #USAMfgHour chat," said Paul Kiesche from Aviate Creative. "I love getting all perspectives of the different companies on the same topic. It shows that one size does not fit all. The recaps have been great!"

"Being a little late to the party there's a few that I missed out on that I wish I would've been at, BUT I think being able to host a couple of weeks ago on ?Smarketing' helped us at Obsidian with something we are trying to accomplish and improve upon," said Obsidian Manufacturing.

"The generosity of everyone who is involved in the weekly chats. Each subject brings insights and learning for all involved. The more you learn the more you realize there is to learn," said Nigel Packer of PelaTis.

"CAUTION marks a hazard that could cause moderate injury. WARNING marks a hazard that could cause serious injury or death. DANGER is for extreme hazards, where serious injury or death are likely unless the sign's instructions are followed," Austin recalled from a chat hosted by Duralabel on OSHA signs.

A global economy is essential in today's time, Austin said. "We are not shy about the fact we'd love to keep manufacturing jobs here when we can. Do you have to be a USA Manufacturer to join these chats?"

"Of course not! Cultural intelligence is becoming more and more prevalent in business today and learning from people around the world on how they work is a great way to build on that cultural intelligence. The more minds here, the better!" said Obsidian.

"All manufacturing champions are welcome! It's vital to expand the conversation to gain unique perspectives and critical insights that can help the #manufacturing industry as a whole," said NJMEP.org.

"Let's ask @NigelTPacker! I don't believe these chats cater to just US Manufacturing. They might on certain occasions when dealing with legalities, certifications, etc.," said DSI/Dynamatic.

"The chat is open to all and we have some amazing overseas friends here. However, I feel the main focus is certainly to help and improve USA manufacturers," said Kiesche.

"Even though I am proud to be an American, I am more proud that this chat doesn't stop at our borders. If it did, I think WE would be the losers!! We are ALL in the HUMAN category and we ALL learn from each other," said Nick Rivers from Obsidian Manufacturing.

"We have professionals from all over the world joining in this chat. Although our goal is to help USA businesses and manufacturers we welcome friends and champions of our cause. Much like @burleyfires who gave us the idea with their own #UKMFG Chat!" said Austin.

The chat then turned to cover more playful and personal topics to bring the group even closer. 

"What is the best gift you've ever received?," Austin asked.

"A Costco membership. Not kidding," said Rusine. 

"I will talk on behalf of my two now grown-up daughters. Years ago, Santa put airplane tickets for all of us to visit the family abroad, I remember the smile and joy from that moment. We as a family still talk about it." Said SCTools.

"Definitely my first bike, training wheels and all. It was the beginning of me biking anywhere and everywhere on the farm and a lot of skinned knees and hands," said Obsidian.

"My brother and I each got our own new snow sleds when I was 7 and he was 4. I remember seeing them standing up next to the tree, unwrapped, with big bows on them. We were so excited!" said DSI/Dynamatic

"A couple of years ago, I was finally able to spend Christmas back in Michigan after 4 years of not being able to. My sister went all out to make Christmas about me. Makes me tear up right now. She is so thoughtful!" said Home Building Solutions.

"The best gift I have ever received, as a leader, is being able to give to others," said David Roppo, a business consultant.

"The best gift is being able to support our employees and stay open for as long as we have ? 50 years this year," said Duralabel.

"I know it sounds clich?, but I thank God (#1) every day for my family and friends. Although she has passed to the other side, my Mom helped make me into the woman I am today," said Austin.

Lessons Learned

What did manufacturers and supporters learn in 2020?

"Patience and adaptability! Working in communications at the beginning of the year, we always seemed to have a COVID plan which would ultimately become shredded within 24 hours of making it, so learning how to adapt and make plans on the fly," said Obsidian.

"At work, I learned how to create fun, new videos for our company. Outside of work, I learned how to play the ukulele. (I'm not very good yet.)," said DSI/Dynamatic.

"That many have forgotten what is most important in leadership - people!" said Roppo.

"Here are a few key things I learned or improved in 2020 ...

  1. Twitter is more than people shouting from soapboxes.
  2. Engagement & relationships are key
  3. Help without expectations
  4. Listen more
  5. Be generous with your time
  6. Always go above & beyond," said Kiesche.

"I learned that although I enjoy my solitude immensely, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. I don't dislike people as much as I thought I did," said Cleveland Deburring."I learned what really matters to me in my life and to prioritize that moving forward (family, flexibility, etc.). And to be adaptable to change," said Jen Wegman of Insight Info Solutions.

"I personally learned that communication is more important than ever. This means listening before speaking," said Austin. "Thank you to all who participate, support, and interact in these Twitter Chats. We look forward to chatting in 2021!"

The #USAMfgHour chat on Twitter will resume on Jan. 7, 2021, with host Dan Bigger of Chenango Valley Technologies.