San Leandro Manufacturing Powerhouses Speak Out on Robotics & Housing in East Bay Supply Chain - BLOG

San Leandro Manufacturing Powerhouses Speak Out on Robotics & Housing in East Bay Supply Chain

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April 25th, 2017 – SYNCFAB moderated a spirited local manufacturing panel hosted at 21st Amendment Brewery by the San Leandro by Design Chamber of Commerce event titled “Expanding Commerce through a Local East Bay Supply Chain.” The Panel was a strong representation of the weight San Leandro carries in the East Bay supply chain including representatives from L3 Technologies, PCC Structurals (Berkshire Hathaway), McIntyre Industries, Scandic Springs and Halus Power Systems. Local Manufacturing has gained more widespread public attention as more people come to realize it’s importance. Indeed the health of the manufacturing community has long stood as a reliable bellweather for the health of the middle class which is paramount to addressing social equity and inclusion and as such cannot reasonably exclude manufacturing. In order for manufacturing to thrive it is just as important to identify and nurture a robust local supply chain network that includes a pipeline of human capital, raw material, logistics and complimentary production processes. San Leandro has a long history of precision manufacturing and the Bay Area has been experiencing heightened levels of supply chain demand driven by innovation in industries such as space exploration, energy storage, electronics and bioscience. The Manufacturing community was also well represented in the audience which provided for an engaging Q&A session. One of the most charged revelations of the discussion was that Robotics and Automation are not to be blamed before international trade for the manufacturing job crunch which is due more to the shortage of affordable housing and a retiring workforce not being met by an equal number of graduates with “hands-on” experience.

Before introducing the Panel we first shared an overview of SYNCFAB – a regional manufacturing procurement platform providing development support to local manufacturers in partnership with the US DOE and DOC NNMI partnership – CESMII – as well as San Leandro City and the Chamber of Commerce. SyncFab is driven by the mission that manufacturing locally is best for the planet as people and governments care more how and with what materials products are made when manufactured locally in our own backyards as opposed to outsourcing cheap dirty production to the lowest bidder out of sight out of mind. Local manufacturing also allows more considerate design for disposal, accelerates innovation and nurtures a more sustainable and socially equitable environment for the community.

We then proceeded to introduce industry panel members: 1) Mr. Blass ‎Facilities Operations Manager & Government Property Administrator at L3 Technologies San Leandro. 2) Mr. Nonomura who presided over a doubling in local headcount and employee profit sharing as head of Human Resources for (PCC) Precision Castparts Corporation Operations in San Leandro. PCC Structural has 190 plants and 35,000 employees globally. As part of the Berkshire Hathaway family, they are a Fortune 5 Corporation with 362,000 employees globally. 3) Mr. Farsight Board Advisor to McIntyre Industries – a heat exchanger and air handling business originally established in 1928. Mr. Farsight previously served as Chief Engineer for the City of San Francisco. 4) Mr. Rigaud founder of Halus Power Systems wind turbine remanufacturing and a proud symbol of San Leandro’s commitment to renewable energy. 5) Mr. Foote, President of Scandic Springs – a custom manufacturer of stamped metal parts, since 1991.

The Panel proceeded to touch on pertinent and highly charged issues related to the sustainability of their local supply chain with regards to automation, upstream density of complimentary production services, skilled workforce, housing, parking and logistics. L3 Technologies shared that as a predominantly government contracting business that inspections was an important part of their local supply chain. Halus Power Systems shared their reason for establishing their business in the East Bay as not only for the attractive industrial space but also for its proximity to the braintrust of pioneering engineers in the renewable energy field. Scandic Springs stated they did not find sufficient upstream metal finishing businesses in the local supply chain requiring them to look beyond the East Bay however resisting the supply chain pull to Nevada or Texas. PCC Structural shared exciting news of their buildout of a new mechanized plant addition which was automating much of the investment casting trade they’re in for complex thin walled jet propulsion aviation parts. When we asked PCC if Robots were to be blamed for the disappearance of Manufacturing jobs and not international trade PCC’s answer was that the implementation of the new technology represented a new era of manufacturing which was going to support a dozen new product lines which previously could not be manufactured and as such was going to create new jobs as well as supporting existing manufacturing jobs. Mc Intyre industries continued on this subject emphasizing that unaffordable housing and a retiring workforce were the primary reason for the disappearance of manufacturing jobs to which the answer was to offer more attractive wages.

SyncFab is a group of California based Supply Chain Buyers, Suppliers, and enlightened Designers, Engineers and Entrepreneurs with the understanding that sourcing locally is not only supportive of our local community but makes for more accurate prototyping, better production quality control and more environmentally responsible manufacturing. Our collaboration and solidarity empowers supply chain buyers, designers and engineers to return manufacturing home allowing for more intuitive efficient design around underutilized surplus local manufacturing capacity. Many Thanks to L3 Technologies, PCC Structural, McIntyre Industries, Scandic Springs, Halus Power Systems, 21st Amendment, the Chamber of Commerce and the City of San Leandro for this special arrangement and to all who were able to attend and participate!

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