Publications, eBooks and Tools
Catalyst Connection’s 2022 Annual Report
Catalyst Connection provides consulting and training services to small manufacturers in southwestern Pennsylvania, accelerating revenue growth and improving productivity. Through active collaboration with our clients and the manufacturing community, we contribute to the growth, vibrancy, and ongoing robustness of manufacturing in our region.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Assessment
The management of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) has evolved from a focus on compliance to a strategic-level effort with a demonstrated positive impact on an organization’s performance. In the current business climate, companies that strive for DEIA are achieving intended business results. They provide proof that DEIA are much more than a legal or moral requirement; they’re also a competitive advantage.
Digital Bridge Industry 4.0 Assessment
Are you leveraging advanced manufacturing technologies? Take the Smart Factory Assessment
Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) covers a wide range of technologies and our assessment focuses in on robotics and automation, digitization, additive manufacturing, and cybersecurity. Complete the assessment to receive a feedback report including technology insights, guidance on adoption strategies, and information on how Catalyst can support your journey. Let’s get started.
Employer of Choice Assessment
As you navigate our new normal and prepare for the recovery period, Catalyst Connection’s Employer of Choice Assessment will help you identify how you are aligning with your employees.
In five minutes, our Employer of Choice Assessment will provide manufacturers with an instant rating of their employee and talent retention challenges. You will receive an immediate assessment report that provides actionable insights and access to resources for high-priority areas.
Industry 4.0 Training Resource Guide – Fall 2022 Edition
Technology and innovation continue to transform the way in which companies create and manufacture products. Staying up-to-date with advanced techniques is vital to staying relevant and competitive in today’s market. By implementing SMART manufacturing techniques, companies can establish more efficient production lines and optimize processes for company growth. This catalog of training offerings was crafted for individuals and companies in the surrounding Pittsburgh region looking to gain skills within the advanced manufacturing space.
Case Study: DMI Companies – How to be an Innovative Manufacturer
DMI, a leader in innovation, operations, and sustainability in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), began its Industry 4.0 journey in 2015. Involved in lean manufacturing and focused on continuous improvement for 15 years, DMI believed it had exploited as much of the low-lying fruit in efficiency gains and gone as far as it could using this method. Continuing to manage the Lean program as a staple throughout its manufacturing cells and processes, DMI decided to take the next step to improve its operations, reduce the burden on its workers, and enhance the sustainability of its operations. Its new innovation plan focused on adopting robotic and advanced analytic technology, enhancing worker safety, and reducing its environmental footprint.
Forge Ahead: Industry Insights for Manufacturers – Understanding GenZ
Gen Z is entering the workforce. To no surprise, this generation of movers and shakers is ready to make their impact on the world, and they’re already starting with the future of work. Attracting Gen Z talent to the workplace is now requiring businesses to reevaluate their current practices and offerings to stay competitive in a fierce Employee’s Market. To give companies a head start, this paper provides a thorough overview of how this new generation of workers think, work, and the expectations they have for future employers.
Export Compliance Survey
Take a quick survey to see how your company fares against export compliance best practices. These are the types of questions you could receive from government agencies such as Customs and Border Protections, Office of Export Enforcement, Department of State, Department of Treasury, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These agencies are guided by the Export Administration Regulations, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, and other enabling legislation to assess an exporter’s ability to know and control the delivery of the goods they have sold to customers in other countries.
Become an Employer of Choice
When you’re an Employer of Choice, you don’t have to spend as much time or money-making inroads with great candidates. People already know your company as a great place to get hired, so your reputation does much of the recruiting work for you.
It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for becoming an Employer of Choice. One company’s approach may look very different from another’s, and yet they can both meet the criteria for the distinction. The overarching theme of becoming an Employer of Choice is being the best employer you can be for the types of employees you want to attract and retain.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Toolkit
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) is no longer a matter of “if and when,” but a priority and a commitment that businesses of all sizes and industries need to make moving forward.
As Catalyst Connection continues working through our own DE&I strategy, we are proud to share with you the Leading Forward Toolkit, developed in partnership with Sustainable Pittsburgh. Consider this your organizational guide to taking all the right steps toward a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
Southwestern Pennsylvania Entry-Level Manufacturing Workforce and Training Demand Study
As a part of a grant initiative funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, Catalyst Connection gathered information from manufacturing companies to identify near-term entry-level workforce and training needs. This purpose of this study is to help ensure that Catalyst Connection’s efforts support the southwestern PA manufacturing community and make wise use of the taxpayer dollars that have been provided for this initiative.
Crisis Management Primer for Manufacturers
A crisis is a turning point for a business. A company can emerge from a crisis stronger than ever, or it may suffer damage that threatens its very future. Catalyst Connection worked with C4CS®, a leader in crisis management, to create this how-to guide on effectively preparing for and successfully responding to critical adversarial events, emergencies and crises. Management teams should not ask if their company will face a crisis but instead focus their attention on when, where, and how the next crisis is going to happen and what potential impact it will have. Enabling employees across business functions to be ready to respond in the best way possible must be the overarching goal.
Lean Forward: Volume Two – Lean Leadership for Your Organization’s Future
Lean leadership is all about commitment: commitment to your employees, commitment to the system and commitment to making changes towards improvement. Lean is all about eliminating waste through continuous improvement, and the most valuable resource a leader has available to understand where the waste is coming from is through the people that see it every day. Lean leadership is geared more towards working with your people rather than your people working for you.
Your Strategic Roadmap for the Future
Catalyst Connection’s Strategic Recovery Assessment will help you identify all of the risks and opportunities unique to your manufacturing organization. This will help you and your leadership team as you start mapping out your recovery roadmap moving forward.
Our Strategic Recovery Assessment will help you identify all of the risks and opportunities unique to your manufacturing organization. This will help you and your leadership team as you start mapping out your recovery roadmap moving forward. After the assessment, we’ll send you a report that provides actionable insights and access to resources for your highest priority areas. Start moving forward today and take the assessment below.
You know the importance of implementing continuous improvement efforts across your organization, but do you know the ROI you’re getting for it? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Very few manufacturers know the numbers. And often, the data is very subjective.
Utilizing the 3 KPIs of Continuous Improvement (Engagement, Activity and Impact), Catalyst Connection has created a KATA calculator to help you build a sustainable continuous improvement program that can save you money once and for all.
Your Guide to CMMC
Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a unified standard that was designed to address cybersecurity issues for Department of Defense (DoD) contractors.
Don’t get left behind. Start working towards your certification now. We’ve put together a helpful guide that outlines all of the details you need to know about obtaining your CMMC.
Why an ERP System is Important for Your Business
An ERP system acts as the brain behind your business operations. It can centralize information and integrate with every department and every system used within your workplace.
Whether you’re checking in on inventory levels, finding out more about a customer’s purchase history before calling them, or automating processes within the supply chain to get your products or services in your customers’ hands faster than ever before, an ERP system will provide the specific information and answers you need.
Lean Forward Ebook
As the COVID-19 crisis grips the manufacturing industry, now more than ever, lean thinking, lean processes and lean tools are critically important to adapt in the workplace. Catalyst Connection has created a guide to helping your manufacturing organization lean forward despite this challenging time. The guide explains the importance of adapting a lean mindset during times of crisis, outlines the history of lean principles, and educates the reader on how to start implementing lean manufacturing in the workplace.
Lean Manufacturing Course Catalog
Implementing a Lean Manufacturing process into your business is a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste (activities that don’t add any value). It improves the flow of products to shorten lead times, reduce operating costs, and requires employees to be successful.
The Leadership Development Playbook
Catalyst Connection is proud to partner with DDI to launch our new guide, the Leadership Development Playbook, featuring best-in-class practices and approaches for designing powerful development experiences. The Playbook reflects our current reality and includes a review of the present-day leadership development landscape, as well as research-based trends that point toward a bright future.
Organizational Development Course Catalog
Organizational development is essential to creating an engaged workforce—a workforce that contributes to the sustainability and growth of your manufacturing organization. When dedicated organizational resources and investments support the training and development of employees at all levels, companies achieve higher rates of success and better business results.
As industries, workforces, and organizations evolve and change in real-time, companies must prioritize their efforts to improve productivity and efficiency, increase profits, and develop their future leaders.
Take the Pulse of Your Workforce During COVID-19
The sustainability and survival of your manufacturing enterprise, particularly in these challenging times of COVID-19 response and recovery, largely depends on the performance, productivity, and personal engagements within your manufacturing workforce. How are your employees responding to COVID-19 in the workplace? How is your company instilling ongoing trust, confidence, and active participation? How is your leadership team collecting and delivering continuous feedback, and what tools are in place to manage and track growth and changes over time?
COVID-19 Recovery Assistance for Manufacturers
COVID-19 has challenged the people, products, production, and processes of small and mid-sized manufacturers across southwestern Pennsylvania. As the immediate response has eased, and the transition into the reopening and recovery phases has begun, the recovery roadmap for your manufacturing environment starts with strategic planning and partnership.
At Catalyst Connection, we’ve spent the last 30 years partnering with manufacturers to guide them in business strategy and modernization—without the fear of business overhauls. Our goal is to equip manufacturers with the strategic expertise, support, and partnership needed to advance capabilities, maintain a competitive edge, open up new channels, attract and retain new workforce talent, and more, to enable effective COVID-19-response and recovery, while taking advantage of new business opportunities. Most importantly, we are committed to doing so in ways that feel natural, achievable, and sustainable to your company and your way of doing business, during COVID-19 and after.
Lead Generation for Manufacturers
For small and mid-sized manufacturers, the novel coronavirus changed businesses in ways we could never have imagined. We know that both challenges and opportunities lie ahead in responding to and recovering from COVID-19, particularly when it comes to leveraging marketing to maintain your existing customer relationships and generate the leads you need to keep your manufacturing enterprise thriving.
De-Risk Your Supply Chain
Whether you’re ready or not, changes are coming to your supply chain. The current environment requires planning and preparation—and there is no room for error. Now, more than ever, you can’t afford to be caught off guard or play catch-up with your competition.
That’s why Catalyst Connection has compiled the information, resources, and strategies to guide our region’s manufacturers through supply chain changes and challenges.
COVID-19 Back-to-Work Playbook
There’s no room for error in returning to work during the COVID-19 crisis. When health, safety, and lives are on the line, it’s critical to get it right the first time. That’s why Catalyst Connection has compiled the information, resources, and strategies to guide our region’s manufacturers in moving forward in the safest ways possible.
In the era of COVID-19, returning to work is necessary, but the idea of how to create and sustain safe and healthy manufacturing environments is filled with apprehension and uncertainty. It doesn’t have to be.
Robotics and Technology Engagement Report
Advanced technologies, such as robotics and automation, are effective means to improve efficiencies and alleviate pain points experienced in manufacturing operations, but is manufacturing automation as widely utilized as it could or should be? And if not, how can the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and other manufacturing support organizations more effectively accelerate technology exploration and adoption efforts? This is especially critical for the SMM segment, which makes up 99% of manufacturing organizations across the nation. A team of four MEP centers conducted the study in collaboration with ARM – Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing, a Manufacturing USA institute.
Manufacturers Guide to Robotics
Catalyst Connection has developed this Manufacturers’ Guide to Robotics to serve as a tool to help small manufacturers explore the adoption of robotics in their facilities. Traditionally, robotics was thought of as a singularly focused and extremely costly system that was exclusive to large manufacturers who have low mix/high volume production. However, more recent technology advances in sensors, software, vision systems and more are shifting the paradigm and making robotics implementation a reality for even the smallest manufacturers…
2019 Catalyst Connection Annual Report
Catalyst Connection: Powering the Potential of Manufacturing
Industry 4.0 technologies, based on a solid foundation of continuous improvement, company culture and leadership, are unlocking manufacturing business potential and improving manufacturing performance across the region. Catalyst Connection recognizes that innovations in technology are happening daily; and is assisting manufacturing leaders identify, evaluate and implement new technology that aligns with business strategy, reduces risk, addresses workforce opportunities and has a high return on investment. We are committed to serving manufacturers that are ready to invest in themselves via a transformative process, while always using their vision for their future as our guidepost for change.
2018 Catalyst Connection Annual Report
Catalyst Connection Celebrates Industry 4.0 – A Bright Future
It was not too long ago that Pittsburgh was firmly positioned as the steel city, in both the practical output of the economic product, and in the national conscience that viewed the skyline with smoke colored glasses. Now, buoyed by strong partnerships with excellent higher education institutions and a thriving medical community, Pittsburgh is nationally ranked as one of the most desirable places to live and work. As Catalyst Connection enters its fourth decade of promoting, providing support, and strengthening manufacturing in Southwestern Pennsylvania, we are excited to continue the positive dialogue around Pittsburgh while addressing the ways in which the region still has room to grow and embrace the future as an innovative and global hub for advanced manufacturing.
Greater Pittsburgh-WV Metals Manufacturing Community Progress Report and Resource Roadmap
The “Greater Pittsburgh Metals Manufacturing Community” (GPMMC) is a partnership of government, university, industry, workforce and economic development organizations in southwest Pennsylvania and northwest West Virginia, who are working to build upon the region’s historic strengths in metals and materials, strong supplier networks, world class research universities, abundant energy and water, and available brownfields sites, to drive economic and community revitalization in the region and beyond.
Manufacturing Employment Demand Study:
Catalyst Connection initiated the “Making Your Future Manufacturing Employment Demand Study” to support manufacturing job growth in Southwestern Pennsylvania and to better understand the current and projected demand for workers and the skill sets sought after by the regions’ employers. Key goals of the study were to determine if there is an increased need for: investments in workforce development, improvements in immediate employability skills, change in perceptions of manufacturing careers, and improved employer practices to attract and retain a skilled and qualified workforce. The Employment Demand Study was conducted during the period of May – June, 2018.
US Senate Committee on Finance – Testimony of Petra B. Mitchell, President & CEO, Catalyst Connection:
Petra Mitchell provides an overview of the MEP program, the challenges that small and medium sized manufacturers are facing, and the role that the MEP program and Catalyst Connection are playing in helping to address those challenges. The US Senate Committee on Finance was held on Friday, February 16, 2018.
2018 Manufacturing Scorecard – Full Report:
The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and Catalyst Connection releases the 2018 Manufacturing Scorecard for southwestern Pennsylvania.
2018 Manufacturing Scorecard – Summary:
The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and Catalyst Connection releases the 2018 Manufacturing Scorecard Summary for southwestern Pennsylvania.
Capturing the next economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city:
Pittsburgh’s innovation economy is strong and growing, but city leaders can do more with its existing assets to compete globally and capitalize on the region’s growing innovation clusters, according to a new report from the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking at the Brookings Institution. The culmination of an 18-month study, “Capturing the Next Economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city” examines Pittsburgh’s unique opportunity to become a top global destination for technology-based economic activity and as a key part of Pittsburgh’s efforts to become a world-class innovation city.
MEP – Making an Impact on U.S. Manufacturing:
Catalyst Connection is part of the national Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Since 1988, MEP has worked to strengthen U.S. manufacturing. It is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a U.S. Department of Commerce agency. Through its collaborations at the federal, state and local level, MEP centers in every state work with manufacturers to develop new customers, expand and diversify markets, adopt new technologies, and enhance value within supply chains. As a public-private partnership, MEP delivers a high return on investment to taxpayers. For every one dollar of federal investment, the MEP national network generates $17.9 in new sales growth for manufacturers and $27.0 in new client investment. This translates into $2.3 billion in new sales annually. And, for every $1,501 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one manufacturing job.
Proof that DDI’s Leadership Development Pays Off:
DDI published this report, PROOF That DDI’s Leadership Development Pays Off, that identifies the quantitative results of companies who participated in DDI trainings. This report is the world’s largest aggregation of impact studies and analyses on the effectiveness of a single leadership development program: DDI’s Interaction Management® (IM®). The data-based evidence captured is an “insurance policy” to customers that IM® will positively impact their leaders, their teams, and the entire organization!
Catalyst Connection is an official educational channel partner of Development Dimensions International (DDI). We are certified to bring their world-class leadership content to manufacturing companies in southwestern Pennsylvania. We include DDI content in many of our Organizational Development services, including: Leadership Essentials, Executive Leadership Coaching, 360 Feedback, Success Profiles, and our Emerging Leaders in Manufacturing program.