MFG Operations Conference 2021

The 2021 MFG Operations Conference is your source for proven strategies, actionable solutions and the trusted professionals that can help you meet your goals. This power-packed half-day event will empower you to tackle manufacturing’s greatest challenges.

Join Us to Build a Better Operational Blueprint

Date, Location and Time
  • Wednesday, May 19, 2021
  • In-Person & Livestream
  • 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Lansing Center 333 E. Michigan Avenue Lansing, MI 48933
  • Registration beings at 12:30 p.m.
Pricing & Registration for In-Person
  • $125/person for MMA Industry & Associate Members
  • $225/person for MMA Insurance and Future members
  • Online:
  • Phone: 517-487-8521
  • E-mail:
Pricing & Registration for Livestream
  • $100 for MMA Industry & Associate Members
  • $200 for MMA Insurance and Future members
  • Online:
  • Phone: 517-487-8521
  • E-mail:
Leading with a Growth Mindset

Kristi SteppKristi Stepp • Sigred Solutions
Your leadership is key to realizing the potential of your employees. This workshop begins with an assessment of your current business situation. We then look at leadership styles, with consideration of the opportunities and challenges you currently face. Finally, we explore how you can bring the best out of your employees and retain your top talent.

You will walk away with:

  • An assessment of your business situation
  • Tips to adjust your leadership styles based on business opportunities and challenges
  • The names of one or more “hidden stars” and tips to best prepare them for greater success.

Stepp is a partner with Sigred Solutions, a management recruiting and leadership advisory firm.


The Pragmatic Approach to Making AI Work for Your Business

Dave Poggi and Mike SchipperDave Poggi • InsITe
Mike Schipper • InsITe

Do you think artificial intelligence (AI) is too expensive, too complex or simply not something that’s going to show a quick return? What does AI even mean to you? For people who have seen the recent television commercials it means saving snow leopards and rebuilding ancient civilizations...and it probably doesn’t seem like something you need. This session will create a case for AI by showing the current economic indicators around quality, demand and the workforce. Then we’ll present examples of quick, inexpensive and working AI that are in practice now along with an interactive Q&A to answer your specific questions.

Better Recruiting Results through Process Efficiency and Technology

NAMEMarcy Brajkovic • Chatfield Global LLC
Jody Contreras • Chatfield Global LLC

Recruiting talent in the manufacturing industry is HARD! This session will share perspective on how to use recruiting technology, hiring assessments, social media and other tools to creatively attract talent to your company. As recruiting specialists supporting many small and mid-size manufacturers, the approaches we recommend are practical, efficient and focused on your company's specific needs.

Planning for the Bus: Succession Planning for Every Role in your Organization

Joe BambergerJoe Bamberger • Emerge Consulting

Worst case scenario: your top performer gets hit by a bus on the way to work. Are your prepared to lose those skills and knowledge? Do you have a pipeline of people that can step in and fill their shoes? People are the most valuable resource in any organization. Manufacturers need to leverage the high schools, community colleges and universities in their local community to build a consistent pipeline of entry-level talent. Get the resources you need to engage and attract talent from those communities and discover the tools needed to develop and retain that talent long-term so you can have a bench of talent ready to step up when the time is needed. Are you planning for the bus?

Robotic Process Automation

Jeremiah WorthingtonJeremiah Worthington • Endurium LLC

Robotic automation has been improving the production floor for the past 20+ years and is nothing new for today’s manufacturing companies. Over the past five years, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has become a cutting-edge technology that allows a software “robot” to replicate human user actions. Similar to robotics on the production floor, RPA is robotics for everywhere else within the business. If you ever wished there were robots to help reduce errors in manual entry, copy and paste between systems, read invoices, send out communications or perform almost any other business task, then this session is for you.

Proactive Recruiting in 2021

Michael DergisMichael Dergis • Sigred Solutions

Recruiting at all levels has become more challenging. Generational changes, technology and the response to COVID-19 have forced recruiters and hiring managers to adapt their approach to finding the best candidates. The “post and pray” method of finding candidates is no longer enough. “Proactive Recruiting in 2021” will focus on developing a proactive approach to finding and attracting the best talent for your organization. Investing time up front in creating a process, targeting specific individuals and maintaining communication will reap rewards in faster and more effective searches.

Build a Talent Bridge: Navigate the Gap and Prepare for the Future

Amy ForehandAmy Forehand • The Forehand Company

Delivering a skilled, manufacturing talent pipeline is necessary — but you have a gap today. Discover how to build a bridge to navigate the gap and prepare for the future. Together we will identify possible sources of underutilized talent and opportunities for capacity within your own four walls. Understand how your talent retention issues can be solved using the same tools you use to resolve quality challenges. Examine the promises you are making to attract and keep your talent. Find yourself challenging your beliefs about talent and leaving with at least one creative talent opportunity by the end of this session!

Bend the Trend: Turning Health Care Data Into Meaningful Insights

Dean BorsoDean Borso • Gallagher

This session will explore the variety of tactics employers have at their disposal to contain health care spending. You will learn which tactics can have unexpected consequences and may actually weaken an employer’s ability to manage important health outcomes.

A Shop-floor Solution to Employee Retention

John KeuningJohn Keuning • Express Employment Professionals

This session will explore the reasons employees stay or leave and how front-line leaders can have a big impact either way. It will also take a serious look at using an effective, process driven new-hire onboarding, owned and driven by operations leaders to shore up retention. This session is based on years' of manufacturing experience using and perfecting the items discussed. Some alarming research will also be shared!

Creating a Development Plan for New Hires & Newly Promoted Employees

NAMESarah Wagoner • Chatfield Global LLC

Set your new hires up for success with an intentional onboarding plan. Use the same approach with newly promoted employees to structure their learning experience in their new role. A 30-60-90 day plan provide provide structure and scaffolding for success in new roles...for new hires and those beginning new roles within the company. Join this session to learn about the practical 30-60-90 approach to development planning. The 30-60-90 day planning tool is designed to create a solid foundation for new hires (or newly promoted employees) to gain confidence quickly in their new role, thus positively impacting employee retention.

Gallagher Harvest Solar Express Employment IT Resources MTMIC MetLife Blue Cross Blue Shield IT ResourcesMTMICMetLifeBlue Cross Blue Shield

The 2021 MFG Operations Conference is the state’s premier event providing proven strategies, actionable solutions and best practices to the Michigan manufacturing sector. Prominently promote your company to the forward thinkers at the forefront of innovation and global trends with one of several sponsorship opportunities. Contact MMA’s Sarah Martin, at 517-487-8521 or, today.

The 2021 MFG Operations Conference will adhere to all applicable safety guidelines including limitations on in-person registration, social distancing and enhanced sanitization.

Attendees are asked to observe safety protocols. In accordance with the MDHHS Emergency Order issued 5/14/21, individuals are required to wear a face mask unless they are fully vaccinated or otherwise exempted from the state face mask requirement.

MMA is committed to providing a safe, productive and welcoming environment for all meeting participants and MMA staff. All participants are expected to abide by the Meeting Policies and Virtual Programs Code of Conduct which apply to all MMA meeting-related events, including those sponsored by organizations other than MMA but held in conjunction with MMA events, in public or private facilities and/or public or private platforms. Please see the full MMA Event Policies for details including cancelation, recording consent, behavior expectations and more.

Contact Sarah Martin

Sarah MartinEvents Coordinator
Call 517-487-8521