2019 Operations Managers Meeting

Click here for the preliminary schedule of events

Discounted hotel reservations are still available. Contact Heather at houthuse@awpa.org.

Each year at the Operations Managers Meeting, Operations personnel from around the country get together to find solutions to the challenges presented by today’s manufacturing environment – whether it’s difficulty with safety regulations and environmental management or process improvements – discussing the problem with others in similar positions provides insight and new perspectives. Combined with Roundtable discussions with other plant managers, and plant tours of M&B Metal Products and Vulcan Steel Products, this year’s program has real information that Operations Managers can use to improve operations in their own facilities.

The Operations Managers Meeting will begin on Tuesday morning with registration and committee meetings. Tuesday afternoon is the General Session and Roundtable Discussion Groups followed by a reception and dinner at the hotel. Wednesday’s schedule includes breakfast and plant tours. We will have you back to the hotel by 3:00 pm, with a stop at Birmingham Airport by 2:30 pm to drop off those with evening flights.


Workforce Development: Partnerships that Work

The skills gap and the need to attract and retain a skilled workforce continues to be the number one concern facing manufacturers in the US. Manufacturing may have as many as 2.4 million jobs to fill between now and 2028.

Manufacture Alabama and the Alabama Workforce Investment Board have been creating programs to help manufacturers meet this ongoing challenge. George Clark, President of Manufacture Alabama, will discuss some partnership programs that are working for companies in AL. Mr. Clark has extensive experience in workforce development at the local, state and national level. His leadership in this field has led to gubernatorial appointments to serve as Chairman of the Alabama Workforce Investment Board, Vice Chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council, and as a member of the Governor’s College & Career Ready Task Force. If you are wondering how to partner with local resources, like community colleges and economic development boards, or how to create some new resources in your community, you won’t want to miss this.

Robotics and Automation – an Element of the Workforce Equation

With baby boomers retiring and millennials with a facility for electronics looking for a challenge, many manufacturers are turning to automation and robotics to address their workforce concerns. M&B Metal Products will be showcasing material handling robotics and other cost saving automation. We will hear from Arnar Thors, of the robotics and automation company Fitz-Thors, about these options for improving your processes and efficiency. They will discuss their decision process and implementation of robotics and automated systems. 

Tariffs and Trade

Section 232 Steel Tariffs, Product Exclusion requests, China Tariffs, Auto Tariffs, USMCA passage...how do you keep it all straight? How do the tariff programs and retaliation by other countries effect you and your customers? Kimberly Korbel, AWPA Executive Director, will provide information and take your questions about the current tariff environment.

Supplier Presentation: Traxit North America

In the past few years the world market has shown that competitiveness is stronger than ever. Join us to learn about the new wire drawing lubricant technologies that TRAXIT is bringing to the American Market to help wire drawers increase productivity.

Roundtable Discussion Groups: Fresh Ideas from New Faces

Do you have a situation at your plant for which you could use some friendly advice? Have you solved a nagging problem and would like to share your success? Then our popular Roundtable Discussion Groups are exactly what you need. Sometimes an outside perspective can generate solutions. Peer to peer discussion groups are the perfect opportunity for you to share your knowledge and seek information and feedback from other plant managers in the wire industry.

The AWPA is committed to providing a program full of practical advice which Operations Managers can use to add value to plant performance and improve the bottom line of their companies. We hope you will join us!

Plant Tours:

M & B Metal Products

M&B Metal Products Company started forming wire hangers in 1943 in Birmingham, AL to service local drycleaners due to a hanger shortage because of the war.  In 1963, the company built its current headquarters in Leeds, AL.  Over the years, M&B has focused on trying to reduce cost out of their products to remain competitive.  In the early 2000s, M&B built and installed efficient high-speed Electro-Deposition Paint systems.  Five years ago, M&B installed Kuka Robots to assist with material handling that historically has been done by people.  They will continue to invest in Robotics as well as other cost saving equipment.  

This tour will be an opportunity to see robotics in use in real-world applications.

Vulcan Steel Products

Vulcan Steel Products was established in 1978 and was purchased by Steel Dynamics, Inc in August of 2016.  Vulcan has approx. 350,000 sq ft of production and warehousing space located in their Pelham, AL facility where there are approximately 350 employees. 

Vulcan Steel Products has 3 operating divisions. They consist of the Cold Drawn Bar division where they make from 1/4 “ to 5” diameter cold drawn bars in various grades that are targeted at the Steel Service Center and OEM markets.  They have a Heat Treat Division where they process long-bar induction quench and tempering on diameters from ½” to 5”, up to 60 ft lengths.  These products target the oil and gas and construction markets.  The Threaded Rod division makes carbon, alloy and stainless threaded rod and studs.  Industrial distribution is the primary market. 

During the tour you will see hot roll bar cold drawn, quench and tempered, and threaded into a finished fastener.