The 2019 EBC, April 14-16 at the San Jose Marriott, will provide strategic and practical information that addresses manufacturing challenges, and a forum for discovery. EBC helps executives anticipate business opportunities and meet the challenges of the future.

This isn’t the first EBC. Past events have been held at locations around the United States. The most recent was held in Detroit in 2017.

At the 2017 EBC, three top-notch plant tours, a number of top quality speakers and a group of innovative and forward-thinking wood products companies added up to a successful event in Detroit.

EBC 2017 was organized by Stiles Machinery and invited attendees from top millwork, cabinet and other wood product companies to rethink manufacturing.

JB Cutting, Inc. welcomed industry visitors from the EBC event. The company makes theromofoil doors and other components, and has a good range of modern technology including CNC machining centers, large routers and edgebanders, boring machines and presses. The company makes components for cabinets, closets and retail displays, and has grown significantly in recent years.

Ford’s River Rouge complex is one of the most famous manufacturing locations in the world, and has been making vehicles since the 1920s. EBC participants toured the Dearborn complex, which includes a steel mill, glass plant and assembly operations. EBC visitors saw the assembly line for the aluminum Ford F-150 truck in motion on a Sunday evening.

EBC participants also toured the large robotic operation of Fanuc America. The company makes manufacturing robots for many different automotive applications, and is seeking new opportunities in other industries such as wood products manufacturing. Visitors saw demonstrations of robotic finishing, testing or systems, and a very large robot showed off its strengths.

Josh Linkner, a native of Detroit and an author and entrepreneur, suggested in his opening keynote address that executives be the source of disruption rather than having it be forced upon them. The obsessions of creative people include being curious, craving what’s next, defying tradition, getting scrappy and being a quick adopter.

Linkner said that brainstorming was a great way to get mediocre ideas, because the best, and craziest, ideas are not offered up in such a meeting. He challenged participants to find one idea for creative destruction in the next seven days.

Stiles Machinery’s Gary Wernlund outlined lessons from the Ford River Rouge plant tour, compared automotive and wood products manufacturing and looked at opportunities for robotic applications.

Wernlund’s technology bytes presentation offered quick looks at new equipment innovations in wood products manufacturing, such as smaller machine footprints, a better way to manage offcuts, more textured laminates, improvements in zero seams and quality improvements in edge milling.

Jennifer McNelly of 180Skills encouraged wood product companies to be involved in the Woodwork Career Alliance, to hire veterans for their experience, to leverage current employees as ambassadors for potential workers, and to take part in events such as the annual manufacturing day.

What kind of social media strategy should a company have? Aaron Miller of Herman Miller, consultant Denise Bahs and Nic Schiffer of NS Builders offered real-world examples of what to do and what not to do when trying to attract attention on social media. This is a subject that some companies don’t know a lot about, or have kept at arm’s length. Schiffer offered examples of his deep involvement in social media, including frequent posts about installations and work in progress.

Other speakers included Bill Henderson of Siemens on synchronizing system communication, Jonathan Adams of Innergy on managing big data, Mario Bobsin of Fritz Egger GmbH & Co. on Eurolight lightweight material, and Dick Diller of Stediwatt on protecting against electrical threats, Charles Waterman of Closets by Design, Rick Siewert of Siewert Cabinet & Fixture, and Jurgen Koppel of Leitz Group. To wind up the conference, Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics pointed out the many positives in the economy.

The 2019 EBC, April 14-16 at the San Jose Marriott, provides strategic and practical information that addresses manufacturing challenges, and a forum for discovery. EBC helps executives anticipate business opportunities and beat the challenges that lie ahead and will inspire business leaders to create change when they return home.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.