BIC Manufacturing Academy
The BIC Manufacturing Academy (BMA) is an industry-led training collaborative designed to address persistent challenges facing the manufacturing economy in the Berkshire region by closing the gap between local supply chain capabilities and the needs of larger manufacturers through ongoing education, training, and technology assistance.
The BMA supports the growth and development of the future leaders of our firms, and helps these firms explore new technological solutions, through a comprehensive core training program as well as a curated series of technology workshops.
The BMA was developed in partnership with MIT, General Dynamics, Mass Tech Collaborative, the US Department of Commerce, and with support of local and state matching funds.
The core training program was developed after countless hours of interviews, meetings and learning from a diverse range of industry partners. It is called Systems Thinking for the Application of Technologies, or STAT. The STAT program answers two key industry needs: developing employee troubleshooting and systems thinking and enhancing human skills. It is a cornerstone to our work. It is a dynamic 24-week initiative that is broken into three distinct phases. Each phase is six weeks long, with remote learning breaks scheduled between them.
The first phase focuses on the principles of DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) as a framing tool that illustrates and engages students in ways to enhance their troubleshooting and their problem-solving skills to more effectively approach any problem, from fixing a coffee machine to something far more complex. It is an interactive seminar with a lot of thoughtful exchange, really prompting students to think about their own lives and their work roles.
In the second phase, the students apply the framing tools that they learned from the first phase. This will include both a hands-on learning component and a computer simulation. The hands-on learning will involve studying and interacting with a micro-manufacturing wind turbine plant located within the BIC which will serve as a testing ground to practice problem-based learning. Through varied problems, students will understand measurement, process mapping, and other tools that hang off the DMAIC framework. Complementing the hands-on learning will be a digital twin, a computer simulation that will allow students to tweak the types of technology that could be deployed in a production line as the process is “leaned out,” controlled, improved, and sustained.
In the third and final phase of the program, students will move from this micro-manufacturing simulation and rethink where they sit within their roles, their group, and their firm and begin to formulate a way to “make their learning count” in their companies. With support from a supervisor in their firm, the students will identify a real-life problem, or opportunity, that they can troubleshoot, and problem solve. Here is where they will be paired with coaches to apply the DMAIC framework to assess actual “pain points” within their firms and propose solutions that will make their firms more productive, efficient, and competitive.
“The Manufacturing Academy at the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) is a formidable program to strengthen the trouble shooting and problem solving mindset of our associates closest to the point of impact on the shop floor. We are having great success with tangible and favorable outcomes for our teammates and our business as a result of participation in the program. Associates learn soft skills such as influencing and motivating other team members, identification of problem statements for arising challenges, and tools like DMAIC to address and resolve these challenges in a data based fashion. Our employees gain enthusiasm, engagement, and additional purpose for their work life as a result of the program too. The BIC’s support for our associates throughout the program is hands-on, practical, and relevant. The Manufacturing Academy is a meaningful and valuable addition to the educational and professional development offerings in Pittsfield, MA and the Berkshires region at large. As a plastic injection molder of complex products and requirements in the medical device manufacturing space, we welcome the opportunity to have our employees benefit from learning these tools and skillsets and provide additional value to their own work experience as well as our customers delight. We can strongly recommend this program to any company who seeks to step to the next level or offer their employees valuable development opportunities.”
-Thorsten Schott, General Manager, Spectrum Plastics
The most essential human competencies or mental muscles to help students tune to modern work are best represented through (8) universal core human competencies. The competencies, once understood, create a way for individuals to orient and re-orient themselves to varied situations. They will learn to understand both their aptitude (interest and knowledge & capacity) in a particular competency as well as their application level (distribution of that particular competency).
Someone who has an interest in leadership (aptitude) can also have a restraint on releasing that competency (application) which can serve that person in some situations, but in others be less aligned with a goal, project or teaming effort. We explore these connections both experientially and through a proven assessment, the Integral Psychological Profile (IPsP), designed in Hong Kong by New Englander, Roy Horan and brought into North America by Dr. Dennis Rebelo, the BIC’s Chief Learning Officer.
The (8) competencies we help students/team members enhance awareness of, develop and tune are: leadership, receptivity, communication, organization, discrimination (analysis/inference), adaptability, creativity and exploration.
Not Able to watch the Cohort 2 Information Session?
Watch it Here.
Get an overview of the three phases of the program and
hear from academy instructors and currently enrolled students.
Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders
by Ben Sosne and Dr. Dennis Rebelo
Berkshire Business Journal
New Technology Skills Approach
by John Townes
Berkshire Business Journal
Where Collaboration and Collective Wisdom Meet
by Ben Armstrong and Ben Sosne
Berkshire Business Journal