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Graphicast is again named one of the best companies to work for in New Hampshire.

NH’s Best Companies to Work For named
in September issue of Business NH Magazine

Manchester, NH – Business NH Magazine is announcing the 2015 Best Companies To Work For in NH in its September edition due out on Monday.

For 19 years, Business NH Magazine and its partner, the NH Businesses for Social Responsibility, have recognized businesses that go out of their way to create fun and high engagement workplaces for their employees through the Best Companies To Work For competition. This year’s Best Companies To Work For exemplify how developing a respectful, creative and supportive corporate culture can bring a company to new heights.

We decided to change things up this year and revamped the competition, focusing more on employees. Th2 2015 competition included an employee engagement survey that had to be taken by at least 50 percent of a company’s workforce. Employers also completed an extensive survey detailing benefits and workplace practices. By combining the results from the employee engagement surveys with results from the employer survey, we found 18 companies that exceeded the bar of excellence.

Medtronic broke onto the list this year grabbing the Number 1 Best Company To Work For. In 2013, their first year in the competition, they were a semifinalist. Vapotherm in Exeter landed the Number 2 spot on our list.

The following are being named the Top 5 Best Companies:
#1 – Medtronic Advanced Energy in Portsmouth (400+ employees)
#2 – Vapotherm in Exeter (121 employees)
#3 – Digital Prospectors Corp in Exeter (25 employees)
#4 – Bellwether Community Credit Union in Manchester (82 employees)
#5 – Wire Belt Company of America in Londonderry (90 employees)

Listed in alphabetical order, the remaining Best Companies:
• Adaptive Communications in Portsmouth (54 employees)
• American Health Centers, Inc. in Portsmouth (19 employees)
• BANK W Holdings, LLC in Bedford (86 employees)
• CCA Global Partners in Manchester (370 employees)
• Compass Therapeutics, LLC in Hanover (7 employees)
• DSCI in Manchester (118 employees)
• Graphicast, Inc. in Jaffrey (29 employees)
• International Association of Privacy Professionals in Portsmouth (79 employees)
• Loftware in Portsmouth (103 employees)
• MassMutual Northern New England in Bedford (19 employees)
• Merchants Fleet Management in Hooksett (269 employees)
• Parker Hannifin Corporation in Hollis (57,447 employees)
• W.S. Badger Company Inc. in Gilsum (64 employees)

A Look at the Manufacturing Skills Shortage

“Geoff Forester photograph, courtesy of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund”.

“Geoff Forester photograph, courtesy of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund”.

The manufacturing skills shortage has been a hot topic for several years. In New Hampshire, we’re addressing it from many angles – direct contact with secondary and post secondary schools, mentoring programs, STEM activities and curricula, etc. It’s getting better. The skills shortage was the topic of a recent business news program on our local television station, WMUR. In it, Gary Groleau of New Hampshire Ball Bearings, a large aerospace supplier in our area, and I discuss the current state of affairs. Here’s the link to the program:!bF89kz

Testing the Future of 3D Printing

“Geoff Forester photograph, courtesy of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund”.

“Geoff Forester photograph, courtesy of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund”.

I had the chance to hear a fascinating talk by designer Francis Bitonti on the marriage of art and 3D printing. He has created a number of unique designs as 3D printed objects – from bicycle racks for New York City to a 3D printed dress. He is a true visionary who can see the potential for unleashing 3D printing as a game changing technology in the world of design and fashion. Not making toys, but real works of art. He’s put his money where his mouth is and designed a number of household accessories with 3D printing in mind. Unlike many designers and artists, the extent of his design IS the design. He does not produce the products. He makes the design available for you to make on your 3D printer. He operates his design website like a download service. For a small fee (in our case, $1.00), we downloaded his design for a small bowl. We loaded the design file into our MakerBot 3D printer, and 9 1/2 hours  later, had an original Francis Bitonti bowl in our hands. A little clean up and a can of metallic spray paint and we had a three dimensional accessory available nowhere else except through the mind of Francis Bitonti and a desktop printer!


Bitonti bowl close up Bitonti bowl

Graphicast Receives International Recognition for its “Big Data” Project

Jaffrey, NH – Global business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Council honored 100 world class manufacturing companies and individual leaders, including Graphicast of Jaffrey, New Hampshire, as winners of the 2014 Manufacturing Leadership Awards (ML Awards).

In a world of intensifying global competition and accelerating change, recipients of the ML Awards have distinguished themselves by embracing breakthrough innovation and enabling their companies to anticipate and respond to customers with unmatched agility.

Now in their tenth year, the Manufacturing Leadership Awards honor companies and individuals that are shaping the future of global manufacturing. Nominations were in nine categories for outstanding projects undertaken and completed by a manufacturing company, and were evaluated and scored by a panel of expert judges. Two categories recognized the achievements of individual manufacturing leaders.

Although a small company by industrial standards, Graphicast has been a pioneer in the use of detailed analysis of manufacturing and operations data to improve revenue and reduce costs. “Big data” refers to the massive amounts of information that many companies have collected on their operations that, until recently, was difficult to analyze effectively. New data analysis software, now available to even the smallest companies, makes this data come alive, providing rich and meaningful insight into the company’s operational trends and direction. Graphicast coupled data analysis with business optimization software, which allows the company to determine the most profitable path to grow the company and improve performance. The mathematics of optimization methods grew out of the necessities of World War II and garnered a Nobel Prize in Economics for their developer.

Graphicast also won an ML100 award in 2009 for its work on improving shop floor scheduling and work flow.

Manufacturing Leadership Award winners and their technology partners will be honored on June 5 at a gala celebration that follows the tenth annual Manufacturing Leadership Summit in Palm Beach, FL, a unique gathering of manufacturing leaders from around the world. The theme for the 2014 Summit is “The Next Industrial Revolution: What Will Your Company Look Like in 2030?”

Global Success – a tale of innovation and rebirth in Indian manufacturing

“Geoff Forester photograph, courtesy of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund”.

“Geoff Forester photograph, courtesy of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund”.

I had the great pleasure of spending most of the last two weeks in India. My wife and I were invited to attend the wedding of the son of a former work colleague. Besides the chance to spend time with an old friend and to absorb the fantastic cultural experience of an Indian wedding, we also toured many of the famous sites throughout the country. An added treat was a plant tour of my friend’s company, Pradeep Metals, Ltd. Started with his father over 30 years ago, the company has evolved from humble beginnings to become a world class supplier of nuclear grade steel forgings. This journey involved a dramatic change in markets served, additions of many quality standards, an ongoing lean manufacturing effort, constant reinvestment in new equipment and methods, investment in his employees, and a commitment to social responsibility. You could tell this story in any industrialized country and instantly identify the type of company this is – a modern, progressive manufacturing company committed to customer service and employee empowerment.  This level of sophistication is not unique in Indian manufacturing. This level of energy is also not unique.

Throughout India, in addition to the many palaces, forts, and monuments such as the Taj Mahal, you can feel an incredible energy. You see the little stores packed on top of each other in the crowded cities and in the smallest towns. A whole nation of entrepreneurs at work, with few breaks or downtime.  The roads are packed with trucks, cars, scooters, camel carts, bicycles, pedestrians, and the occasional cow or monkey. You’ll see a hand operated water pump next to a bank of solar cells. Universities advertise their degree programs on billboards along the highways. While you can’t escape the broad contrasts of luxury hotels located next to people living in the streets, there is a surging economy gradually making life better for many in this country of over 1 billion people. There are challenges of bureaucracy and corruption working against growth, but not enough to stop it. With a well educated work force, a familiarity with western business practices, and the rule of law prevailing, this seems like a country well positioned to be a focal point for expanding global businesses. I saw a huge difference in the country since my last visit of twenty years ago. I left feeling that even greater changes are at work and India is poised to be a major player in the global economy.

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