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CAVS Extension Impacting Mississippi and Manufacturing

Mississippi State University’s CAVS Extension has a passion for Mississippi and for manufacturing. The purpose of this blog is to introduce our engineering outreach center, located in Canton, Miss. In the last 12 years, our center has worked successfully with more than 150 companies around the state. Our programs, while focused on the needs of the automotive industry, are leveraged in order to assist a broad range of industries. We have a successful track record assisting companies in shipbuilding, aerospace, healthcare, and many other industries.

The actual work of CAVS Extension is, perhaps, best described in the words of our clients.

Launching New Products and Plant: “The goals of the CAVS Extension team have blended with the goals of our business and have been a perfect example of a successful public-private venture.”
Plant Manager, major defense contractor of armored vehicles.

Developing New Training Programs: “The training initiative was well received by our company and its suppliers and has improved the problem solving skills throughout Mississippi’s automotive industry.”
Senior Manager Training, major automotive assembly plant.

Leading a Lean Transformation: “We often struggle as to how to best channel our ideas and efforts towards product and customer satisfaction. MSU’s CAVS Extension has helped us establish ‘True North’ in this endeavor. We are truly in a race without a finish line, but through partnerships like this, we will be able to run well.”
Vice President of Engineering, furniture manufacturer.

Assisting in a Plant Turnaround: “I really appreciate our teams working together on a very ambitious goal. We were facing very high customer releases and without our joint improvements we would have had to add either more equipment or extra shifts.”
Plant Manager, automotive supplier.    

Developing a New Product: “CAVS provides unique, world class resources that effectively brings to fruition projects that we would not have in house resources to accomplish. CAVS engineers, equipment and facility are a rare combination of research and hands-on skills directed at solving and creating innovative solutions.”
Senior Vice President of Operations, locally-owned armored truck plant.

These quotes illustrate the type and quality of the services we provide to our clients. Most of our work revolves around executing technical assistance projects and teaching professional development workshops.

According to a recent study from the Boston Consulting Group[1], industry is experiencing a “fourth wave” of technological advancement (e.g., additive manufacturing, digital modeling, and intelligent automation). Leveraging these types of technologies, while navigating risks, are major challenges for Mississippi’s workforce and workplaces. In this technology rich and rapidly changing environment, CAVS Extension works to assist Mississippi’s advanced manufacturers.

Our primary mission is to assist the state’s professional workforce (i.e., engineers and other technical professionals). In the midst of technological changes, these are the people who face the daunting task of designing, shaping, and managing a competitive workplace. Our approach is to develop synergies between project work in the field and workshop training in the classroom. To accomplish this, our field projects include aspects of training, and our training activities include aspects of project implementation.

  • Technology Assistance  These are projects where the emphasis is on directly applying best practices and technologies through on-site engagement. These projects are led by an experienced staff working in partnership with industry’s professional workforce. The goal is to rapidly obtain business value through time limited project engagements (i.e., focused on elevating the workplace). Examples include plant layout implementation, new product development and launch, quality improvement, and lean manufacturing transformation.
  • Professional Development  These are training activities where the primary focus is to teach best practices to the professional workforce. This includes teaching participants using course material, which is designed to help them enhance their value. These new skills are demonstrated with follow-on implementation projects. These programs are designed to increase the professional’s ability to create an increasingly competitive workplace. Examples of workshops include Lean Certification, Six Sigma, Simulation, Innovation, Problem Solving, and Maintainability.

The effectiveness of CAVS Extension programs is measured by our client’s feedback from a third party survey. Over the last several years, we have worked with more than 150 different manufacturers around the state. Our clients range from major corporations like Nissan, Toyota, Navistar, Lockheed Martin, Huntington Ingalls and Franklin Furniture, to locally owned enterprises such as Griffin, Hol-Mac, CITE Armored, Systems Electro Coating and Quality Manufacturing, to name a few. The effects of our work yield tangible results.

  • $5.4 billion in increased sales
  • $200 million in investments
  • $28 million in cost savings
  • 2,300 new jobs created

While we are proud of our track record, we are more excited for what it means for Mississippi and for manufacturing. We eagerly anticipate strengthening relationships with existing clients and engaging with new industry considering locating and expanding in Mississippi.

[1] https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/engineered_products_project_business_industry_40_future_productivity_growth_manufacturing_industries/

 



Dr. Clay Walden
Dr. Clay Walden serves as the Director and Research Professor of CAVS Extension in Canton, MS. He has over 20 years of experience implementing quality and productivity improvements within a variety companies. A partial list of companies includes Mueller Industries, Nissan, Faurecia, PFG Optics, Dover Elevators, Tower Automotive, Herman Miller, and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems.
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