OpExChange Focus & Structure

What is the purpose of the organization?
  • To provide a peer-to-peer learning structure for like-minded manufacturers to collaborate on issues and solutions.
  • To share real world experiences between each other – what works, what doesn’t, how to adapt.
  • To accelerate the pace of learning and application.
  • To accelerate the adoption of new technologies, tool and techniques that are proven to foster success.
  • To improve organizational leadership at all levels of the organization.
  • To help manufacturers remain globally competitive.
How is OpExChange structured?
  • Regional chapters including:
    • The Central Savannah River Area Chapter (CSRA) – greater Aiken area
    • The Midlands Chapter – greater Columbia area
    • The Pee Dee/Lowcountry Chapter (PDLC) – greater Florence and Charleston areas
  • The Upstate Chapter with 3 regions:
    • Greater Greenville area
    • Greater Spartanburg and Gaffney area
    • NW corner down to I-20
    • The Metrolina Chapter – greater Rock Hill area
  • Central state board governance
  • All events are open to all members in every chapter except where the host decides to exclude direct competitors.
How is OpExChange affiliated with SCMEP?
  • OpExChange receives financial and operational support from SCMEP as another way to help support SC manufacturers.
  • Membership is not required in order to do business with SCMEP or to receive services from SCMEP. SCMEP is not a membership-based organization.
  • OpExChange offers another way for SCMEP clients to gain value from their association with SCMEP.

OpExChange Membership

Why should my company join?
  • Peer-to-peer learning opportunities that simply do not exist anywhere else
  • Free input from like minded manufacturing professionals on what you are doing well and where you could improve – and how to improve
  • Opportunities to benchmark against other manufacturers
  • Faster organizational learning
  • Faster adoption of new technologies
  • Improved organizational leadership at all levels of the organization
  • Intelligent leaders learn from the experiences of others. This is the premier organization in SC that offers that opportunity.
What kind of membership is it?
  • Membership is plant-based, not individual-based. All plant employees are invited to attend and participate.
  • Members may attend events at any regional chapter.
  • For companies with multiple plants, a separate membership is required for each site.
What does membership cost?
  • Membership is $800 per year per plant.
What is expected of members?
  • Attend events as often as possible
  • Ensure employees are aware of the event schedule
  • Contribute experiences by participating in answering benchmarking requests from other members – be willing to share what you know
  • If you reserve a slot at an event or class for an employee, be sure they attend. Frequently we have limited space and have to limit the number of attendees. Please respect your fellow members and use the slots you reserve.
Who should attend events?
  • Company employees who have an interest in the topics being showcased. There is a wide variety of topics spanning Lean Manufacturing, Industry 4.0, organizational leadership, safety, HR, environmental issues, etc.
What if my competitor is also a member?
  • You may opt to exclude specific companies from attending your hosted event.
  • You may opt to have attendees sign your NDA in order to visit your plant. We are all professionals and recognize the need for confidentiality.

Attending Events

How often are events held?
  • Events are scheduled every month. Our goal is to host an event in each chapter for 8 months each year. Member support is critical to meeting this goal.
Do you offer classes, too?
  • We offer classes on several topics multiple times each year in various locations around the state
  • Classes are free for 2 people from each member plant, space permitting.
What is the format of a typical event?
  • Our most common event runs from 1-3:30PM and includes:
    • A brief presentation on the topic from the host
    • A tour of the manufacturing floor
    • Feedback from attendees to the host – plus/delta
    • Quick review of OpExChange business
  • We also conduct formal scored Lean assessments
    • These are half-day events, usually in the middle of the day
    • An hour of training
    • An hour on the plant floor in the area to be assessed
    • An hour to eat lunch while scoring the assessment
    • 30-45 minutes report out to plant management on the assessment
  • We have an annual event with a noted speaker
    • Typically noon til 3PM
    • Includes lunch
    • Past speakers include the author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean, the author of How To Do A Gemba Walk, various state leaders speaking on issues relevant to manufacturers

Hosting an Event

Why should we host an event?
  • Hosting an event is the primary benefit to membership whereby your team will accelerate learning and adoption.
  • Hosting is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of all your team members.
  • Hosting is an unparalleled opportunity to get clear-eyed feedback on your improvement efforts from like-minded professionals – for free.
  • Your first hosted event serves as a performance benchmark for future improvements.
  • The information you provide during your hosted event will serve to also help many other companies.
  • Hosting an event is an excellent way to further solidify the capabilities of your own team, especially for new hires.
What is the host company expected to do?
  • Provide a brief overview of the company
  • Present background information on the topic being discussed (we help you plan this)
  • Provide a tour of the plant
    • Refreshments are always appreciated but not required
What results should the host company expect?
  • Expect to receive actionable recommendations for improving execution on the topic being discussed.
  • Expect to receive validation for a lot of the work you have already done.
  • Your hourly associates will get a chance to show others the improvements they have helped implement – great reward and validation.
  • If you decide to have a scored assessment conducted as your event, you will receive a baseline for your current performance along with a roadmap for improving that performance. Having this assessment conducted annually is a great way to track your improvement progress.
What is the time commitment for hosting an event?
  • As noted above, some events are less than 3 hours and others can be longer.
  • Your prep time should be minimal. We all work in manufacturing. There is no need to ‘polish the apple’. Allowing us to see your real operating condition allows us to give you valid useful recommendations and positive feedback based on what you consistently do. So, there is no need to scrub the plant prior to an event.
How often are members expected to host an event?
  • The first event should be held after the first year of membership. This gives you time to attend other events so you can see what we normally do.
  • In order to offer frequent events in your area, members need to host every 12-24 months, depending on the number of members in your chapter.
  • The Coordinator will work with you to identify potential topics to cover and to help structure an event that provides a high level of value to you.