IMEC Important Updates to COVID-19


Follow this link for IMEC’s September Webinars!



Phase 4: Time to Revitalize

Illinois manufacturers have weathered COVID-19 like champions. As we enter the revitalization phase of the Restore Illinois plan, manufacturers can leverage a wide range of resources designed to help you navigate and overcome challenges brought on by the pandemic.

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COVID-19 Tools and Resources
Phase 4 Business Toolkit

NEW! Financial Resources for Illinois Manufacturers and Small Businesses

Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)
The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)  launched the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) by providing $60 million to businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures.

Rebuild Distressed Communities Program
A $25 million economic recovery program to support Illinois businesses that have sustained property damage as a result of civil unrest during protest and demonstrations on or after May 25, 2020.

SBA Disaster Loans & Economic Injury Disaster Loans
The deadline is extended to September 30, 2020 for small businesses to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000, that will not have to be repaid.

Additional Financial Assistance Resources
More information for state, partner, and federal resources for financial assistance is available for qualified businesses.
[Get more financial help]

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Results from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Business Conditions Survey
In late May 2020, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago collaborated with the IMEC and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center to conduct a survey on the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak so far and expectations for coming months.

Key Findings:

  • 75% manufacturers expect the economy to return to pre-pandemic state at the end of 2021
  • 99% made changes to their operations to protect customers and employees from the virus
  • Most saw substantial decline in revenues compared to what they expected at the beginning of 2020

[Full Survey Results]

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At IMEC, we take pride in sharing useful information with our online community, highlighting our clients and other businesses who are creating competitive futures in Illinois, and of course our wonderful team of improvement specialists. A lot of great things happen that we can’t possibly fit into our eNewsletter or on our website, so connect with us on Linkedin to stay updated!

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Webinar series

Upcoming Webinars

Tech Tuesday with Ramco Innovations
September 15 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sensors can provide a mountain of data to help you improve your manufacturing process. This 60-minute webinar will feature Ramco Innovations, a CIRAS technology partner discussing the latest in sensor technology. We explain the capabilities of each type of sensor and share examples of how they’ve been used to improve businesses.

Lean Continuous Improvement
September 17 @ 11:30 pm – 12:15 pm
This webinar is designed to allow organizations to reflect on these four (4) components leading the way to a successful “Lean” continuous improvement journey and to then ask themselves… “What of this are we doing and are we doing it well?”.

The Re-emergence of Venture-Backed Hardtech
September 17 @ 2:30 am3:30 pm
Large corporations and the public sector are joining traditional investors in sourcing the next big tech from within the Midwestern ecosystem. Join this panel to hear why the time is now to invest, and what we can learn from the fault lines exposed by the pandemic as we move into Industry 4.0

Where Do You Start When Your Marketing Foundation Has Cracks?
September 23 @ 11:30 am
12:15 pm
Our 30-minute webinar will walk you through the key aspects of your company’s must-have marketing foundation, including Voice of the Customer, Website Keyword Analysis + Messaging, and LinkedIn Optimization.
Join us to learn how you can identify cracks in your marketing foundation, and where to leverage your efforts for the best ROI.

Conducting a Job Hazard Analysis in a Pandemic
September 23 @ 11:30 am1:00 pm
Normally a job hazard analysis (JHA) is focused on job tasks to identify hazards before they occur. However, during a pandemic, it may not be the task that is creating the hazard, but it could be an infected employee that is the hazard.
We will discuss how to use a JHA during a pandemic and think through the controls to help mitigate the hazards.

Identifying Good Robot Projects
September 29 @ 11:30 am12:30 pm
The webinar will cover best practices on identifying good robot projects both from ROI and application complexity standpoint.

Robots 101: Putting Automation to Work
September 29 @ 11:30 am12:30 pm
Implementing automation for your manufacturing processes is a significant investment of money for equipment and time for planning and programming. Join IMEC and FANUC America for a session that will help you to avoid the pitfalls of selecting the wrong robot for the job, ensuring a smooth transition into the world of manufacturing automation.

Affordable Robots: Lease, Rent, and Reconditioned Options
September 30 @ 10:00 am11:00 pm
In this webinar, you will learn about other options available when it comes to acquiring robotic automation. Renting, leasing, and buying reconditioned robots are all available when you choose the automation integrator, RobotWorx. Since 1992, RobotWorx has been integrating new and reconditioned robotic systems for a wide spectrum of applications in manufacturing.

ICMYI: Download Past Webinars

Recordings of all past webinars and resources are available on demand. Visit the IMEC Coronavirus: News & Updates Page to download and listen. Webinars are available in the topic areas of:

  • Operations
  • Workforce
  • Financial Management
  • Customer Engagement
  • Strategic Planning
  • Technology

Insights from IMEC Experts

How to Upskill Workers When You Cannot be Face-to-Face

We all know how much has changed, and the future is still unknown. What we do know is that virtual learning, once an experimental option for high tech offices, has become a new reality.

[Read more]

Common Themes from Employee Engagement Pulse Surveys to Guide Leaders as Employees Return to Work

As companies transition back to normalcy, it is important for leaders to gain insight from employees to make sure the workplace and company culture return to a place of stability as quickly as possible.

[Read more]

Leaders: It is Time to Walk the Line –  Listening and Responding to your Customers and Employees

Seemingly, it is OK to explain away poor service and quality “because of COVID”. Understandably, our companies are challenged to perform. As leaders, we have likely taken our eye off the basics while dealing with the onslaught of uncertainty.

[Read more]

Lean Innovation: What Manufacturers Can Learn From the Tech Sector’s Appropriation of Lean Thinking

The basic idea is this: People who innovate have fantastic ideas, but it’s lean thinking that can turn them into realities.

[Read more]

10 Points of Concern During a Recession

While it’s impossible to pinpoint the timing of an economic pullback or recession, it is possible to take steps to help protect your business during such an event, as well as create ongoing resilience and prepare for the upswing!

[Read more]

How to Implement Standard Work in a COVID-19 Environment

In the world of Lean Manufacturing, this definition and adherence to Standard Work has resulted in positive, repeatable results in a variety of industries.

[Read more]

HVAC Best Practices Post COVID-19

The ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) formed a task force to provide guidelines on how a building’s HVAC systems can help slow the spread.

[Read more]

Cover Smart. Do Your Part. Slow the Spread

If you could do one thing to prevent someone from contracting COVID-19, would you? If you could do one thing to help put the economy back on the path to recovery, would you? 

[Read more]

Restarting Your Facility

It is important to remember that while employees are returning to work, facilities’ support equipment itself also needs to be brought back to work in a safe and thoughtful manner.

[Read more]

Strengthening your Quality System Post COVID-19

One area that can easily get overlooked as we move through this uncertain time is your Quality Management Systems (QMS).

[Read more]

COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines in 14 Languages

Our friends at Argo Translation created an infographic that demonstrates the CDC general guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in 14 languages.

[Read more]

The Value Adding Associate

Companies where the culture does not fully respect the human potential, especially of those at the frontline are not ready for any meaningful, sustained journey to excellence. 

[Read more]

Is it Really Still Business as Usual?

Although we are still not out of the woods yet, now may be a good time to think about revising your strategic plan to account for the recent disruption.

[Read more]

7 Manufacturing Digitization Challenges — and How to Overcome Them

AI-powered robots, 3D printing, IoT…there’s a whole world of advanced manufacturing technology and innovation just waiting for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) who want to step up their digital game.

[Read more]

The New Supply Chain: Spring Training 

Part 6 of The New Supply Chain Blog SeriesWe are starting to see some signs of the economy opening up and supply chains getting some “swings in the cage” before the full season begins

[Read more]


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