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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

From A Different Mold

June 1, 2011 7:53 am | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

It was not so long ago that someone with a strong throwing arm—so the expression goes—might hurl a rock from the front lawn of Hansen Plastics Elgin, IL-based facility and hit half a dozen other plastic injection molding companies. But times have been tough and this industry—while still highly competitive, even just domestically—is thinning out in Northern Illinois; fewer, over time, have been able to hang on.

Efficient Operations And Maintenance LEED To Savings

June 1, 2011 7:39 am | by Tom Bauer, Product Manager, The Garland Company, Inc. | Articles | Comments

In January 2008, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) component of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) green buildings rating system. According to the USGBC, the system is aimed at managers and others “who wish to drive down operating costs while increasing the occupants’ productivity in an environmentally responsible manner.

Robotic Trucks To Take Over Army

June 1, 2011 7:07 am | Videos | Comments

Lockheed Martin is hard at work on trucks for the U.S. military that aren’t held back by their human drivers. A number of technologies, such as LADAR — or laser radar — allow the vehicles to see obstacles, and each other, in zero-visibility conditions. Lockheed’s solution is the best of both worlds as well, allowing soldiers to take over the wheel when needed, while remaining a passenger the rest of the time.

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Patriotism Pays Off

June 1, 2011 6:55 am | Videos | Comments

Matthew Quinn, the owner of Quinn Flags, says that his American flag business has been booming since Osama bin Laden's death. In an industry that has been saturated with competitors since 9/11, Quinn says that the latest development has been exactly what the business needed to stay ahead of the game, with sales increasing upwards of 50 percent.

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Are U.S. CEOs Worth Their Salaries?

June 1, 2011 6:51 am | Videos | Comments

With more regulation — particularly in the financial industry — affecting the salaries of top-level executives, many are left wondering if talent is fleeing the country for “greener” pastures. At the same time, many Americans are wondering: Are CEOs overpaid? CNN Money sat down with Heidrick & Struggles CEO Kevin Kelly to discuss the issue.

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Juice Producer Achieves Compliance

June 1, 2011 6:50 am | Articles | Comments

Eckes-Granini Group GmbH is an independent privately-held German company known for its brand of fruit juices, which are available in 70 countries worldwide. It is headquartered in Nieder-Olm, with annual turnover of 827 million Euros. The company mission is to bring the best fruit for a healthy and enjoyable life.

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Shoe Tying Best Practices

June 1, 2011 6:33 am | Videos | Comments

Terry Moore found that he had been tying his shoes the wrong way his whole life, so he got on stage at a TED conference to demonstrate a better way. Because IMPO ’s readers are so in-tune with best practices principles, why not implement his discovery in your own life? If you’re having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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Pang Da Shovels Over More Cash To Keep Saab Alive

June 1, 2011 4:58 am | by Louise Nordstrom, Associated Press | News | Comments

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Chinese investor Pang Da has placed a $22 million (€15 million) cash order for 630 cars from Spyker NV's ailing unit Saab, the Swedish car maker said Wednesday. The new order comes after an earlier one for 1,300 vehicles as part of last month's pact under which Pang Da agreed to buy a 24 percent stake in the Dutch company for €65 million.

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China's Manufacturing Slips Amid Power Shortages

June 1, 2011 4:55 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

SHANGHAI (AP) — China's manufacturers suffered sluggish growth in orders in May as widespread power shortages and inflation-fighting curbs on credit dampened demand, surveys showed Wednesday. The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its purchasing managers index fell to 52 from 52.

Japan Trying To Make Business "Super Cool"

June 1, 2011 4:44 am | by Tomoko A. Hosaka, Associated Press | News | Comments

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese government wants the country's suit-loving salarymen to be bold this summer. Ditch the stuffy jacket and tie. And for the good of a country facing a power crunch, go light and casual. Japan's "Super Cool Biz" campaign kicked off Wednesday with a government-sponsored fashion show featuring outfits appropriate for the office yet cool enough to endure the sweltering heat.

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Burned Worker Dies After Combustible Dust Fire

June 1, 2011 4:34 am | News | Comments

GALLATIN, Tenn. (AP) — An employee injured in a fire at a Gallatin chemical plant last week has died. Eric Hulsey is the third employee killed in accidents at the Hoeganaes (HAY'-gan-eez) Corp. plant this year. A spokeswoman for Vanderbilt University Medical Center told The Tennessean that Hulsey died on Tuesday evening.

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ISM: U.S. Manufacturing Still Growing, Albeit Slower

June 1, 2011 4:31 am | by Daniel Wagner, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing activity expanded in May at the slowest pace in 20 months, the latest sign that a sharp rise in energy prices is hampering economic growth. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, said Wednesday that its index of manufacturing activity fell to 53.

Toyota Recalls 106,000 Prius Hybrids For Faulty Steering

June 1, 2011 4:28 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota recalled 106,000 first-generation Prius hybrid cars globally on Wednesday for faulty steering caused by a nut that may come loose. The single minor accident suspected of being related to the problem was reported in the U.S., according to Toyota Motor Corp. The latest recall from Toyota, which has taken hit to its reputation from massive recalls worldwide, affects 48,000 Prius vehicles in Japan, starting with the first Prius models that went on sale in 1997, and those manufactured through 2003.

Epic Fails In MRO Master Data Management

May 31, 2011 12:00 pm | by Zynapse, a Zycus Division | Articles | Comments

From a spend and demand management perspective, every company’s objective should be to consume the bare minimum of MRO items needed to support acceptable levels of maintenance and competitive operations. But any time there is a disconnection between a buy transaction and a consumption transaction—for example, when MRO items are placed into stockrooms that don’t track consumption to individual cost centers or individuals directly—the potential emerges for invisible inventory, excessive consumption, and even theft.

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Q&A: What, If Anything, We Will Learn From Japan

May 31, 2011 11:41 am | Articles | Comments

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan this spring has led to many supply chain disruptions around the globe, ranging from lack of raw materials to damaged facilities and missing personnel. Jeff Karrenbauer, President and Co-Founder, INSIGHT, Inc., a provider of supply chain planning solutions for the world’s foremost companies, recently spoke about the long-term supply chain effects of the Japan disaster and what industrial companies can do about them.

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Industrial Marketing Is Not Consumer Marketing

May 31, 2011 11:23 am | Articles | Comments

Of all the strategies that American manufacturers could use today to grow their businesses, industrial marketing is perhaps the most important, yet least understood strategy. One of the reasons industrial marketing is not very well understood is that it is not taught in most universities.

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Don't Confuse How You Deploy ERP With How You Pay For It

May 31, 2011 10:36 am | Articles | Comments

Let’s first talk about how you pay for ERP, or any enterprise level software for that matter. Enterprise application software is typically not bought and sold; it is instead licensed for use. It may be licensed to be used by a company, on a particular computer, or by other criteria, such as number of users.

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Court Changes Patent System In Deep Fryer Ruling

May 31, 2011 9:32 am | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has upheld a $5 million judgment to the maker of a patented deep fryer, but in a ruling that makes it harder to claim patent infringement. The justices voted 8-1 Tuesday in favor of France-based SEB, S.A., on claims that a Hong Kong company copied features of its innovative home fryer in which the outside stays cool to the touch.

Toyota: Production Will Be At 90 Percent In June

May 31, 2011 9:21 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota production in Japan will recover to 90 percent of pre-disaster levels in June, faster than the world's biggest automaker had projected and highlighting its power to bounce back from the supply disruptions caused by the March earthquake and tsunami. The disasters in northeastern Japan had damaged the plants of key parts suppliers, disrupting production at all Japanese automakers.

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Analyst: High Natural Gas Prices Can't Last

May 31, 2011 9:17 am | News | Comments

BOSTON (AP) — A recent rise in natural gas prices is unlikely to last, as U.S. nuclear capacity returns in coming weeks and gas demand consequently eases, a Raymond James analyst said on Tuesday. The analyst, J. Marshall Adkins, wrote in a research note that a surge in springtime nuclear plant refueling and maintenance "may be giving the natural gas market a temporary 'sugar high.

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