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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Accelerating Operational Excellence: Q&A With LNS’s Mark Davidson

January 15, 2014 9:30 am | by Greg Goodwin, Research Associate, LNS Research

When you consider some of the challenges that manufacturers face across industries today — they’re unprecedented. The pressures of global supply and demand dynamics, supply chain complexities, disparate production locations and systems, regulations, and other factors have forced manufacturers to reevaluate operations and optimize them everywhere possible in order to remain competitive and profitable.

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Harnessing Big Data With A Systems Thinking Approach

January 15, 2014 9:23 am | by Tom Kadala, Founder and CEO of Alternative Technology Corporation

With 90 percent of the world’s data created in the last two years, what can we expect our data vaults to hold two or even twenty years from now? Companies who are hiring data scientists with the hopes of harnessing big data and data analytics' mythical promises are potentially making a huge mistake.

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Q&A: element14 And Big Distributor Trends For 2014

January 14, 2014 9:37 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

In an electronics market that has seen relatively flat performance over the last several years, there continue to be a number of areas where distributors can differentiate and find growth. One of the ongoing challenges within the market is the rapidity of demand swings, increasing frequency of orders and diminishing average order sizes.

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Power Quality Problems Plague Manufacturing’s Push For Productivity

January 14, 2014 9:26 am | by Ben Grimes, Chief Technology Officer, Innovolt

Power is the lifeblood of manufacturing. However, the integration of sensitive electronics into most logic assemblies has made the circuitry (and therefore productivity) of the equipment that drives industrial automation much more susceptible to power quality fluctuations.

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The Evolution Of Private Equity & Why Supply Chains Take Center Stage

January 13, 2014 9:22 am | by Jim Tompkins, CEO of Tompkins International

The private equity game was once focused on buying and selling a company as quickly as possible. But the industry has evolved to focus more on engineering companies’ supply chains to build profit and value.             

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Ammunition Manufacturer Goes Lean

January 13, 2014 9:13 am | by Tia Nowack, Associate Editor, IMPO

Metalform manufactures American-made magazines for the 1911 pistol to brands like Colt, Smith & Wesson, and Kimber. Over the past few years the company has experienced amazing expansion, with forty percent growth in their business.     

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Best Logistics Advice For 2014: Dump Tribal Knowledge

January 10, 2014 9:27 am | by Tim Garcia, Apptricity Founder and CEO

Here's some food for thought when it comes to evaluating and improving logistics in your enterprise: Whatever else you do in 2014, make it a priority to dump the tribal knowledge you might be using to make mission-critical decisions. Instead, substitute the facts. 

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Is Chrysler An ‘American’ Automaker Any More?

January 10, 2014 8:53 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

Chrysler has technically been “foreign-owned” since July 2011, but the recent deal makes it all the more real: Chrysler might be an American-headquartered company, but it’s also a fully-owned subsidiary of an Italian company. That’s an important distinction, one that means Chrysler simply isn’t in the same playing field as Ford and GM, no matter each of their origins.

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Top 10 Biofuels & Biobased Predictions For 2014

January 8, 2014 8:57 am | by Biofuels Digest

As 2014 gets underway, The Biofuels Digest resists the first-of-year temptation to look back over the challenges and highlights of the year gone by, and instead lists the 10 Top Biofuels Predictions for 2014.            

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Shutting The Door On Shodan

January 8, 2014 8:36 am | by Alan Grau, Icon Labs

It is easy to look at Shodan as the problem — it provides easy access to the devices connected to the Internet. In reality, however, Shodan simply highlights the security vulnerabilities of many of the devices that comprise the Internet of Things (IoT). The real problem is not that Shodan finds insecure devices, but that so many devices lack real security.

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What Aren’t Manufacturers And Customers Telling Each Other?

January 7, 2014 9:20 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manfuacturing.net

A few months back, UL released its Product Mindset survey, which takes a dramatically different look at the relationship between manufacturers and consumers. Many manufacturers are aware that they need to continuously develop, produce, and sell products that consumers want, but there seems to be a large disconnect between what manufacturers perceive as consumer demand, and what the case actually is.

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Domestic Minerals Production Could Boost Manufacturing

January 7, 2014 9:14 am | by Hal Quinn, CEO, National Mining Association (NMA)

After decades of outsourcing, the resurgence in domestic manufacturing is now America’s favorite comeback story. But one troubling trend could signal a major complication for returning manufacturers: our nation’s increasing reliance on unstable supply chains of imported minerals.

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Finding And Keeping A Next-Gen Workforce

January 6, 2014 9:06 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manfuacturing.net

Everyone in the manufacturing space has heard about the dramatic talent gap in the industry, where companies cannot find employees with the skills necessary to help run a high-tech operation. Knowledge in automation equipment, or with CNC machines, can be a rare commodity, with most young people moving toward other industries, and manufacturing-centric education faltering or disappearing elsewhere.

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How Manufacturing Companies Are Accelerating Operational Excellence

January 6, 2014 9:00 am | by LNS Research

Operational Excellence is a continuous improvement journey facilitated by a culture and mindset of optimizing an organization’s people, processes, and supporting technology resources. Depending on current strategy and position, however, every company will have different Operational Excellence goals and objectives.

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Setting the Table For Successful Supply Chain Management

January 3, 2014 9:33 am | by Michael Schmitt, Chief Marketing Officer, E2open

Over the past decade, I’ve watched as globalization, competition and digitalization have forever changed the business landscape. Throw in the fact that current, and potential, customers now have higher expectations, and more buying power, than ever before and you have very little room left for error when it comes to supply chain planning, process management and execution.

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ISM: A Well-Balanced, Solid End To The Year

January 3, 2014 9:26 am | by By Jon Minnick, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in December for the seventh consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 55th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

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Tool Reconditioning Fits Nicely With Lean Manufacturing

January 2, 2014 11:15 am | by Jim Norton, President of Custom Products & Services, Inc.

Refurbishing or reconditioning services are available that, when done properly, can provide extended service life to these tools by as much as 4x.  Typically, the cost to refurbish a tool is about 75% less than the cost of buying new, and in many cases, the refurbished tool will function as good as (or often better than) a new tool.

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CMMI: Is Your Business Mature Enough?

January 2, 2014 9:20 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

Unlike other frameworks or standards, CMMI isn’t a compliance exercise, and doesn’t require adherence to a particular methodology, such as Six Sigma or Lean. It’s methodologically agnostic, which means that rather on focusing on how to do something, it focuses on what needs to be done. 

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Top 10 Worldwide Manufacturing Predictions 2014: No. 9 & 10

December 23, 2013 11:00 am | by Tia Nowack, Associate Editor, IMPO & Jon Minnick, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology

IDC Manufacturing Insights hosted a web conference “IDC Manufacturing Insights Predictions 2014: Worldwide Manufacturing” highlighting the Top 10 predictions for the year ahead.  Today's predictions focus on implications on factories of the future.  

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A ‘Monster’ Look At Manufacturing Jobs

December 23, 2013 9:14 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

Not too long ago, Monster.com, the well-known online job marketplace, conducted a comprehensive survey (see infographic below) on the state of U.S. manufacturing jobs, and came to some compelling, if not worrying, results.        

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