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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

On Disclosing ‘Conflict Minerals’

November 26, 2012 8:09 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor,

French thinks “there’s going to be a lot of information technology costs associated with this,” in terms of leveraging big data and supply chain software to help better understand the sourcing picture. He also thinks that as more major manufacturers try to move toward conflict-free minerals, prices of those mined ethically could rise, leading to higher inbound costs for all companies.


Kickstart Your Heart

November 21, 2012 8:06 am | by David Mantey, Executive Editor, Product Design & Development

It’s time to embrace the power of and like-minded sites that offer a crowdsourcing funding platform for new products attempting to enter the market. While the site is used to fund everything from films and music to new technology, Kickstarter has become a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the world of engineering start-ups.


Achieve Excellence And Make Better Decisions In 2013

November 20, 2012 8:07 am | by Mark Humphlett, Director, Infor

By automating and streamlining processes from department to department or person to person, you create a holistic, integrated decision-making environment, where you can make proactive operational decisions at every level of your business. 


America, The Blend Hub

November 20, 2012 8:06 am | by Mike Rainone, Co-founder, PCDworks

I’m beginning to think that a key to more American jobs could be a closer connection between European and American businesses — if we can only understand what it is that makes our nation an attractive place to do business. To get a little context, let me share my recent experiences, and examine the lessons that might be learned from them.


Creativity And The Organization

November 9, 2012 4:09 pm | by Mike Collins, Author, Saving American Manufacturing

I believe that creativity can’t happen without changing from a rigid organization that depends on control, rules, and a formal structure to a flexible and less formalized organization where employees are encouraged to take risks, experiment, and question the status quo without reprisal.


Choose Your Weapons!

November 9, 2012 8:08 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions

The right improvement methodology for you is the one that will defeat your greatest enemy. Most of us can name at least a generous handful of different improvement methodologies that have stayed for a while or come and gone quickly.  With so much of a fad phenomenon in the improvement methodology track record, how do we choose one to adopt for our own needs?


Business On The Move, And Across The Globe

November 7, 2012 5:19 pm | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO

For many of us, mobility is not some massive undertaking, full of risk and implementation time, rather an opportunity to fire off a few time-sensitive emails from the airport or view the inventory levels in our warehouse when a customer asks us about delivery timelines. It's about visibility, efficiency, and actionable business transactions — and it's time we shine our light on the benefits rather than just the expenses.


A New U.S. War: Restoring Our Competitiveness

November 7, 2012 7:08 am | by Gordon Zuckerman

If the United States economy is to restore itself to earlier levels of full employment, prosperity and financial soundness, the American manufacturing community must engage in a national effort to resurrect its global competitiveness. Today, we are threatened by a new brand of economic imperialism, and the restoration of the competitiveness of the American manufacturer is a new kind of war we need to win.


Midwest Manufacturing: Turning Around the 2012 Decline

November 2, 2012 8:15 am | by Tom Bonine, President, National Metal Fabricators

Today’s trend of Midwest manufacturing declining is due to a triple hit: a Chinese ordering slowdown, a languishing European economy, and the domestic U.S. fiscal direction being up in the air with the presidential election. As a result, it’s no surprise that the ability to sell and grow the movement of manufactured goods is suffering, especially on international markets.


U.S. Manufacturing Needs A Brand Makeover

October 31, 2012 8:07 am | by Eileen Markowitz, Thomas Industrial Network

Great things are possible when bright, ambitious young people have the opportunity to apply skills and knowledge to real-world applications, and contribute meaningfully to the growth of a company, a sector — and ultimately the economic vitality of our nation. To engage this new generation, we must restore — and elevate — the U.S. manufacturing brand.


A Better Framework For Evaluating S&OP Processes

October 30, 2012 8:47 am | by Richard Howells, Senior Director of Solution Marketing, SAP

The dream of every manufacturer is an operations planning process that has high forecast accuracy, is very responsive to changes in demand, results in well-balanced supply and demand, and maximizes revenue. A plan created by such a process ensures that the organization is able to meet customer order metrics at the lowest delivery cost.


Do Androids Dream Of Handwriting Recognition?

October 23, 2012 11:28 am | by Katia Shabanova, Paragon Software Group

Engineers and programmers have been trying for decades to teach computers and other electronics to recognize handwritten text. Only in the last few years have the world’s largest software companies made significant progress teaching smartphones and tablets to adequately recognize handwriting and translate it into typed text on the screen.


Cloud Does Not Automatically Guarantee Project Success

October 19, 2012 8:02 am | by Dylan Persaud, Managing Director, Eval-Source

Just because you have chosen to go with a cloud solution or a SaaS application doesn’t mean you will have guaranteed project success. The risk of IT failure still exists. As a result, organizations must realize that cloud does not mitigate improper project management procedure.


A Manufacturing History Lesson

October 15, 2012 8:38 am | by Jonnatha Mayberry, Associate Editor, Chem.Info

Recently, a metal worker made headline news, but not because of the quality of her craft or the dedication she showed on the job — she made headlines because she’s, well, a she. The skeletal remains of a female metal worker have been found in a grave in Vienna dating dating back to the Bronze Age (which began more than 5,000 years ago). Previously, it was assumed that only men worked in such fields during the Bronze Age.


Same Skills, Different Problems

October 10, 2012 8:21 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions

Sometimes, when we decide to engage in process improvement or business improvement endeavors, we feel like we need to hire or contract people with special skills. The truth is, we probably have the right skills already inside of our businesses.


Will The Right Brain Rule The Future?

October 9, 2012 4:08 pm | by Mike Collins, Author, Saving American Manufacturing

For many decades we have been in an information age dominated by engineers, computer scientists, programmers, and other left brain thinkers. In Daniel Pink’s book A Whole New Mind, he makes the case that we are in transition from an information age to a conceptual age, and from L-directed thinking to R-directed thinking.


A New World Record

October 8, 2012 12:12 pm | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO

We wore pedometers and tried to make the walking into a game, but after three days and 35,000 steps (over 17 miles!), it was a little less fun to see those digits tick as I trekked across Chicago’s McCormick Place for September’s IMTS (International Manufacturing Technology Show) 2012. I don’t care if they don’t go with my dress clothes: next time, I’m wearing my hot pink Nike running shoes. Luckily, the IMTS show was worth it.


How To Lose Your Job To A Robot

October 5, 2012 8:49 am | by Chris Fox, Associate Editor, PD&D

A recently posted video entitled Are Droids Taking Our Jobs? explores the job market and how the recession is affecting workers, as well as robot welfare. As our society progresses, robotics and algorithms are becoming more advanced. This has been apparent for quite some time. So, are droids really taking our jobs?


Augmented Reality… Too Much Technology?

October 3, 2012 8:17 am | by Chris Fox, Associate Editor, PD&D

 Is this next bit of technology worth exploiting in engineering? There are certainly applications to visualize a specific part within its associated surroundings or to simulate placing a part, making sure everything fits. There are certainly applications, but how practical, useful, or needed it is will remain to be seen. 


What Black Belt Training Doesn't Teach

September 26, 2012 8:11 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions

Regardless of the process improvement, business improvement, or innovation methodology training, almost all of them focus on teaching us tools and methods. They don’t teach us how to lead the implementation. Here is a short list of the things we change leaders need to do to succeed.



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