Wednesday was my first day in the office last week, as the first two allowed for a dynamic range of visits that ran the gamut from medical equipment firms to a private label chocolate processor. No offense to the good people at the surgical device companies, but the tempting smells and allure of the subject matter (along with a couple of sweet samples that were so graciously provided) made the chocolate company portion of the trip a definite highlight of this sabbatical from the office environment.
Yesterday marked 20 years since IBM researcher Don Eigler became the first person to move an individual atom , using the tip of his custom-built scanning tunneling microscope. Needing to show that he could do it with a high level of precision, Eigler later arranged 35 xenon atoms in the shape of his company’s logo.
Perhaps it’s because it’s one of the most visible brands out there, but Starbucks has been all up in my face in this recession. I remember vividly when I knew this whole economic collapse was real… and it was literally the day last summer I read in the paper that Starbucks—one of the most ubiquitous and iconic brands of my generation—was going to close the doors on several hundred stores.
Last week I had the pleasure to join some of my PD&D comrades at the Design & Manufacturing show in Rosemont, IL. I had the chance to see what’s new in the industry, scout out potential column ideas for PD&D , and work on my pitching skills to help promote our publication. I learned a lot about the industry and the ins and outs of the business, but I was quite disappointed on how the experience ended.
While it’s not the first time a trip to Starbucks has helped propel my work, it usually has more to do with the caffeine kick than any topical inspiration. However, a visit last week offered some insight on both the innovation and challenges that lie ahead for the processing industry.
“Americans had a champagne taste while on a beer budget.” It wasn’t a particularly life-shattering statement, but as a fan of idioms I was immediately drawn to attention. With it, Alex Davern, National Instruments’ (NI) CFO and senior vice president of manufacturing and IT operations, had succinctly summed up our nation’s propensity to overspend.
Visually, the new Hilltop Brewery owned by the New Glarus Brewing Company is stunning. Nestled on a hilltop just past the town of New Glarus, Wisconsin, a cluster of colorful buildings with jagged rooftops rise up from beautifully landscaped gardens. Things get even better inside.
Do you know the name Norman Borlaug? Me neither, but I think it’s worth a minute of your time to learn a little more about an individual who might have been one of the single greatest human beings to ever walk this planet. His life and the way he approached his passion also offers a blueprint from which we can model our pursuits, and the framework we put around them.
I’m by no means a trade show amateur. In fact, I’ve walked so many expo halls over the course of my career in trade media I probably have permanent shin splints—the result of several marathons of dress shoes on concrete. As I approached the task of packing for Design & Manufacturing Midwest this week, my primary area of focus was on how best to maintain my overall comfort throughout these long days.
In manufacturing, the people losing their jobs are mostly skilled workers, some of whom are highly skilled. Their worry is whether they can find a comparable job that approximates their current income and benefits in the event of a lay-off. The big question is: Are the retraining programs sponsored by state and federal governments going to provide comparable jobs, or are they focused on finding any type of job that is available? An Attempt There are four different government programs that offer training and re-training: The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) : The Workforce Investment Act is the program with the biggest budget for training (approximately $7 billion per year), and was passed in 1998.
September 18, 2009 “Hey, Old Man River, zip it or I’ll break your hip.” – Sonny Koufax, Big Daddy I realize that I lead a fairly unorthodox twentysomething life, but I never thought that I’d find myself in a heated debate with a fellow bar patron over how Serena Williams’ latest outburst translated to justified dedication in the workplace.
September 14, 2009 Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed in the article I recently read on GM’s 1 million milestone in the company’s fuel cell test fleet vehicle experiment. While this is an impressive feat, I didn’t find the facts as uplifting as I’d hoped.
Bonjour! This week’s column comes from about 30,000 feet above Quebec, on my way home after three glorious days in Montreal for the Labor Day weekend. Perfect weather, two days of great music on the city’s waterfront and some interesting food (beef tartare — basically a raw hamburger patty but surprisingly good) was exactly what the doctor ordered, and I’m returning to Chem.
Every change in the marketplace, every upheaval in the economy, every shift in technology, and every change in consumer attitudes and outlook creates opportunities for successful new products. Since these changes are amplified during tough times, new product opportunities are actually more numerous during economic turbulence.
Fieldale Farms Corp. is not just a major supplier of poultry to the nation’s leading foodservice and restaurant chains. It is the tenth largest privately owned company in the world. This company sells hundreds of millions of dollars of its product every year across the US and to over 50 countries.
by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO But if we truly do see innovation as the way forward, then we can’t be trapped under the weight of our fears. Sure, the burden of proof is on the policy, but where will we get if we don’t ever have the courage to get something off the ground?--> As editors in the manufacturing realm, we hear a lot of complaints from readers about government policy.
Diagnostic Devices, Inc. (DDI), a maker of blood glucose monitoring systems, recently moved operations from China back to the U.S. and still managed to cut operating costs by roughly 40 percent. How did they do it? Can American manufacturers be competitive with China? Pete Bosak, director of public relations at DDI, sat down with Manufacturing.
“Now I know my pet carrier didn’t just grow legs and walk out of the office itself. I understand if you mistook it for your own, but if the culprit would stop by my desk to drop it off this afternoon, Crash and Burn would certainly appreciate it. For the record, Crash and Burn are kittens.
After dinner on Friday night I found that our cable TV had been disconnected. When I called my cable provider to report the problem, I was told that they would send someone out on Sunday afternoon — would I prefer they came between 1 and 5 p.m. or between 3 and 5 p.
One of the more interesting green developments in recent months has been Wal-Mart’s decision to initiate greater sustainability standards in the products they’ll purchase and re-sell. I’ll abstain from sharing the inter-office banter that has pitted my colleagues against me regarding this topic, but instead offer some thoughts on the interesting precedent this could set for processors.