The city of Detroit's bankruptcy is an American tragedy and an entirely preventable one. The downward spiral began decades ago when deindustrialization led to depopulation, crime and declining public revenues. Corruption and mismanagement may have exacerbated the problem, but they weren't the root cause.
Rumor has it Twinkies are space age products made from such resilient ingredients that they last for decades. The shelf life of Twinkies is the stuff of legend, but beyond the myth and behind the silliness is a kernel of truth; If Twinkies can indeed achieve a fabled longevity, it will have more to do with savvy business practices and innovation than secret, Frankenstein recipe formulations.
Manufacturers around the country have found themselves struggling to find the qualified workforce needed to meet demand. This problem is compounded by the ever present threat of economic downturn, making it difficult for employers to maintain their workforce and ensure that employees remain available for work as needed, despite layoffs and other challenges.
There is a continuous barrage of editorials, TV commentators, and published stories that denounce the current educational system as declining and inferior to other countries. In general, the blame is directed at students, teachers, school administrators, and their curriculums. Everyone seems to be searching for the magic key that will unlock the performance of kids and knock down the barriers to a good education.
Much like improving your health is a series of small steps, improving the health of your organization can be similar. This year’s series on energy efficiency kicks off with the same survey we’ve sent out to our readers for the past four years. In this survey, we ask them what they’ve been up to. Have they been investing in new equipment? If so, what kinds — and how much was the decision based on the energy efficiency of this product?
As drones, bipedal robots, and algorithm technologies continue to improve, the world of autonomous everything is looming. Beyond the iPad, synchronized quad-copters, and even 3D printers, one of the world’s most powerful forms of emerging technology is the ability to make more machines and devices autonomous.
Who, at this point, hasn’t heard about Chip Starnes, the American co-owner of a medical supply company, who was held against his will for five days by his own Chinese employees? As with most other news of labor relations coming out of China, many are using this event as another example of why manufacturers need to be moving back to the U.S. as soon as possible. I wouldn’t be so quick to judgment.
I have a Tesla Roadster, which I have had for four years and which has 75,000 miles on it. My impressions: Compared to the various other sports cars I have owned – Porsche, RX-7, 3000 – the car has far better acceleration and has instant response to the throttle pedal compared to the lag and roughness of all gas engine cars.
How many electric cars are on the U.S. market today? I can think of the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt – and, of course – the Tesla Model S. Despite these other zero-emission vehicles (that are also a bit more affordable), Tesla always tops this list.
Yes, there are bad educators, just like there are bad maintenance technicians or bad managers, but that shouldn’t detract from those who care and who work hard despite the poor infrastructure to help students get the education they need.
The concept of “everyone should go to college” is finally being questioned, which I think is long overdue. In fact, the U.S. Labor Department says that most jobs (69 percent in 2010) don’t require a post high school degree.To get an idea of what the economy is going to offer in the next ten years, look for the Labor Department chart titled “Occupations with the largest job growth, 2010 and projected 2020.”
This issue of American job development is certainly not a black and white one, but with all of the domestic resources being allocated towards its improvement, you can be sure there are some elements of red, white, and blue. Check out this year’s Jobs Report to see some of the jobs programs available and how they might factor in to your workforce needs, skill gaps, or hiring practices.
The recall of Earthbound’s organic bagged spinach dominated the news cycle during the autumn of 2006; I can remember exactly where I was in my life as the story broke and continued to unfold, as I’m sure many of you can as well. For those who cared about food safety, the recall — and the illness and death associated with it — was big news.
Humans are curious creatures. We like to see how things work, and we want to know what makes things tick — we have a deep-seated desire to make a connection with our environment by understanding the process of creation. That, in part, is what is so appealing about facility tours.
Communities investing in manufacturing and economic development apply the same techniques as Iron Man, working in a region, scanning the environment and applying resources (tax incentives, workforce development and infrastructure upgrades instead of repulsor rays) to come out on top with robust economic growth.
The world of manufacturing and the soldier seem very far apart at first glance, but they both operate in uncertain and rapidly changing environments. The workforce goes to work, while the military goes to war. Thankfully, in the work environment, people do not often die, but companies can fail and people’s livelihoods can be destroyed through bad decisions.
Root cause failure analysis is a technology for objectively identifying all potential failure causes, and then objectively and systematically identifying the likelihood of each potential cause. This article describes how root cause failure analysis identified and eliminated recurring Apache main rotor blade rejections.
Here’s a test. Go into your parts storeroom and try to find a part that you can’t match to any piece of equipment in your plant. It’s a very rare plant that doesn’t have a box of parts that no one is quite sure exactly where they go, but the storeroom is keeping, “just in case.”
Incremental improvements are more or less feel good measures that say to management “there was a problem and we did this to solve it.” In reality, most continuous improvements have come from technology advancements, not from employee performance advancements. Has the continuous improvement mentality caused manufacturing to settle for mediocrity?
Baxter’s ability to work side by side with human counterparts has many people worried. What if he and his robotic buddies stop dancing and take over all the manufacturing jobs? What if people – and the wonderful human qualities they bring to manufacturing – become passé?