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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

The Training Manufacturers Really Need

March 13, 2013 4:41 pm | by Mike Collins, Author, Saving American Manufacturing

A recent study authored by Deloitte LLP and the Manufacturing Institute says that “for years, manufacturers have reported a significant gap between the talent they need and what they can actually find.” In fact “67 percent of manufacturers reported that moderate to severe shortages of available, qualified workers exist.

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Lessons From The Cupping Room

March 12, 2013 4:01 pm | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO

The Starbucks Carson Valley Roasting Plant and Distribution Center looks swanky, with its glass-lined exterior; perched atop the entry is the familiar green siren logo. Like millions of Americans, I’ve become accustomed to taking my caffeine on the run, and Starbucks is one of the haunts on my regular route.

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Automotive Electronics In 2013 & Beyond – Batteries Bear A Burden

March 4, 2013 2:40 pm | by David Carey, Mouser Electronics

This year will see automotive electronics designers approach power management (PM) more like their mobile industry counterparts. While it may seem a fringe concern, the burgeoning security, convenience, connectivity, safety, and infotainment features of tomorrow’s vehicles will drive design and component choices that address standby power consumption.

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I’m Doing This, And You’re Coming With Me

March 4, 2013 8:00 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions

Accepting the axiom that business and process improvement is fundamentally an outcome of changed behavior, we must address how to lead a change in behavior.If you follow my posts, then you have come to expect me to assert, repeatedly, that behavioral change is the key to successful performance improvement.

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A Closer Look: Eaton’s 4Q With Partial Cooper Numbers

March 1, 2013 8:00 am | by Jack Keough, Contributing Editor, Industrial Distribution

Industry analysts and manufacturers were eagerly waiting Eaton’s 4Q reporting as the diversified international manufacturer showed the partial results of its $13.2B acquisition of Cooper Industries. Eaton CEO, Alexander M. “Sandy” Cutler, had warned analysts last quarter that the reporting would be “complex” because the results would show only one month’s (December) numbers of Cooper on its 4Q report.

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Too Big To Fly: Why Engineering Should Stay Small

February 27, 2013 8:00 am | by Chris Fox, Associate Editor, PD&D

Everybody has heard the now-clichéd term, ‘too big to fail’, and all of the negative connotations that are associated with said title. Also, I’m sure most, if not all, of you have heard or read something about the recent problems Boeing is experiencing with the Lithium Ion batteries.

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Manufacturing & Economy Are At A Precipice

February 25, 2013 8:08 am

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons delivered a speech on the state of manufacturing at the Detroit Economic Club. His address touched on what manufacturing has meant to America’s past and focused on how critically important it is to our nation’s present and future.

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Manufacturing’s Evolving Workforce

February 20, 2013 8:00 am | by Bob Dean, Executive Director, Business Transformation, Cisco

Pop culture references manufacturing as the factories of the 1800s or modern day overseas sweatshops — full of mind-numbing, remedial tasks in dark and dingy factories. Today’s manufacturing environments tell a much different story: clean and safe with employees managing advanced machinery that drives innovation and productivity. But are these stereotypes creating barriers to attract new employees to the industry?

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Solve Problems With Definitions

February 15, 2013 11:09 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions

Simply providing a clearer expectation of what “good enough” looks like can solve many problems we encounter.  Sometimes we spend ridiculous amounts of time trying to solve problems we can’t clearly communicate.  Many times we have no idea if we even have a problem.

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‘Good-Bye To All That’

February 13, 2013 8:00 am | by Robert Kozak, Advanced Biofuels USA

For supporters of biofuels and all those who support balanced leadership of all DOE programs, it is a time of good-bye to all that and a hope that the future will be better. To set the stage: Just before Chu’s appearance, Nissan Automotive was on the schedule at the show. The topic? Dropping the price of the electric Leaf by $2,000 to $3,000 to improve sales.

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How To Collaborate With Europeans

February 12, 2013 8:00 am | by Mike Rainone, Contributing Editor, PD&D

I am not sure how to define it, but what the Italians seem to be stumbling over is a lack of global reach. Outside market understanding entails extensive effort and often requires a presence in that market, in order to identify that market’s unique needs. This does not come cheap.

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Obsolete Industries Won’t Drive Economic Growth

February 11, 2013 8:00 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor, Electronic Component News

New technologies and industries inevitably outpace older ones. When analog became obsolete, digital took over. LCD TVs gradually buried CRTs. And those who cling to obsolescence (beyond what the market dictates, that is — see the untimely incandescent ban) are left behind.

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Check The Simple Things First

February 8, 2013 8:00 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions

Whether it’s equipment maintenance and repair, troubleshooting a process, or fixing business cultural problems, before you gear up for a complete overhaul, check on the simple fundamentals first. Often times the easily overlooked issue is the root cause.

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How To Bring Manufacturing Back: A Lesson From Germany

February 5, 2013 8:00 am | by Jeremy W. Crane

If we were to change our education system, as well as put a higher value to those who serve the economy outside of cubicles and office space, we would see corporations bring their manufacturing back to the United States. They would create the jobs that so many are searching for. The price for manufacturing will drop domestically, which will in turn bring manufacturing jobs back home.

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How Has Manufacturing Fared In The Second Half?

February 1, 2013 8:00 am | by Rachel Leisemann Immel, Associate Editor, IMPO

Anyone who watched the Super Bowl last year likely caught a glimpse of Clint Eastwood proclaiming that it was “halftime in America.” The country had been knocked down: The housing bubble had burst and top U.S. automakers – employing thousands of American workers – had sought a government bailout.

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Small Manufacturers Are Not Little Versions Of Major Manufacturers

January 31, 2013 3:39 pm | by Mike Collins, Author, Saving American Manufacturing

Have you ever wondered why manufacturing process improvement programs are introduced with great fanfare, but eventually fade away? A good example is Six Sigma, which is the answer to process variation. It was originally developed by Motorola and then General Electric (GE) and Honeywell adopted it for all of their divisions. Now, GE and Honeywell have backed away from Six Sigma, as have hundreds of other manufacturers.

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2013: The Year Of Soft Gains And Big Ideas

January 31, 2013 2:38 pm | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO

If MAPI is right and manufacturing has a quiet year, I'd suggest you think about "pulling a Baldor." Examine everything within reach and think about how you can do it better. Some of the initiatives at Baldor based around safety, quality, production flow, and machinery investments resulted in big gains.

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Industrial Real Estate Continues To Strengthen Despite Slow Economic Growth

January 30, 2013 8:05 am | by Jim Morris, Industrial Services Lead, Americas, Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.

Despite a struggling general economy, national industrial real estate fundamentals continued to strengthen, posting declining vacancies and modest rent growth in most markets. Of the 74 industrial markets tracked by Cushman & Wakefield and its Alliance Partners, just 10 recorded year-over-year vacancy increases at the end of the third quarter.

Engineers And Analysts Are Paid To Think

January 29, 2013 8:00 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions

It’s easier to do what we are told than to think about what we are doing. Every decision is a risk. Our business environments and standardized practices steeped in policy encourage us to keep our heads down and charge ahead. But, real problem solvers use their intellect.

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Bendable Phones Are Bunk

January 28, 2013 8:00 am | by Chris Fox, Associate Editor, PD&D

The age has come! Phones are now bendable and flexible while containing every nuance of your life. A recent AP story even said, “By showing off a phone with a flexible screen, Samsung is hinting at a day when we might fold up our large phone or tablet screens as if they were maps.” It’s the next revolution in electronics! Who hasn’t been chomping at the bit for this tech?

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