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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Lean Manufacturing: The Skinny On The Facts

January 9, 2013 8:00 am | by Frank Hill, Stratus Technologies

2012 has come and gone. With a new year staring us down, it’s time for new resolutions. Resolutions involve change, which can be tough for manufacturers. Many manufacturers are conservative in their approach to changing IT solutions — solutions they have become extremely reliant upon and familiar with.

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Margin Meltdown: When Costs Drop, Should Prices Follow?

January 8, 2013 8:01 am | by Eric Hills, Chief Evangelist & Senior Vice President, Zilliant

You finally pushed those price increases through — to reflect the fact that your input costs have been going up — and the market takes another turn. Input costs are now speeding in the opposite direction and your customers are expecting — or rather, demanding — price decreases.

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Big Brother Takes The Wheel

January 4, 2013 8:00 am | by Meaghan Ziemba, Associate Editor, PD&D

While I am all for the advancement of automobile safety, I wonder if placing black boxes in cars is stepping over the privacy boundary? A recent article, “Black Boxes in Cars Raise Privacy Concerns” discussed the placement of event data recorders, also known as black boxes, being placed in new cars and light trucks – such a development caused me to raise an eyebrow.

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The Real Cost Of That Pool Toy

January 2, 2013 8:01 am | by Laurie Keyser Brunner, President, MainStream Management LLC

When we think about profitably manufacturing goods, China is at the top of the list, followed closely by Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. But, I am here to report that manufacturing in America is alive, if not exactly well. And, the best of U.S. manufacturers can compete with—and beat—the cost of overseas production.

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Reshoring 101: Right-Sizing U.S. Manufacturing, Part 2

December 19, 2012 8:05 am | by Tim Hutzel, Managing Director & Researcher, MainStream Management LLC, & Dave Lippert, President, Hamilton Caster & Manufacturing Co.

The companies that sent their manufacturing to foreign countries soon discovered there were frustrations and costs they never anticipated. They found that differences in language made communicating product specifications and manufacturing instructions to their offshored sources difficult. They learned that cultural differences made it difficult to motivate the foreign companies to respond quickly to their needs.

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Manufacturers Lead The Way To A Stronger Future

December 19, 2012 8:04 am | by Mark Hoper, Vice President of Expositions & Media, Fabricators & Manufacturers Association

The FMA can’t predict how many conveyors are going to be sold in 2013, but we can talk about capital expenditures for the metal forming and fabricating machine tools used to produce equipment essential to the food industry. The good news is that investments are increasing across the board. That translates to more efficient production of the equipment that creates efficiencies for food production.

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Reshoring 101: Right-Sizing U.S. Manufacturing, Part 1

December 18, 2012 8:09 am | by Tim Hutzel, Managing Director & Researcher, MainStream Management LLC, & Dave Lippert, President, Hamilton Caster & Manufacturing Co.

The story of how the United States lost its place in manufacturing dominance and why jobs were shipped offshore is highly relevant for business executives, government leaders, and anyone interested in understanding their true impact on the country and what it will take to reestablish America’s prominence as a manufacturing leader.

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Manufacturing Visibility: A Competitive Advantage

December 12, 2012 8:06 am | by Andy Vabulas, CEO and Owner, I.B.I.S., Inc.

Capturing and sharing manufacturing information requires a strategic approach that identifies what should be tracked, with whom to share information, and how to leverage this manufacturing visibility into improved operations and business performance.

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Crowdfunding Fuels Innovation

December 11, 2012 8:09 am | by Ryan Sauer

While it continues to be controversial in more conservative investment circles, crowdfunding is on its way to becoming a major source of venture capital for upstart companies. With passage of the JOBS Act in April of this year, President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress cleared the way for crowdfunding to be both legal and regulated.

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A Tour Of Methods

December 11, 2012 8:06 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions

Establish a culture of continuous improvement around a central, common method for solving problems. Adopt one of the common or popular ones, or use them as inspiration for your own. Each organization has its own culture. It is a natural phenomenon of any group of social creatures. We can either let our culture form around us as it may, or we can deliberately cultivate it to be what we desire.

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Demystifying Monte Carlo

December 7, 2012 8:09 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions

A very powerful, but little used, statistical modeling method is Monte Carlo Simulation. Read on to see how practical and simple it can be to predict the outcome of a design before it is complete. One of my favorite tools, garnered from practicing Design for Six Sigma, is the Monte Carlo Simulation method.

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Addition, Subtraction, Division

December 3, 2012 12:07 pm | by Krystal Gabert, Editor, Food Manufacturing

Food processing mergers and acquisitions can be rough water to navigate, especially for plant floor employees and plant managers who initially might seem immune to the effects of such high-level corporate decisions. Recent changes at Kraft Foods Group and others can be instructive for those undergoing corporate changes in their own companies.

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Perfect Experiences Are Ruining Tech Education

December 3, 2012 11:05 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

Better, and more polished, interfaces make it easier for more people to sit back and play iOS games or watch something on Netflix, they also create a dangerous abstraction — a distance between the user and the actual technology that functions it.

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The Importance of Learning Styles In Training

December 3, 2012 11:04 am | by Mike Collins, Author, Saving American Manufacturing

I have always been interested in learning styles and how people learn. If you read the literature on this subject, there is a lot of academic research on everything from neuro-linguistic programming to basic cognitive skills. Academics don’t seem to agree on a particular model, and appear to love writing theoretical research papers more than finding practical applications for education and training.

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My First Trade Show & The Digital Revolution

November 30, 2012 8:08 am | by Abbigail Kriebs, Associate Editor, Industrial Distribution

For companies in modern America and across the globe, the digital revolution is every bit as unsettling today as the financial crisis was in 2008. The ways in which we interact today are so different from what we have encountered in the past. Social media has given corporations and their products a face of their own; a presence that people can interact with and relate to, for better or for worse.

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Satisfying Policy Is A Source of Problems

November 28, 2012 8:09 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions LLC

A simple way to identify the opportunities to make your organization operate more efficiently, with less wasted time and energy and money, is to seek out the connections between policy and process, and then simplify. To solve various problems, we only need to simplify the means by which we satisfy policy. The easier it is the fewer problems we will have.

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On Disclosing ‘Conflict Minerals’

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

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.

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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 Kickstarter.com 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.

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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. 

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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.

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