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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
When most leaders create annual plans, they typically do not take into consideration the different rhythms that occur in each season. And by not doing that, they can miss out on opportunities to build on natural behaviors that occur throughout the year that can impact performance.
It’s been my long-held belief that no matter what we automate in manufacturing, or how flexible and effective a supply chain we develop, it’s how we manage the people in the business that will make the difference between good and world class. When it comes to managing the workforce, very few industries are under more pressure than manufacturing.
A Business Network contains a suite of network connected and analytic applications and an ecosystem of buyers and suppliers that can use these applications for initiating sourcing relationships, buying products and services and identifying additional opportunities for increasing revenue or saving costs.
Higher productivity, increased labor costs and a strong trends towards true mobility in the work place are all factors that have put the spotlight firmly on ‘total costs of ownership’ for computers and devices. Organizations will have to start spending more on durable and reliable mobile computers rather than looking for bargains, if they want to avoid losing valuable productive time.
As we pass the five-year anniversary of the start of the economic recession in December 2007, many observers focus on what was lost:8 million jobs; 146,000 employer businesses; 17.5 percent average individual earnings. But the businesses that survived the Great Recession and are thriving today didn’t focus on losses then – and they aren’t now, says Donna Every, a financial expert who has published three non-fiction business books.
Just as we learn to look for the “hidden factory" or unofficial process steps when we seek to improve a production process, we should look for business-level problems that hide from our usual view. Have you ever had a leader give you advice to not cause trouble and to, instead, try to keep your activities “below the radar?”