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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.