Most economists agree that the “Great Recession” of 2008 ended sometime around August 2009, and while the economy has been slowly recovering, unemployment still appears to be a stubborn problem. The headline rate is just a shade under 8 percent, which translates into a little over 12 million Americans out of work.
I’ve heard for years that “soon we’ll have solar panels on everything.” To be honest, I’ve never paid much attention to the hype because these magical solar panels that can fit on and inside everything never seemed to materialize commercially. But researchers seem to have made a real breakthrough in solar technology: thin, sticky, flexible solar panels that can stick to just about any surface or object imaginable.
The U.S. must soon decide whether to allow unrestricted liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to non-U.S. markets, or to enact limits on natural gas exports to keep more of the fuel in the country. Vast reserves of natural gas in the U.S. and newly developed extraction techniques have made it economically sensible to extract previously unviable deposits of natural gas.
It is a phenomenon that is referred to with a catchy rhyme: “the brain drain.” Older workers are leaving companies, taking their experience and knowledge with them. And, for various reasons, the reservoir is not being refilled at the same rate. Knowledge leaves, and the tank threatens to go dry.
The industry is still a global juggernaut; producing 18.2 percent of all manufactured goods which tops the list globally (still over half a percent more than China). But quite frankly, ‘dominant’ would be one of the last terms to sum up the past fifteen years of U.S. manufacturing, despite our strong presence.
It happens repeatedly. A company adopts a new technology platform that ostensibly will ease the workload, streamline operational processes and result in overall gains in efficiency and budget spending. The intention is spot-on but the execution is decidedly less so.
The air transport industry has been through many economic dips during the past four decades, yet it has always bounced back quickly with travel demand higher than ever. However, the increasing volatility of aviation fuel prices has a significant impact on airline operating costs and profitability.
Disasters come in many sizes and shapes and are often unexpected, which is why manufacturers must prepare for them, treating disaster recovery plans almost as an insurance policy. And they do happen, often at the most inconvenient times. By one count, their numbers have climbed 233 percent since 1980.
Last month Hasbro missed a golden opportunity to immortalize the importance of our country’s manufacturing sector, especially with the renaissance the sector is currently experiencing. Hasbro ran a poll to elect a new game icon to be included in all new editions of the game Monopoly, an All-American game if there ever was one.
As we immerse ourselves in continuous process improvement, we get in the habit of tearing down and examining everything that doesn’t meet expectations, go according to plan, or work efficiently enough. We get so focused on what’s broken, we forget to take time to figure out how we do the occasional thing exactly right.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.