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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

‘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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Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions

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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Jeremy W. Crane

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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Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO

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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Jim Morris, Industrial Services Lead, Americas, Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.

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.

Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions

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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Paul Glover, Founder, The Glover Group

Managing The Seasons Of Performance

January 23, 2013 8:00 am | by Paul Glover, Founder, The Glover Group

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.

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Simon Macpherson, Senior Director Operations, Kronos EMEA

Is Labor Productivity The No. 1 Factor For Global Competiveness?

January 22, 2013 8:00 am | by Simon Macpherson, Senior Director Operations, Kronos EMEA

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.

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Supplier Benefit

How Business Networks Can Create A Win-Win for Buyers & Suppliers

January 18, 2013 8:08 am | by Siddharth Taparia, Senior Director of Portfolio and Strategic Marketing, SAP

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.

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Purchase Mobile Computers Wisely

January 16, 2013 8:00 am | by Jerker Hellström, CEO, Handheld Group

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.

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Savvy Entrepreneurs Play By Different Rules In Uncertain Times

January 15, 2013 8:00 am | by Donna Every

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.

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Address Problems “Below The Radar”

January 14, 2013 8:00 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions

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?”

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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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