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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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.

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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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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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