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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Uncertainty Is Certain

February 11, 2011 5:03 am

Introduction Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium defines “uncertainty” as the level of knowledge of the past and current conditions that allows one to describe the existing state and predict a future outcome. Anyone who claims to have a clear picture of the past and current state and thinks they can predict the future is wrong.

Trade Deficit Rose In Jan., Could Help Manufacturers

February 11, 2011 3:57 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The trade deficit widened in December as rising oil prices pushed the value of imports up faster than U.S. exports. The deficit increased 5.9 percent in December to $40.6 billion, the Commerce Department reported Friday. U.S. exports of goods and services rose to $163 billion, a 1.

GM, Chrysler White-Collar Workers See Green

February 11, 2011 3:53 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Most of the 26,000 white-collar workers at General Motors Co. will get performance bonuses of 4 to 16 percent of their base salaries this year, but payments to a small number could be 50 percent or more, the company confirmed late Thursday. Chrysler Group LLC also will give bonuses to white-collar workers, with payments expected on Friday.

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Food Safety Law Helps Protect Whistleblowers

February 11, 2011 3:49 am | by Steve Karnowski, Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Food industry workers who become whistleblowers gained protection against retaliation from their employers with a little-noticed provision in the sweeping food safety law President Barack Obama signed last month. The Food Safety and Modernization Act is best known for sections that aim to prevent foodborne illnesses, allow the Food and Drug Administration to order recalls and make it easier to trace contaminated food to its source.

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Lincoln MKZ A 'Successful' Test Of Hybrid Demand

February 11, 2011 3:43 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Car buyers usually have to pay a premium of $5,000 or more for the hybrid version of a car. So when Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln MKZ hybrid went on sale last fall for the same price as the gas version, it became a test case for hybrid demand. The verdict: More people will choose the hybrid when price isn't a factor, but not too many more.

Tech Firm: Chinese Hackers Stole IP From Western Companies

February 11, 2011 3:41 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — Hackers operating from China stole sensitive information from Western oil companies, a U.S. security firm reported Thursday, adding to complaints about pervasive Internet crime traced to the country. The report by McAfee Inc. did not identify the companies but said the "coordinated, covert and targeted" attacks began in November 2009 and targeted computers of oil and gas companies in the United States, Taiwan, Greece and Kazakhstan.

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Goodyear Lays Off 1,900 Tennessee Workers

February 11, 2011 3:34 am

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. reported Thursday its revenue rose 14 percent in the fourth quarter but it lost $177 million as it absorbed costs for its planned closure of a plant in Union City, Tenn. Its adjusted earnings and revenue beat Wall Street expectations, and shares surged $1.

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FBI Raids Detroit Offices Of Japanese Auto Parts Supplier

February 9, 2011 3:45 am

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The FBI has raided the suburban Detroit offices of the Japanese auto parts supplier Takata Corp. A subpoena and search warrant were served Tuesday at the offices of TK Holdings Inc. in Auburn Hills. Takata spokeswoman Alby Berman tells WXYZ-TV she's unsure of the reason for the raid.

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GM's Hourly Workers Could Get Highest-Ever Bonuses

February 9, 2011 3:42 am

DETROIT (AP) — Hourly workers at General Motors Co. could get $3,000 or more in profit-sharing this year, their biggest checks ever, according to a newspaper report Tuesday. The Detroit company, just a year and a half out of bankruptcy protection, made $4.2 billion in the first three quarters of this year and is expected to post a fourth-quarter profit in the coming weeks.

'Reshoring' Group Aims To Bring Manufacturing To Illinois

February 9, 2011 3:39 am

In his Jan 25, 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama focused on the need to create jobs, especially manufacturing and technical jobs, and the challenge of doing so in an increasingly competitive world.  The Illinois Reshoring Initiative today announces its program to apply the principles of the national Reshoring Initiative to revitalize Illinois manufacturing by reshoring: bringing back many of the most desirable jobs that have been lost to decades of offshoring.

GM: Chinese Sales Reach Month-To-Month High

February 9, 2011 3:33 am

SHANGHAI (AP) — General Motors Co. says its vehicle sales in China, the world's largest auto market, hit a monthly record high of 268,071 in January, though year-on-year growth was sharply lower. GM said Wednesday that its sales in China in January rose 22.3 percent from a year earlier, a much smaller increase than the 97 percent growth seen in January 2010, when sales totaled 219,192 vehicles.

Consultant Gets 2 1/2 Years For Stealing 'Gorilla' Glass

February 9, 2011 3:30 am

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A California consultant drew a reduced 2 1/2-year prison sentence Tuesday for conspiring to steal highly valuable flat-panel-glass blueprints from Corning Inc. and turn them over to a rival business in Taiwan. Yeong Lin, 70, of Fountain Valley, Calif., pleaded guilty in June 2007 to a federal charge of theft of trade secrets.

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Gov't: No Electronic Flaws Caused Toyota Crashes

February 9, 2011 3:26 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Electronic flaws weren't to blame for the reports of sudden, unintended acceleration that led to the recall of thousands of Toyota vehicles, the government said Tuesday. Some of the acceleration cases could have been caused by mechanical defects — sticking accelerator pedals and gas pedals that can become trapped in floor mats — that have been dealt with in recalls, the government said.

Boeing Begins Production At MidAmerica Assembly Plant

February 8, 2011 4:05 am

MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) — The Boeing Corp. says it has begun production at its new military aircraft assembly plant at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah. The Chicago-based aerospace giant announced Monday that it has 14 employees at work at the building that was formerly the airport's 50,000-square-foot warehouse.

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Gov't To Release Findings On Toyota Investigation

February 8, 2011 3:51 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is completing a 10-month investigation into runaway Toyotas, preparing a review that could address whether faulty electronics played a role in the Japanese automaker's safety recalls. The Transportation Department said it would issue on Tuesday the findings of its study, which has examined whether electronics or electromagnetic interference played a factor in Toyota Motor Corp.

AP: Manufacturing Lowers 'Main Street' Economic Stress

February 8, 2011 3:42 am | by Martin Crutsinger and Mike Schneider, Associated Press

The nation's economic stress inched up in December because higher foreclosures outweighed lower unemployment, according to The Associated Press' monthly analysis. Bankruptcy levels remained largely unchanged from November. But the depressed housing market took a toll. Foreclosure rates rose in 33 states, most sharply in Utah, New Jersey, Nevada and Arizona.

Super Bowl Ad Recharges Love Of Detroit Automaking

February 8, 2011 3:39 am | by Jeff Karoub and Mike Householder, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — To a pulsating beat, hip-hop star Eminem drives a sleek Chrysler through the streets of Detroit, proudly cruising by the city's landmarks, towering skyscrapers and the hopeful faces of its people. His journey ends with an unapologetic message: "This is the Motor City, and this is what we do.

Intel Continues Shipping Faulty Chips, Makes Buyers Promise

February 8, 2011 3:35 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Intel Corp. has resumed shipments of a chip with a known flaw. But in order to get it, computer makers must promise not to use it in designs that trigger the serious performance problem. Intel stopped production of the faulty "chipset" last month, after discovering that it would cause some computers to gradually lose their ability to talk to their hard disk and DVD drives.

Toyota's Quarterly Earnings Drop 39 Percent

February 8, 2011 3:32 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota reported a 39 percent slide in quarterly profit but raised its full-year forecasts as business booms in Asia and other emerging markets while image problems linger in the U.S. The results show a mixed picture for the world's biggest automaker, which is enjoying robust sales in Asia, Africa and South America while still trying to repair its reputation in the key U.

Michigan Man Develops Car With 'Universal' Parts

February 7, 2011 4:03 am | by Jameson Cook, The Associated Press

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (AP) — Colin Kelly Sikkila has an idea he believes helps make vehicles more affordable for car buyers and more profitable for automakers. A retired metal model maker at the General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Sikkila designed a model car that could be used as a blueprint for building a car with several identical parts on the front and back, such as the hood and trunk lids, doors, fenders and windows.

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