In difficult economic times, Lean thinking strikes a chord for manufacturers as it promises to reduce costs, improve quality, and transform the bottom line by eliminating waste in every area of the value stream. Its goal is to eliminate non-value added processing from the customers’ perspective, enabling less inventory, less space, less resource, less time and less cost to produce more – and all highly responsive to customer demand.
Our fourth annual Energy Intelligence Report has been designed to spark some ideas for cost savings measures, as manufacturers continue to face tightening budgets and competitive pressures. We hope you can find something of value as you look at your own plant floor and try to determine where to start.
The Institute for Supply Chain Management held their 98th Annual International Supply Management Conference & Educational Exhibit April 28th through May 1st in Grapevine, TX. More than 2,000 professionals attended the conference and several “instant” digital polls were held, taking a look at reshoring and tax concerns. Thomas Derry, CEO of ISM, discusses the results of those polls and how they are affecting business and the economy.
Pat and Bill Lancaster believed that pallet loads of product could be better protected — that billions of dollars of unsalable product due to shipping damage could be reclaimed and energy spent recycling, repurposing, or disposing of this damaged product could be regained. Pallet loads could be better stabilized and product should be — and could be — better protected in transit.
China has fired a new salvo in a global trade battle over solar panels by raising import duties on U.S.- and Korean-made polysilicon used to manufacture them. The Ministry of Commerce said the duties of up to 57 percent are in response to dumping, or selling at improperly low prices.
Grainger, a leading broad line supplier of MRO products serving businesses and institutions, on Thursday hosted a grand opening to celebrate its new distribution center in Minooka, Ill. This one-million-square-foot facility serves as the company’s new central stocking distribution center and runs a state-of-the-art automated system.
Google Inc. is investing in a Taiwanese microchip maker that makes chips used in its Google Glass, the eyeglass-enabled devices it is testing that can shoot photos and video and access the Internet. The deal with Tainan, Taiwan-based Himax Technologies Inc. gives Google a 6.3 percent stake in the Himax Display Inc. subsidiary in the form of preferred shares. An option to buy more shares could eventually raise that stake to 14.8 percent.
Back in May, KPMG released their fourth annual Global Manufacturing Outlook, which was built around a poll of 335 C-level executives on a global scale. The results show that U.S. manufacturing seems primed for an era of “hyper innovation,” in which companies develop not only new products, but entirely new product categories and new ways to build them.
Any way you look at it, the United States and European Union will remain dominant players in world trade over the next two decades. The real question, says the World Trade Organization in a new report, is how much ground they cede to rising economies like China.
Japanese auto supplier Diamond Electric Manufacturing Co. has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $19 million criminal fine for its role in a price-fixing scheme. The U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday that Diamond Electric rigged bids and fixed prices on ignition coils it sold to Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and others. The conspiracy lasted from 2003 through 2010.
Argentina's state-controlled YPF oil company has persuaded Chevron Corp. to sign a long-sought deal to invest $1.24 billion in developing the South American country's shale oil deposits. The joint venture adds up to $1.5 billion overall, the first major foreign oil investment in Argentina since President Cristina Fernandez seized control of YPF from Spain's Grupo Repsol last year.
The United States needs more startup companies and innovation to compete with the rest of the world, General Electric Co. chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt told the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents on Friday. Immelt said the U.S. needs more risk capital to help fuel startups, less government regulation, a greater emphasis on research and development and more cooperation with higher education.
With signs the high-end smartphone market in the developed world is at a near-term saturation point, Taiwanese chipmakers like TSMC may find once-assured profits are more fleeting than expected. The promised explosion of next-gen mobile devices may not create the windfall these chipmakers were expecting.
The old days of “write a specification, collect bids, and pick the low one” are long gone. Your suppliers are now an extension of your company. This is especially true in manufacturing. For instance, there are companies that will manage all your maintenance and repair parts within your own facility. These companies essentially fund and staff an MRO “parts cage” on the factory floor.
The manufacturing community is currently enmeshed in an ideological debate over sourcing and procurement. There's vigorous — and at times emotional — argument surrounding strategies for insourcing, outsourcing, near sourcing or keeping it in-house. The argument really shouldn’t focus on the fervent and at times politically-tinged abstractions of what flag flies over the factory, but rather what’s best for your business.
According to the business consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle, there has been a significant uptick in the number of tech manufacturing jobs in the U.S. since 2001. One of the major reasons for expanding manufacturing to the U.S. stems from the desire to have factories closer to consumers and those who can then fix problems.
Industrial products and equipment maker Illinois Tool Works Inc. said Wednesday that it acquired a kitchen equipment maker that gives it access to China's cooking industry. Illinois Tool bought the company, Vesta, from the private equity firm Actis for an undisclosed sum.
The U.S. trade deficit increased in May to the highest level in six months as a weak global economy depressed U.S. export sales while imports of autos and other nonpetroleum products hit an all-time high. The trade deficit rose to $45 billion in May, up 12.1 percent from April's $40.1 billion imbalance, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. It was the largest trade gap since November.
After a car maker or a steel mill wears out a factory, extracts all the tax breaks a treasury will bear, and accumulates more obligations to its workers than the stockholders will bear, it flees town like a deadbeat husband, leaving a worn-out, exploited patch of land no else will touch. An industrial city follows the same life cycle as a boxer, or a prostitute.
In today’s business climate, in particular for many industries that serve consumers directly — think automakers, consumer packaged goods manufacturers, or pharmaceutical firms — operate under the assumption that they’ll be subjected to a recall incident at some point.
China's Commerce Ministry announced Monday it has launched a formal investigation into claims that European Union countries are selling wine at unfairly low prices, as a prolonged dispute over Chinese solar power products continues to affect trade relations. The ministry said in a notice late Monday that it had accepted the complaint brought by the Chinese wine industry in May following a review.
French President Francois Hollande demanded on Monday that the United States immediately stop its alleged eavesdropping on European Union diplomats and suggested that the widening surveillance scandal could derail free-trade negotiations worth billions. The Obama administration is facing a breakdown in confidence from key allies over secret surveillance programs that reportedly installed covert listening devices in EU offices.
Aluminum giant Alcoa said Friday that it will close a smelting facility in Italy, its latest move to trim costs as it grapples with lower aluminum prices. Alcoa was already tamping down production at the Fusina smelter in Venice, Italy, three years ago, citing weak aluminum prices and the need to stay competitive.
The United States is expected to suspend trade privileges for Bangladesh because of concerns over labor rights and worker safety that intensified after hundreds died there in the global garment industry's worst accident. Congressional aides said the Obama administration would make its announcement Thursday, the culmination of a yearslong review of labor conditions in the impoverished South Asian nation.
Take a look at how a non-profit implemented Toyota's legendary production system (TPS) to increase the number of meals distributed to people who are still affected by Superstorm Sandy. Implementing this Kaizen event has made meal delivery in the still recovering area more efficient than ever before.