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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Manufacturers Optimistic Overall, But Energy Costs Are Big Concern

March 3, 2014 12:27 pm | by Tia Nowack, Associate Editor, IMPO | News | Comments

Like their peers in other sectors, industrial manufacturing CEOs are much less worried about the global economy than last year, although exchange rate volatility and energy costs are still big concerns.             

Rolls-Royce Developing Drone Cargo Ships

February 26, 2014 1:57 pm | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net | News | Comments

According to Bloomberg, Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc is already in the beginning stages of designing unmanned cargo ships at its offices in Alesund, Norway. These ships would be able to offer a 360-degree view from the vessel’s “bridge,” which would allow captains to operate them remotely from land.

Q&A: Ensuring Quality & Safety Throughout The Supply Chain

February 24, 2014 9:45 am | by Lindsey Jahn, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing | Articles | Comments

An impact to one segment of the supply chain can have a domino-like effect that can be immediately felt throughout the entire supply chain. Through an effective monitoring program, organizations can proactively track and report on all of their supply chain issues, incidents, exposures, and risks in real time.

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Alcoa Closing Aluminum Smelter, Mills In Australia

February 18, 2014 2:18 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Faced with stubbornly low prices for aluminum due to global overcapacity, Alcoa has been idling and closing smelters to reduce capacity. When the last moves are completed, Alcoa will have cut its smelting capacity by 17 percent.       

Europe At Origin Of Chronic U.S. Execution Dilemma

February 18, 2014 9:55 am | by Juergen Baetz, Associated Press | News | Comments

There's one big reason why the United States has a dearth of execution drugs so acute that some states are considering solutions such as firing squads and gas chambers: Europe won't allow the drugs to be exported because of its fierce hostility to capital punishment.

Apple's Big Bet On Sapphires

February 18, 2014 9:31 am | by Jon Minnick, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology | Blogs | Comments

It feels so strongly about using the material that it’s building a factory in Mesa, AZ and signed a development and supply contract with crystal materials manufacturing specialist, GT Advanced Technologies, to make sapphire material exclusively to Apple for consumer electronics.

Plan Aims To Elevate Michigan As Logistics Hub

February 11, 2014 2:02 pm | by Michigan Economic Development Corporation | News | Comments

The newly established Commission for Logistics and Supply Chain Collaboration, which holds its first meeting Feb. 11, aims to develop a statewide strategy featuring a partnership between government and industry in the pursuit of raising the international profile of Michigan’s logistics capabilities.

Wholesale Evolution

February 11, 2014 9:17 am | by Ranga Bodla, Director of Industry Marketing, Manufacturing W/D | Articles | Comments

As markets evolve, distribution companies need to innovate around customers, analytics, and supply networks. To survive and thrive in the brave new world, many wholesale distribution companies need a wholesale evolution.         

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Why ERP Doesn’t Work, And Steps To Fix The Problem

February 10, 2014 9:18 am | by Robert Byrne, CEO of Terra Technology | Articles | Comments

While a key enabler for the modern supply chain, ERP is often mistaken as the single universal solution to meet every need. Whether the result of over-aggressive vendors or self-imposed rationalization to justify the large investment, the outcome is the same: disappointment with supply chain functionality. 

Oreo Maker Mondelez To Close Philly Bakery

February 7, 2014 9:49 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Mondelez International Inc., the maker of Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers, said Thursday that it will close a Philadelphia bakery by 2015 as part of a plan to restructure its supply chain and save money.                

Farms In London's Underground

February 6, 2014 9:53 am | by CNN Money | Videos | Comments

A modern farming experiment in disused London Underground tunnels grows eco-friendly food. Its backers are hoping to grow the business as well.                               

How Outsourcing Went Horribly Wrong

February 5, 2014 9:23 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Articles | Comments

There is much debate over the effectiveness of the outsourcing strategy, the affect it has had on “American” brand quality, and the affect it is having on the U.S. economy and its ability to pull out of the current recession. In some cases, it has proven to be a good move. In some cases it has proven disastrous.

MAPI: January Factory Slowdown 'Worrisome'

February 4, 2014 10:08 am | by Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) | News | Comments

“While U.S. manufacturing continued its growth into the new year, survey data from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed that the pace of factory activity slowed considerably. The overall Index fell by 5.2 percentage points from 56.5 in December to 51.3 in January, still signaling overall output advances but at a far more muted pace."

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Crystal CEO: Rail Shutdown Could Cost Millions

January 30, 2014 9:57 am | by Dave Kolpack, Associated Press | News | Comments

A slowdown in rail service is forcing American Crystal Sugar to cut back on production, something company officials said Wednesday could cost millions if the situation doesn't improve.                   

Wind Turbine Maker To Close Pa. Plant

January 29, 2014 1:44 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Gamesa USA officials said Tuesday that the closure of the 8-year-old plant was prompted by a shift in the market from Pennsylvania and the Midwest to the southwestern United States. They said the company had to alter its manufacturing and supply chain strategy to keep energy costs low and maintain a strong market presence.

How Lean Do You Really Want To Be?

January 24, 2014 9:16 am | by Tom McNamara and Erika Masillac | Articles | Comments

Just-in-time (JIT) deliveries, little to no inventory, outsourcing, sole sourcing — all of these “lean” concepts have been at the heart of operations management for years now. But more and more companies are starting to ask themselves a simple question; Just how lean do we really want to be?

U.S. Wholesale Costs Rise On Gas Prices

January 15, 2014 1:40 pm | by Josh Boak, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The Labor Department said Wednesday that the producer price index, which measures costs before they reach the consumer, rose 0.4 percent last month from November. That ends three straight months of falling wholesale prices.       

Accelerating Operational Excellence: Q&A With LNS’s Mark Davidson

January 15, 2014 9:30 am | by Greg Goodwin, Research Associate, LNS Research | Articles | Comments

When you consider some of the challenges that manufacturers face across industries today — they’re unprecedented. The pressures of global supply and demand dynamics, supply chain complexities, disparate production locations and systems, regulations, and other factors have forced manufacturers to reevaluate operations and optimize them everywhere possible in order to remain competitive and profitable.

U.S. Import Prices Drop, Export Prices Rise In December

January 14, 2014 2:02 pm | by Bureau of Labor Statistics | News | Comments

U.S. import prices recorded no change in December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, following declines of 0.9 percent in November and 0.6 percent in October. In December, higher fuel prices offset declining nonfuel prices. U.S. export prices advanced 0.4 percent in December, after edging up 0.1 percent the previous month.

Q&A: element14 And Big Distributor Trends For 2014

January 14, 2014 9:37 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net | Articles | Comments

In an electronics market that has seen relatively flat performance over the last several years, there continue to be a number of areas where distributors can differentiate and find growth. One of the ongoing challenges within the market is the rapidity of demand swings, increasing frequency of orders and diminishing average order sizes.

The Evolution Of Private Equity & Why Supply Chains Take Center Stage

January 13, 2014 9:22 am | by Jim Tompkins, CEO of Tompkins International | Articles | Comments

The private equity game was once focused on buying and selling a company as quickly as possible. But the industry has evolved to focus more on engineering companies’ supply chains to build profit and value.             

Best Logistics Advice For 2014: Dump Tribal Knowledge

January 10, 2014 9:27 am | by Tim Garcia, Apptricity Founder and CEO | Articles | Comments

Here's some food for thought when it comes to evaluating and improving logistics in your enterprise: Whatever else you do in 2014, make it a priority to dump the tribal knowledge you might be using to make mission-critical decisions. Instead, substitute the facts. 

U.S. Trade Deficit Declines

January 7, 2014 9:54 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. trade deficit fell in November to its lowest level in four years, an encouraging sign for economic growth. Gains in energy production and stronger sales of American-made airplanes, autos and machinery lifted exports to an all-time high.

Intel Says Its Processors Are Now 'Conflict-Free'

January 7, 2014 9:30 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

It's the first major U.S. technology company to make such a claim about its products. It's the fruit of four years of work by the company to determine the sources of four crucial metals widely used in electronics manufacturing: tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold.

Domestic Minerals Production Could Boost Manufacturing

January 7, 2014 9:14 am | by Hal Quinn, CEO, National Mining Association (NMA) | Articles | Comments

After decades of outsourcing, the resurgence in domestic manufacturing is now America’s favorite comeback story. But one troubling trend could signal a major complication for returning manufacturers: our nation’s increasing reliance on unstable supply chains of imported minerals.

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