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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

On Disclosing ‘Conflict Minerals’

November 26, 2012 8:09 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, | Blogs | Comments

French thinks “there’s going to be a lot of information technology costs associated with this,” in terms of leveraging big data and supply chain software to help better understand the sourcing picture. He also thinks that as more major manufacturers try to move toward conflict-free minerals, prices of those mined ethically could rise, leading to higher inbound costs for all companies.

Kickstart Your Heart

November 21, 2012 8:06 am | by David Mantey, Executive Editor, Product Design & Development | Blogs | Comments

It’s time to embrace the power of and like-minded sites that offer a crowdsourcing funding platform for new products attempting to enter the market. While the site is used to fund everything from films and music to new technology, Kickstarter has become a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the world of engineering start-ups.

HP Says Acquired Company Lied About Finances

November 20, 2012 10:11 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Hewlett-Packard Co. said that a British company it bought for $9.7 billion last year lied about its finances, resulting in a massive write-down of the value of the business. CEO Meg Whitman avoided calling it a fraud, but said Tuesday that there were "serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations at Autonomy Corporation PLC."


Twinkies Likely To Survive Sale Of Hostess

November 19, 2012 10:12 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Twinkie lovers, relax. The tasty cream-filled golden spongecakes are likely to survive, even though their maker will be sold in bankruptcy court. Hostess Brands Inc., baker of Wonder Bread as well as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Ho's, will be in a New York bankruptcy courtroom Monday to start the process of selling itself.

Jaguar To Build Factory In China In Joint Venture

November 19, 2012 10:09 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A new joint venture will for the first time see Jaguars and Land Rovers built in China. The British luxury car company said Sunday that a deal has been made with the Chery Automobile Company to build the cars at a new factory to be built near Shanghai. The company says it is a 1 billion pound ($1.6 billion) joint venture.

Manufacturing Skills Gap Less Pervasive Than Thought

November 16, 2012 8:06 am | by The Boston Consulting Group | Articles | Comments

The skills gap in U.S. manufacturing today is more limited than many people believe and is unlikely to prevent a projected resurgence in U.S. manufacturing by the end of this decade. But more severe shortages could develop, threatening to constrain that revival, unless aggressive steps are taken now, according to new research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Chicago Puts $1.25M Into Manufacturing Training

November 14, 2012 2:38 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Chicago is spending $1.25 million to create new programs to teach advanced manufacturing at a high school in the city. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office said Tuesday that the money will be used at Austin Polytechnical Academy to train workers in manufacturing skills as well as core subjects such as English and math. Local manufacturers also will be given access to new technologies featured at the campus.

BASF, Gazprom Agree On Asset Swap

November 14, 2012 10:17 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

BASF SE has agreed on an asset swap with Russian natural gas heavyweight OAO Gazprom — a deal that the German industrial group hopes will allow it to increase its production of oil and gas while exiting the gas trading and storage business. BASF said the two companies' chief executives on Wednesday signed the agreement to swap assets of equivalent value. It said the transaction should be completed by the end of next year.


Q&A: How To Handle Your Supply Chain When Natural Disasters Strike

November 14, 2012 8:23 am | Articles | Comments

In this challenging environment, forward-looking insights combined with disciplined execution can help organizations ensure that their supply chain is healthy and robust, helping to assuage the impact of unexpected chaos, like the recent Hurricane Sandy that hit the east coast.

Hitachi Metals, Hitachi Cable Plan Merger

November 13, 2012 10:24 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Hitachi Metals and Hitachi Cable announced that they plan to merge in April to expand their businesses overseas and boost their competitiveness against foreign rivals amid the shrinking Japanese market. The merger of the two subsidiaries of Hitachi Ltd. will create an industrial product maker with around 1 trillion yen in annual revenue, based on their annual sales reported for the year ended March.

Sherwin-Williams To Spend $2.34B On Paint Maker

November 12, 2012 1:57 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Sherwin-Williams is buying the privately held Mexican paint company Consorcio Comex in an all-cash deal valued at about $2.34 billion. Consorcio Comex, S.A. de C.V., sells paints and coatings under several brands in the United States and Canada, and it sells architectural and industrial coatings in Mexico. It has company-operated stores and also works with independent paint dealers.

The Ryt-Way To Control 2,500 SKUs

November 12, 2012 8:08 am | Articles | Comments

As a leading contract packager of dry food products for hundreds of well-known brands, Ryt-way offers customers a wide variety of “market-smart” packaging options. But as it continued to expand its breadth of capabilities, Ryt-way’s Des Plaines, IL facility had a spare parts inventory system for its 900-plus pieces of equipment that was proving woefully inadequate.

The Next Frontier of Competitive Wars in Supplier Management

November 8, 2012 5:31 pm | by Vineet Seth, Head of Product Management, SAP Global Business Incubator | Articles | Comments

If you are responsible for managing the supply base within your company, in order to be very successful you must not only be a procurement expert and an operations whiz, but also an analytical data junkie. And in the face of ever-shortening product lifecycles, increased cost pressures and lean supply chains, you are continually faced with potential supply disruptions.


Q & A With Bernie Anger, GE Intelligent Platforms

November 8, 2012 4:08 pm | by Mike Schmidt. Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology | Articles | Comments

As automation technology has developed over the years, workers have been forced to adapt and refine the necessary skills to utilize and maintain various systems. According to Bernie Anger, General Manager Control and Communication System for GE Intelligent Platforms, there is a shortage of individuals with the expertise necessary to accomplish these tasks and usher in the future of automation.

Malaysians Lose Bid To Halt Rare Earths Plant

November 8, 2012 1:23 pm | by Eileen Ng, Associated Press | News | Comments

Malaysian activists lost a court battle Thursday to halt Australian miner Lynas Corp. from firing up a rare earths plant that has sparked health and safety concerns. After months of delay, Lynas in September obtained the Malaysian government's approval to start processing rare earths, which are minerals crucial for manufacturing high-tech products.

Good News For Coast: Nor'easter To Weaken

November 6, 2012 1:55 pm | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Weather experts had good news for beleaguered northeast coastal residents Tuesday: A new storm that threatened to complicate Hurricane Sandy cleanup efforts on Wednesday now looks like it will be weaker than expected. As the storm moves up the Atlantic coast from Florida it now is expected to veer farther offshore than earlier projections had indicated.

Hurricane Sandy Central

November 1, 2012 1:57 pm | News | Comments

Hurricane Sandy has, without a doubt, already caused an enormous toll on human life and businesses alike. As with all major events, it is important to track the road to recovery. This is where, for the time being, IMPO will compile news about Hurricane Sandy, its aftermath, and how that will affect American manufacturing. This will be consistently updated as more news arrives, so check back often.

Etihad Makes Deal For 2 More Airbus A330s

October 30, 2012 2:20 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Fast-growing Etihad Airways says it has agreed to purchase two more Airbus A330-200 planes in a deal worth $418 million. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier says the planes are scheduled to be delivered in early 2014 as part of aggressive expansion plans to keep pace with rival Gulf airlines Emirates and Qatar Airways. Etihad CEO James Hogan said on Tuesday that he considers the A330-200 to be central to the airline's growth plans.

Boeing To Sell 35 New 737s To Russia

October 30, 2012 10:31 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Boeing is selling 35 of its redesigned 737 aircraft to a Russian state-run leasing company in a deal that would be worth $3 billion, if sold at current list prices. The deal with Aviation Capital Services LLC, a subsidiary of State Corporation Russian Technologies, marks the first commitment for the new 737 from Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Japan's Hitachi To Buy Horizon Nuclear

October 30, 2012 10:30 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Japan's Hitachi Ltd. has agreed to buy British atomic power company Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd. from its German owners for 696 million British pounds ($1.12 billion). The companies announced the deal Tuesday, ending months of uncertainty after the 50-50 owners of Horizon, RWE AG and E.ON AG, abandoned plans to build nuclear power plants in Britain.

Analysts: Sandy Unlikely To Damage U.S. Economy

October 30, 2012 10:22 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writers | News | Comments

Airlines have canceled thousands of flights, stranding travelers around the globe. Insurers are bracing for possible damages of $5 billion. Retailers face shrunken sales. The economic impact could be more severe if the storm damages a port or a major manufacturing facility such as an oil refinery, Zandi noted.

Entrepreneurial Nation

October 30, 2012 8:13 am | Articles | Comments

Ro Khanna spent two years as deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he worked with the country’s most influential labor leaders to rebuild the nation’s manufacturing sector and increase America’s exports. He recently discussed what manufacturers can learn from the aerospace industry, why Solyndra is not a U.S. solar manufacturing failure, and what he sees for the future of American manufacturing.

Johnson Controls Declines Lender Role For A123

October 29, 2012 2:20 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Auto parts maker Johnson Controls is stepping away from its position as the debtor-in-possession lender during the bankruptcy process for battery maker A123 Systems in order to prevent delays. The company is avoiding a premature legal tussle with Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group Corp., which is challenging Johnson Controls' role as the primary bidder for A123.

Ford Gets Deal To Sell Climate Control Business

October 29, 2012 10:05 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Ford is selling a climate control business to a joint venture owned by a French auto supplier and a former member of the Detroit Pistons. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal marks the last of the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker's Automotive Components Holdings LLC businesses to be sold. Ford created ACH in 2005 when it took back 17 facilities from Visteon Corp.

Boeing Touts Outsourcing For Suppliers To Mexico

October 26, 2012 2:01 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Boeing is encouraging its suppliers to attend a workshop next month to learn how to outsource business to Mexico. The Seattle Times reports that Patrick McKenna, director of Supply Chain Strategy and Supplier Management at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, has urged suppliers to attend a Nov. 15 workshop in Chicago to learn how to do business in Mexico.

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