Randall Manufacturing
Archive | Printer Friendly Version | Send to a Friend | www.mhi.org | MHI Solutions magazine March 27, 2013
 
Swisslog

MHI
Our economic future hinges on the ability to develop robust supply chains. Without them, you don't have a competitive manufacturing sector, and without manufacturing you don't have a strong economy.

The manufacturing sector has been one of the lone bright spots in a lengthy economic recovery. No sector creates more economic value or supports more additional jobs than manufacturing. This is reflected in the multiplier effect and it underscores why a strong and healthy economy requires a vibrant and growing manufacturing sector. And, the manufacturing workforce is a direct beneficiary of a strong manufacturing sector, as employees enjoy a 19% compensation premium compared to individuals employed in other sectors.

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Industry Week
Recent news reports about flaws in diverse products - from a leading smartphone application to a highly anticipated aviation product, to the recent "horsegate" affair in Europe - have focused on the large number of suppliers in the chain, potentially creating the impression that the scale of the supply chain might in and of itself have been a contributing factor in these quality control failures.

While there's no question that the number of suppliers in a supply chain can, in some instances, result in a product flaw, for almost any product there's far more involved in quality control than just the number of suppliers.

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DC Velocity
Traditionally, transportation brokers - middlemen who match available loads with empty trucks, charging a fee to the shipper - have been outsiders, either independent businesses or divisions of asset-based companies. A growing number of shippers, however, are setting up their own in-house truck brokerage operations, says Charlie Saffro of CS Recruiting LLC, a Chicago-based recruiting firm that specializes in third-party logistics and brokerage positions.

Saffro says she's been fielding a lot of inquiries lately from shippers who want to get into brokerage themselves. Done right, it can be a lucrative proposition, especially for shippers with high-value freight and backhauls to fill. She cites the case of one produce distributor that started an in-house truck brokerage in late 2012 and after just a few months, had earned $6 million in new revenue.

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EBN
Everyone dealing with the electronics supply chain knows that speed is critical for success. Customers wanted their parts yesterday, making just-in-time delivery seem slow by 2013's high-paced standards.

But what if speed -- or resilience or flexibility, if you prefer -- were not only a requirement, but also the secret weapon for supply chain innovation? What would the high-tech sector look like if companies spent even a portion of their R&D dollars on developing speedier supply chain solutions or, if not speedier solutions, at least ones that better address inventory management and forecasting analytics (which if properly addressed would make the supply chain more responsive and therefore faster)?

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Material Handling & Logistics
Is the following story familiar to you?  After an extensive and thorough search for a manager, one candidate stands out. This candidate has the right experience, solid qualifications and a relevant work history. She gave an impressive performance during the interview process, said all the right things, put forward some great ideas and generally presented very well. You decide to hire her. Filling this position with the right person is vital because the department has been under-functioning for quite some time and morale has been low.

Three months later, you question your decision. Your new hire's team is disgruntled, morale is at an all-time low, and output and productivity are well behind the figures from the previous quarter.  After investigating further, and speaking with a few key team members, you realize there's a disconnect - a mismatch. While she looked impressive on paper and presented well during interviews, your new hire's style, approach, and behavior on the job are simply inconsistent with the values and expectations of your organization. Her modus operandi is completely out of sync with the culture of your organization. The perfect candidate, who looked like a princess, turned out to be a frog. The End.

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Goff Enterprises

Supply Chain Shaman
A warehouse is not a warehouse and a supply chain is not a supply chain. They come in various sizes, varieties and specifications. They vary by industry and product requirements. So, in short, it is hard to generalize. They need to be designed and fit for purpose, but there is no question that they are growing more complex.

They need to be designed and fit for purpose, but there is no question that they are growing more complex. As complexity increases, manufacturers and distributors are seeking new ways to optimize customer service requirements and stem rising labor costs. One of these options is voice-directed warehousing.

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Quality Magazine
Consensus views on a U.S. manufacturing resurgence have largely centered on rising labor costs in markets such as China as the key driver of re-shoring back to the U.S. However, a new PwC U.S. report, A Homecoming for U.S. Manufacturing?, reveals that while rising labor costs are part of the story, a range of factors - including transportation and energy costs and protecting the supply chain - could drive a sustained manufacturing renaissance in the United States beyond any cyclical recovery, potentially improving investment, employment, production output and research and development (R&D).

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Manufacturing Business Technology
That "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" certainly rings true when considering industrial conveying systems. The components side of material transfer can be the lifeline of a manufacturer, ensuring that parts get safely and efficiently from point A to point B - saving workers strenuous and expensive labor - and going where forklifts and other material handling solutions might not be able to go. Able to move a variety of shapes, sizes, weights, and materials, conveyor systems are evolving as automated operations demand 24/7 capabilities, more sustainable options, and expanding choices as the industrial sectors continue to grow.
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Supply & Demand Chain Executive
Consumer-oriented social media and social networks have existed since the mid-1990s, but they only entered the broad public consciousness in the mid-2000s. In fact, do a search for "year of the social network" on Google and you can find one source or another suggesting that every year since at least 2004 was, in fact, "The Year of the Social Network." Of course, 2004 was the year that saw the launch of Facebook, arguably the most successful of its breed to date - and the site that inspired the very movie "The Social Network."

Business use of social networks, predictably, started with Sales and Marketing, which have tended to view the networks as yet another channel for connecting out to customers. But Engineering and Product Development, too, have made use of social networks as tools for gathering consumer feedback on products to detect quality issues or to understand features in demand for future products.

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EBN
Two recent reports that gauge supply chain executives' plans in the near-term show that high-tech companies are getting ready to add new technology to their supply chain networks.

Revived interest in implementing supply chain management software comes at a time when the worldwide economy is showing signs of improvement, there is renewed growth in North American manufacturing, and many electronics companies are expanding their supply chains in Asia.

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Supply Chain Brain
All developed countries are facing a serious common demographic issue. Over the next 30 years, the number of elderly people will more than double, yet the number of people left behind to pay their government-guaranteed pension and health care benefits will rise by only 10 percent. Economists predict major tax hikes will be required to finance this demographic shift and this ultimately will result in higher rates of labor cost inflation to protect real wage rates. High-cost labor in distribution centers is already a stark reality in Western Europe, particularly in socialist countries, where fully loaded blue collar wage rates often exceed $35 per hour. This is the reason that Europe is home to so many automated material handling equipment companies.
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Material Handling & Logistics
During the long lead-up to the 2012 U.S. election, both candidates took their shots at China and claimed intentions to "bring manufacturing back home."

Also in 2012 we began hearing more about "near-shoring" "right-shoring" and "on-shoring" in the business pages and from corporate leaders. Subsequent conversations and actions have proven that there is indeed such a movement afoot, but the big picture on global manufacturing and supply chains is much more complicated.

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MHI
The White House's Office of Science and Technology released a new report on robotics research, development, and education in the United States. The Roadmap highlights recent American innovations in robotics, and the critical role of robotics in manufacturing and healthcare in the United States. It also describes areas of opportunity in the robotics domain to create new markets and new jobs, and to improve the quality of our lives. A link to the report can be found: http://robotics-vo.us/sites/default/files/2013%20Robotics%20Roadmap-rs.pdf

A Seegrid GT10 robotic industrial truck is pictured in the roadmap. According to the roadmap summary of major findings included, "Robotics technology holds the potential to transform the future of the country and is expected to become as ubiquitous over the next decades as computer technology is today. Through adoption of robots in flexible manufacturing, it is possible to generate production systems that are economically

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Naylor, LLC
Virtual-Strategy Magazine
With graduation right around the corner, we thought we would give students and even professionals of the Supply Chain and Logistics industry a little edge over their competition in the job market. The following are tips straight from our leadership team, which boasts over 70 years of experience, to help you stay one step ahead.
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Convenience Store Decisions
Lower wholesale costs for gasoline are moving through the supply chain which should again pressure retail prices, with the Energy Information Administration (EIA) last reporting in their weekly survey through March 18 a national average for regular grade at a $3.696 gallon five-week low. The average has declined for three consecutive weeks through mid-March.

Limiting the upside for gasoline prices is reduced demand compared with historical averages. On March 21, the American Petroleum Institute said gasoline deliveries, a proxy for demand, sank 3.1% in February from February 2012 to 8.4 million barrels per day (bpd). It was the lowest implied demand rate for gasoline during a February since 2001. The API also said for the first two months of 2013, gasoline demand is trailing the year prior period by 0.3%, which is also the lowest demand rate since 2001.

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Plant Services
Every organization should establish an MRO solution strategy that supports its unique business needs. "The first step is to establish a baseline for improvement," offers Rob Bennett, global product manager, asset management, Rockwell Automation (www.rockwellautomation.com). "Once a site has evaluated its need and set goals, it can begin to design a strategic asset management strategy and determine the best mix of in-house versus contracted services."
 
Bennett lists a few activities organizations often choose to contract to a vendor because they tend to drive significant value for organizations, including storeroom management, inventory management, and preventive maintenance.
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Industry Week
Returns management is often considered a process that has little effect on the enterprise as a whole. Yet evolving competitive and customer pressures as well as increasingly complex environmental regulations have made the establishment of formal returns management processes a priority for some organizations.

Returns management involves such practices as recycling, materials substitution, reuse of materials and waste disposal, as well as refurbishing, repairing and re-manufacturing returned products. According to APQC's Open Standards Benchmarking Logistics, 78% of responding organizations have adopted formal returns management practices to some degree (Figure 1). Nearly one-quarter of responding organizations have no formal returns management process at all.

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MIT Technology Review
Manufacturing in the United States is in trouble. That's bad news not just for the country's economy but for the future of innovation.

In a hangarlike building where General Electric once assembled steam turbines, a $100 million battery manufacturing facility is being constructed to make products using a chemistry never before commercialized on such a large scale. The sodium-metal halide batteries it will produce have been tested and optimized over the last few years by a team of materials scientists and engineers at GE's sprawling research center just a few miles away. Now some of the same researchers are responsible for reproducing those results in a production facility large enough to hold three and a half football fields.

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Naylor, LLC
 

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