Randall Manufacturing
Archive | Printer Friendly Version | Send to a Friend | www.mhi.org | MHI Solutions magazine May 8, 2013
 
Swisslog
MHI
The Manufacturing Leadership Council and Frost & Sullivan recently released the results of a study titled Factories of the Future: Building Fast-Moving, Highly Automated Future Factories and Plants. The survey details how manufacturing executives and their companies are thinking about and planning for next-generation factories and plants.
 
Many of the long-term, transformational trends under way in the manufacturing industry today - the shift to build to order, the digitization of business and production processes, the desire for greater speed and agility throughout the business - are reflected in the survey results. The study finds that over the next five to ten years, manufacturing will trend to highly automated facilities, staffed with computer-literate people who have a penchant for collaboration, and where the "Perfect Order" is the rule not the exception.
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EBN
Now that we're all connected and responding 24x7 via any number of devices, of course there would be a loud corresponding call to have a "real-time supply chain," too.
 
A complex world, running on follow-the-sun supply chains, requires a hyper-connected and super responsive operation that goes beyond best-guess demand planning and forecasting, right?
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Triple Pundit
Green businesses are under increasing pressure these days to demonstrate that the supply chain they manage for the production and distribution of goods is just as sustainable and dependable as the products and services they sell.
 
Even companies that didn't start out with an eye on sustainability are now taking steps to demonstrate that they support a reduced carbon footprint in all facets of their industry.
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Material Handling & Logistics
The 10.2 percent year-over-year gain in domestic container volume in the first quarter of 2013 represents the sixth consecutive quarter of 10 percent plus increases, and the second highest volume in domestic container history, according to the Intermodal Association of North America's Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report.
 
Overall, intermodal growth accelerated 4.5 percent in Q1, from the previous year's level. Factors contributing to these volume gains include stronger than expected consumer spending and continued growth in intermodal market share based on tight highway capacity and solid railroad service performance.
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Harvard Business Review
The collapse of the building with garment factories that killed more than 400 people in Bangladesh last week brings a hideous sense of déjà vu. We've seen this before, and we know that it will happen again. The rich billion of us who live lives of material luxury unimaginable to the vast majority of the world - and beyond the dreams of our own recent forebears - pause momentarily from our addictive consumption; we frown at the traumatic images, shrug, and move on. We know that we are somehow complicit in the moral chain that links our cheap clothes with collapsing factories, but we feel powerless to respond. So here are three radical suggestions for transforming the field of supply chain ethics. They aren't going to be adopted anytime soon. But maybe they will help advance the debate a notch.
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Goff Enterprises
Industry Week
Collaborating with suppliers is one of the basic tenets of supply chain management; after all, if you're not actively communicating with your external partners, there's no real chance that you'll gain any competitive advantage by leveraging those relationships.
 
And yet, as technology has not only flattened the world but made it that much easier for the bad guys to threaten us, companies are understandably skittish about exactly how much they want to share throughout the supply chain in all its incarnations.
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Supply & Demand Chain-Executive
The next time that you pop open a soda can, take a slightly closer look - not at the beverage itself, but at the can that contains it. What you may not notice is that the soda can is a quintessential example of product design for supply chain. When soft drink manufacturers switched from cone top to flat top soda cans in 1957, the change made cans much easier to stack, transport and store on shelves, resulting in tremendous costs savings for companies in the industry.
 
The soda can revolution is an example of how product design for supply chain can drive efficiency and costs savings into a business. Today, almost 50 years later, efficient product design is not just a way of squeezing out cost savings, but a competitive weapon to be leveraged for strategic advantage.
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EBN
Can social networking enhance the buyer-seller relationship in the electronic components market? That's the subject of a discussion in the electronics components supply network on LinkedIn.
 
The consensus of most participants is that social networking is an up-and-coming way to get the word in the business-to-business space but not necessarily as a platform to close sales. At least one company, FTDI Chip of Birmingham, UK, revealed a proactive strategy of engaging with engineers and potential customers over LinkedIn and Facebook. Some participants expressed the concern that once B2B social networking catches on, it may get clogged with a lot of the nonsense one sees in general social media chatter.
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Supply Chain Brain
The inaugural KPMG Green Tax Index measures how countries are using taxes to influence corporate sustainability behavior. The index, which ranks each country's green-tax incentives and tax penalties, shows which areas of the world are the most tax-friendly for corporate sustainability initiatives.
 
The idea for the index sprang from discussions with clients, though the Green Tax Index measures countries' initiatives and not individual corporations' efforts. But as John Gimigliano, principal-in-charge of sustainability tax at KPMG's Washington national tax practice notes, the index satisfies corporate inquisitiveness over which countries would be the best investment for their sustainability efforts. Clients, according to Gimigliano, often say "all of our growth is outside of the U.S. Can you tell me about France or Singapore?"
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MHI
The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure's Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, chaired by Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr., recently held its first hearing to highlight the importance of freight transportation to the U.S. economy and what challenges there are to improving the efficiency and safety of transporting goods throughout the country.
 
The Panel heard from witnesses representing the spectrum of freight transportation – aviation, maritime transportation, highways, and rail – as well as labor. The heads of FedEx, Norfolk Southern, Werner Enterprises, the South Carolina Ports Authority, and Transportation Trades Department testified.
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DC Velocity
High-tech giant Hewlett-Packard is placing a new emphasis on reverse logistics. And it's not just because of the high return rates that have historically plagued the electronics industry (although that remains an issue). It's also because the more outmoded electronics and print cartridges HP recovers, the closer it comes to its corporate goal of recycling 2 billion pounds of electronics by the end of 2010. Last summer, the company reached a major milestone in its recycling program when it collected its first billion pounds of recycled material, hitting that target a full six months ahead of schedule. Buoyed by its initial success, HP immediately upped the ante, setting a new target of recovering its second billion pounds by 2010.
 
What HP is doing is turning trash - items that once might have ended up in dumpsters or gathered dust in the corner of a distribution center - into treasure. Instead of automatically shipping the unwanted items off to a landfill, the company mines valuable metals and other materials from them, which it then recycles into new products. In fact, the company's Long Lifecycle Business Desktop PC computer line, unveiled last summer, is made from 95 percent recycled components.
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DC Velocity
High-tech giant Hewlett-Packard is placing a new emphasis on reverse logistics. And it's not just because of the high return rates that have historically plagued the electronics industry (although that remains an issue). It's also because the more outmoded electronics and print cartridges HP recovers, the closer it comes to its corporate goal of recycling 2 billion pounds of electronics by the end of 2010. Last summer, the company reached a major milestone in its recycling program when it collected its first billion pounds of recycled material, hitting that target a full six months ahead of schedule. Buoyed by its initial success, HP immediately upped the ante, setting a new target of recovering its second billion pounds by 2010.
 
What HP is doing is turning trash - items that once might have ended up in dumpsters or gathered dust in the corner of a distribution center - into treasure. Instead of automatically shipping the unwanted items off to a landfill, the company mines valuable metals and other materials from them, which it then recycles into new products. In fact, the company's Long Lifecycle Business Desktop PC computer line, unveiled last summer, is made from 95 percent recycled components.
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Material Handling & Logistics
Few industries have had as rough a go of it in recent decades as the U.S. textile industry, which in terms of jobs has shrunk by 75% since the 1970s, from 1 million to about 240,000 today. Most of that exodus has been due to the offshoring of jobs to low-cost countries in Asia and Latin America, but that doesn't mean every U.S. textile company has thrown in the towel, so to speak. For instance, Valdese Weavers continues to produce fabric from its home base in North Carolina, and credits much of its ongoing success to lean supply chain management practices.
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Supply Management
Businesses in the food sector affected by the recent horse meat and fish scandals will now be focusing on reviewing their supply chains and processes to identify what went wrong and who is to blame. Such investigations aim to identify flaws and recommend improvements, so they can be quite damning of a business' procedures and can contain damaging information.
 
It is often incorrectly assumed simply marking a document as confidential is enough to prevent its disclosure in the circumstances of any legal claim or an investigation by a regulatory body. To ensure full non-disclosure and confidentiality protection, businesses should ensure their investigations are conducted on a legally privileged basis. Doing so will give freedom to conduct a more thorough and effective investigation.
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Industry Week
I have the good fortune of being in frequent conversation with supply chain leaders from a variety of companies across a breadth of industries. They are customers, customers' trading partners and prospects - and I feel like I'm an author interviewing experts on supply strategy and tactics for a tell-all book. I get to canvas them to see what they are working on, what challenges they are grappling with, and what clever things they're doing to improve their business.

As I listen I can't help but feel that there are traps out that have been set that definitely need to be avoided. The problem is that many players are set in their ways, or they have higher priorities for change, and as a result they are steering straight for an iceberg.

With that in mind, I want to share my observations on the five traps that chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) should avoid in 2013.
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EBN
it's not one tool a supply chain manager needs, it's another. Or maybe it's not really more tools that are needed, but rather the patience and wherewithal to understand the tools you already have and how to make them work together to do more for you.

Supply chain visibility may fall into this category.

It's debatable whether visibility should be a stand-alone system or something more comprehensive than a single software platform. And it's usually safe to say that existing ERP and warehouse management systems may not go far enough in extrapolating all the "right" data needed to increase visibility within complex, global supply chains.
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Naylor, LLC
 

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