Randall Manufacturing
Archive | Printer Friendly Version | Send to a Friend | www.mhi.org | MHI Solutions magazine April 3, 2013

A new econometric forecast model shows that there is ample potential for U.S. manufacturing to undergo a resurgence that by 2025 would lead to significantly more good paying manufacturing jobs, add to GDP growth, and help create the first surplus in the nation's goods and services balance of trade since 1975.

The study was sponsored jointly by The Aspen Institute's program on Manufacturing and Society in the 21st Century and MAPI. The economic model and expert advice used for the projections were provided by the University of Maryland's Interindustry Forecasting Project (Inforum).


If you have a dynamic information source, secure storage, an efficient means for retrieving that information, and an in-demand use for the information, then you have the backbone structure for businesses of all sorts.

If you can securely transport that information over both short and long distances without worrying about adding equipment or customizing existing infrastructure, then you are increasing the value of your business and potentially increasing your return on investment.


World Trade
The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Reauthorization Act of 2013, introduced in the Senate March 22, makes trade a top priority of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) and firmly establishes CBP and ICE under the department of Homeland Security (DHS). Introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), it also establishes three new bureaucracies and completes another.

The new bureaucracies include the Customs Facilitation and Enforcement Interagency Committee, which is supposed to improve interagency coordination regarding trade policies. The existing Customs Advisory Committee is also reformed.


Material Handling & Logistics
The DAT North American Freight Index showed a return to post-recession freight volumes during the month of February, following a record-setting January. On a year-over-year basis, freight availability declined 2.5%. Month-over-month spot freight declined 14% when compared to January's unusually high freight volumes.

Year-over-year freight availability by equipment type varied. A surge in freight for vans and reefers at the end of the month contributed to 7.6% and 7.2% increases respectively compared to February 2012. Flatbed freight declined 11% following seasonal norms.


Multi Channel Merchant
If you are an ecommerce company who buys from suppliers internationally, you are more than likely facing pressures from the competition to delivery faster and cheaper. But if there is the slightest problem in the shipment, it can lead to major problems within your business.

In order to relieve those pressures, Small Business Trends has compiled the following tips on going global with your supply chain.

Goff Enterprises

Flexible Packaging
We must all agree that sustainability is not just a fad after all, and that it is here to stay. How can we make that assessment? Legislation is nudging the packaging industry to move in the direction of a greener packaging pasture. Consumers are looking for packages that have less material to throw away. And companies are investing in earth friendly packaging innovations.

There have been some interesting developments in earth friendly flexible packaging.


According to new independent research commissioned by the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), packaging sustainability is a high priority for almost two in three decision makers at Fortune 500 consumer-product companies, the business group has announced.

The research, which polled decision makers from major consumer packaged goods companies earlier this year, revealed that one big challenge for consumer-product companies is that insufficient information is available on how to assess and compare the sustainability properties of competitive packaging materials.


Over the past two decades, companies have poured billions of dollars into improving their supply chains. These efforts, from implementing new ERP platforms to overhauling supplier selection and management processes, have delivered significant benefits: reduced cost of goods, accelerated time to market, and stronger global competitiveness.

But a weak link remains. Even the most sophisticated supply chain operation won't help manufacturers anticipate demand. Surprised? You shouldn't be. Despite all the investments made in forecasting and analytical capabilities, several key trends are working against manufacturers. Here are the top four.


Packaging Digest
Demand for recycled-content packaging materials continues to grow in the U.S. But the market and infrastructure for collecting used materials suffers somewhat from various limitations, whether they be financial, logistical or emotional.

Recently, there's been an uptick in conversations around extended producer responsibility programs (voluntary) and/or regulations (mandatory) to help boost recycling rates, which would also help improve the supply of recycled materials.


Supply & Demand Chain Executive
An efficient, well-run supply chain is essential for retailers to achieve operational, financial and customer fulfillment success. Today's retailers aren't just chasing sales; they're chasing inventory management to drive millions of dollars in revenue and expand their customer base and in some cases, their global presence. As such, efficient supply chain applications are a must as retailers cannot afford to overlook complicated internal supply chain applications that can seriously impact revenue and a customer's brand perception.

Whether items are purchased online for home delivery, picked up in-store or purchased in-store at a brick-and-mortar retailer, retailers must ensure that their back-end supply chain applications deliver exceptional performance in addition to meeting customer demand.


Brand Packaging
Sustainability is quickly becoming the next great innovation in business. As sustainability continues to grow in importance for consumers, brand owners (and not just the well-recognized "earth" brands) are seeking ways to minimize the environmental impact of everything they do.

The global containers and packaging market is forecast to have a value of $596.8 billion in 2015, with green products and packaging moving from the fringe to a best practice area. More and more, brand owners and their supply chains understand that reducing environmental impacts is not just a function of corporate responsibility; it's also good business practice. Corporate sustainability goals are driving lean manufacturing and sourcing initiatives that inherently help brands manage costs. Where investments are needed for long-term improvements, brand owners can consider looking to consumers for support, where there is now some willingness to pay more for an environmentally friendlier product.


Material Handling & Logistics
The United States remains the hardest market for British retailers to crack while Africa appears to be the most promising, according to new research from Barclays. Nearly half of British retailers (46%) surveyed by this financial services provider indicated that the U.S. is the most challenging business environment in which to achieve commercial success despite its being the current destination of choice.

However, nearly a quarter of the retailers surveyed stated that Africa's new retail growth in the next decade offers the biggest opportunity for those who make the first moves.


While the U.S. economy continues to recover, the challenges facing supply chain executives continue to mount. In our "do more with less" world, retail executives are charged with making sure they have the right product in the right place at the right time, all along the supply chain. Today's retailers are definitely stepping up to meet this new demand, but there are many complications that executives must overcome to ensure they are able to continue to perform as customers expect.

Many are occurring right in our own backyard at U.S. ports - a critical link in the global supply chain. The millions of jobs that rely on the efficient movement of goods into and out of the country are critical to the continuing recovery and overall U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.


Storefront Backtalk
The U.S. Supreme Court has removed a major barricade for cross-border E-Commerce. On Tuesday (March 19), the court ruled that so long as a product isn't pirated, U.S. retailers can import it without violating copyright law. In practice, that means an online retailer can sell U.S. customers many products that are lower priced - and were never intended to be sold in the U.S. - without breaking the law.

We're not talking about pirated goods here, but what's often called the "gray market" - legitimate products that aren't authorized for U.S. sale. Those products are usually priced lower, because they're intended for less-affluent markets than the U.S. Costco and Kmart have sold those types of products in the past and gotten into legal trouble.

Naylor, LLC

Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News
As interest in packaging security rapidly escalates, label converters have experienced heightened demand for RFID-enabled labels and product authentication features.

In many cases, label companies are also providing consultative services and system-building expertise as supply-chain participants launch RFID pilots and expand to larger-scale real-world tagging and shipment of coded product.


DC Velocity
Are robots taking over at the nation's loading and receiving docks? Not exactly, but as our November 2012 story on Frito-Lay's robotic truck loader shows, they're making inroads into what were once human-only domains.

The recent debut of a counterpart device for the receiving dock suggests the trend may be accelerating. Wynright Corp., the material handling engineering firm that developed Frito-Lay's robotic loader, has introduced the Robotic Truck UNloader (RTU) - a machine that can unload floor-loaded products from truck trailers or ocean freight containers. Its "perception" technology - similar to that used in the Wii video game, according to Wynright CEO Kevin Ambrose - allows it to navigate its way into a trailer or container and sense the sidewalls, floor, and stacks of cartons. The vision system maps the shape and dimensions of the next carton or object to be unloaded and guides the robot accordingly. This allows the RTU to pick products of mixed sizes and to pick in regular or irregular patterns.


Industry Week
Numerous obstacles stand between companies and success. The strength of a company's supply chain is one substantial hurdle. A supply relationship can make or break a company.

Even were this observation not already obvious, food and other companies need look no further than the recent European horse meat scandal to realize how supply relationships may affect brands, influence reputations and impact the bottom line. Numerous European companies have been ensnared by the fraudsters who used horse meat to turn a ground beef supply chain into a massive swindle. As a result, brand names have been tarnished. Millions of dollars have been lost. And, consumer bewilderment, anger and mistrust, fueled by social media and other tools that ease the ability of consumers and consumer advocates to communicate, are on the rise.


DC Velocity
Many companies fail to adopt and apply today's bar-code standards even though their wider use could improve supply chain efficiency and satisfy a growing consumer appetite for relevant product information, according to a new study from Capgemini Consulting, the technical standards organization GS1, and the retail group The Consumer Goods Forum.

Bar-code standards allow trading partners to read the data contained in the familiar black-and-white symbols. Traditionally, that information has been of interest only to manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and companies involved in warehousing and distribution. Now, however, mobile technologies are allowing consumers to scan the bar codes and see the data for themselves. This has led the end users to demand fresh and reliable information on product origin, ingredients, and environmental impact.


Supply Chain Brain
There's only one place where forecasting should be taking place in the supply chain today, says Martin: the retail store. "Everything else can be calculated," he adds.

Arriving at the correct numbers isn't easy, but it's not impossible. In a typical store, Martin says, 20 percent of products will sell daily and 20 percent weekly, leaving 60 percent that turn over with less frequency, and are traditionally tough to forecast accurately. "Integer forecasting" makes possible the quantification of demand for that difficult category, in a "time-phased" fashion. As sales occur, the retailer can calculate how its supply chain must perform in order to meet the balance of demand over a given period of time.

Naylor, LLC


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