Randall Manufacturing
Archive | Printer Friendly Version | Send to a Friend | www.mhi.org | MHI Solutions magazine April 24, 2013
In another sign that America is becoming more competitive in manufacturing, the U.S. is now equal to Mexico in "attractiveness" as a source for manufacturing operations and is on track to achieve cost parity with manufactured imports from China by 2015. That's according to new research released by AlixPartners.

The report advises that before companies set up or move production they need to perform thorough, case-by-case analyses as a number of critical factors -- including product type, location, transportation and other variables -- that can greatly impact attractiveness and cost-effectiveness.
As the supply chain struggles against eroding profit margins, retaining the value of each and every component is essential.
One of the least utilized benefits in the electronics channel is authorized distributor scrap. "Scrap" is actually a misnomer. When components stop moving or their date codes approach expiration, distributors have the option to use their suppliers' scrap allowance to refresh their inventory. Scrap is not necessarily expired product. Diminishing demand, product transitions, poor forecast signals, and delayed or cancelled orders all contribute to what amounts to inventory buildup. But even electronics components have a shelf life, and devices with aging date codes need to be removed.
Industry Week
For a time, it was fashionable to outsource manufacturing operations. Later, outsourcing to specialized firms wasn't enough. The outsourcing of manufacturing had to be directed to specialized firms in low-cost countries in order to be compliant with the latest fashion in operations strategy.
As strategic directions are crafted in 2013, four trends in global operations are emerging. These trends make it essential to lead the way in reshoring of American manufacturing for competitive advantage -- not only for sake of patriotism, but for financial sustainability and proper management of operational outcomes. The economic analysis performed a decade ago by manufacturing executives must now be re-examined.
Material Handling & Logistics
Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) initiatives often take a back seat to other priorities as managers a faced with doing more with less under austere working conditions. A new report from Aberdeen Group offers a roadmap to a more effective EH&S initiative and analyzes the supporting technology that can help with compliance and mitigate risk.
The report recommends the following steps.
Logistics Manager
The pressure is on storage and retrieval systems to provide the speed and accuracy to meet the demands of increasingly complex and diverse logistics systems.
The notion that a warehouse is a place where goods are stored for a significant period of time before being called off for delivery at leisure, seems almost archaic. The financial cost of holding stock any longer than absolutely necessary is prohibitive. And as a result, warehouses have become places where goods are not simply stored, but processed and moved on as quickly as possible.
Which region promises the greatest expansion? IBM thinks the answer is Africa. It's not alone among tech companies that are seeking new markets and trainable talent on that continent. While growth tapers off in many more developed regions, Africa offers great potential, particularly as its workforce gains access to education and technology for communication.
IBM has been in Africa for more than 60 years, where it currently has a presence in more than 20 cities. But last year, it decided to really focus on Africa to bring its revenues there up from $400 million to $1 billion by 2015.
Goff Enterprises
If Earth Day has you thinking about making your supply chain more environmentally sustainable, consider the success of Green Toys, a company that produces toys for tots made in the U.S. from 100 percent recyclable materials.
Started in 2007 as a niche brand, Green Toys has turned into a global company with products sold in 75 countries. The company sells through national retailers, including Whole Foods, Pottery Barn and Barnes & Noble, according to its co-founder and serial entrepreneur, Robert von Goeben, who declined to reveal revenues.
Supply & Demand Chain Executive
Whether operating an existing warehouse or preparing for a new distribution center, an efficient slotting plan developed from an in-depth slotting analysis is an essential element of effective distribution center and warehouse operations. Properly slotting a facility reduces expensive labor costs and dramatically improves throughput by increasing pick and replenishment efficiencies, increasing order accuracy, and reducing ergonomic risks associated with improper picking and replenishment operations. A successful slotting plan also improves the capability to meet inventory rotation requirements, such as FIFO (First In First Out) and LIFO (Last In First Out).
A recent report by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute called "Untapped resource: How manufacturers can attract, retain and advance talented women," identifies women as a potential source for funneling skilled workers into manufacturing. However, across all manufacturing sectors in the U.S., women are underrepresented in the workforce. While women represent 46.6% of the total U.S. labor force, they only comprise 24.8% of the durable goods manufacturing workforce. The proportion of women in leadership roles in manufacturing companies also lags behind other U.S. industries.
According to the survey, 51% of those surveyed cite the main driver of women's underrepresentation in manufacturing is the perception of a male-favored culture and 80% believe that manufacturers can improve their efforts to recruit women.
Material Handling & Logistics
Social media, the public cloud infrastructure and mobile technologies are moving up the purchasing priority list for executives in transportation and logistics. According to PwC's fifth annual "Digital IQ Survey," an assessment of how well companies weave information technology into the fabric of their organization, 61% of industry respondents have a single multi-year roadmap to link IT investments to the overall business plan.
PwC's survey found that strong collaborators (those who reported high strengths of relationships between the CIO and other C-suite executives) link information technology and business strategy and aggressively invest in emerging technologies. These companies also quickly adapt to market changes to maintain a competitive advantage, the study reports.
Earth Day is coming, and that means that sustainability will be mentioned a lot in the next few days. Bring up "manufacturing" in that context and people are more likely to imagine belching smokestacks than our big, blue marble floating in space. But sustainable manufacturing is very much a real concept and an important part of the environmental discussion.
Manufacturing and sustainability shouldn't be mutually exclusive. In fact, the concepts depend on one another.
Industry Week
Sales and operations planning (S&OP) has the potential to promote visibility within the enterprise and foster collaboration among business functions. However, the functions involved in the S&OP effort can vary from organization to organization. APQC asks organizations participating in its Open Standards Benchmarking in supply chain planning to indicate the business functions they involve in S&OP.
Not surprisingly, sales and marketing is involved more often than not, with more than two-thirds of responding organizations indicating that they involve this function. Less frequently involved are supply chain functions, with 65% of responding organizations indicating that they include the purchasing and manufacturing functions and less than half reporting that they include the logistics function.
Overhead Crane & Hoist
The material handling sector is likely to experience continued growth, albeit at a slower rate, attendees at this year's ProMat expo were told. Experts predict the industry could see order numbers reaching the heights of 2007 within the next two years, Nicole Robinson reports.
The material handling sector is likely to continue its growth in 2013 and 2014, although at a slower rate, it was claimed at the Material Handling Industry's (MHI) annual State of the Industry press conference held at ProMat.
Logistics Manager
The growth of online retailing and home delivery is renewing the focus on reverse logistics. Getting it wrong can be very expensive when returns can account for up to 30 per cent of shipped items.
For a long time reverse logistics represented the mopping up of mistakes. A lot of expensive, awkward and unrewarding processes, often resulting diminished value or completely wasted stock. But with online sales fuelling the growth of the omni-channel marketplace, processing returns is now a key business operation.
DC Velocity
Lift trucks are the "workhorses of the warehouse" - essential tools for shipping, receiving, picking, and putaway. But no piece of equipment can last forever; sooner or later, every lift truck will reach the point when it should be put out to pasture, so to speak.
How do you know when it's time to say goodbye? If you lease the equipment, it's not an issue - the "retirement" date will be set as part of the leasing agreement. But if you own the equipment, this can be a tough call. The key, experts say, is determining when a lift truck has reached the end of its "economic life." That's the point when the cost to operate a vehicle exceeds the value it provides, and keeping it going would be akin to throwing money away. Several factors play into that decision, including hours of operation, operating conditions, utilization rates, maintenance costs, and productivity.
Naylor, LLC


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