Randall Manufacturing
Archive | Printer Friendly Version | Send to a Friend | www.mhi.org | MHI Solutions magazine May 22, 2013
Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute
Material handling equipment new orders grew 7.2% in 2012 and are forecasted to grow 5.0% to 6.0% in 2013 and 10.0% or more in 2014, according to the latest Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing Forecast (MHEM) released by MHI.

"As the current US economic expansion shifts from capital expenditure driven to consumer-led, we anticipate modest, positive MHEM growth for 2013. Housing, automotive rebounds and expansion in industrial, warehouse and commercial buildings (over 69% 2014 - 2018) will contribute substantially to improved MHEM growth for 2014 and beyond," says Hal Vandiver, MHI executive consultant.

Bloomberg Businessweek
Over the past few weeks, much has been made about the transatlantic trade pact President Obama proposed in his State of the Union address, as well as the announcement that Japan will join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the U.S. hopes to wrap up this year. Largely overlooked, however, was another development in the area of trade: the leadership contest for the post of the World Trade Organization’s director general. The winning candidate, Brazil’s Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo, managed to secure the closed-door consensus that passes for a selection procedure with milquetoast statements designed to offend no one.

The lack of excitement about Azevêdo’s appointment reflects the extent to which the WTO has been marginalized in favor of trade regionalism. That’s a real problem for the U.S.: Regional approaches can’t handle a lot of the country’s most significant trade issues. The World Trade Organization, meanwhile, remains vital to national and global economic prospects.

You would expect to see government regulations, counterfeit parts, and shortened device lifecycles dominate a list of concerns that worry supply chain professionals. What's less likely to turn up on the same report are consumer safety issues and product recalls. However, a new study from independent distributor Smith & Associates shows these issues are on the top the list of priorities for many folks in the industry, too.

Asked to rank the top challenges confronted in regular supply chain forecasting and planning activities, 185 participants representing OEM, EMS, ODM, and distribution companies ranked consumer safety issues as a high-level concern, according to the survey.

Risk and Insurance
Managing their extensive supply chains is the greatest challenge facing large manufacturing companies today.

"I think that addressing their supply chain network is really the last frontier of major cost reductions for leading companies," said Jeff Dobbs, a KPMG partner and global sector chair and U.S. leader for diversified industrials, based in Detroit.

"It's a long, complex process," he said. "If you went back 20 years, many big companies were vertically integrated; they made everything from screws and bolts to the car."

DC Velocity
It's a common enough dilemma these days. Say you're a retailer looking to add an online sales channel to your operations. You have several options. You can build a new facility to handle your e-commerce distribution, you can build onto an existing facility, or you can outsource the task to a third party.

But there's another option—one that's often overlooked: You can look up. No, we're not talking about seeking heavenly guidance, though that's not a bad idea before starting any major project. We're talking about making use of the facility's vertical space.
Material Handling & Logistics
The overall economy declined slightly (at a -0.1 percent annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2012, offsetting an above-average pace of growth in the previous quarter. Spending for inventories, government defense, and net exports all fell—reversing the growth in the third quarter—and offset the positive gains in consumer spending, nonresidential investment, and residential investment. However, this does not portend another recession, according to a report from the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI).

Supply Chain Brain
Companies plan to spend more in 2013 on a range of procurement-related technologies, but they are seeking a more strategic approach to doing so. So says a survey, "Corporate Spending and Procurement Trends – 2013", was conducted by Xchanging, a business process, procurement and technology services provider and integrator.

A targeted sampling of more than 50 individuals at the Shared Services and Outsourcing Week conference in Orlando in March were polled via a 17-question, multiple-choice survey. Those polled, including procurement, finance and supply chain-related managers, as well as senior executives, indicated they have visibility into the procurement function at their companies.

Inside Supply Management
Today's ever-expanding supply chain offers businesses greater opportunities for efficiency and success in the growing global business environment. The instantaneous and constant flow of data, products and services around the world, however, brings with it a greater risk of violating the numerous and often complex U.S. trade compliance laws and regulations. Businesses that fail to set up policies and procedures to ensure compliance face risks ranging from shipment delays to hefty fines and penalties.

Fostering strong collaboration among supply management and trade compliance professionals is a good way to ensure that trade compliance does not become a stumbling block to business efficiency.

Leadership isn't just about controlling the marketing message. We can call ourselves thought leaders, but whether we really influence someone else's thoughts probably has more to do with our actions as leaders. Instead, leadership is about doing -- and doing the right thing for the company and the team.

It helps to be in reality and not be too selfish. "Never appear to be warmer than your troops" is one of the main tenets of a good military leader. It means the higher up is aware of what the foot soldiers are going though, and he or she knows that personal actions can have a positive or detrimental effect on the foot soldiers' morale. Also, that the foot soldier is important to the whole effort.

A new American national robot safety standard has been approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Developed by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012 standard has been updated for the first time since 1999 and is now harmonized with the International ISO 10218:2011 standard for robot manufacturers and integrators.

"We are excited to introduce the new standard," said Jeff Fryman, Director of Standards Development for RIA. "This has been a process which required the involvement of robotic industry leaders from across North America and all over the world. I’m proud of this new standard and thankful for efforts of everyone that participated." The adoption of the international standard allows systems designed and built in one country to be freely moved to other countries while maintaining compliance with safety regulations.
Material Handling & Logistics
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is soliciting applications under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, through which a total of $1.5 million is available to employer associations; labor unions; joint labor/management associations; nonprofit, community and faith-based organizations; and colleges and universities. The grants will fund training and education for workers and employers in recognizing workplace safety and health hazards and prevention measures, and understanding their rights and responsibilities.

Food Engineering & Ingredients
Automation has been gaining ground rapidly in the food industry over the last two decades and fully automated production lines are becoming commonplace. End-of-line packaging is an operation ideally suited to automation, yet it is still done manually in many food factories, especially small and medium sized facilities. There are a number of reasons for this, but a growing need for flexibility at end-of-line and high capital costs are both major barriers to the uptake of automated systems.

With rapid technological development, these obstacles are becoming less of an issue. Compact, robotized packing and palletizing systems bring more flexibility, while cost reduction initiatives are driving down the investment required to the point where even a small business can reap the benefits of automation.

Industry Week
Retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar, have been closely watching new legislation being debated in Congress.

Recently, the US Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, which requires online retailers generating more than $1 million in "remote" sales to collect sales tax in the state where they ship their orders. The bill is gathering some rare bipartisan steam and will soon go to the US House of Representatives for a vote.

Material Handling & Logistics
Webster's New College Dictionary (a seldom used tool in the age of Wikipedia) defines globalization as, "The act, process, or policy of making something worldwide in scope or application." This concise definition doesn't mention what manufacturers must keep in mind if they want that definition applied to their business. Successful globalization of your brand requires familiarity with the economics, politics, trade practices and cultures of all your target markets.

Globalization isn't a new concept, but trade agreements and enabling technologies are opening world markets to a wider variety of manufacturers. This concept's evolution has always been driven by entrepreneurs recognizing that desirable, scarce goods were more readily available outside their own geography, and then figuring out how to bring those goods home. Once products like silk and spices started flowing between Asia and Europe, globalization was born.

Harvard Business Review
Eighty five percent of companies with global supply chains experienced at least one supply chain disruption in the previous 12 months. Risk is inherently unpredictable. Fortunately, the current workforce is undergoing its own transformation to be able to identify and manage risk on a global basis.

For more than 35 years I have worked with companies and manufacturers around the world on supply chain related business opportunities. One thing senior executives of those firms all had in common was a relentless, positive perspective and motivation for improvements in the global supply chain. Risk management has become the pervasive mantra throughout the supply chain world, but as technology evolves the need for increased business agility is at an all-time high. As manufacturers continue to adopt more technology and become more sophisticated and global, not only do they become more vulnerable to risk, they also have more opportunities to manage risk.
Naylor, LLC


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