Randall Manufacturing
Archive | Printer Friendly Version | Send to a Friend | www.mhi.org | MHI Solutions magazine September 25, 2013
Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute
The U.S. skills shortage will be far less of a problem than many people believe in the short term, and it is unlikely to prevent a resurgence in U.S. manufacturing in the next few years, according to a report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report is titled The U.S. Skills Gap: Could It Threaten a Manufacturing Renaissance?

"Is the U.S. really facing a manufacturing-skills crisis?" the report asks. "We believe such fears are overblown—at least for the near term. Our research finds little evidence of a meaningful and persistent skills gap in most parts of the U.S., including in its most important manufacturing zones."
The New York Times
The old textile mills here are mostly gone now. Gaffney Manufacturing, National Textiles, Cherokee — clangorous, dusty, productive engines of the Carolinas fabric trade — fell one by one to the forces of globalization. 

Just as the Carolinas benefited when manufacturing migrated first from the Cottonopolises of England to the mill towns of New England and then to here, where labor was even cheaper, they suffered in the 1990s when the textile industry mostly left the United States. 
Procurement specialists practice all year just to prepare for the last few months on the calendar. During this time the need to streamline sales and operational planning increases, which means having visibility into the supply chain logistics carriers distribution channels (whether by air, land, and sea) is extremely important.

Keeping demand and fulfillment in sync with consumption and sales will be the biggest challenge for electronics companies this holiday season, according to Ann Grackin, Chainlink Research CEO. This may seem daunting, since the Asia-to-US ocean traffic crowds up quickly with the shipment of holiday goodies (electronics, toys, clothes, etc.), she said.
The proliferation of 3D printing feels like a "this changes everything" moment. So far, the technology is still a novelty for the average consumer, appearing in maker spaces and the like where people can use them on occasion.

But change is coming. Slowly, the devices are making their way into businesses; some experts believe, they’ll make their way into homes one day. How will that change the world?
Vidir Inc.
Industry Week
Distribution centers’ newest tool isn’t a robot. It’s a data point. Despite manufacturing heavies in the automotive and electronic sectors integrating robotic and automation into their assembly lines, machines aren’t replacing distribution center employees just yet. Humans add flexibility and valuable problem-solving acumen to many tasks.

There is, however, an emergence of advanced software technologies that are helping distributors make the most of their human workforce though advanced planning and management capabilities.
Material Handling & Logistics
In recent years, safety has taken on a new level of importance as more plants and distribution centers have automated and, in many cases, added robotics. Because of this, EN ISO, RIA (Robotics Industry Association) and other regulatory bodies have overhauled and revised their guidelines and requirements. 

While those regulatory changes have resulted in improved safety and other benefits, they have made what was already an often misunderstood subject even more complicated. Adding to the confusion is the fact that not all aspects or components of the automated or robotic systems are covered by the same codes or regulations as the robot portion alone – such as end-of-line stretch-wrapping operations. A brief overview of the new industrial safety regulations and best practices is in order.
World Trade
When Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger took off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport and landed in the Hudson River over six minutes later, technically speaking, his flight was a failure. However, we recall it as a success because his skilled response managed to keep every person aboard alive. He demonstrated just how much of a difference the right approach to dealing with contingency can make.

Those of us in the logistics industry can surely relate; we have the potential to experience any number of disruptive events in the course of our jobs. Like Sullenberger, we cannot always control how, when or where these contingencies will happen. However, we can mitigate their effects on our supply chains, provided we are willing to employ risk management practices, tools and techniques.
Randall Manufacturing
The Georgia Center of Innovation and Logistics has released its September Logistics Market Snapshot. The monthly report provides a quick, real-time look at the facts, figures, rates, and volumes driving the global logistics market. This report complies data from various transportation modes, warehousing and distribution and the economy at large.
Manufacturing Business Technology
Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about the new and emerging technologies in manufacturing that are likely to produce major industry changes in the coming months and years. One such area of technology, as identified by the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) group, is remanufacturing.

But what exactly does that mean?

Over the years, the industry has come to realize that one-way, non-circular processes that take products from manufacturers to landfills are no longer sustainable. This is because the negative environmental and economic impacts of simply discarding manufactured products that reach their "end of life" have become too great to ignore. 

Surveys sometimes surprise me. A recent one from Motorola Solutions Inc., for instance, got me thinking about what lies ahead in a part of the supply chain that often isn't considered sexy, but is important from a cost and inventory management standpoint.

Motorola Solutions' Future of Warehousing Survey indicates that mounting market and corporate pressures, plus a push to capture new opportunities, could lead to significant expansion in the number of warehouses and distribution centers companies operate. 
Peek through the inspection windows of the nearly 100 three-dimensional (3D) printers quietly making things at RedEye, a company based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and you can catch a glimpse of how factories will work in the future. It is not simply that the machines, some as big as delivery vans, run day and night attended by just a handful of technicians. Instead it is what they are making that shows how this revolutionary production process is entering the manufacturing mainstream.

3D printers make things by building them up, a layer at a time, from a particular material, rather than removing it by cutting, drilling or machining—which is why the process is also called additive manufacturing.
Western Pacific Storage Systems
Supply Chain Brain
The issue of obtaining effective supply-chain talent is a crucial one for executives today. Over the last decade, says Stiffler, the demands on supply-chain managers have become elevated. It’s uncertain whether the current crop of would-be supply-chain specialists is equipped to deal with those changes.

In addition, the pool of talent is shrinking. Baby Boomers are beginning to depart the workforce, taking with them a substantial amount of knowledge and investment by their employers. Meanwhile, the next generation of workers is harboring "fundamentally different" expectations, including the degree to which they’re willing to commit to a company over the long term.
Business Insider
Rail traffic showed more signs of positive economic growth this week as intermodal traffic rose 4.9% compared with the same week last year.  Total traffic was up 3.1% and the 12 week moving average in intermodal rose to 3%.  That’s the highest reading since May of this year.  The AAR has some more details:

"The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported increased weekly rail traffic for the week ending September 14, 2013 with total U.S. weekly carloads of 296,221 carloads, up 1.5 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 265,873 units, up 4.9 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 562,094 combined carloads and intermodal units, up 3.1 percent compared with the same week last year.
World Trade
In the ever-evolving 3PL sector, the time is ripe for convergence as some 3PLs are moving to become one-stop shops to receptive shipper customers. And, for other 3PLs seeking to achieve economies of scale and reduce their costs, or buy up and "master" a sector, consolidation is the answer.

With all of this activity, it is important for 3PLs to take the right steps and equally important for their customers to be aware of what is best practice — and what are the realities with their 3PLs — during major transitions.
Naylor, LLC


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