Randall Manufacturing
Archive | Printer Friendly Version | Send to a Friend | www.mhi.org | MHI Solutions magazine April 2, 2014
Tauber Institute for Global Operations at University of Michigan
Think hybrids that go 60 miles on a gallon are efficient? Trains can go eight times as far with 2,000 pounds in their backseat. And they’re only getting smarter.

Trains are no longer the lumbering hunks of metal of the 20th century. Today’s locomotives are computers on wheels, and they’re beginning to take business from fuel-guzzling semi-trucks.
Modern Materials Handling
As the economy continues to improve, we in supply chain find ourselves once again in the position of searching for talent to replenish our organizations. The problem whether we have the talent pool with the right set of skills for the challenges we face in the market today? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, logistics jobs are expected to grow by 22% by 2022 or nearly double the rate of all other professions.

Accompanying this growth is a rapidly shrinking pool of qualified professionals to address the growth of our industry and the continued effectiveness of our logistics and supply chain organizations to support corporate competitiveness and profitability.
Material Handling Product News
It’s counter-intuitive. That was my first thought listening to a presentation by Suzanne Berger at last week’s Crossroads 2014 hosted by the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. Berger is a professor of political science, co-chair of the new Production in the Innovation Economy project at MIT and the author of Making In America. She wrote the book following a multi-year research project into U.S. manufacturing conducted by a team of 20 MIT faculty members and a number of graduate students. Their report was released last fall. 

While much has been written about outsourcing, trade deficits and a shortage of talent, Berger and her colleagues drew some conclusions that are counter-intuitive to the usual narrative. Here were a couple of my key takeaways. 
Vidir Inc.
Information Age
The future explosion in the number of intelligent devices will create a network rich with information that allows supply chains to assemble and communicate in new ways, according to Gartner. The analyst firm forecasts that a 30-fold increase in internet-connected physical devices by 2020 will significantly alter supply chain leader information access and cyber-risk exposure. 
The transportation sector underwent some exciting changes in 2013. The airline industry further consolidated with the completion of the American Airlines/US Airways merger, airports in North America improved the passenger experience through automated border-clearance kiosks, and companies in the trucking sector experimented with alternative fuels, such as compressed natural gas instead of diesel. (Moreover, if Jeff Bezos is to be believed, Amazon will soon dominate home delivery through the deployment of a fleet of flying parcel drones!) No doubt, then, exciting things are in store for 2014 and beyond.

Based on our conversations with transportation company executives, we find that many are wrestling with the immense changes that technology is bringing to the sector—including both threats and opportunities.
Very often, we think about getting more women involved in the supply chain as a change that will benefit the female gender. Truly, though, smart supply chain organizations understand that they are well served in bringing more talented women into the organization simply because it will be good for the business. 

Brian Schwartz, CEO Ernst & Young, Australia articulated it this way: "Women are 50% of the equation. Choosing not to work with women is like trying to progress with one hand tied behind your back."
Material Handling & Logistics
Consumers everywhere are demanding faster access to the retail goods they purchase – with next-day delivery having practically become the norm, and same-day delivery and in-store pickup on the rise. Similarly, for many manufacturers and operators of industrial processes, demand is growing for near-real time access to replacement inventory and spare parts to ensure uninterrupted operation.

To meet this customer demand, a growing number of distributors and centralized inventory management warehouses are working on improving warehouse management. The goal is to use a combination of automation technologies and improved workflow processes to reduce the time required to pick, pack and ship items.
Western Pacific Storage Systems
Supply Chain Brain
Top U.S. airports are engaged in a fight for a larger share of the challenged U.S. air cargo market, according to JLL's annual Airport Outlook Report. With world trade growing faster than demand for air cargo, both airports and air carriers face a significant challenge – how can they attract airfreight and fend off competition from other cheaper modes of transport such as intermodal and trucks?
Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rebounded in February, but a surprise drop in a gauge of planned spending on capital goods pointed to sluggish economic growth this quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday orders for durable goods increased 2.2 percent, ending two straight months of declines. Durable goods are items like toasters and aircraft that are meant to last three years or more.
Today’s supply chains seem to be full of challenges. From issues overseas with worker safety at factories to those impacting operations at U.S. ports to the ever-changing regulatory environment, retailers’ supply chains need to be prepared for whatever challenge they face. This can only be accomplished by working in true partnership with everyone in your supply chain — and it’s a partnership that can turn those challenges into opportunities.
We have seen numerous issues arise impacting the workforce with key trading partners. Most significant have been workplace safety issues in Bangladesh. After the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013, retailers and brands recognized the need to make changes when it came to social compliance programs and factory safety. North American retailers.
Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute
The Internet of Things has ignited a frenzy in the tech and design worlds. As devices are engineered to be smaller and become increasingly embedded in our clothing and appliances, the capacity for connectivity is growing. It's not just the tech elite who have access to these functions; as engineers are taking a hands-on approach to IoT design, the phenomenon is propelling them forward.

Whether we are looking at a web-enabled thermostat, a tweeting toaster, or (in the case of an element14 design challenge) a device connecting our cars to Google Maps, the Internet of Things is coming of age. As the technology becomes even more democratized, supply and distribution professionals have the opportunity to become leaders in the IoT industry. Adopting the right approach will be essential in determining who comes out a winner.
The Guardian
The move to re-shore US manufacturing faces significant hurdles. In January, the Institute for Supply Management, a nonprofit tracking the health of the US manufacturing sector, reported that its primary measure, the Purchasing Managers Index, had fallen from the previous month. Yet the 254,941 US manufacturers (according to the last census) show promising signs of growth.
U.S. manufacturing activity slowed in March after nearing a four-year high last month, but the rate of growth and the pace of hiring remained strong, an industry report showed on Monday.

Financial data firm Markit said its "flash" or preliminary U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index slipped to 55.5 from 57.1 in February. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.
Seegrid Corporation


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