Randall Manufacturing
Archive | Printer Friendly Version | Send to a Friend | www.mhi.org | MHI Solutions magazine September 4, 2014
Tauber Institute for Global Operations at University of Michigan
MHI Blog
Manufacturing activity in the United States expanded at the fastest rate since March 2011 in August, marking the fifteenth consecutive month of growth, according to the most recent Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®. The August PMI® registered 59 percent, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from July’s reading of 57.1 percent

New orders rose to 66.7, an increase of 3.3 points from 63.4 in July. The employment index grew for the fourteenth consecutive month the report said, registering 58.1, down 0.01 points from 58.2 in July. The positive report is adding to expectations of an acceleration in U.S. economic growth in the second half of 2014.
Material Handling & Logistics
After a period of economic downturn, many companies are beginning to recover and experience business growth again. While some warehousing organizations believe the next logical step in growth is to expand and establish new sites, others are realizing that less is actually more by consolidating and centralizing operations.

Typically, large corporations have a main on-site warehouse, accompanied by multiple external locations. Managing geographically dispersed satellite warehouses requires labor-intensive efforts that can compromise productivity, especially when the organization is handling a high volume of orders that require picking products stored in disparate warehouses. This becomes a logistics nightmare, as workers are trying to aggregate these scattered items in order to send them to a single destination.
Information Week
Control freaks, blame games, and other misguided attempts at building a better business through IT outsourcing.

There's still no script for the Great American IT outsourcing project. But today's most common outsourcing pitfalls have less to do with technology and everything to do with relationships and communication. Or lack thereof.
Nevertheless, communication breakdowns and finger pointing frequently derail even the best-laid outsourcing plans. Here are four missteps to avoid.
World Trade
For companies engaged in international trade, securing their global supply chain is a constant and massive undertaking that requires swift and secure processes. Those processes will need to be fine-tuned on a regular basis as the value and productivity of world trade continue to rise. Consider that by 2020, world trade in goods is expected to tally $35 trillion — two-and-a-half times 2010 levels. This boost in trade activity could be a boon for business, but it also means increased risks.
Currently, about five million shipments move through and across the United States, presenting potential targets for terrorists and smugglers. To be proactive against this threat, companies can manage their supply chains through the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).
Vidir Inc.
Doug Pasquale, senior vice president of supply chain solutions for Ingram Micro Mobility, shared with Apparel magazine his insights on supply-chain strategies ahead of the crucial holiday season. 
Manufacturing Business Technology 
England’s King George III has repeatedly been criticized for writing that "nothing of importance happened today," on July 4, 1776.

Many of today’s companies may be guilty of making the same mistake, at least when it comes to supply chain management — because right now there are several such "nothings" happening all across the world.  
Google GOOGL +1.15% owns search.  Except in one area, product searches.  When it comes to product searches many prospective consumers start by going to the Amazon web site.

Google is trying to do to Amazon, what Amazon has done to traditional bricks and mortar retailers, crush them.

In the last quarter, Amazon’s sales rose 23 percent; yet another quarter of double digit growth. Investors are tiring of Amazon’s poor earnings performance.  That, however, provides little solace to other retailers – like Walmart and Sears – who are reporting little to no growth in sales at US stores open at least a year.
No more teacups! It's time to get real when it comes to 3D printing.

Are you like me? Every time I see yet another pastel-colored mug advertising the wonders of 3D printing, I cringe. The whole idea of advertising such a high-potential technology with a decades-old gee-whiz approach galls me. 3D printing is a powerful tool in the hands of professionals. It can do jobs that no other manufacturing technology can touch, and it allows economic production of small runs.

The choice of that mug design highlights a problem with printing. The output-side technology (the printer) is well evolved, but the input side has languished. The printing technology has failed to take off and isn't yet fully adequate to the job. That doesn't make the printers unusable, of course, but they don't exploit the full potential of 3D.
Western Pacific Storage Systems
Manufacturing Business Technology 
They’re starting to get it now. After five years of contraction, stagnation and only modest growth, senior business executives who have been trying to squeeze inefficiency out of their supply chains are seeing how they can leverage technology to turn their warehouses into a competitive advantage.

Smart warehouse and supply chain managers have been making the case for years — companies that can fulfill orders faster and more accurately and with heightened focus on pleasing end customers can gain market share, revenue and profits.
MHI Blog
There is growing consumer and regulatory demand for sustainable and transparent companies and business practices. This demand presents opportunities for companies to develop, improve, and showcase their commitment to sustainability while also growing their businesses. Though sustainable business practices are often costly to implement, they save money in the mid- to long-term while also serving as a valuable marketing tool. Sustainability reports are the most valuable of these tools.

In these reports, companies can outline their sustainability initiatives, discuss their business practices and models, as well as market themselves as progressive, consumer-conscious, and regulatory-compliant organizations. 
Supply Chain Digital
The key elements to a successful supply chain operation include awareness and visibility, responsiveness and resiliency, and I’ll dedicate a blog post to each of these elements.

As I write this post, I’m using a desk lamp from Restoration Hardware. For most, it’s a simple lamp that turns on and off and dims if the mood is right; it looks good and it works. It was designed, sourced, manufactured, shipped and sold to many satisfied customers, the majority of whom remain happily clueless about how their lamp came to be.

But for those of us in the supply chain business, that lamp represents a manufacturing triumph. We know that any little hiccup in the process can have an adverse effect on the bottom line. Did the lampshade fabric from my source in India get delayed by a monsoon? Did my wire vendor have a production issue that resulted in product quality issues and a lower than ordered quantity?
Multichannel Merchant
While pop-up retail is not new – dating back to California-based Vacant in 1999 – the concept of pop-up distribution centers is a fairly new one. Following the same idea, it involves setting up a temporary distribution center in a specific location for a set period of time to meet a temporary need, then shutting it down.

The following is a Q&A with Doug Brochu, CEO of Bridge Solutions Group, a provider of IBM omnichannel and supply chain technology solutions, who talks about what a pop-up distribution center is, how it operates and the benefits for merchants.
Berner International Corporation
Your supply chain is the biggest source of risk in your entire operation. Unfortunately, there are many day-to-day aspects that you’ll never be able to completely control or manage. Sometimes, you’ll need to rely on the strength and diligence of your partners to make sure your operations are safe.

To help you create a safer supply chain, we’ve put together seven pillars of security.
Industry Week
When we think of becoming Lean, in many ways, the ultimate process strategy to accomplish this is what is known as "Mass Customization." This refers to production in batch sizes of one to meet customer specific demand. Mass customization combines the low unit costs of mass production processes with the flexibility of individual customization.

Not too many manufacturers have reached this point yet, although some are headed in that direction.
How has cross-border transportation evolved over the last few years? And what is the potential for intermodal in Mexico? We get some answers from Ben Enriquez, country director with Transplace Mexico, and Danny Beers, Mexico intermodal project leader with Transplace.
Engineering Innovation


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