We are virtually bombarded by the phenomenon of data-driven headlines. On any given day we might read that cigarette smoking is on the rise, or that book sales are down, but without seeing the data plot over a long time we don’t really know what those headlines mean.
Seeing China’s manufacturing sector shrink is a trend that excites Americans, although it may not actually alleviate much of the pressure around a U.S. unemployment rate of 7.3 percent. The reality, according to many experts, is that the phenomenon is more one of nearshoring than reshoring, as many of these businesses — along with their jobs — head to Mexico.
The science of mapping performance distributions told us exactly where we could set our process controls in order to ensure virtually 100% defect-free results. It is a better method than assuming or guessing at an appropriate safety factor.
Being a technology that has been around for some 25 to 30 years, additive manufacturing (3D printing) was bound to make some intriguing changes and advances, as is expected every year. So why on Earth is 3D printing the biggest market disruptor of 2013?
Except among the deeply process-minded fellows with whom I sometimes converse, the suggestion that process mapping is a valuable market analysis and planning tool meets with argument and outright dismissal more often than it does serious consideration.
Did you ever wonder who is involved in the creation and promulgation of these standards? Most people have no idea – and it’s an incredibly important piece of business intelligence to have, since those at the table where standards are developed have the opportunity to shape the specifications and market acceptance of products and systems for every industry.
An in-depth post-mortem can actually increase confidence in a business and encourage more trust. Everyone and every business makes mistakes, and often, what separates a successful one from a failed one is the way in which they respond to the unexpected. Proving that your company can do just that should be a matter of pride, not shame.
Generally speaking, the real challenge is not solving the problem. The real challenge is managing the chaos. Everyone is so busy being busy for the sake of appearing like they are solving the problem, that no one can invest the time and attention for critical thought.
A key lean trend is consolidating suppliers and doing away with redundancies. Although this certainly creates cost efficiencies, the main suppliers who are left quite often end up providing needed parts to many companies in the same industry. And if these companies are all depending on the same supplier, or only a few suppliers, unforeseen production problems or sudden shifts in demand can easily send ripples throughout multiple systems.
Chrysler has technically been “foreign-owned” since July 2011, but the recent deal makes it all the more real: might be an American-headquartered company, but it’s also a fully-owned subsidiary of an Italian company. That’s an important distinction, one that means Chrysler simply isn’t in the same playing field as Ford and GM, no matter each of their origins.
No 105-inch TV will ever be affordable for anyone who doesn’t own a private jet — not till the tech is long past its prime, anyway. And these gargantuan show-stoppers were never really intended for (general) public consumption. CES is all about the glitz and glam, after all, and a 105-inch toy makes for great PR.
3-D printing took another leap forward when Michigan Technological University scientists invented a 3-D metal printer available at a relatively affordable price — around $1,500. Oh, and they made the instructions for building the machine, as well as the operating software and firmware, available online for anyone to download.
Have you heard about the space race? It’s not what you think. Similar to the space race that the U.S. participated in back in the 60s, China and India are vying to get to… the moon. This surge of interstellar interest seems to be in conjunction with NASA’s Curiosity rover cruising around Mars. The question is: why all the sudden interest in space exploration?
Next-generation manufacturers are particularly vulnerable when supplying other manufacturers who purchase their goods. If the buyer has the right to inspect the seller’s manufacturing technologies or otherwise has access to the seller’s manufacturing processes, innovative technologies and proprietary advancements, the rights to protect such intellectual assets may be compromised.
Researchers are concerned that the unsustainability of Moore’s law might mean the end, or at least the abrupt slowing down, of electronic development at the height of the digital era. That could herald a very dangerous time for U.S. manufacturing and consumers.
As with any publishing company, we have expanded our social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (I’m still holding out on Google+), but we often find it difficult to reach new readers in an engineering audience via these outlets
Perhaps the best idea that is most frequently abandoned across almost every industry is that of capturing lessons for posterity and for sharing to other teams and people, and also using those captured lessons to effectively educate or successfully learn from others’ mistakes.
Occurrences of shoppers discovering spiders lurking in grocery-store grapes have been reported throughout the Midwest over the past month — and the issue isn’t limited to one retail chain. Budget supermarket chain Aldi pulled all grapes from its Milwaukee locations after a consumer found a black widow spider in a package of grapes from an Aldi store in Wauwatosa, Wis.
Innovation is essential in the food industry, particularly when it comes to technologies that enhance product quality and safety. One new innovation that works to improve food safety is a “viral spray” designed to destroy potentially harmful bacteria on food products.
Peter Drucker popularized the phrase “knowledge economy” back in 1969, referring to a new generation of high tech “knowledge workers.” The truth is manufacturing pioneered the knowledge economy decades earlier and has always been highly dependent on knowledge workers. Knowing how to profitably make things that satisfy market demand better than the competition is the lifeblood of industry.