It has become a popular meme that “robots are destroying our jobs.” How else do we explain today’s persistent high unemployment? While scores of pundits and analysts have made this claim in the last couple of years, perhaps no one has done more to popularize this theory than MIT scholars Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, who argue workers are, “losing the race against the machine, a fact reflected in today’s employment statistics.”
About once a year (usually during the Christmas holiday) we also delve into the depths of the dry goods cabinets, tossing some of the stuff that hasn’t moved, and restocking everything else neatly according to item, shape, size etc. If we’re lucky, the fruits of those labors might last until New Year’s Day. So why do I tell you all this, and what does it have to do with inventory?
Engineers speak a different language. My fellow engineers will label me “traitor” for confessing it, but it’s true. Of course, the language-of-engineers uses the same regional language as everyone else, but the words themselves have specific meaning to engineers that are different than everyone else’s.
Think of the amount of time commuters everywhere could gain back – without having to actually think about driving, commuters can now safely take a phone call, catch up on the news, or maybe even nap (if you’re the type to put complete trust into driverless technology).
The need for a secure and reliable energy supply is a seldom mentioned but very important driver for many nations moving towards clean and renewable energy supply. Paradoxically, the very factors that have made many nations dependent on imported energy, like being surrounded by water, can work to their benefit since many island nations have great potential for marine energy.
When a team of Dallas Morning News reporters tried to answer what they thought was a simple, straightforward question about the frequency of chemical accidents, they found a mare's nest of conflicting and incomplete statistics.
A repeated theme in post comments, e-mailed questions, and discussions about various process and business improvement methodologies is doubt about the real potential of process improvement methods. Can we really improve processes to an optimal level, or can a process only be improved to a limited degree before it must be completely scrapped and re-invented?
A topic that doesn’t seem to come up, at least via outlets that are 3D-printer friendly (which are in a powerful majority at this point), is the proliferation of piracy thanks to the quickly emerging 3D-printer market. Much like Napster brought a slapped major record labels across the face, 3D printing is poised to make major manufacturers shake in their boots… maybe.
Based on many of the comments left behind on yesterday’s announcement that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. would be holding a summit on U.S. manufacturing, there’s a fair amount of skepticism over the company’s motives, particularly considering its long history of sourcing a vast majority of products from overseas.
Fracking is dramatically increasing the recoverable reserves of America carbon-based energy supplies. but yesterday I just paid $4.15 to fill up my car at the USA gas station in Cardiff, Calif. There is a huge disconnect between supply and the price at the pump.
Each of us has a nemesis process; that process that we engage regularly and that drives us crazy because of its inefficiency, its guarantee to waste our time or energy, and some variety of reasons that prevent it from being reasonably improved. Some of us have more than one.
Anyone familiar with risks and accident histories knows that for every major disaster in a reasonably complex system, there are usually several less damaging minor incidents that can be called near misses or close calls. The May 27 intrusion at Oak Ridge is just such a near miss.
As the rise in temporary workers continues to affect our industry, it’s important that plant managers have a strategy for managing this new crop of personnel. Many plant-wide initiatives, like a strong safety culture, for example, are grassroots efforts that come from the ground up.
If I were to take a poll of readers, collecting the answer to the question, “What one business process is obviously wasteful and also too difficult to fix,” I think I can predict what a common answer might be. Take a moment to consider your own answer to the question.
Why is it that the most important, most powerful, most effective methods, tools, or practices are also the most difficult? Answering that question might be a challenge to keep the philosophy professors busy for a good, long time. For now, accept your grandfather’s axiom that what is worth doing, is worth taking our time to do.
Standards have the power to turbo-charge innovation and fuel business growth. From design and manufacturing to distribution and marketing, all products and services are affected at some point by standardization. But standards and conformance also impact the strength of the American workforce.
Cars that are engineered to last longer require that you buy fewer of them in a lifetime. Remember when a car that ran for 100,000 miles was a good car? I do. Now a 200,000 mile or 250,000 mile life is considered a good car. Engineers (aided by competition) did that. And not just American engineers. Engineers all over the world.
It’s well documented that the difficulty in landing a 2000 pound vehicle on a planet that is 248 million km (154 million miles) away, travelling at speeds up to 300 times that of a Formula One racecar and experiencing a temperature range of more than 3000° F (-463 to +2637) is, for lack of a better word, ENORMOUS.
As obesity rates continue to rise in the U.S., many Americans are turning to food and beverage products which use artificial sweeteners. But a new report suggests that products containing these “faux sugars” may not be as sweet as they seem.
It seems especially puzzling considering that each of the continuous improvement methodologies I have studied insists that true success comes not from organized events, but instead it comes from everyone exercising the improvement methodology every day on large and small opportunities alike.