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.
The term “cost” means an expenditure that we pay to move on or to continue business. It will not offer a profitable return. It is money lost. Alternatively, “investment” means money that we set aside or spend now in order to achieve a greater return later. If we look the pursuit of quality correctly, we see it as an investment, not a cost.
Why do we collect and analyze data? I believe that answering this question is critically important each and every time we step into a data analysis exercise. I say that because if we don’t keep our purpose foremost in mind while we are analyzing data, we stand a good chance of interpreting information that may not be real.
Developers and techies alike will pay close attention to how this case resolves. If a judge deems Google Glass to much of a distraction, an array of developers will have to rethink apps they are building for the road.
After decades of outsourcing, the resurgence in domestic manufacturing is now America’s favorite comeback story. Factors that once drove companies overseas — including labor and energy costs — are no longer considered insurmountable obstacles. Yet one troubling trend could signal a major complication for returning manufacturers: our nation’s increasing reliance on unstable supply chains of imported minerals.
Wednesday night, I heard, to my dismay, that the sole manufacturing facility for Sriracha hot sauce, located in Irwindale, Calif., may be shuttered. According to the city, allegations of burning eyes and throats have been rolling in — 30 or so in all, according to the Los Angeles Times — and it’s become enough for the city to declare the plant a “public nuisance” in violation of local ordinances regarding untoward odors.
Roughly a year ago, GE and other thought leaders in the industry — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Alcoa and The Manufacturing Institute — launched the Get Skills to Work initiative, a coalition aimed at closing the skills gap and specifically, to supporting veterans as they transition to careers in advanced manufacturing.
Consider the last time that you were invited or directed to attend training on a method to be applied to your own work. It might have been leadership training, process training, Six Sigma training, a Lean workshop, or training on the use of a new machine. The subject doesn’t matter.
Last Saturday, October 19, was the date of the Second Annual Global Frackdown. In case you didn't hear, the Global Frackdown is an international day of activism on which people who believe that global warming is an oncoming train that's about to knock us silly, gather in groups and protest the oil industry's practice of fracking.