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.
Global shifts in costs, processes and consumer purchasing habits put the U.S. in a position to revitalizing its manufacturing sector and enhance businesses and industry at home. The only thing missing is enough skilled workers to maintain the momentum.
I started using the phrase, “check-the-box phenomenon” years ago when I was redesigning a “phase gate” structured product development process for my then employer. One of the problems we needed to solve with the new process was to reinvigorate our lost focus on doing things right the first time.
Regardless of the industry they serve, most organizations and companies have a highly vested interest in efficiently managing the energy they consume. Effective energy management is essential to helping an organization reduce emissions and conserve resources.
Could 3-D printing, also called additive manufacturing, revolutionize the production industry to the same extent as Ford's assembly line? When Michelangelo was asked how he sculpted the famous David statue, he's reported to have simply replied, "I just chipped away everything that didn't look like David."
That is how science should be done - in the open with all data and methods available for ANYONE to review. You never know who will have a missing piece of data or an insight that will cancel or compliment a published paper. Let anyone who wants to look and comment.
Those businesses or groups or teams that produce the most innovative or daring products and solutions are bold and daring of spirit. That spirit comes from the leaders and mentors that influence or drive the group’s behavior.
It is clear that food manufacturers are finding sustainable ways to dispose of their food waste, with many companies already experiencing success in this area. But there is always room for improvement.
Haven’t we overcome archaic attitudes towards women in the professional world? We certainly can’t blame the unbalance of gender to any sort of biological reasoning. After all, females are not any less scientific or mathematically capable than males.
It seems contrary to modern business practice not to have a sophisticated dashboard of business metrics to communicate and visualize the health of our organization. We especially like to observe that our process improvement programs and methods are paying off.
Unfortunately, because innovative ideas are ones no one else has, we can’t know for certain how successful those ideas will be. Likewise, because they are new and different, the development expense of innovative ideas is often high. The bottom line is that the risk of new and different ideas is great.
Making best use of resources is good, but figuring out how isn’t necessarily a Lean Event. Five-S is a good practice, but declaring an emergency just to clean up appearances for a visitor completely misses the intent. Quotas of activity do not necessarily beget improved performance.
Light defines the dining experience. It sets your expectations for what is to come…the bright lights of your neighborhood McDonald’s communicate a different story and sense of welcome than the warm, soft glow of your favorite Italian place. Light nudges us to feel while we eat, drink and share stories with friends and family.
Consider this scenario. Cities and municipalities want to control and monitor street lights remotely to save time, money and manpower. By monitoring the health and condition of street lights remotely, city workers aren't left with the task of checking each light, block by block, in order to identify a maintenance problem.
General Electric (GE), in addition to being one of the world’s largest corporations, is also considered to be one of its last true conglomerates. What started out from humble beginnings in Thomas Edison’s work shop in New Jersey has grown into a multinational behemoth. While most famous for its light bulbs that bring “good things to light,” many people don’t realize that for much of the last decade, GE was basically a bank.
I enjoyed this turn of phrase, particularly since I had recently read about a cable outage in Fairfield, CT that resulted in numerous 911 calls because it occurred in the middle of an episode of “Breaking Bad.” You are not the center of the universe. Never has this concept been required more.