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Daily news and top headlines for manufacturing professionals

Plan Aims To Elevate Michigan As Logistics Hub

February 12, 2014 11:05 am | by Michigan Economic Development Corporation | News | Comments

The newly established Commission for Logistics and Supply Chain Collaboration, which holds its first meeting Feb. 11, aims to develop a statewide strategy featuring a partnership between government and industry in the pursuit of raising the international profile of Michigan’s logistics capabilities.

Wholesale Evolution

February 11, 2014 4:05 pm | by Ranga Bodla, Director of Industry Marketing, Manufacturing W/D | Articles | Comments

Wholesale distribution companies are under increasing pressure to reassert their role in the broader supply network. Direct-to-consumer sales by manufacturers threaten to erode margins. The launch of sets the stage for B2B buyers to take advantage of economies of scale that are virtually impossible for mid-market distributors to match.

S.C. Exporters Post Record $26.1B Sold To 202 Countries

February 11, 2014 3:02 pm | by S.C. Department of Commerce | News | Comments

The 2013 figures, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration, represent a nearly four percent increase in South Carolina's export value, which was $25.1 billion in 2012 and previously an all-time record for the state.


Oreo Maker Mondelez To Close Philly Bakery

February 7, 2014 8:09 am | News | Comments

Mondelez International Inc., the maker of Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers, said Thursday that it will close a Philadelphia bakery by 2015 as part of a plan to restructure its supply chain and save money. The Deerfield, Ill.-based snack food maker said the closing will affect about 350 employees.

Why ERP Doesn’t Work, And Steps To Fix The Problem

February 5, 2014 2:18 pm | by Robert Byrne, CEO of Terra Technology | Articles | Comments

While a key enabler for the modern supply chain, ERP is often mistaken as the single universal solution to meet every need. Whether the result of over-aggressive vendors or self-imposed rationalization to justify the large investment, the outcome is the same: disappointment with supply chain functionality.

ISM: Extreme Weather Cools Down Manufacturing

February 5, 2014 11:50 am | by Jon Minnick, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology | Articles | Comments

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in January for the eighth consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 56th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

MAPI: January Factory Slowdown 'Worrisome'

February 4, 2014 9:38 am | News | Comments

“While U.S. manufacturing continued its growth into the new year, survey data from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed that the pace of factory activity slowed considerably. The overall Index fell by 5.2 percentage points from 56.5 in December to 51.3 in January, still signaling overall output advances but at a far more muted pace."

Groups: Meat Labeling Rules Could Start Trade War

February 4, 2014 7:55 am | by Dirk Lammers, Associated Press | News | Comments

Country of original labeling supporters, including consumer groups, environmental groups and some independent farmers, say the requirements give consumers valuable information. But livestock groups and meatpackers say it's costly to have to segregate and track animals along the entire supply chain.


Q&A: How Amazon Could Change 'B2B'

February 3, 2014 11:14 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, | Articles | Comments

Amazon Supply’s stated goal is “to provide earth’s largest, easiest-to-research, discover, and access selection of professional products required to support the maintenance, repair, operations, and project needs of business and professional customers.” And it's already creating disruption in the larger business-to-business buying ecosystem.

Honda Becomes Net Exporter In The U.S.

January 28, 2014 12:51 pm | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, | News | Comments

Throughout 2013, the company exported 108,705 U.S.-made Honda and Acura vehicles while importing 88,537. In addition, the company achieved record production levels of 1,309,917 units on American soil — a 7.4 percent increase over the previous record in 2012.

One Solution To Ending Train Derailments

January 22, 2014 4:54 pm | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, | News | Comments

Amid a few newsworthy derailments of trains carrying crude oil, energy companies and the public alike are concerned about the future of the U.S. rail infrastructure and what can be done in the near future to mitigate potentially serious and deadly incidents.

GM Fairfax Supplier To Open Plant In Mo.

January 22, 2014 8:24 am | News | Comments

A General Motors supplier that manufactures acoustic insulation plans to open a new plant in Warrensburg. Michigan-based Janesville Acoustics announced Tuesday that the plant will supply the Chevrolet Malibu model built at GM's Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kan. The plant is expected to create 164 jobs in the next two years.

Smalley Receives Back-to-Back GM Excellence Awards

January 16, 2014 11:49 am | News | Comments

For the second consecutive year, Smalley is pleased to have received General Motor’s prestigious GM Suppler Quality Excellence award. The company develops and manufactures retaining rins, constant section rings, snap rings and more, in standard configurations and non-standard sizes at no additional charge.


Most Innovative Companies #3: Starbucks

January 15, 2014 12:17 pm | Articles | Comments

Our #3 choice is a very well-known one: Starbucks. Starbucks recently won the AME’s Manufacturing Excellence Award, and is using unique and innovative managerial techniques in order to streamline production and boost efficiency. Starbucks’ Carson Valley production branch went Lean in 2009, and has tweaked its procedures in company areas like shelving, interaction with partners, company safety and plant improvement.

U.S. Import Prices Drop, Export Prices Rise In December

January 14, 2014 9:46 am | by Bureau of Labor Statistics | News | Comments

U.S. import prices recorded no change in December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, following declines of 0.9 percent in November and 0.6 percent in October. In December, higher fuel prices offset declining nonfuel prices. U.S. export prices advanced 0.4 percent in December, after edging up 0.1 percent the previous month.

Harnessing Big Data With A Systems Thinking Approach

January 13, 2014 11:46 am | by Tom Kadala, Founder and CEO of Alternative Technology Corporation | Articles | Comments

 With 90 percent of the world’s data created in the last two years, what can we expect our data vaults to hold two or even twenty years from now? Companies who are hiring data scientists with the hopes of harnessing big data and data analytics' mythical promises are potentially making a huge mistake.

How Lean Do You Really Want To Be?

January 9, 2014 1:41 pm | by Tom McNamara and Erika Masillac | Blogs | Comments

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.

Most Innovative Companies #9: DGI Supply

January 8, 2014 12:45 pm | Articles | Comments

Our #9 pick is DGI Supply, which uses consolidation as a long-term business strategy that integrates the needs of the organization with a technique to troubleshoot the challenges of an aging workforce in a still-thriving industry. 

ISS: Icy Conditions Affecting NA Shipping Operations

January 7, 2014 2:33 pm | by Inchcape Shipping Services | News | Comments

Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) is advising that due to the extreme cold weather which has settled over the eastern North American continent, there have been heavy delays in shipping operations since 4th January 2014.  

Cheesy Shortage: Kraft Says Velveeta Running Low

January 7, 2014 2:24 pm | News | Comments

Kraft Foods says some customers may not be able to find Velveeta products over the next few weeks but didn't give any reasons for the apparent shortage. A spokeswoman for the company, Jody Moore, says only that such shortages happen from time to time.

Most Innovative Companies #11: Lantech

January 7, 2014 2:10 pm | Articles | Comments

Coming in at #11 is Lantech, based out of Louisville, Kentucky. We selected them because of their impressive growth and domination of a niche market: with over 65,000 machines sold around the world, the company is the world's largest manufacturer of stretch wrapping equipment.

In Cold Snap, Recipe For Roads Goes Beyond Salt

January 7, 2014 1:10 pm | by Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press | News | Comments

A splash of beet juice, a dollop of molasses, a squeeze of cheese brine. In the coldest weather, the recipe for safer roads often goes beyond the usual sprinkling of salt. Plain salt is largely ineffective below 16 degrees. Additives can keep it working in temperatures as low as minus 25.

U.S. Trade Deficit Declines On Plane, Auto Exports

January 7, 2014 12:16 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The trade gap dropped 12.9 percent in November to $34.3 billion, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That's the smallest monthly trade deficit since October 2009. Exports rose 0.9 percent to a record $194.9 billion, aided by a 5.6 percent rise in petroleum exports.

Best Logistics Advice For 2014: Dump Tribal Knowledge

January 7, 2014 9:42 am | by Tim Garcia, Apptricity Founder and CEO | Articles | Comments

I’d like to offer some food for thought when it comes to evaluating and improving logistics in your enterprise: Whatever else you do in 2014, make it a priority to dump the tribal knowledge you might be using to make mission-critical decisions. Instead, substitute the facts. While this may seem contrarian, it is actually essential.

Intel Says Its Processors Are Now 'Conflict-Free'

January 7, 2014 8:55 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

It's the first major U.S. technology company to make such a claim about its products. It's the fruit of four years of work by the company to determine the sources of four crucial metals widely used in electronics manufacturing: tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold.

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