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Manufacturing Minute: Battleship Of The Future

In this episode, a liquefied natural gas terminal, the battleship of the future and manipulating labor numbers with creative math.

In this episode, a liquefied natural gas terminal, the battleship of the future and manipulating labor numbers with creative math.

BORN ON THE BAYOU

One of the largest industrial energy facilities currently under construction in North America is hidden away deep in the Louisiana bayou.

Houston-based Cheniere Energy has spent more than a decade, not to mention $20 billion, on transforming 1,000 acres of sprawling swamp into the first liquefied natural gas export terminal in the U.S.

When completed later this year, the Sabine Pass Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal, could drastically alter the energy market with the U.S. becoming a net exporter of natural gas.

BATTLESHIP OF THE FUTURE?

British authorities recently unveiled what they believe could be the future of naval battleship warfare - the Dreadnought 2050. Its three-hull design is made from acrylic instead of steel, and it could be staffed by 50 — far fewer than conventional warships.

But that's where the thriftiness appears to end. The ship would include everything from a drone flight deck and laser-firing quad-copter, to a long-range rail gun and holographic command center.

Although some of its technology is available today, actual construction of anything like this would be a long way off.

FANCY NEW MATH

It was announced this week that WalMart recently used some creative math to raise employees’ wages and give them extra training, but then turned around and cut the number of hours of some employees to keep costs in check.

Likewise, what started off as a multi-year layoff at computer manufacturer Hewlett Packard, has turned into something else for some employees, particularly in HP's struggling Enterprise Services unit.

A group of full-time workers were told in July they were to become contract workers for contract agency Adecco. If they accepted the job, they would lose all accrued vacation and paid time off, as well as all benefits and all seniority. If they refused, they would be let go without severance.

The contract positions had some people taking big pay cuts; others got pay raises. Some people who were supervisors were stripped of their titles and others, some very junior, were offered supervisor positions. Many of the workers in this unit refused the offer and quit.

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Is this a smart tactic for the computer manufacturer? Or will this make it harder for them to obtain talent in the future? How would you react in this situation?

Email us or leave your comments below.

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