The list hasn’t changed much in recent years, but it highlights the need to improve safety on the plant floor.
Judging from initial reactions from top trade groups, manufacturers are of two minds concerning the President’s proposed budget. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) scorns the tax increases saying it blocks growth, but likes some of the other provisions. The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), on the other hand, sees the prospect for wider tax reform and some benefits to manufacturers in proposals for infrastructure spending.
Landing the Tesla “gigafactory” will be an economic-development bonanza for one of the four states in the running. But beyond the borders of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or Nevada, the complex also could provide a huge innovation boost for the stubborn problem of increasing battery life in electric cars and unleash spinoff advancements in other electricity-related industries.
The University of Michigan and Ohio State University are bitter rivals on the football field and lots of other arenas. But as the lead institutions in the Defense Department’s new American Lightweight Materials Innovation Institute, they’ll have to get along in a new federally funded effort to advance the manufacturing and use of lightweight, high-performing metals and alloys.
Emerging enterprises and CEOs thinking of starting new manufacturing or product design businesses have a number of tools including social media and digital marketing that allow them to take an idea and bring it to market faster, cheaper and with an intimate customer connection. Here are five trends that can provide a tailwind to help.
Warehouse management is one of the last frontiers of productivity improvement for most manufacturers and distributors. Writing in both Manufacturing Business Technology and Food Manufacturing, Dan Labell, president and owner of Westfalia Technologies., a provider of logistics solutions for plants, warehouses and distribution centers, offers five simple principles for evaluating and automating one’s warehouse management system.
Not long ago, materials were cheap and labor was expensive. Today, the reverse is true, which is why it makes sense to re-shore production in many sectors. But more importantly, the product is increasingly part of the process, driving more companies to embed their know-how and innovativeness with the product itself, says GE CEO Jeff Immelt. That and the prospect of cheaper energy due to the fracking revolution will boost manufacturing in America.
Manufacturing CEOs in the South and elsewhere heaved a sigh of relief after Volkswagen workers in Tennessee rejected United Auto Workers union representation. This isn’t the end of unionization attempts at transplants or suppliers.
Lean is one of the biggest management ideas of the past 50 years, says McKinsey’s Ewan Duncan and Ron Ritter in the current issue of the McKinsey Quarterly. It may have started in assembly plants and other factory settings but it has moved into services ranging from retailing and healthcare to financial services, IT, and even the public sector. How might CEOs outside of manufacturing apply some of these insights to their companies?
Prior to the President’s State of the Union address, National Association of Manufacturer’s (NAM) chairman Doug Oberhelman (CEO of Caterpillar) and NAM president Jay Timmons posted this article on Real Clear Politics offering a challenge to our political leaders in taking steps to revive manufacturing. They cite the Skills Certification System as a critical pillar in our manufacturing economy.