U.S. economy: Moderate growth requires a "fiscal cliff" compromise | Replay: Webinar on pricing analytics and management | R&D support in Canada: State of play and recent changes
November 21, 2012
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MAPI Research and Insight
U.S. economy: Moderate growth requires a "fiscal cliff" compromise
Daniel J. Meckstroth, Ph.D., vice president and chief economist
The central theme of MAPI's forecast for the next five years is that we believe the U.S. economy is in the midst of a transition period from sluggish growth to a longer period of moderate growth. For a smooth transition, politicians must (1) compromise and not go over the "fiscal cliff," (2) raise the debt ceiling early next year and (3) agree on a plan for meaningful long-term federal deficit reduction. Economic Update
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Replay: Webinar on pricing analytics and management
This webinar from the Marketing Council examined how manufacturers can engage in detailed pricing analytics to achieve greater innovation success, enhance product portfolio revenues/margins and manage pricing through more disciplined tracking and evaluation efforts. Featuring experts from B2B research and advisory firm Ducker Worldwide and Royal Building Products, the session covered models for driving price strategy through value quantification, enhancing margins though pricing analytics and tracking price sensitivity and levels for proactive changes. Webinar
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R&D support in Canada: State of play and recent changes
David Boisclair and Anne Motte, economic consultants
With Canada's lackluster R&D performance, the need is acute to devise effective strategies that encourage businesses to innovate. The challenge is far from small: Canadian business enterprise R&D has been falling since 2007, in spite of comparatively generous measures. Having supported R&D largely through indirect measures (mainly its R&D tax credit), the government recently opted for a change: beginning in 2014, it will downsize the tax credit and divert the savings to direct measures to support business innovation (mostly grants and partnerships). Issues in Brief
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MAPI in the News
Gold: Congress is "playing chicken" with U.S. economy
With the looming debt showdown, the American government is "playing a game of chicken" with the country's economic future, and manufacturing executives are nervous about the possible effects, writes MAPI President and CEO Stephen Gold. According to MAPI's quarterly Survey on the Business Outlook, 83% of manufacturers say failure to act will have a moderately to very negative effect on their companies' bottom lines, and many companies are already preparing for possible contraction in next year's first quarter by delaying hiring and capital investments. IndustryWeek (11/14)
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In the Industry
U.S. factory output down almost 1% in October
Superstorm Sandy and fears of a budget crisis caused factory output to fall by 0.9% in October compared with the previous month, according to the Federal Reserve. Without the damaging storm, production would have remained flat, the Federal Reserve said. Experts say the drop is due in part to companies' cutting down on the purchasing of goods in the face of possible budget cuts and tax increases. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (11/16)
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SKF exec: Buyers beware of counterfeit bearings
Counterfeit bearings are hard to detect until they are put into service, writes SKF's communication manager, Phil Burge. He says the best way to avoid unknowingly purchasing a counterfeit product is to buy from an authorized bearings distributor. Manufacturing Digital (11/19)
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Electronics improve heavy-equipment operation
An increasing number of manufacturers are using advanced electronics to enhance control systems and improve the efficiency of both the equipment, such as bulldozers, and the operators running them. "Advances in electronic technology, both on the engine and on the machine, are helping operators of various skill levels respond quicker and more accurately to deliver a smoother grade and increase overall performance and productivity," Caterpillar's product introduction manager said. ForConstructionPros.com (11/19)
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Researchers develop carbon-yarn artificial muscles
Researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas have developed artificial muscles that are made out of twisted carbon yarn and can pull more than 100,000 times their weight. Although they could not replace muscles in a human body, they could be used in robots, micromotors or microfluidic circuits, among other products. FoxNews.com (11/19)
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Other News
Leadership and Strategy
6 keys to being a successful team member
Workers will have to work on a team at some point in their careers no matter what industry they work in, and being a good team member is a very important skill to have, according to Robert Half Technology. Keeping in mind things such as keeping their egos in check and being able to take and use constructive criticism will help workers ensure they are good team members. MSN (11/13)
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Branson urges business leaders to practice responsible capitalism
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson is known for taking on challenges big and small, but the mega-marketer says leaders from firms of all sizes can help solve some of the most striking problems facing society. "Responsible capitalism is trying to think of ways in which you can invest proceeds from your company into ventures that benefit the environment," Branson says. He suggests a divide-and-conquer approach, whereby smaller companies could tackle local problems while slightly bigger companies target national issues and larger corporations battle international challenges. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Finance (11/14)
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A good man with a good conscience doesn't walk so fast."
-- Georg Büchner,
German writer
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The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, founded in 1933 and located in Arlington, VA, contributes to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing by providing economic research, professional development and an independent, expert source of manufacturing information. www.mapi.net
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