Feb. factory orders remain steady, Commerce Dept. says | GE Aviation enacts furloughs; Boeing proposes buyouts | Merck, Eli Lilly help keep health care workers on front lines
April 3, 2020
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Trends & Technology
New US factory orders stayed the same in February as in January, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The coronavirus pandemic likely played a role in the lack of growth.
Full Story: Reuters (4/2) 
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GE Aviation has announced that half of its engine manufacturing employees will be furloughed for four weeks due to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Boeing is offering voluntary buyouts "to reduce the need for other workforce actions," CEO Dave Calhoun says.
Full Story: CNBC (4/2),  CNN (4/2) 
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Merck and Eli Lilly are among the companies rolling out paid volunteer programs for their employees who are qualified medical professionals and want to help provide relief during the coronavirus pandemic. "COVID-19 is one of the greatest challenges the global community will ever face, and our heroic health care professionals are, unquestionably, on the front-lines of that fight," said Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier.
Full Story: The Business Journals (tiered subscription model)/New York (4/1) 
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    Cybersecurity
    Companies performing critical manufacturing are at particularly high risk of cyberattacks by insiders, so they need to "take proactive and ongoing measures" to prevent them, writes Michael Crouse. He recommends going over possible scenarios, enacting dynamic user protection and communicating with employees about risks.
    Full Story: New Equipment Digest (4/2) 
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    Supply Chain
    Manufacturers need to understand the different kinds of distributors and the cost pressures they face in order to have a good working relationship with them, writes consultant Frank Hurtte. He recommends that both sides use data to make the best-informed decisions possible.
    Full Story: Industrial Supply magazine (March-April 2020) 
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    Manufacturers can mitigate the supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic by making greater use of e-commerce and e-procurement and focusing more on direct-to-consumer sales, says Brady Behrman, CEO of software company PunchOut2Go. "E-commerce and procurement automation radically reduce supply-chain friction and delays, generating the supply-chain agility that manufacturers will need in the coming weeks," he says.
    Full Story: Digital Commerce 360 (4/1) 
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    Safety
    When choosing a self-contained breathing apparatus for responding to fires at industrial sites, manufacturers should first do a site risk assessment and consider the apparatus' material and features, Derek Roy writes.
    Full Story: Occupational Health & Safety (4/2020) 
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    Workforce of Tomorrow
    General Mills invites office staff to work in plants
    (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
    General Mills is allowing office employees to work in its manufacturing plants to help meet increased demand, and the food company is also issuing daily bonuses to production employees for at least four weeks. "Our most important objectives are the continued health and safety of our employees and our ongoing ability to serve our consumers around the world. We see it as imperative that we help ensure a steady and reliable food supply for people and pets," said Jeff Harmening, chairman and CEO of General Mills.
    Full Story: Twin Cities Business (Minneapolis) (4/2),  Forbes (4/3) 
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    Francis of Assisi,
    patron saint of Italy, animals, ecology
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