A growing percentage of manufacturers are upgrading or adding US-based factories as a way to cope with logistics issues, according to Census Bureau data. Such investments can reduce turnaround times, but can bring costs in terms of loan terms and labor.
GE Appliances designs its processes and facilities around its operators at its refrigerator plant in Decatur, Ala., says plant manager Renee Story. Automatic guided vehicles have also led to efficiency and quality gains, she adds.
Levi Strauss & Co.'s marketing strategy aims to be inclusive while skewing younger and including YouTube videos, an emphasis on social issues and making technology-enabled products. The Levi's store in New York City's Times Square will let shoppers customize purchases.
IT networks are a growing vulnerability for energy companies and utilities, writes Kelly Jackson Higgins. "Without a detailed, updated accounting of specific equipment, systems, and software (including versions) in the OT network, an energy or industrial firm is especially vulnerable to attack," she writes.
Smart glasses equipped with Bluetooth, augmented reality, scanning capabilities and other tools may be the key to unlocking productivity, Roberto Michel writes. DHL Supply Chain recently tested the technology at two US distribution centers, with productivity improving compared with mobile handheld devices.
Recruiters must guide efforts to expand the potential hiring pool for manufacturing jobs by looking beyond typical skill sets and experience, Jim Vinoski writes. Employers often want to hire people who need little training, he writes, and applicant systems are filtering out many potential hires.
Manufacturers need to look for more female candidates and ensure that the workplace culture will be accepting and supportive of their presence, say women involved in various Oregon-based manufacturing efforts. "Employers need to think more about how much we might save when people feel like they can stay in their jobs -- how much knowledge, training and expertise you retain in the process," says Roberta Hunte, who teaches at Portland State University and formerly worked at Oregon Tradeswomen.