February 19, 2021
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Trends & Technology
Many plants that produce semiconductors for products ranging from computers to cars are located in Texas and have been knocked offline by persistent power outages. On the positive side, Analog Devices will keep its California chip factory open longer than expected to help meet demand from the automotive sector.
Full Story: Reuters (2/17),  BBC (free registration) (2/18) 
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The extensive power outages in Texas this week are the latest in a number of factors contributing to the heavy demand for generators that began along with the pandemic, leading Generac CEO Aaron Jagdfeld to say the company is "doing everything we can to supply more product in the market." The outages are also leading the state's data centers to rely on generators, along with the diesel fuel that powers them.
Full Story: CNBC (2/17),  Data Center Frontier (2/18) 
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Archer aims to win federal approval and deliver its first electric air taxis in three years, and the startup already has an order in from United Airlines. "These vehicles will be 100 times quieter, they will be significantly safer, they'll be significantly cleaner and significantly cheaper," says Ken Moelis, CEO of Moelis and Co., whose Atlas Crest Investment Corp. engineered the merger that took Archer public.
Full Story: CNBC (2/14),  The Associated Press (2/11) 
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2021 manufacturing outlook
2020 was a year like no other. The manufacturing industry was dramatically impacted by a series of unthinkable events, yet showed remarkable resiliency. There were many new lessons learned and the industry is undoubtedly stronger from the experience and ready to meet the challenges ahead. Download this report to learn more.
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Supply Chain
The IC packaging supply chain is experiencing a squeeze as demand surges for a variety of microchips. TechSearch International President Jan Vardaman says, "People have realized the importance of packaging. But we are at a juncture in our industry where we simply can't meet the demand without our supply chain being in a good position."
Full Story: Semiconductor Engineering (2/18) 
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Top Surprises from Salesforce's State of Commerce
To understand the full breadth and impact the past year has had on digital transformation, Salesforce spoke with nearly 1,400 commerce leaders and analyzed the consumer shopping and business buyer behavior of more than 1 billion customers. Join us on March 3rd to hear the most surprising insights from Salesforce's State of Commerce report, as we reveal the top trends and shifts. Register today
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Sustainability
Steel makers around the world are looking at how to reduce their carbon footprint, whether in ironmaking, improved steel pipelines and reducing waste through better product consistency. "It is expensive to make several thousand tons of pipe, and when quality pipe is rejected because of an inconsistent flattening test, which can create unnecessary costs and project delays," says Murali Manohar of ArcelorMittal Global R&D in East Chicago, Ind.
Full Story: IndustryWeek (2/17) 
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Additive manufacturing is making inroads with small hydro, geothermal and wind power systems, and researchers are encouraged by the manufacturing technology's potential. AM could be used for components for tall wind turbines or photovoltaic material on windows.
Full Story: ASME (2/18) 
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[SmartFocus] Innovations in Supply Chain
Retailers learned to pivot quickly in 2020 as shopper preferences evolved to embrace eCommerce, curbside pickup and buy-online, pick-up in store amid the pandemic. In this whitepaper, we look at how omnichannel technology and fulfillment services have become essential to retailers' success as they work to meet the needs of their customers and manage their supply chain. Read the whitepaper
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Workforce of Tomorrow
High-school students in Sheldon, Iowa, are learning welding skills at Northwest Iowa Community College through a dual-credit program. The partnership includes three manufacturers, who invite students to visit the firms.
Full Story: The N'West Iowa Review (Sheldon, Iowa) (2/16) 
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Marshalltown Community College in Iowa launched MAKE -- Manufacturing Awareness through Knowledge and Experience. The six-week program supports training in manufacturing, computer skills, welding and more to help shore up the community's pipeline of skilled workers.
Full Story: Times-Republican (Marshalltown, Iowa) (2/18) 
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NAM News
Cyber Insurance and Risk Mitigation for Manufacturers
(NAM)
Cyber-attacks can disrupt operations and impact the supply chain. Manufacturers can prepare for these situations but can also be proactive in reducing the risk of them occurring. The NAM provides their members with many resources associated with cyber concerns, with the most recent being a cyber-insurance program called NAM Cyber Cover. Learn more on how this program can help you protect your supply chain.
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If you want to fly, you have to give up the things that weigh you down.
Toni Morrison,
writer, editor, educator
February is Black History Month
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