The US manufacturing sector added 21,000 jobs in February, with transportation, machinery and electrical equipment and appliances among the subsectors with growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total number of seasonally adjusted manufacturing jobs was 12.238 million, down 561,000 from a year earlier.
Anheuser-Busch CMO Marcel Marcondes discusses how the pandemic forced the beverage manufacturer to shift away from Super Bowl and music festival activations toward an agile marketing approach focused on humanity and its customers. Marcondes predicts another marketing shift as consumers become vaccinated and thinks "that by summertime, there is a big chance we are going to a state of euphoria with people feeling comfortable enough about getting out again."
The US trade deficit rose 1.9% in January from a month earlier, to $68.2 billion,, according to the Commerce Department. The 1.2% gain in imports was led by a 39% jump in pharmaceuticals, while imports of services were down by 1%.
Clorox has navigated the pandemic-related productivity push with a culture that empowers open communication between management and their staff, said Kirsten Marriner, executive vice president and chief people and corporate affairs officer. Pandemic pressures have magnified the need to eliminate barriers to communication with "leaders who are showing up with this authenticity and humanity that is different in a very positive way," said Marriner.
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The pandemic has highlighted the importance of workplace safety and helped the demand for smart personal protective equipment, which delivers real-time safety information to workers and managers. Companies "have a thirst for new technologies that can help them keep their workers safe, and they are ready to start exploring what's out there," says Robert Thomma of safety startup Bodytrak.
The combination of social distancing guidelines and ambient background noise can make communication difficult in manufacturing facilities, but technology can help, according to Rick Farrell. He writes that headset communication systems are particularly effective and can make it easier for workers to speak with one another while also limiting background noise.
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Investing in diversity, equity and inclusion issues "drives innovation" for teams within manufacturers, says PPG Industries DE&I chief Marvin Mendoza, although the concepts need to be examined at all levels of the organization. Diversity in the workforce "is essential to our ability to be competitive as a sector, and continue to attract the next generation," says Carolyn Lee, executive director of the Manufacturing Institute.
The Manufacturing Leadership Council has launched a series of Deep Dive Sessions that are built to continue and expand the learning necessary to be successful with new technologies. They are designed to deal with the many complexities surrounding new technologies and their effects by providing a more in-depth understanding of the technologies, how and where they can be applied, how companies can successfully use them, and how they can lead to the creation of new competitive advantages.
Next week's Deep Dive is focused on: How advances in computing and in software technology will evolve the concept of the digital twin. We want to be sure you don't miss out. If you have team members and colleagues who would benefit from this session, we invite you to share this invitation with them.