Manufacturers in Minnesota are offering higher wages, paid vacation time, 401(k) matching and other benefits to attract workers in a tight labor pool. A recent survey of National Association of Manufacturers members revealed respondents expect wages to increase by 2.7% over the next year.
Manufacturers can identify operational issues and improve performance using the strategic application of financial metrics, writes Larry White of the Resource Consumption Accounting Institute. He describes two scenarios where design and clarity of monetary metrics can be improved.
MIT researchers developed ultrathin semiconducting films made with gallium arsenide, lithium fluoride and gallium nitride, using a new technique to reduce the cost of such films. The team used remote epitaxy to place graphene on wafers of compound materials, making "copies" of the substrate material, which are said to be superior to the performance of silicon.
Berry Global, a manufacturer of packaging and protective solutions, has worked to transform its operations into an integrated supply chain. The company brought together its operations across four workstreams and incorporated technology, including a warehouse management system.
Automotive manufacturers are getting more closely involved in system-level integration and testing responsibilities in developing safety-critical electronics, Kevin Fogarty writes. Mazda Motor is among the carmakers that have turned to hardware-in-the-loop test systems and other tools to simulate complete systems.
Unapproachable leaders can be the root of workplace-safety issues and worker dissatisfaction, writes Terry Mathis, founder and CEO of ProAct Safety. Mathis explains how the misplaced values of these leaders trickle down to their employees and create a culture where safety and performance are not aligned.
Plastics could become a vital fuel source with the support of waste-to-energy technologies, a circular economy and consumer education, yet almost 69% of plastic packaging winds up in landfills, says the American Chemistry Council's Craig Cookson, citing Environmental Protection Agency data. "Let's think about innovation to dig our way out of these problems and not focus on bans," he says.
Four community colleges in Connecticut will use a grant from the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute and a state agency to create a two-year apprenticeship program for advanced robotics starting in the spring. Existing funding will cover the first year.
In the latest NAM Manufacturers' Outlook Survey, manufacturing leaders in the United States continue to have unprecedented levels of optimism, spurred by improvements in the global economy and, in particular, by pro-growth policies such as tax reform and regulatory relief. Overall, 92.5% of respondents felt either somewhat or very positive about their own company's outlook. This continues the high rate of optimism reported since the beginning of 2017, including the 95.1% result in June, which was the highest rate since the introduction of the survey in the fourth quarter of 1997. The four-quarter rolling average inched up to a record-high 93.9%. Similarly, manufacturers' optimism for 2018 is on track to be the highest annual average in the survey's 20-year history. Read more.
"Press 'GO' on Industry 4.0"
Industry 4.0 is an overarching and unavoidable movement in manufacturing, bringing plants, processes, products and people together in entirely new ways. Don't let the technology jargon intimidate you: Industry 4.0 offers real ROI for every manufacturer, regardless of its size or current level of digital sophistication. This report from BDO USA provides a road map for middle-market manufacturers to take advantage of Industry 4.0. Join leaders from BDO for a webinar with NAM discussing this topic on Oct. 23. Register now.