Manufacturers that succeed with digital transformation have agile leaders that support the transition, spend on data security and connect technology purchases to business needs, write Paul Wellener and Stephan Laaper of Deloitte. "Once manufacturers have assessed their maturity, they can build a systematic approach for implementation, tackling the transformational challenges they have identified," they write.
Robots, hydraulic arms and humans work together to produce roughly 50 Jeep Wranglers each hour at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' factory in Toledo, Ohio. The factory runs two shifts per day and employs more than 5,600 people.
Information is the key to determining whether the value of avoiding unplanned downtime is worth the investment, writes Azima CEO and board member Burt Hurlock. Unplanned downtime poses a greater and costlier risk for time-sensitive production, he writes.
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3D scanners are helping companies obtain accurate data on the volume of solids in containers, which improves inventory management, Emerson Automation Solutions' Asael Sharabi writes. "Being able to determine precisely what is in your bulk-solids inventory is a vital and useful tool in ensuring accurate financial reporting," Sharabi writes.
IDC's top supply chain predictions for 2019 have an overriding theme of digital transformation, such as greater use of robotics and artificial intelligence. "[We] are also now seeing key technologies reach a level of maturity that enables them to be used to better manage complexity while also increasing productivity and reducing costs," said Scott Sureddin, CEO of DHL Supply Chain, North America.
Safety leaders can improve performance, reduce frustration and build a stronger safety culture by focusing on the most critical areas, writes ProAct Safety founder and CEO Terry Mathis. "When we focus on the urgent at the expense of the important, we tend to neglect the things that can make the greatest difference," he writes.
Apprenticeship programs are an invaluable hiring tool for manufacturers looking for precision machinists, mold makers, die casters and other workers, writes Steven Brand. The Department of Labor's website has information for manufacturers looking to start their own programs.
East Texas Advanced Manufacturing Academy recently installed 16 training stations equipped with tools that students would use in real-world manufacturing jobs. The goal is to prepare students for careers in the industry.
The World Bank cut its global economic forecast slightly, as it now expects worldwide growth to expand by 3% and 2.9% in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Both were off 0.1% from the estimates made in the June release. It cites trade uncertainties, the strengthening US dollar, increased volatility in financial markets and other challenges as downside risks to growth. At the same time, the J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI registered 51.5 in December, down from 52.0 in November and signaling the slowest growth rate since September 2016. The headline index has decelerated since reaching nearly a seven-year high in December 2017 (54.5), even with a modest expansion overall. Read more.
A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.