Larry Culp was a master of acquisitions and increasing productivity during his 14 years running conglomerate Danaher, and he's hoping to apply that to a much larger company in General electric. Since becoming CEO last fall, Culp has been walking factory floors, working with a leaner board of directors and digging into productivity data.
Emotion has a role in B2B marketing because industrial purchases carry their own significant risk, says Victoria Morrissey, brand and marketing executive at Caterpillar. Customers of Caterpillar are "doers," she says, so its marketing has focused on showing how the company enables people to overcome inaction.
Autonomous in-space manufacturing is in the early stages, but advances in 3D printing, robotic assembly and autonomous inspection might make it a possibility. Made In Space partnered with NASA in 2016 to develop the ability to build components while in orbit, and says that a space demonstration is a few years out.
The group Xenotime, believed to be the first to use Triton malware, is expanding its efforts and probing utility grids in the US and the Asia-Pacific region, Dragos says. The group is using network scans and credential-stuffing attacks while being known for targeting critical infrastructure's safety instrumented systems.
Bringing artificial intelligence to supply chain management is more than automating repetitive tasks, argues this Deloitte analysis. "[W]orkers could now have the opportunity to take on new, value-added roles, including those that add more human elements to the supply chain: qualities such as the formation of relationships, coaching, and nuanced thought," the authors write.
Companies are starting to look to robotics for improved warehouse efficiency and forecasting, particularly as technological advances allow robots to navigate warehouses autonomously with a high degree of safety, writes Frank Cavallaro. Automated guided vehicles can often replace conveyor belts or loading vehicles, while other robots can reduce the need for human workers to perform repetitive tasks.
Companies are finding industrial internet of things analytics easy to generate but difficult to use, says Michael Schuldenfrei, corporate technology fellow at Optimal Plus. Data needs to be clean, connected to other datasets and analyzed with the tools preferred by data scientists, he argues.
After adding robots on the factory floor, forklift manufacturer UniCarriers added jobs instead of cutting them by insourcing work and retraining employees to think about the job as a series of tasks. "When we're looking to develop a new application or a new process, we always involve the shop-floor employees and supervisors early on because they're the experts," says operations executive Dale Mark.
After four months of disappointing data, there were signs of stabilization in the latest manufacturing production report. Output in the sector increased 0.2%in May after falling 0.5% in April. Yet, the data also reflect the toll from slowing global activity year to date. In fact, manufacturing production has risen just 0.7% over the past 12 months. Looking ahead, the current forecast is for manufacturing production (NAICS) to rise 1.2% in 2019, down from 2.7% in 2018. This would suggest some improvement in output data in the coming months, but at a pace that remains somewhat soft. Read more.