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A Recession Is Coming (Eventually). Here’s Where You’ll See It First. - The New York Times
By Ben Casselman
July 28, 2019

Another recession will come eventually. Fortunately, economic expansions, unlike coin-flip streaks, usually provide some hints about when they are nearing their end — if you know where to look. Below is a guide to some of the indicators that have historically done the best job of sounding the alarm.

Indicator 1: The Unemployment Rate
What to watch for: Rapid increases, even from a low level.
What it’s saying: All clear.

Indicator 2: The Yield Curve
What to watch for: Interest rates on 10-year Treasury bonds falling below those on three-month bonds. (It has already happened.)
What it’s saying: Storm warning.

Indicator 3: The ISM Manufacturing Index
What to watch for: The index falling below about 45 for an extended period.
What it's saying: Mostly cloudy.

Indicator 4: Consumer Sentiment
What to watch for: Declines of 15 percent or more over a year.
What it's saying: Partly cloudy.

Indicator 5: Choose Your Favorite

* Temporary staffing levels: Temp workers are, by definition, flexible — companies hire them when they need help quickly and get rid of them when demand dries up. That makes them a good measure of business sentiment.
* The quits rate: When workers are confident in the economy, they are more likely to quit voluntarily.
* Residential building permits: The housing market has frequently led the economy both into and out of recessions. That has made building permits — which are generally issued several weeks before construction begins — one of the best historical indicators of economic activity.
* Auto sales: After houses, cars are the most expensive thing most families buy.
consumer_confidence  economics  forecasting  indices  interim  lagging_indicators  leading_indicators  manufacturers  recessions  unemployment  warning_signs  yield_curve 
august 2019 by jerryking
Makerspaces under pressure to revamp business models
July 29, 2019 The Globe and Mail | BRENDA BOUW, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.
3-D  bankruptcies  business_models  hacks  innovation  manufacturers  start_ups  Makerspace 
july 2019 by jerryking
Brands Invent New Lines for Only Amazon to Sell WSJ
Jan. 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Annie Gasparro and Laura Stevens.

Amazon gets exclusive products, while brands receive faster customer feedback, marketing support and increased sales.......To build a big line of exclusive products on its site, Amazon.com Inc. AMZN 0.95% is pushing other brand manufacturers to do most of the work.

The online retail giant is asking consumer-goods companies to create brands exclusively for Amazon after finding that developing them on its own is too costly and time-consuming.....Amazon’s initiative is the latest example of the e-commerce giant flexing its muscles in order to offer the lowest prices and widest selection, as it seeks to cut into the market share of big-brand manufacturers.....Manufacturers generally benefit from selling their products through a range of retailers. Also, they risk cannibalizing higher-margin sales of their main brands by offering comparable products under different labels. But those entering deals with Amazon view the arrangement as a golden opportunity.

In exchange for creating exclusive products, the brands get help launching their products on Amazon.com, faster customer feedback when testing new products, marketing support, and, of course, revenue from the sales. They also can appear at the top of search results—a big draw given that Amazon’s platform lists an estimated 550 million items......Speed was paramount. “We had to take what would normally be 12 to 24 months of development to 90 days,”....Amazon, on its own, has been quietly adding to its in-house brands in recent years. Analysts estimate the site now offers more than 100. ....Amazon sometimes promotes its own brands higher in search results on its site, like “Amazon’s Choice” and sponsored items, or as default results in voice searches using Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant.

In-house brands often generate a higher profit margin for retailers, including Amazon, and can draw in customers because they can’t find those brands elsewhere. But developing a new brand and formulating products takes time..... the program offers manufacturers a way to “launch brands and products directly to Amazon customers.”

Amazon is increasingly important for consumer-product manufacturers. It now accounts for roughly half of all sales online,.....Amazon’s program also can be used for “orphan brands” that manufacturers have stopped selling or that never made it to market.....Amazon has no issue going full-court press on private label, and pursuing all these brands. If the quality and pricing architecture don’t fit and they have to pivot, they’ll do so,” said Todd Mitchell, president of Compass Marketing Inc., which works with Amazon. “They’re not limited to the constructs of shelf space.”
accelerated_lifecycles  Amazon  brands  cannibalization  CPG  e-commerce  exclusivity  fast-paced  in-house  manufacturers  new_products  orphan_brands  private_labels  product_development  product_launches  shelf_space  speed 
january 2019 by jerryking
Dyson shifts HQ to Singapore to focus on cars
January 23, 2019 | Financial Times Michael Pooler and Peter Campbell in London and Stefania Palma in Hong Kong.

Move by billionaire’s business reflects strategy to be closer to customers and manufacturing centres....James Dyson’s decision to move his business headquarters to the other side of the world struck an odd note.

The switch to Singapore comes at a crucial juncture for his company, which is seeking to evolve from a household appliance brand to a manufacturer of electric vehicles. It is nothing short of his greatest gamble, which could secure his legacy or risk his fortune.....Dyson said it was simply for commercial reasons because most of its customers and all its manufacturing operations are in Asia, and to give management supervision over the construction of a car factory in Singapore that will be its largest investment to date......“This is to do with making sure we future-proof [the company],”......“What we’ve seen in the last few years is an acceleration of opportunities to grow from a revenue perspective in Asia.”......Dyson CEO, Jim Rowan insisted that the HQ move was not a bad omen for the UK, where Dyson ceased manufacturing in 2003, and pledged it would enlarge its 4,800-strong workforce there. “We’ll continue to invest in the UK,” said Mr Rowan, pointing out a proposed £350m expansion to one of two research and development centres in Wiltshire, south-west England, for autonomous vehicle testing.......far more likely that the move is linked to Dyson’s latest, and boldest, venture — its £2bn drive to break into the automotive arena. It has developed a UK site to test the vehicles, but also plans to expand its Singaporean research and development facilities, a sign that future vehicle work will take place closer to the manufacturing sites.....The company spreads its intellectual property around the globe, with about 1,500 of its 5,000 patents registered in the UK, according to data from patent research group Cipher. “Clearly if you have new business like cars that will generate significant IP,”.....A Dyson spokesman said the company had no intention of moving its current UK patents to Singapore.
Asia  automotive_industry  autonomous_vehicles  Brexit  Dyson  electric_cars  engineering  future-proofing  head_offices  intellectual_property  James_Dyson  manufacturers  patents  relocation  Singapore 
january 2019 by jerryking
‘Hyper-concentration’ of jobs occurring in Toronto’s downtown, report says
December 3, 2018 | The Globe and Mail | by JEFF GRAY TORONTO CITY HALL REPORTER.

A fundamental economic shift is “hyper-concentrating” new knowledge-economy jobs in Toronto’s downtown as traditional manufacturing employment evaporates across much of southern Ontario, a new report warns, and the trend has major ramifications for public transit and land-use planning......lopsided job growth is a permanent change, not a cyclical pattern. It warns Toronto’s transit system will be placed under further strain. The report also argues smaller communities outside the city should seek to attract the jobs of the future, rather than cling to dying industries.....Overall, the number of jobs in the region has grown. But from 2006 to 2016, Toronto’s downtown gained 67,000 of what the study calls “core” jobs, or jobs that bring income into the region and drive growth, as opposed to jobs such as those in retail that largely serve local residents. Many of those downtown jobs are “knowledge-based,” in industries such as finance or technology or “higher-order business services” such as accounting or law, which tend to cluster together......“It’s not this kind of gentle evolution towards the knowledge economy that’s we’ve seen previously. This is a definite shift.” The GM news appears tailor-made to illustrate that shift. While closing the Oshawa plant, the company has pointed to its new investment in Markham – one of a handful of suburban centres for knowledge jobs identified in the report – where GM plans to hire 700 engineers to work on its designs for driverless cars. GM has also announced plans for an “urban innovation lab” on the east side of central Toronto.....Dr. Blais’s report suggests the Toronto region should look to plan for a “second downtown,” which would need good transit to attract knowledge-intensive jobs.....Richard Florida .....said the numbers demonstrate the clustering of knowledge jobs means places outside Toronto’s downtown core, such as Oshawa, will inevitably become “more of a bedroom community than an economic generator.”
downtown_core  GM  Jeff_Gray  knowledge_economy  manufacturers  Oshawa  public_transit  Toronto  layoffs  Golden_Horseshoe  land_uses  hyper-concentrations 
december 2018 by jerryking
US companies on edge over China tariff threat to supply chains
April 5, 2017 | FT | by Ed Crooks in New York 6 HOURS AGO.

Vermeer's situation demonstrates how complex international supply chains mean that new tariffs can have damaging unintended consequences. Vermeer, where Mr Andringa is chief executive, imports cabs assembled in its plant in Tianjin, China, that it uses for its drilling vehicle made in Iowa. Using the lower-cost imported cabs helps Vermeer stay competitive against German and Chinese rivals, in the US market and around the world. But the components were on the commerce department’s list of imports from China threatened with a new 25 per cent tariff. If the administration follows through on that threat, Vermeer’s competitive position will be eroded.
Donald_Trump  trade_wars  supply_chains  manufacturers  unintended_consequences  tariffs 
april 2018 by jerryking
Banking and finance have vacuumed up the talent
March 25, 2018 | Financial Times | Andrew Hill YESTERDAY.
"Unlike most people I actually enjoy manufacturing,” James Dyson says, “[but] I genuinely believe that the British middle class despises it, largely thanks to Charles Dickens’ Hard Times and William Blake’s ‘dark satanic mills’.”

The UK designer of vacuum cleaners and hand-dryers enjoys railing against national “cultural disdain for factories”......A more plausible reason why innovative juices are channelled away from manufacturing could be the sucking sound from the City of London. The rewards of banking and finance still vacuum up talented graduates......Even when the bubble was at full stretch in 2007, the percentage of engineering graduates who moved into finance and insurance within three years of leaving higher education did not top 5 per cent. Lately, the figure has dropped to 3.4 per cent. A Dyson-pleasing 25.5 per cent now go into manufacturing — not enough to cover a projected annual shortfall of 20,000 engineers in the UK, but still respectable.

It was the sheer success and smug complacency of Victorian manufacturers that made them a target for Dickens. As Sir James goes from strength to strength, he should be careful what he wishes for. He has set up a Dyson Institute to train a generation of engineers.
financial_services  engineering  talent  entrepreneur  war_for_talent  finance  manufacturers  James_Dyson 
march 2018 by jerryking
We Are What We Manufacture - The New York Times
By BETH MACYMARCH 9, 2018

Continue reading the main storyShare This Page
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books  book_reviews  manufacturers 
march 2018 by jerryking
Donald Trump Voters, Just Hear Me Out
NOV. 2, 2016 | The New York Times | Thomas L. Friedman.

No one knows for certain how we deal with this new race with and against machines, but I can assure you it’s not Trump’s way — build walls, restrict trade, give huge tax cuts to the rich. The best jobs in the future are going to be what I call “STEMpathy jobs — jobs that blend STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, math) with human empathy. We don’t know what many of them will look like yet.

The smartest thing we can do now is to keep our economy as open and flexible as possible — to get the change signals first and be able to quickly adapt; create the opportunity for every American to engage in lifelong learning, because whatever jobs emerge will require more knowledge; make sure that learning stresses as much of the humanities and human interactive skills as hard sciences; make sure we have an immigration policy that continues to attract the world’s most imaginative risk-takers; and strengthen our safety nets, because this era will leave more people behind.

This is the only true path to American greatness in the 21st century.
adaptability  Campaign_2016  Donald_Trump  empathy  Hillary_Clinton  humanities  immigration_policies  life_long_learning  manufacturers  open_borders  safety_nets  signals  STEM  Tom_Friedman  warning_signs 
november 2016 by jerryking
Small Factories Emerge as a Weapon in the Fight Against Poverty
OCT. 28, 2016 | The New York Times | By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ.

... small manufacturers like Marlin are vital if the United States is to narrow the nation’s class divide and build a society that offers greater opportunities for everyone — rich and poor, black and white, high school graduates and Ph.D.s.

“The closing of factories has taken the rungs out of the ladder for reaching the middle class in urban areas,” ....“Manufacturing jobs involve a skill base that you develop over time, and that fortifies your negotiating strength,” Mr. Johnson said. But in lower-skilled jobs, the competition is with someone who will do the same work for less. “The marketplace doesn’t give you any leverage,” he said.

Hope for Troubled Cities

Today, smaller plants are particularly important to job creation in factory work, said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. “Megafactories are the exception today,” Mr. Paul said. “Small manufacturing is holding its own — and you are seeing some interesting developments in urban centers.”....As the sociologist William Julius Wilson has written in his classic studies, “The Truly Disadvantaged” and “When Work Disappears,” the exodus of factories from high-cost, union-dominated cities to cheaper, less union-friendly locales in the South and West in the 1960s and 1970s played a major role in the breakdown of urban cores.

“The trends among non-college-educated, white Americans today look like a lot like the trends among black Americans in the 1970s that so worried policy makers and social scientists,” said David Autor, a professor of economics at M.I.T., who researches the connections among trade, labor and employment. “You see it in the falling labor force participation, the decline of traditional family structure, crime and poverty. It’s all there.”...
African-Americans  automation  Baltimore  blue-collar  deindustrialization  equality_of_opportunity  exodus  manufacturers  micro-factories  microproducers  poverty  robotics  Rust_Belt  tradespeople  urban  value_added  whites 
october 2016 by jerryking
Micro-manufacturing movement takes hold in Toronto - The Globe and Mail
CAMILLA CORNELL
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016
micro-factories  manufacturers  Toronto  food 
october 2016 by jerryking
London lives again: Inside the revival in Ontario’s rust belt - The Globe and Mail
JOHN IBBITSON
LONDON, ONT. The Globe and Mail Last updated: Friday, Feb. 05, 2016

Synergies between the education sector and the private sector lie at the very heart of Southwestern Ontario’s future. By incubating, encouraging and then feeding workers into London’s emerging high-technology sector, Western and Fanshawe are doing for their city what the University of Waterloo has long been doing for Kitchener-Waterloo’s computer-based industries and the University of Guelph is doing for bio-technology in Guelph.
John_Ibbitson  rust_belt  manufacturers  job_loss  revitalization  Southwestern_Ontario  entrepreneur  automotive_industry  UWO  Kitchener-Waterloo  synergies 
february 2016 by jerryking
Too much stuff, with no one to buy it: Is this the future economy? - The Globe and Mail
Scott Barlow
Too much stuff, with no one to buy it: Is this the future economy?
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Feb. 02, 2016

University of California professor Brad DeLong’s “Economics and the Age of Abundance” highlighted the new economic study of global production growth – a new-ish school of thought that attributes much of the economic malaise in the developed world to a technology-driven “too much of everything.....The economic challenges of abundance, however, go far beyond commodities. There’s too many mutual funds, television channels, cereal brands, auto companies (China hasn’t even started exporting cars and trucks yet), land-line telephones, clothing brands, taxis, department stores and, if we’re being honest, journalism. Technology and its ability to increase productivity are to blame for virtually any major market sector beset with poor profit margins and layoffs. ....... The larger problem, and I suspect Mr. DeLong would agree, is that technology increases efficiencies and reduces the need for labour. A dystopian future in which anything can be produced quickly and cheaply, except everyone’s unemployed with no money to spend, is easy to envisage without considerable structural change in the economy.

Unemployment is the most severe outgrowth of abundance and low profitability ....... ......
abundance  economics  economists  Colleges_&_Universities  oversupply  technology  commodities  over_investment  scarcity  innovation  China  productivity  deflation  manufacturers  outsourcing  unemployment  job_destruction  job_displacement  downward_mobility  hollowing_out  books  developed_countries  dystopian_futures  structural_change  developing_countries 
february 2016 by jerryking
In Nigeria, Chinese Investment Comes With a Downside - The New York Times
By KEITH BRADSHER and ADAM NOSSITERDEC. 5, 2015

shoddy or counterfeit products are a national problem in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, where impoverished consumers have few alternatives. Some shoddy goods are benign, like the Chinese-made shirts, trousers and dresses with uneven stitching and stray threads that fill street markets. But electrical wiring, outlets and power strips from China, ubiquitous in new homes and offices, are connected to dozens of fires a year in Lagos alone.
China  Africa  Nigeria  copycats  counterfeits  manufacturers  quality  hazards  Chinese  unintended_consequences 
december 2015 by jerryking
Anh Nguy: Research Is Her Recipe - The New York Times
ocations
As told to PATRICIA R. OLSEN

Q. What do you do as a culinologist for Ingredion?

A. Culinology is a fusion of culinary arts and food science. Culinologists typically create food concepts for food companies and restaurants that end up on store shelves and menus. We are also known as research chefs. People come to Ingredion for the ingredients we manufacture, like starches, texturizers and sweeteners, or to collaborate on a product. I work on both types of projects in our professional test kitchen, and I also give presentations to potential customers. I’ll ask them if they want natural ingredients, a gluten-free product and so forth.
commercial_kitchens  food  career_paths  research  OPMA  foodservice  flavours  food_science  recipes  manufacturers  niches  Toronto  clusters  innovation  chefs 
november 2015 by jerryking
Granger addressed a matter of importance to all Guyanese - Stabroek News
By
Staff Writer
August 12, 2015

Pesident Granger’s position at the forum: “salaried employment is very seductive … You can spend out your whole salary because you know next month you will get another salary. If you are a farmer you need to save money for fertilizer, seed, equipment, if there is a drought or a flood you need savings to tide you over but if you are a policeman and there’s a flood you still get paid. Some people do not like to take risks but …unless you change the economy, unless we create people who are entrepreneurs, manufacturers, we will always be victims of people who make decisions for us.”
Afro-Guyanese  cultural_values  David_Granger  economic_development  Guyana  Guyanese  entrepreneurship  Indo-Guyanese  manufacturers  psyche_of_dependency  risk-taking 
august 2015 by jerryking
How a Chinese Billionaire Built Her Fortune - The New York Times
JULY 30, 2015| NYT | By DAVID BARBOZA.

Zhou Qunfei, who founded one of the leading suppliers of the glass used in laptops and cellphones, is part of a class of female entrepreneurs in China who have built their wealth.
moguls  manufacturers  women  entrepreneur  China  Chinese  glass 
july 2015 by jerryking
Rust Belt revival: Lessons for southwest Ontario from America’s industrial heartland - The Globe and Mail
ADAM RADWANSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jan. 16 2015

Not all the start-ups and emerging businesses in Grand Rapids are as sexy. Some are tied to auto parts and office furniture, the traditional manufacturing around which Grand Rapids was built. Others are in communications technology or health sciences. Notwithstanding some growing financial-services companies, they tend to fit into the region’s proud history of making things.

As the Brookings Institute’s Vey notes, that tradition – and the accompanying institutional knowledge and infrastructure – can help Rust Belt cities take advantage of the current “maker’s movement,” in which a DIY culture makes the manufacturing market accessible to small enterprises.
revitalization  rust_belt  Southwestern_Ontario  industrial_Midwest  economic_development  institutional_knowledge  Pittsburgh  urban  urban_decline  philanthropy  cities  DIY  entrepreneurship  start_ups  manufacturers  Makerspace  Colleges_&_Universities 
january 2015 by jerryking
Redefining ‘made in China’: How one firm is forging a new path for manufacturers - The Globe and Mail
Nov. 30 2014 | G&M | NATHAN VANDERKLIPPE.

CFmoto has obsessed about quality, devoting nearly a fifth of its 1,350-person work force to research and development, and buying dozens of robotic CNC machines to sculpt its own key components. It has built dealer networks around the world – and sales, too. Eighty per cent of its revenues now come from exports

“We have a different way of thinking from others,” Mr. Lai said. “We want to create fun for our customers.”....China is already the world’s motorcycle factory. Last year, nearly 23 million were built by hundreds of Chinese companies – some sprawling state-owned enterprises, some barely larger than a backyard shed....But that business model is beginning to tatter, as South American and Eastern European consumers gain the wealth to buy cars, and competition steps in. ...“Now they’re looking another way at it – and mainly because of the threat from the Indian industry in their established markets.”....The Chinese situation is, of course, different: Where Japanese and Korean companies built their skill inside markets largely protected from foreign competition, China today is wide open to imported brands, which have been hugely successful. Cars bearing a mainland mark now account for only 23 per cent of sales.....But western markets have remained largely impenetrable: after years of splashy introductions at the Detroit Motor Show that date back to 2006, Chinese brands are no closer to making their big North American entrance....China’s experience with motorcycles, however, shows the distance it has to go. In their bid to increase quality, companies have outfitted their products with foreign-made suspensions, brakes and fuel systems....“demand for design is shifting” to Asia....He faults an inability among many Chinese firms to create their own identity, which can translate into a uniqueness that customers can latch onto.
China  manufacturers  motorcycles  design  value_chains  branding  brands  quality  automotive_industry  copycats  dealerships  distribution_channels 
december 2014 by jerryking
Digital Lessons From the Museum and Art World
OCTOBER 27, 2014 | NYTimes.com | By STEVE LOHR.

....institutions are using digital technology and data not just for marketing and social media, but also to enrich the museum experience for visitors, reach new audiences online and transform scholarly research. And there are also new kinds of art being made with digital tools and data....How do you intelligently use digital technology to enhance your business rather than being overrun by it? The physical and the digital sides of your business should work together, so that your investments in the physical world remain a powerful asset.

That fundamental challenge for museums is similar to the one facing retailers, manufacturers, consumer goods makers and perhaps traditional media companies. (More than one museum official I interviewed talked about the importance of being a “content manager.”) The museum curators and administrators seemed to have a clear notion of the need for balance — that just as we all increasingly live in a world that is a blend of the physical and digital, so too institutions of all kinds must learn to operate in a blended, hybrid environment.
art  atoms_&_bits  content  CPG  cyberphysical  digital_media  digital_strategies  manufacturers  mass_media  museums  physical_assets  physical_world  retailers  Steve_Lohr 
october 2014 by jerryking
Is Poloz making the loonie fly low? - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Sep. 25 2014

the governor of the Bank of Canada does not take his marching orders from the government. But the government does influence monetary policy by choosing the governor.

Ask Jean Chrétien. In John Crow’s case, “I didn’t agree with what he had done under [Brian] Mulroney by opting to wrestle inflation to the ground with high interest rates in the middle of a recession and with a high Canadian dollar,” the former prime minister wrote in his memoirs.

Mr. Chrétien turfed Mr. Crow within two months of his 1993 election and replaced him with Gordon Thiessen. The dollar began what seemed like a fortuitous descent from 76 cents to 62 cents in 2002, triggering a manufacturing-led export boom in Central Canada.

The flip side of that boom, however, was complacency. With a low loonie, Canadian manufacturers ignored the need to become more productive and innovative. Thoroughly unmodern, few had any other competitive advantage to fall back on when surging oil prices drove the dollar to parity in 2007.

A lower dollar can put the wind in your sails for a while. Long-term, not so much.
Konrad_Yakabuski  Stephen_Poloz  Bank_of_Canada  loonie  interest_rates  monetary_policy  central_banking  Jean_Chrétien  productivity  complacency  weak_dollar  manufacturers 
september 2014 by jerryking
In new world order, Canadian factories to fall behind - The Globe and Mail
KEVIN CARMICHAEL
WASHINGTON — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Apr. 25 2014
BCG  manufacturers  Canada  Kevin_Carmichael 
april 2014 by jerryking
Study: Food industry in flux, but still 'powerful'
March 19, 2014 | Western News | By Paul Mayne.

According to a recently released Ivey Business School report, The Changing Face of Food Manufacturing in Canada: An Analysis of Plant Closings, Openings and Investments, the closures are not a sign of an industry in trouble, rather one that is reorganizing production to maintain global competitiveness....While not out of the woods yet, Sparling said plant closures and consolidations will continue, but new openings and investments will balance the scales and grow, albeit slowly, a stronger Canadian food industry.

“It’s a very tough and completive business,” he said. “Input costs have been going up – be it energy or farm products – and you have a retail sector that is amazingly competitive with very low margins, so they are not interested in higher prices. The food industry is caught in the middle.

“That’s why they figured out they had to focus on cost and efficiency. That means they had to be a lot more competitive. That’s why we’re seeing this. The industry, going forward, is going to look different. The Ontario industry is going to keep changing.”
food  agribusiness  Ivey  manufacturers  foodservice 
april 2014 by jerryking
A Start-Up Run by Friends Takes On Shaving Giants - NYTimes.com
January 21, 2014, 10:07 pm
A Start-Up Run by Friends Takes On Shaving Giants
By MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED
personal_care_products  personal_grooming  Germany  manufacturers  mergers_&_acquisitions 
january 2014 by jerryking
Made in Canada 2.0
October 25, 2013 | G&M | by Gary Salewicz.

Instead of a story of a scrappy Canadian company succeeding against the odds, I heard a tale that is typical of the sector. The CEO explained (to avoid embarrassment, I won't name him or his company) that the company had run up against the usual headwinds facing Canadian manufacturers. It had relied on a weak dollar to bolster margins on sales to the U.S., and it hadn't invested in modern equipment to increase efficiency. That state of affairs was fine with a 75-cent dollar, but deadly when it shot up to parity in 2007. This CEO had been brought in a year ago to save the company, and the only way to do that was to ship the jobs overseas, namely to China. The production lines in Canada stopped running in March.

That the manufacturing sector in Canada has been diminished in the last decade and a half is a gross understatement. More than two million manufacturing jobs existed in 2000, but that number had dropped by 20% by 2012 (the most recent data available). Add to this the financial crisis of 2008, which laid low our biggest trading partner, and the picture is grim. As Kevin Carmichael wrote in last month's issue, the new Bank of Canada governor, Stephen Poloz, reasons that "exports are lagging behind their historical pace because the recession left Canada with fewer exporters to make those sales."
manufacturers  Canada  Canadian  complacency  outsourcing  China  weak_dollar  Kevin_Carmichael  production_lines 
october 2013 by jerryking
L’Oreal Looks to Collaboration for More Agile Manufacturing Process - The CIO Report - WSJ
September 23, 2013 | WSJ | By Joel Schectman

L’Oreal Looks to Collaboration for More Agile Manufacturing Process
L’Oreal  cosmetics  supply_chains  manufacturers 
september 2013 by jerryking
Firms Like TechShop Offer Inventors Access to High-End Tools - WSJ.com
June 10, 2013 | WSJ | By GEOFFREY A. FOWLER.

Build a Better Mousetrap—Fast
New facilities let entrepreneurs create physical products at speeds and costs that were once unthinkable
entrepreneur  Kickstarter  crowd_funding  3-D  manufacturers  start_ups 
june 2013 by jerryking
Advanced Manufacturing: The New Industrial Revolution - WSJ.com
June 10, 2013 | WSJ | By JOHN KOTEN.

A Revolution in the Making
Digital technology is transforming manufacturing, making it leaner and smarter—and raising the prospect of an American industrial revival
3-D  Nike  GE  manufacturers  Industrial_Internet  massive_data_sets 
june 2013 by jerryking
Canadian manufacturer fights hard for piece of Chinese market
| WSJ | Ben Dolven

It's easy to get the impression China's manufacturing boom involves making just about everything. For an illustration, meet Ron Ball. He makes escalator handrails, Ben Dolven r...
China  small_business  Canadian  manufacturers 
june 2013 by jerryking
Unlikely expansion: When retail brands go wholesale -
Apr. 16 2013 | The Globe and Mail | MARINA STRAUSS - RETAILING REPORTER.

Aldo Group Inc. is on the hunt for retail space – inside the stores of other retailers, as the shoe specialist pursues a cost-conscious expansion in which it is teaming up with a growing roster of indirect rivals.

Merchants ranging from Aldo to fashion purveyor Joe Fresh (owned by grocery giant Loblaw Cos. Ltd.), Reitmans (Canada) Ltd. and Hudson’s Bay Co., have stepped up their partnering efforts, even as they raise the stakes by being tied to sometimes unstable chains....multichannel distribution allows rapid expansion into new markets without the expense or time needed to open new stores....Retailers are trying to cash in on brand awareness and production expertise to reach more customers in a cost-savvy way. But the business model isn’t without drawbacks, as merchants lose some control over the placement, prominence and marketing of their products....For years, in a reverse trend, manufacturers – from Nine West to Apple – have set up their own standalone stores to showcase their products and ensure their brands are not lost among many others within a larger retailer.

“Retailers want to be wholesalers and wholesalers want to be retailers,” Mr. Lichtszral said. “The lines are blurred everywhere … Wholesale distributors are opening their own websites and shipping directly to the consumer and, in doing that, are technically competing with their retail customers.”
growth  retailers  brands  distribution_channels  Aldo  Loblaws  Nine_West  Apple  wholesalers  multichannel  omnichannel  Joe_Fresh  partnerships  Reitmans  HBC  business_models  drawbacks  merchandising  manufacturers  expansions  store_within_a_store  cost-consciousness  Marina_Strauss  standalone  Fortune_500 
may 2013 by jerryking
How to Build a Spoon - NYTimes.com
By JOE NOCERA
Published: April 26, 2013

Still, for all this glorious activity, the Navy Yard companies employ only 6,400 people. That’s up from 3,600 in 2001, but it is a far cry from the 70,000 men who once built ships during the Navy Yard’s muscular manufacturing heyday. That, of course, is the downside of the manufacturing revival in the U.S. — it simply doesn’t create the number of jobs that the old-style assembly lines used to. When I asked the Spuni founders how many employees they would need in the U.S. if they got to 600,000 in annual production, the number stunned me: 10. In Germany, the factory, at peak production, would probably not need more than 20 employees.
manufacturers  3-D  New_York_City  start_ups  design  Indiegogo  Spuni 
april 2013 by jerryking
Rooftop gardening provides environmental benefits in urban areas
By David Runk
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Manufacturers, meanwhile, often have large, unused flat roofs but little land to spare.

Moxlow, who grew up gardening, built a plastic-covered greenhouse, known as a hoop house, on a stretch of his company's flat roof and used forced air and a hot-water heater to keep it warm during the winter. But he has designed and is testing a system to harness heat from the forging operation that would otherwise be wasted.

The forge heats metal to between 1,600 and 1,800 degrees. After pieces are formed, they are put into big bins and set outside to cool. Moxlow's system would roll some bins under a 4,000-gallon tank inside the plant to heat water to warm the greenhouse. In northern states where greenhouses often shut down for the winter because of the high cost of heating, the system could make year-round growing more practical, he said.... Designed for roofs of at least 10,000 square feet, its systems would use solar panels to heat greenhouses where plants grow in water. The greenhouses should lower buildings' utility costs by absorbing sunlight in the summer and providing additional insulation in the winter, the company says.
manufacturers  greenhouses  green_roofs  urban  gardening  farming  high-cost 
april 2013 by jerryking
Economist Ricardo Hausmann Says U.S. Should Reinvent Manufacturing
January 4, 2013 | MIT Technology Review | By Antonio Regalado.

[ less keen on setting up entire industries at home and instead try to insert themselves into global supply chains. Sometimes this means changing, not just exploiting, their comparative advantage.]

Using complexity theory and trade data, Hausmann looks at what a country is good at making and predicts what types of more valuable items it could produce next.

That sounds plain enough, but the results of Hausmann’s analyses are often surprising. A country with a competitive garment industry might want to move into electronics assembly—both need an industrial zone with quality electrical power and good logistics. A country that exports flowers may find it has the expertise in cold-storage logistics necessary to spark an export boom in fresh produce.
economists  manufacturers  reinvention  competitiveness_of_nations  industrial_zones  competitive_advantage  economies_of_scope  linkages  policymaking  kaleidoscopic  comparative_advantage  supply_chains  value_chains  capabilities  cold_storage 
march 2013 by jerryking
Steve Kroft: Growing a firm to help feed the world - The Globe and Mail
Feb. 17 2013 | The Globe and Mail | Gordon Pitts.

Steve Kroft runs the kind of company that is on Canada’s endangered species list. Winnipeg-based Conviron is a mid-sized manufacturer with a high-value-added product that is the world leader in its niche. The product line consists of environmentally controlled chambers used for plant research, and exports account for 90 per cent of sales. The family company – whose official name is Controlled Environments Ltd. – has been export-driven since it was established 49 years ago. As Steve Kroft explains it, the high Canadian dollar has only made it stronger....And where are the opportunities?

Our core competence is designing controlled environments. We happened to focus on agriculture and plant growth, but controlled environments are needed in other industries. People come to us to test protective clothing for first responders, or for applications in pharmaceuticals and chemical storage, and we do a very good job. We haven’t marketed yet in those kinds of areas, but they are where we can make a contribution.
Canada  Canadian  core_competencies  Gordon_Pitts  greenhouses  manufacturers  mid-sized  exporting  family-owned_businesses  value_added  niches  Winnipeg  farming  agriculture  family_business  value  endangered 
march 2013 by jerryking
Once the Foot Is In the Door, Be Sure to Leave it Open
??| WSJ | Thomas Petzinger Jr.

Even perfect products demand salesmanship--and when bargaining gets tough, be prepared to quit the talks and walk away.
automation  B2B  bargaining  Boeing  Gulliver_strategies  large_companies  manufacturers  negotiations  reservation_prices  salesmanship  software  Thomas_Petzinger  walking_away 
february 2013 by jerryking
Mid-sized Canadian manufacturing, up in smoke
Feb. 15 2013 | The Globe and Mail | Jeffrey Simpson.

From 2006 to 2010, the BDC found, “the number of Canadian mid-sized firms decreased by 17 per cent (from 9,370 to 7,814).” Manufacturing suffered the biggest losses: From 2001 to 2010, more than half of the mid-sized manufacturing firms disappeared (the number falling from 2,807 to 1,381).

Maybe they disappeared because they got bigger? No such luck. Only 1.4 per cent grew to become firms with more than 500 employees, whereas 14 per cent went from mid-sized to having fewer than 100 employees. Not surprisingly, Ontario suffered the most from the downdraft of mid-sized manufacturing firms.

Why is all this happening? The BDC offers three plausible reasons: the parity of the Canadian dollar with the U.S. greenback, competition from China (and other places) and the brutal recession of 2008-2009.

Other reasons could be added: spotty innovation and research, inadequate access to financing for growth, an uneven record of searching for foreign (read: non-U.S.) markets.
manufacturers  Ontario  Jeffrey_Simpson  Mittelstand  Germany  BDC  mid-sized  mid-market  beyondtheU.S.  loonie  parity 
february 2013 by jerryking
Canada's food producers relish taste of success
Sep. 06 2012 | The Globe and Mail | by TAVIA GRANT

Toronto - now the second-largest food producer in North America after Chicago - has developed a comprehensive food plan. In May, Ontario unveiled a food-cluster strategy that aims to attract global investment and promote Canadian products overseas. This fall, the province will open an institute of food-processing technology that will eventually host 500 full-time students. The Conference Board is working on a national framework for the food industry and the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute is also working on policy.

It's a promising source of employment. Making a chicken nugget or pre-made Caesar salad, for example, typically needs more people than making a car part. Wages also tend to be higher - jobs in the industry yield wages that are on average 25 per cent higher than the national average, the industry says.

Food-innovation centres are springing up across Canada with government and university backing, from Charlottetown's smart kitchen to Burnaby's agri-food centre. They frequently function as labs that bridge researchers, students and the private sector.

Guelph's food-technology centre is used by companies such as Italpasta Ltd. and McCain Foods to test out new ideas and combine new types of ingredients. One room, a cross between a giant kitchen and mad-science lab, tests new types of cheeses and ice creams.

The centre also helps companies identify new trends. Karen McPhee, manager of product-development services, rattles off several shifts: sodium-reduced food, gluten-free products and simpler, more natural ingredients. Food is being viewed as medicine, she says, with more products that promise Omega 3s, antioxidants or probiotics.

The sector faces its share of headwinds. Like other manufacturers, a strong currency and volatile energy prices are causing headaches, and it has smaller economies of scale than many counterparts.
Tavia_Grant  food  honeybees  manufacturers  food_tech  niches  Toronto  clusters  innovation  agribusiness  foodservice  Guelph  economies_of_scale  probiotics  product_development  Canada  Canadian 
december 2012 by jerryking
Manufacturing: The new maker rules
Nov 24th 2012 | The Economist

Yet 3D printing is just one of many production technologies and trends which are transforming the way companies will be able to make things in the future. The old rules of manufacturing, such as “you must seek economies of scale” and “you must reduce unit-labour costs”, are being cast aside. New machines can print every item differently. More flexible robots are getting cheaper and better at doing all the boring and dirty stuff.
3-D  manufacturers  McKinsey  GE  services  economies_of_scale 
november 2012 by jerryking
Skills Don’t Pay the Bills - NYTimes.com
Illustration by Peter Oumanski
By ADAM DAVIDSON
Published: November 20, 2012

As the instructor Joseph Goldenberg explained, today’s skilled factory worker is really a hybrid of an old-school machinist and a computer programmer. Goldenberg’s intro class starts with the basics of how to use cutting tools to shape a raw piece of metal. Then the real work begins: students learn to write the computer code that tells a machine how to do it much faster....many believe that the manufacturing's future (and, to some extent, the future of the American economy) lies in training a new generation for highly skilled manufacturing jobs — the ones that require people who know how to run the computer that runs the machine.

This is partly because advanced manufacturing is really complicated. Running these machines requires a basic understanding of metallurgy, physics, chemistry, pneumatics, electrical wiring and computer code. It also requires a worker with the ability to figure out what’s going on when the machine isn’t working properly...yet, even as classes like Goldenberg’s are filled to capacity all over America, hundreds of thousands of U.S. factories are starving for skilled workers....The secret behind this skills gap is that it’s not a skills gap at all. I spoke to several other factory managers who also confessed that they had a hard time recruiting in-demand workers for $10-an-hour jobs....Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of skilled jobs has fallen and so have their wages... “Trying to hire high-skilled workers at rock-bottom rates,” the BCG study asserted, “is not a skills gap.” The study’s conclusion, however, was scarier. Many skilled workers have simply chosen to apply their skills elsewhere rather than work for less, and few young people choose to invest in training for jobs that pay fast-food wages. As a result, the United States may soon have a hard time competing in the global economy....It’s easy to understand every perspective in this drama. Manufacturers, who face increasing competition from low-wage countries, feel they can’t afford to pay higher wages. Potential workers choose more promising career paths. “It’s individually rational,” says Howard Wial, an economist at the Brookings Institution who specializes in manufacturing employment. “But it’s not socially optimal.”...this isn’t a narrow problem facing the manufacturing industry. The so-called skills gap is really a gap in education, and that affects all of us.
highly_skilled  skilled_trades  skills  skills_training  manufacturers  BCG  education  low-wage_countries  talent_allocation  skills_gap  paradoxes  global_economy  young_people  skills_shortage 
november 2012 by jerryking
Art DeFehr: Immigration activist not an armchair CEO - The Globe and Mail
GORDON PITTS

Charlottetown — The Globe and Mail

Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 16 2012,
Gordon_Pitts  furniture  manufacturers  Manitoba  career_paths  HBS 
november 2012 by jerryking
The Focused Factory
May-June 1974 | HBR | Wickham Skinner
HBR  manufacturers  focus 
august 2012 by jerryking
Making it in the new industrial revolution
Aug. 29, 2012 | The Financial Times | by Luke Johnson.
Two new books make this point: first, the Financial Times's Peter Marsh in his excellent book The New Industrial Revolution ; and second, Chris Anderson, of The Long Tail fame, in his new title, Makers . They argue that mass production is giving way to customisation, combined with localism, and the emergence of "micro-multinationals".

Digital manufacturing employs computers and a process called stereolithography to make products using layers of either powdered or molten plastic or metal, in what is described as "additive manufacturing". ...whether it is Apple iPhones or Rolls-Royce Trent aero engines, the real profit is not made in the basic assembly of goods. The margins are in servicing, brands, design and after-sales.

Manufacturing contributes to an economy in many ways. As Andrew Liveris, chief executive of Dow Chemical, argues in his book Make It In America , it creates more added value pro rata than other activities, and is much more likely to generate exports to help offset trade deficits. Moreover, research and development tends to take place alongside manufacturing centres, which foster clusters of sub-contractors. It is no coincidence that Germany, Europe's manufacturing powerhouse, has weathered the credit crisis so well compared to other EU nations.

Since the downturn started, many politicians in the developed world have insisted that societies move away from financial capitalism and back towards the real business of making things. If this policy is to succeed, it cannot be the usual formula of enticing global public companies to build multibillion-dollar plants. It must be about education, entrepreneurship and exploiting new equipment on a more bespoke scale. Incremental jobs in manufacturing can come from new, niche entrants using innovations in technology to help make them more of a match for the big incumbents.
manufacturers  Luke_Johnson  3-D  books  DIY  microproducers  Industrial_Revolution  developed_countries  margins  services  brands  design  after-sales_service  Apple  Rolls-Royce  developing_countries 
august 2012 by jerryking
Canadian manufacturers set sights on growth, new products - The Globe and Mail
Jul. 29 2012 | The Globe and Mail | ORA MORISON.

A strong Canadian dollar doesn’t seem to be a deterrent. Mr. Khatri also said he’s targeting the U.S. to boost his market. Currently, about 20 per cent of his sales go to Americans.

“My clients tell me [they] remember an 85-cent dollar and they look at where they are today and say ‘you know, maybe I wasn’t quite as focused at 85 cents as I am now’,” said Laurent Giguère, KPMG’s National Industry Leader and the author of the manufacturing outlook report.

Companies are finding cost savings throughout their supply chain, he said. As smaller, niche manufacturers, Canadian companies are better equipped to compete on unique, high-value products.
manufacturers  growth  KPMG  Canadian  loonie  weak_dollar 
july 2012 by jerryking
Strategic Innovation: Dr. David Dunne Outlines the Potential of "Disruptive" Technologies
June 2004 | GFTC-Newsletter | David Dunne.

“Innovation is essential, and must be a central mission in any firm which hopes to succeed,” says Dr. Dunne. “And it’s easier for some, like food retailers, than for others,like food manufacturers. It makes sense for manufacturers to see what it is that retailers are doing, and learn from that example.”.....It takes about 3000
new ideas to generate only four reasonably viable products, only one of which will be truly innovative --and generating those 3000
new ideas requires constant effort.”....."Examining product experiments to see what was supposed to happen and what actually did happen can also provide a wealth of knowledge and new ideas. Finding inadequacies in underlying processes and finding ways to address those inadequacies can be fruitful, as can taking advantage of demographic changes, new knowledge, and changes in perception, mood, and fashion.”
disruption  innovation  private_labels  experimentation  new_products  CPG  manufacturers  food  agribusiness  Rotman  grocery  supermarkets  change  ideas  lessons_learned  retailers 
july 2012 by jerryking
When the Pieces Put Themselves Together - NYTimes.com
July 11, 2012 | NYT |By JENNIFER 8. LEE

Instead of assembly lines, what if manufacturing moved to self-assembly lines?

There is something counterintuitive about seeing toys and furniture that spring together simply when their pieces are shaken around and around.

Doesn’t this go against the principles of entropy we learned in high school science, where order is supposed to dissolve into disorder?

Actually, no. Self-assembly is a well-studied phenomenon on the molecular level — snowflakes, proteins, viruses — and one of the driving forces in nanotechnology. But researchers are taking principles from microbiology and applying them on the macro level — furniture, infrastructure and even buildings for space...Certain principles govern self-assembly. First, there needs to be a blueprint of the ultimate form. Second, the system needs to have forces of attraction that bring together the parts. These can either be magnets or electrostatic forces. Third, error correction has to allow the pieces to “fix” themselves when they assemble in the wrong way. Fourth, an external energy source is needed to activate the assembly. On the molecular level, this is often heat, but on the human scale it can be simple shaking. (It is actually this external energy source that allows self-assembly to seemingly violate the principle of entropy, since entropy is a law that applies only to isolated systems)...Self-assembly is most useful where human hands have difficulty bolting things together — outer space, extreme cold, free fall and deep oceans, he says.
self-assembly  manufacturers  toys  entropy  nanotechnology  error_correction  disorder  human_scale  blueprints 
july 2012 by jerryking
Taking One for the Country - NYTimes.com
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: June 30, 2012

"I found myself applauding for Chief Justice Roberts the same way I did for Al Gore when he gracefully bowed to the will of the Supreme Court in the 2000 election and the same way I do for those wounded warriors — and for the same reason: They each, in their own way, took one for the country.

To put it another way, Roberts undertook an act of statesmanship for the national good by being willing to anger his own “constituency” on a very big question. But he also did what judges should do: leave the big political questions to the politicians. The equivalent act of statesmanship on the part of our politicians now would be doing what Roberts deferred to them as their responsibility: decide the big, hard questions, with compromises, for the national good. Otherwise, we’re doomed to a tug of war on the deck of the Titanic, no matter what health care plan we have. "...Our newfound natural gas bounty can give us long-term access to cheap, cleaner energy and, combined with advances in robotics and software, is already bringing blue-collar manufacturing back to America. Web-enabled cellphones and tablets are creating vast new possibilities to bring high-quality, low-cost education to every community college and public school so people can afford to acquire the skills to learn 21st-century jobs. Cloud computing is giving anyone with a creative spark cheap, powerful tools to start a company with very little money. And dramatically low interest rates mean we can borrow to build new infrastructure — and make money.
Tom_Friedman  John_Roberts  U.S._Supreme_Court  judges  statesmanship  hydraulic_fracturing  natural_gas  cloud_computing  smartphones  robotics  software  interest_rates  infrastructure  automation  constituencies  low-interest  compromise  blue-collar  manufacturers  politicians  hard_questions  high-quality 
july 2012 by jerryking
Ride to the rescue of workers
Aug. 15 2007 | The Globe and Mail | JIM STANFORD. Economist with the Canadian Auto Workers Union

So imagine how surprised I was at the bank's rapid, powerful interventions into financial markets recently, issuing more than $4-billion in new low-cost loans in just three trading days to soothe frazzled nerves and keep the easy-credit machine out of the ditch. And it signalled in no uncertain terms there was plenty more where that came from.

Far from sitting back watching the economy "adjust to change," this drama featured the central bank as cavalry - charging over the hill just as the hedge-fund artists were making their last stand. Seems the prospect of bankrupt speculators tossed onto the street, forced to find real work, isn't the kind of change the bank has in mind. Now, don't get me wrong: What the bank did was prudent and important....This selective, one-sided approach to stabilization speaks volumes about the nature of the bank as an institution, and the biases of the inflation-targeting regime it espouses so passionately. The Bank of Canada is not a neutral, prescient team of technocrats, guiding us to some imaginary point of maximum efficiency. Like any other political body, its opinions and actions reflect value judgments about the relative importance of differing, sometimes conflicting, goals and interests. Job creation versus inflation control. Consumer inflation versus stock-market inflation. Financial troubles versus industrial troubles.

So, Governor Dodge, please carry on with your dramatic rescue mission. Just spread a little of that rescue around to the rest of us next time.
bailouts  Bank_of_Canada  biases  bubbles  business-government_relations  CAW  central_banks  economists  financial_crises  financial_markets  institutions  Jim_Stanford  layoffs  manufacturers  pairs  politics  tradeoffs  values  value_judgements 
june 2012 by jerryking
For Some Manufacturers, There Are Benefits to Keeping Production at Home - WSJ.com
January 22, 2007 | WSJ | By MARK WHITEHOUSE.

much of what can go abroad already has, leaving behind what can and should be made in the U.S. One area of strength: high-end goods like top-of-the-line $6,000 Sony Grand WEGA TV sets and $15,000 Sub-Zero PRO 48 refrigerators, which appeal to the affluent folks who have been driving much of the growth in U.S. consumer spending.

"It's the very high-end products," says Daniel Meckstroth, chief economist at Manufacturers Alliance, a trade group. "Manufacturers who have niche markets in high-end products have a very good outlook."...."Manufacturing is contributing to the welfare of the economy in terms of standard of living, but it's not generating net new jobs," says Mr. Meckstroth. "The electronics sector is one of the areas where that's most visible."
manufacturers  offshoring  white_goods  Sub-Zero  appliances  onshoring  high-end  consumer_electronics 
june 2012 by jerryking
Industry: Nimble, niche and networked - FT.com
June 12, 2012 | FT |By Peter Marsh

Nimble companies, operating on a global basis in niche areas of technology, that seem likely to prosper in the new industrial revolution now beginning. The fact that the UK is replete with such businesses suggests the country could emerge once again as a leading contender in manufacturing– a sector it pioneered in the 18th and 19th centuries but more recently has allowed to slip back in favour of services.......Although Britain may have the knowhow and cultural characteristics required to stage an industrial comeback, it still lags behind far behind the likes of Japan and Germany, where boutique companies making uniquely specialised products form the economic backbone of the nation. If Britain is to resurrect manufacturing as a high-value growth engine, it will almost certainly require some action by government to make the most of the country’s potential....hundreds of connections with companies around the world, which is one fundamental characteristic of the new industrial revolution. Three others involve the application of new technologies, a focus on “niche” areas of industry and an increasing focus on “personalised” products........Today the archetypal UK manufacturer is a small business with perhaps 50 employees that is based in an unremarkable edge-of-town business park and boasts global links as opposed to a highly visible smokestack in a large city. Such companies account for a greater share of industrial activity since the larger enterprises have fallen away.....The UK’s prevailing approach to manufacturing – emphasising small, agile businesses with an eye for the unusual that formulate their own rules – could fit in with the requirements for success......An individualist in the same mould is Sir James Dyson, a high-octane innovator who has made his eponymous vacuum cleaner business into a global leader. His dividing of the company’s Asia-based production from its UK-centred product development is in line with the blueprint of the new industrial revolution stressing the separation of elements in the manufacturing “value chain”......There are further reasons to think the natural leanings of UK manufacturing fit into the framework of the new industrial revolution. One is a tendency to focus on selling into areas with narrow parameters that can to a large degree be invented by the participating companies themselves, and to rely on selling services as well as products.......The best example is the Formula 1 car racing business. This involves intensive use of engineering resources to design and make high-grade machines that do little apart from playing the lead role in a global spectator sport built on advertising. There is no reason why Britain should have become the leading country for Formula 1 car production – apart from the fact that it fits with the UK leaning towards production based around esoteric technologies and markets......British industry also features a facility for working with a range of technical disciplines and finding the common ground between them. ......A third important strength of the UK is the ability to devise solutions to customers’ problems. These are often based on an approach geared to making products as highly customised “one-offs”, and to the needs of one business as opposed to many....The characteristics of the new industrial revolution, however, make the task of assisting UK manufacturing a lot simpler as the country already has many of the attributes required. In this new environment it would seem sensible for policy to plug the gaps in the manufacturing framework that already exists. Such initiatives could focus on helping companies to improve their technologies, develop more global strategies and organise more joint development projects with larger businesses in order to learn more about such groups’ technical capabilities.
3-D  boutiques  collaboration  competitiveness_of_nations  Dyson  Formula_One  gazelles  industrial_policies  Industrial_Revolution  James_Dyson  manufacturers  niches  nimbleness  one-of-a-kind  personalization  production_lines  product_development  specialists  United_Kingdom  value_chains 
june 2012 by jerryking
The Reverse Supply Chain
February 2002 | HBR | V. Daniel R. Guide Jr. and Luk N. Van Wassenhove
product_returns  supply_chains  reverse_logistics  logistics  manufacturers 
june 2012 by jerryking
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