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Mid Day Report

Daily news and top headlines for IT professionals

The State Of Material Handling Today

November 18, 2011 8:28 am

Nick Wilson is the president and CEO of Morrison Container Handling Solutions, which provides packaging solutions for national and international companies. He is also the 2011 recipient of the Professional Achievement Citation in Engineering (PACE) award from Iowa State University, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Has Continuous Improvement Met Its ROI Match?

November 18, 2011 8:15 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor,

Many manufacturers, particularly those who are achieving sub-par returns, have an idea that continuous improvement is simply a philosophy change, and not a capital investment, and are applying tools that aren't exactly suitable for their particular operations. A recent report from AlixPartners posited a surprising finding in the field of continuous improvement (CI) programs for manufacturers: Most companies engaged in Lean, Sigma Six, or another toolkit are achieving a poor return on their investment, and appear to be only partially engaged in the process itself.

Jobs: A Vengeful Man

November 17, 2011 7:37 am | by David Mantey, Editor, Product Design & Development

His ferocity and tunnel vision led Steve Jobs to achieve monumental fame and fortune, but it also severed friendships and business relationships. When is the world going to stop talking about Steve Jobs?” “I don’t know, as soon as Christians stop talking about Jesus?” The untimely passing of the techno-icon has led to a deluge of skepticism, criticism, praise, and wonderment for the most influential man this world has lost in some time.


USMTO: Technology Sales Soar Over 2010

November 17, 2011 7:16 am

September U.S. manufacturing technology orders totaled $606.56 million according to AMTDA, the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association and AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTO program, was up 22.9% from August and up 51.

Why I Hate The Word 'Plan'

November 15, 2011 7:43 am | by Joe Flach, Consultant, Safe Harbor Consulting LLC

My consulting plan is -- avoid the word "plan" -- and to be more precise by stating what you want that word to mean. Business continuity, disaster recovery and crisis management professionals are challenged by the use of inexact and often confusing jargon.

Improving Performance With Dynamic Capacity Management

November 15, 2011 7:34 am

Decreasing cost and improving efficiency are always front-of-mind concerns for manufacturers. Phil Wolf of Portfolio Decisionware (PDWare) spoke with Food Manufacturing, MBT’s sister publication, about how project managers and resource planners can best manage resources to maximize productivity.

You Need More Than A List Of Product SKUs & Datasheets

November 14, 2011 7:44 am

Last month, element14 launched The Drawer, an innovative content storage tool for users to capture and collect information as they navigate through the element14 community. Product Design & Development , MBT’s sister publication speaks with Jeff Jussel, senior director of global technology marketing at element14, about solving engineering pain points.

Watching What We Eat

November 14, 2011 7:26 am | by Adam Aronson, Chief Executive Officer, Arrowsight

One process manufacturer utilizes a patented RVA system to provide independent, objective, and off-site third-party auditing to monitor and notify plant management in near real-time to immediately identify and correct any issues. Preventing   cross contamination from pathogens such as E.


A Renaissance Is Coming For Mexican Manufacturing

November 11, 2011 9:42 am | by Dr. Chris Kuehl, Economic Analyst

The Mexican economy is outpacing some of the faster growing regions in the world—such as Russia—and it is estimated that Mexico will be the eighth largest economy in the world by 2050. The dominant story from Mexico today is one of violence and corruption. The drug wars are a very real part of Mexico these days and nobody would underestimate the challenges that lie ahead for the government.

The World's First Apple-Enabled Multimeter

November 11, 2011 9:29 am

Behold, the world’s first Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod-touch enabled digital multimeter, which wirelessly transmits voltage, current, and resistance measurements back to the user. Redfish Instruments’ new iDVM device is the world’s first Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod-touch enabled digital multimeter, which wirelessly transmits voltage, current, and resistance measurements back to the user.

Quick-Response Manufacturing For Custom Product

November 11, 2011 2:59 am | by Mike Collins, Author, Saving American Manufacturing

The QRM system is a great approach for custom product manufacturers who need to reduce lead times and labor hours. Lean manufacturing methodology has been around for many years and successfully used by many manufacturers to eliminate waste and lower costs. But in the 21st Century, there has also been a trend in manufacturing toward high-variety, low-volume products with options configured for individual customers, and even custom-engineered per client or plant.

Implementing a Successful Quality Management System

November 11, 2011 2:43 am | by Gina Butler & Donald Dobert, ATL

There is an old saying in Quality Management: “If it’s not written down, the event never took place.” All businesses need a Quality Management System, but many do not have one, and if they do, it may not be managed very well. What exactly is a Quality Management System (QMS) and why is it necessary? A successful QMS consists of written and controlled procedures.

How The iPhone Got Tail Fins (Part 2)

November 8, 2011 8:09 am

The desire to line up to buy the newest iPhone when your old one works just fine was just one more part of Steve Jobs' genius -- it's how the iPhone got tail fins. By Steve Blank, Expert, Silicon Valley This is part two of a two-part series. Part one can be found here. By the early 1920's General Motors realized that Ford, which was now selling the Model T for $290, had an unbeatable monopoly on low-cost automobile manufacturing.

The Truth And Nothing But The Truth

November 8, 2011 7:32 am | by James A. Kosch

Even well-intentioned companies sometimes run the risk of committing fraud by taking a few furtive steps onto a certain slippery slope that involves “shading” the truth. By James A. Kosch The term “environmental fraud” calls to mind unconscionable acts of brazen deceit.

How The iPhone Got Tail Fins (Part 1)

November 7, 2011 8:47 am | by Steve Blank, Expert, Silicon Valley

It's a story that begins with General Motors and its ability to develop into a well-run and well-managed company. This is part one of a two-part series. Part two will run in tomorrow's MBT Mid-Day Report. It was the most advanced consumer product of the century.

Managing Nuclear Knowledge: Last Cold War Bomb Dismantled

November 7, 2011 8:16 am | by Lindsey Christensen, Marketing Project Manager, Guest Journalist, PTC

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is dismantling the last of its Cold War era nuclear bombs , and the process is a complicated and dangerous one. Photo from BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is dismantling the last of its Cold War era nuclear bombs .

Amazon's Fire: iPad Contender?

November 4, 2011 7:03 am | by Andrew Berg, Editor, Wireless Week

Amazon's Fire Tablet seems clearly positioned as a very real iPad contender because it delivers on both price and ease-of-use in the purchasing and consuming of media. Let's be honest, people love the iPad (a media tablet) because it's reasonably priced and it allows users to purchase and enjoy media in a very simple (Steve Jobs would say magical) way.

Impending Growth Inspires The Adoption Of Virtualized Storage

November 4, 2011 6:51 am | by Kerry Sylvester, Director of IT, WaterFurnace International

In anticipation of large data growth due to acquisitions and expansion, one company deployed a network storage server, which it now leverages for real-time replication, high availability and scalable backup. Background WaterFurnace International is an Indiana-based manufacturer of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly geothermal comfort systems, indoor air quality products, and pool heaters.

A Recession Is A Great Time To Launch A Product

November 3, 2011 5:10 am | by Judson Luke, LePoidevin Marketing

Launching a new product is a risky business. According to the Harvard Business Review in 2004, only 1 in 10 new products were considered successful. Of course, it's often the case that the bigger the risk, the bigger the potential rewards. With continuing low consumer confidence, media reports of foreclosures, high unemployment and talk of "double dip" recessions, the course of action for many companies has been to simply invest as little as possible in marketing, minimize risk and wait out the storm.

Cleanliness And Cost-Savings For The Packaging Industry

November 3, 2011 5:00 am

In order to meet high standards of cleanliness and hygiene, as well as prevent equipment issues, one process manufacturer replaced the v-grooved, track-guided roller systems in its packaging machines with plastic bushings. Packaging machines, from cartoning and filling devices, to palletizing, labeling or inspection equipment, are constantly handling sensitive products.


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