Amazon last month made its first attempt at automating some of the truck delivery process by launching Relay, an app that lets truck drivers get in and out of the company's warehouses faster. It's the first connection between the e-commerce giant and millions of truck drivers.
Ace Hardware reported third-quarter net income of $53.8 million, compared to $50.2 million the prior year. "A retail same-store sales increase of 7.1% was the predominant fuel behind our strong 9.1% overall sales increase and record setting third quarter revenue," Ace CEO John Venhuizen said.
DistributionNOW posted a third-quarter loss of $9 million, compared to a prior-year loss of $56 million. Chief Accounting Officer David Cherechinsky will become chief financial officer, with current CFO Daniel Molinaro moving to an executive vice president role.
Warehouses can minimize the expensive "empty travel" of human workers by using robots guided by a management system, writes Steve Banker of ARC Advisory Group. He writes about the potential productivity gains of Locus Robotics' LocusButs, which are offered to companies as a monthly rental.
Manufacturers will benefit when mixed reality enables workers to translate visual data into predictive maintenance and understand instructions better, Adam Uzialko writes. Yiwen Rong of uSens says success will come not from machines themselves, but from how manufacturers use information.
Smaller manufacturers shouldn't let technical jargon intimidate them, writes Stevie Hay of Aptean. It may not be realistic to hire a chief data officer, he writes, but cloud-based manufacturing execution systems can help smaller companies learn more about their operations and improve decision-making.
Supply chain transformation is most successful when a manufacturer starts with a comprehensive vision, assesses performance and creates a transformation road map, according to this McKinsey analysis. "The vision will call for a combination of no-regrets improvements as well as more speculative changes that can be pursued over time," the analysts write.
Manufacturing training programs in the US need to emphasize adaptive skills more than conventional hard skills, writes Justin Rose of Boston Consulting Group. "To create the next-generation workforce, we have to go beyond teaching the technical skills required by today's manufacturers and technologies and teach the adaptive skills that will be needed tomorrow," he writes.
The first class of Rockwell Automation's Academy for Advanced Manufacturing provided manufacturing training and job placement opportunities for 14 veterans. CEO Blake Moret says the program accomplished training, providing manufacturers with skilled workers and making progress toward solving the manufacturing skills gap.
Walmart has worked to incorporate sustainability as a "shared value" within the business rather than something separate, says CEO Doug McMillon. In addition to the long-term economic benefits of sustainability, he said, Walmart understands that customers want to feel positive about the products they buy.
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