An engaged workforce will lead to higher rates of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, writes Dave Haley. Leaders can encourage employee engagement by focusing on areas such as ensuring team members are aware of organizational goals.
Software, interactive features, immersive experiences and other technologies are becoming requirements for premium automotive suppliers, write Jian Xu and Xiaoming Liu of A. T. Kearney. They assert that "OEMs must dramatically diversify their investments in being a premium brand, or see their claims to premium status inevitably slip away."
Preventive maintenance is an important tool that helps companies avoid downtime and system failure, even if too many managers make excuses for not keeping on top of it, writes Michael Cowley. A failed preventive maintenance plan, he notes, is often because of a company culture that fails to provide the necessary leadership, training and persistence.
Trucking products firm Curt Group is relaunching its five e-commerce sites this year, replacing legacy systems that struggled to manage available inventory and cross-promote the company's brands. The company changed its name last year as part of a rebrand.
Artificial intelligence-based synchronous planning can help companies create logistics operations that are prepared for growth and change, according to this Deloitte analysis. "As organizations continue their journey toward a fully realized [digital supply network], the ability to plan for and meet shifts in demand will become increasingly critical," the authors write.
Manufacturers should seek partnerships with specialty industrial distributors that offer good products, fair prices, a local inventory and source parts from the right original equipment manufacturers, writes FCX Performance executive Jody Linnig. "Having the right specialty industrial distributor on board as a partner to procure the right parts quickly, monitor and maintain plant systems can help alleviate that stress and be a valuable asset," he writes.
Industry 4.0 is an evolution, meaning it involves ongoing updates and improvements to products, not just the rip and removal of costly legacy systems, Tom Canning writes. Companies should take care in selecting their Industry 4.0 team and do small tests before rolling out their strategy, he notes.
Safety signage is good business and also legally required in many cases, Vicky Adams writes. She advises that signs should be placed in accordance with the level of hazard and should be removed once there is no longer risk involved.
Companies can create a pipeline of talent by working with community colleges, which can prepare people to work in manufacturing, repair and other areas, says Michael White of Cuyahoga Community College's Workforce, Community and Economic Development Division. "It takes a combination of outside and in-house training to get candidates up to speed on a company's particular equipment and processes," he says.
Truckload linehaul rates posted an 8.2% increase year over year in April, according to the Cass Truckload Linehaul, and forecasts expect rates to gain at least 6% to 8% this year. Total intermodal freight cost grew 6.6% year over year due to tight truckload capacity and higher diesel costs.