The adoption of new technologies and more efficient production models means US manufacturers are "leaner and greener than ever," but external factors are limiting the sector's growth, according to a survey by Assembly Magazine. "Manufacturing is facing a number of challenges, including high inventories, collapsing oil prices, an unwillingness to invest and an appreciating dollar that makes exports more expensive to foreign buyers," said Daniel Meckstroth, chief economist at the MAPI Foundation.
Manufacturing is being reshaped by several trends, ranging from the Internet of Things to millennial employees' expectations of greater work-life balance, according to a new MAPI report, Manufacturing Megatrends. MAPI undertook the study to better understand which trends hindered businesses the most last year and may offer more opportunity than risk, said Jenn Callaway, MAPI's director of councils and business research. Examples of the former include access to skilled labor and US tax policy. As for the latter, executives reported they had a better understanding of their total cost of ownership because of improved pricing and profit information.
High-performing employees who are promoted to managerial positions often fail to adopt a manager's mindset. Instead of coaching or encouraging direct reports to improve work that is not up to par, they just do the work themselves. This article explains how these managers can adopt the proper mindset for their new roles.
A Public Company Accounting Oversight Board auditing standard designed to encourage effective, two-way dialogue between external auditors and audit committees has been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The standard takes effect for audits of financial statements beginning on or after Dec. 15, 2012.
Robots, previously reserved for only the largest manufacturers, have now advanced to the point they can be used in smaller-scale operations, and they're finding their way into a variety of tasks across industries. "In the past, automotive companies and other large manufacturers used robotics to do one thing or insert one part millions of times over the years," said Justin Percio, business manager for the automated welding segment of Lincoln Electric in Cleveland. "Today, robots are flexible enough to work on a large variety of parts or tasks cost-effectively."