The coronavirus outbreak is keeping some Alibaba employees from reporting to work and testing its supply and logistics operations. Food delivery, electronics and apparel purchases have been hampered, but groceries and other staples are doing well.
Genuine Parts reported fourth-quarter profit of $8.9 million, down from $187 million last year. Revenue of $4.71 billion was up from a year earlier, although sales for subsidiary Motion Industries declined 5.6% year over year.
Distributors should carefully consider the Americans with Disabilities Act and applicable state or international disability laws when designing a website, writes Fred Mendelsohn. Businesses can benefit from conducting regular audits of their website and mobile apps to ensure compliance and following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, he writes.
Evergreen blog posts, visuals and surveys are just three ways brands can create engaging website content,
writes Manisha Sukhyani. "If you have conducted a survey or have collected a list of statistics, put them on a website to influence users for taking decisions in final purchases from your business," she writes.
Additive manufacturers are increasingly using artificial intelligence, machine learning and machine vision to create product designs and develop process parameters. Massachusetts-based Inkbit uses a system that "allows you to get a new level of printing accuracy and precision that you cannot achieve without machine learning," says CEO Davide Marini.
Operational technology security and incident readiness are two areas where manufacturers need to focus this year, says Donovan Tindill of Honeywell Industrial Cybersecurity Marketing. Cybersecurity must be considered "through the entire life cycle of the control system, from its initial selection through to design, configuration, commissioning, and maintenance," he says.
Two Chicago organizations, MxD and mHUB, are advancing digital manufacturing, cybersecurity and product development by forming partnerships between manufacturers, universities and other businesses and organizations. One effort from mHUB is working with large manufacturers and startups to create industrial internet of things devices that can solve specific problems.
Cardinal Manufacturing, a successful student-run business at a school in Wisconsin, is serving as a model for a program in Winchester, Ind., writes Larry Fast, who is involved with the latter. The Indiana school has seen enrollment in manufacturing and welding classes double and could launch a own business this year.
As businesses move logistics centers closer to urban areas to speed delivery to stores and customers, they're increasingly facing unions that want to organize employees. Target recently opened a 718,000-square-foot distribution center in Perth Amboy, N.J., and is battling with a union over working conditions there.
Denmark-based A.P. Moller-Maersk is purchasing El Segundo, Calif.-based warehousing and distribution firm Performance Team for $545 million. "This will strengthen our ability to deliver products and solutions that meet our customers' end-to-end supply chain needs," said Vincent Clerc, CEO of Maersk Ocean and Logistics.
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