The country's manufactured exports dropped 2% to $298 billion in the second quarter, compared with the same period in 2014, according to a MAPI Foundation report. "The U.S. $48 billion deficit increase in the first half of the year equates to a loss of 300,000 trade-related American manufacturing jobs and the deficit is on track for a loss of 500,000 or more jobs for the calendar year," report author Ernest Preeg said.
Do it Best Corp. says it has successfully integrated its IT department into its business model in part through internal communication tools and by having IT staff meet in person with co-workers and clients. Also helpful has been allowing teams to be self-organizing. "We're starting to use test-driven development," said Mike Barley. "That's an easy thing to say and a much harder thing to do."
Bulk distributors can help cut costs by increasing operational efficiency and developing a strategy for cutting inventory costs, Bill Mathews writes. Automated inventory and delivery management systems are essential to streamline operations and actually save money, Mathews writes.
Although China is not officially in a recession, analysts worry a slowdown could create a significant drop in global economic growth. In preparation, companies should increase the frequency of their sales and operations planning process so they can see demand changes sooner. Following the downturn, those companies will be better-positioned to buy distressed assets and boost their market share.
During a roundtable discussion, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said he is upset at his party for not supporting a long-term, $350 billion transportation bill that was passed in the Senate. He expects the bill will end up in conference with the House. Bobby Stem, Association of General Contractors of Oklahoma executive director, said a long-term bill is positive for jobs and creates long-term stability for the construction industry. "Band-Aids in Washington are Band-Aids to our companies," he said. "When there is a long-term fix, if I can see the future, I see commitment."
Dell has agreed to allow Ingram Micro and Synnex to sell to solutions providers working with the federal government, though partners will still be able to buy directly from Dell. "Dell is a premium brand in the federal space. Their coming to the channel is certainly a sign that the products can be more successful," said Synnex's Eddie Franklin.
A recent survey found supply chain companies aren't using third parties to assess their risk, and 90% aren't quantifying their own risk levels. However, the recent explosion at Tianjin, the third-largest port in China, highlights the need for a plan. "The 2011 Japanese tsunami and Thailand floods were a wakeup call for many companies, but it may take the impacts of the Tianjin disaster to get a more rational number to make the move," Paul Martyn writes.
Nestle USA has opened a $50 million research and development center in Solon, Ohio, that will focus on improvements in the frozen and chilled food sector. The facility will look into possibilities for reducing sodium and saturated fats, eliminating partially hydrogenated oils, creating gluten-free and high-protein foods and adding more vegetable options.
President Barack Obama encouraged lawmakers to extend tax credits for wind and solar, like the wind energy Production Tax Credit, at a clean energy summit in Las Vegas on Monday. "For decades we've been told that it doesn't make economic sense to switch over to renewable energy. Today that's no longer true," Obama said. Wind energy has the potential to create more jobs in the U.S. and improve the economy, said American Wind Energy Association CEO Tom Kiernan ahead of the summit. Earlier in the day, the Obama administration unveiled a number of executive actions aimed at boosting renewables.
Manufacturers are seeing an increase in cybersecurity problems as supply chains broaden and include more partners, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey shows. It found a 17% increase in the number of security incidents in 2014 versus 2013. Increasing use of 3D printing may bring new risks as electronic files on product design and manufacturing information become targets for hackers.
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