Outdoors products sold by locally owned Ace Hardware locations continue to draw customers and deter online disruption by Amazon, says Ace Hardware CEO John Venhuizen. "Our growth rate in outdoor and barbecue is in excess of 26 percent over the last four years," he says.
Grocers have responded to Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods by partnering with Instacart and by buying startups as they try to match Amazon's digital expertise, Russell Redman writes. Amazon has increased Whole Foods' sale of private brands and captured nearly one-fifth of the online grocery market.
Real-time tracking, blockchain and other technologies are helping shippers reduce delays associated with capacity shortages, Daniel Bearth writes. "Shippers who don't begin embracing technology will continue to face increasing pressure in the coming months because of the changing supply-chain environment," adds Kuebix President Dan Clark.
Companies can keep pace with demand and bring products to market quicker by integrating design and manufacturing processes, writes Craig Therrien of Dassault Systemes. "By eliminating redundancies and automating parts of the design-to-manufacturing process, engineering talent is freed from repetitive tasks, so they can focus on creating tomorrow's great new products," Therrien writes.
Commonly available gateway devices are being deployed in industrial situations despite having easily exploitable flaws, which is in part a problem of vendor culture, says Thomas Roth, founder of Leveldown Security. "If you report a bug to some of these vendors. the vulnerability gets fixed, but then there are 10 different devices which run the same firmware, and they are left completely unpatched," he says.
Manufacturing Day is Oct. 5, and manufacturers and organizations in Dayton, Ohio, and elsewhere are preparing to inform communities about career opportunities. "The whole premise is, get the kids and educators in, so they can see what contemporary manufacturing is all about," says Angelia Erbaugh, president of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association.
The US trucking industry moved 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017 and contributed $700.3 billion in economic activity during the year, according to a report from the American Trucking Associations. Expectations for the next year remain positive due to healthy construction and manufacturing activity, tax cuts and a tight labor market, according to Avery Vise of FTR.
UPS has applied for a blockchain patent to create and track package routes worldwide. The patent describes a system capable of tracking packages across multiple carriers.
Stefan Kaluzny of Staples wrote last week to Essendant CEO Richard Phillips urging an acquisition deal between Essendant and Staples. Essendant says it is moving ahead on a merger with Genuine Parts' S.P. Richards business.
Unstructured data such as text files, spreadsheets and emails often account for most of a company's data and can offer valuable insight into operations, writes Bridget McCrea. "For example, if an electrical distributor looks deep into the customer support data (from call centers, support tickets, emails, etc.) that it has collected over the years, it will actually find patterns of customers' general problems or what prompted a call," says Opinosis Analytics founder Kavita Ganesan.
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