Small and midsize buyers are a strong growth opportunity for Grainger in the US, and the company hopes to reach them with new pricing programs and the expansion of its online Zoro business, CEO D.G. Macpherson said. The company is working to add 1 million SKUs to the e-commerce platform for maintenance, repair and operations supplies.
Data are essential to Lawson Products' success, says President and CEO Michael DeCata, explaining how the company's SAP software tracks 141 metrics daily and allows the company to make decisions quickly. Another software package gives salespeople product pricing, availability and other data they need to increase productivity, he says.
Retailers can make customers feel valued and reduce returns by constantly providing detailed product information, advises inRiver's Steve Gershik. Companies should post accurate product information online to prevent false expectations and utilize product information management technologies so customer service representatives have all the necessary information to address customer concerns.
Companies should invest in specialized software for their reverse logistics processes in order to maximize aftermarket-related profits, advises IFS's Charles Rathmann. Reverse logistics software can be very useful to highly regulated industries such as medical device manufacturers where traceability is key; however, streamlining reverse logistics is important to the majority of companies valued over $5 million.
XPO Logistics on Monday unveiled the results of its 2018 sustainability efforts with its first-ever sustainability report. The company significantly reduced its emissions in Europe, is currently creating a more fuel efficient truck fleet and enacted policies to reduce energy consumption in 95% of its warehouses.
Waymo has settled on an existing Detroit factory to be repurposed for manufacturing its Level 4 self-driving cars. The factory is on the campus of American Axle & Manufacturing, and Waymo plans to begin moving in by midyear.
The fourth industrial revolution is supplanting automation and ushering in an era of digital transformation marked by the rise of the industrial internet of things, which comes with unparalleled levels of real-time connectivity but also significant cybersecurity risk. Axiz's Andre Froneman explores the kinds of measures needed to address the vast new landscape of threat.
While many companies implicitly employ hierarchical planning to quickly and cost effectively move products throughout the supply chain, they often "lack a clear link between tactics, operations and strategy," according to Matt Liberatore of the Villanova School of Business. Successful execution of hierarchical planning involves "give and take" across various planning levels, Liberatore says.
Constantly evolving software promises big gains in manufacturing efficiency. However, the hang-up in many cases comes when trying to integrate new software with old hardware, a problem that BMW is tackling by combining tech and business-side teams.
The current US workforce with advanced STEM skills is shrinking as older workers retire and too few qualified young people are available to take their place, writes Nidec Americas Executive Vice President Carla Otto. Various efforts are being made to tackle the problem, and Otto points to "reverse internships," which take the form of micro-enterprises on college campuses in which students are paid to learn and perform a range of technical services.
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