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Executive survey shows realignment, adapting to new customer preferences, and increased remote work. 2020 will soon be behind us. As many executives heave a sigh of relief, they are also preparing for a dramatically different environment in 2021. Recent economic challenges have forced manufacturers to change their business models, seemingly overnight, to stay competitive and prepare for not just recovery, but unprecedented growth. However, it may be difficult for manufacturers to keep up with both a snap-back in demand, and a huge appetite from customers for innovative products and solutions. Recently, over 60 executives were interviewed as part of a larger ...
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The MTI Board of Trustees met this past week in Nashville, Tennessee for their annual Fall Board Meeting. The Trustees had a full slate of big topics on their agenda. One of the big steps that the Board took was to approve funding to enhance MTI’s quarterly heat treat sales forecasting report provided by ITR Economics.   ITR Economics is one of the leading forecasting firms in the country and MTI has been working with them since 2015 to provide quarterly forecasting of heat treat sales, as well as two leading economic indicators that track heat treating sales.   This week, the Board approved funding for ITR to include in MTI’s quarterly report a 1, 2, ...
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IHS Markit's  gauge of US business activity  rose to 55.5 in October from 54.3, signaling the fastest pace of growth since February 2019.   Service-industry activity gained to 56 from 54.6, while manufacturing activity improved slightly to 53.3 from 53.2.   Readings above 50 indicate industry growth, while those below the threshold point to contraction.   The Friday report suggests the US economy "started the fourth quarter on a strong footing," Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit, said.   Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .   A popular gauge of economic ...
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Billions of devices -- including security cameras, smart TVs, and manufacturing equipment -- are largely unmanaged and increase an organization's risk.    When FedEx subsidiary TNT Express was hit by ransomware in 2017, its delivery units were crippled and much of its shipping operations ground to a halt. In addition to delaying services to customers, the attack cost FedEx approximately $300 million, according to public filings.   It's a story that is unfortunately becoming more commonplace today. Ransomware is ravaging businesses around the world, bringing manufacturing plants to a standstill, preventing hospitals from treating patients, and even keeping ...
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Learn about the four key factors of brilliant innovation – and the balancing act to combine them. Here are some hands-on tips and tricks.   Brilliant innovation that hits all the right notes is every company’s Holy Grail. We like to call it the innovation sweet spot: get it right with your innovation concept and you hit it out of the park. But what exactly   is   this innovation sweet spot? And what happens if certain conditions aren’t met? What is the innovation sweet spot?   In a nutshell, here’s what the innovation sweet spot is all about. When innovating, you’ll need to satisfy four different criteria if you want to make it a success: ...
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On September 30, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released new   Frequently Asked Questions   (FAQs) regarding an employer’s obligation to report to OSHA cases of work-related COVID-19. The FAQs build upon previous OSHA guidance governing when and how to record and report confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the workplace. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have had a number of questions regarding the recordability and reportability of COVID-19 cases. OSHA has stated that employers must record and report work-related cases of COVID-19 if the cases otherwise meet the recording and reporting ...
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A mishmash of tools, methods, and approaches doesn’t help matters. There’s been a problem simmering in the Lean world for years. The problem is the overwhelmingly high failure rate. What failure means is subject to interpretation, but the available surveys and studies done reflect a large problem. In my view, it’s time for deeper reflection. The results of Lean implementations are discouraging. An  Industry Week  study in 2007, for instance, found that nearly 70% of all US plants used Lean, but only 2% achieved their objectives. I could go on and on with literature reviews and case studies on the high failure rate of Lean. Many have experienced disappointment ...
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Why It Matters and How APPI Energy Can Shed Valuable Light on Your Current (and Future) Contract   Last month, we launched the first in a 2-part series on  Understanding Your Energy Contract , taking a closer look at the nuts and bolts of your energy contract, but also diving into the common questions and drilldowns that companies can expect in an assessment of their contract terms. We continue down that path this month, highlighting a few of the key areas to take note of when evaluating your contract. First Things First, Why You Should Assess Your Current Contract One of the first steps you’ll take with your dedicated consultant is taking an educated,  ...
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Bad actors use machine learning to break passwords more quickly and build malware that knows how to hide, experts warn.   Three cybersecurity experts explained how artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used to evade cybersecurity defenses and make breaches faster and more efficient during a NCSA and Nasdaq cybersecurity summit. Kelvin Coleman, the Executive Director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, hosted the conversation as part of Usable Security: Effecting and Measuring Change in Human Behavior on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Elham Tabassi, Chief of Staff Information Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, ...
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Furnaces North America 2020 is excited to announce that it drew over 1,000 attendees from 22 countries from September 30 – October 2 at the first ever virtual trade show and conference in the heat treating industry. FNA 2020 Virtual provided 4 live sessions, 38 technical sessions in 5 informative tracks, and 96 top suppliers with digital booths to provide technical documents and product demonstrations.   Over 3 days, attendees engaged in 42 sessions on:   The 7 Questions You Should be Asking Your Equipment Supplier What’s Next in Heat Treating in Aerospace, Agriculture, and Automotive How COVID-19 and Demographic Shifts will Change the Future of ...
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The titanium scrap market could remain at a deficit until late 2021 as the aerospace industry struggles to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, potentially continuing to support prices for ferro-titanium, CP grade ingot and slab, and Tg-Tv grade sponge. European prices for western grade ferro-titanium rose to $3.95-4.30/kg yesterday, up from $3.40-3.55/kg at the start of September, as producers and traders held back material amid concerns about a lack of scrap feedstock. One UK ferro-titanium producer warned that "a generation of scrap" has been lost to collapsing aerospace production, echoing similar worries voiced by other market participants. ...
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Manufacturing Outlook

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The chief economist of NAM discusses the trends facing manufacturers today. If you’re looking for some guidance on what the future holds for manufacturing, the National Association of Manufacturers has some ideas. Chad Moutray, the Chief Economist of The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), says the economy has been trending in the right direction over the past few months. As he points out, “Manufacturing activity plummeted pretty dramatically in the February to April timeframe.” But the good news is that it’s “certainly trending in the right direction since then.” The rebound over the past three months has been encouraging, he says, but the ...
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As the global pandemic continues, some manufacturers are realizing they can repurpose their LIDAR systems for monitoring employee distancing. For manufacturers, there is no remote work option. As they reopen in the face of COVID-19, they need to take extra precautions, including remote temperature sensing. As the global pandemic continues, some manufacturers are realizing they can repurpose their 3D LIDAR systems—now used for security or product tracking—to monitor employee distancing and behavior, said Justin Bean, Global Marketing Director for Lumada Video Insights at Hitachi Vantara, which produces manufacturing software. Manufacturers’ use of geospatial ...
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APPI Energy provides our clients a comprehensive way to reduce energy expenses and create budget certainty. Unbiased and independent, we perform extensive due diligence of competitive suppliers in deregulated markets to provide data-driven expert consulting for the procurement of electricity and natural gas. Our experience in deciphering energy contracts differentiates us as consultants and allows us to fully analyze the details of your current and future opportunities. As a consumer, it is important to understand the terms and conditions included (or not included) in your contract and be aware of how they may affect your bottom line. Here are a few important ...
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Every year the United States celebrates Labor Day and the impact American workers have had on the social and economic achievements contributing to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. As advanced manufacturing jobs return home in the post-pandemic economy, new factories need to be built, robots programmed, new infrastructure developed, and the talent pipeline needs to be replenished with skilled and career-ready workers.   To address these challenges,  Manufacturing Day   celebrations are helping show the reality of modern manufacturing careers by encouraging thousands of companies and educational institutions around the nation to ...
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Many companies and thousands of researchers are working on vaccines for COVID-19. Never before in the history of medical science have so many different teams, many from competing companies, come together to work for a common cause. And academics from the University of Chicago Booth School have joined in - not in the quest for a new therapy or a vaccine, but to present information to businesses about what they should be looking for in the future. The lead editorial in the   summer 2020 issue   of   Chicago Booth Review   set up the proposition. "In normal times, academic research and publishing are deliberately slow." The point is not speed; it's rigor ...
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The idea of flying cars is back on the table at General Motors in its pursuit of zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion. The automaker is considering options in the aerial taxi market. Yeah, that's right, flying cars. Those options could include making the air taxis or partnering with another firm to make them, a spokesman for GM confirmed.  "It's certainly a space we're considering," said Stuart Fowle, GM Spokesman. "As Mary Barra said, when we think about Ultium and all of its potential, aerial is an area we're looking at." It's not the first time GM has talked about the idea. In 2018, GM's Mike Abelson, Vice President of Global Strategy, ...
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Monday Economic Report

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Real Median Household Income Soared to a New Record in 2019 Real median household income  soared to a new record, up 6.8% from $64,324 in 2018 to $68,703 in 2019. The average American working full-time, year-round earned $52,000 in 2019. The official poverty rate was 10.5% in 2019, down for the fourth straight year and down from 11.8% in 2018. For real median household income data by state,  click here . Manufacturing production  increased 1.0% in August, easing from the 3.9% gain seen in July but rising for the fourth straight month. Despite recent progress, ...
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Furnaces North America 2020 Virtual kicks off on September 30th for three power-packed days of 38 technical sessions, 4 LIVE sessions, and 85+ virtual exhibit booths with production demonstrations, informative technical documents, and live supplier staff that you can connect with via online chat or video conferencing.   FNA 2020 Virtual is 100% focused on giving you and your team the information and trends you need to maximize productivity, quality, safety, operations, people, and profits.   Over three days, you and your team will learn everything from how new technologies and Industry 4.0 will drive connection between OEMs and heat treaters, how to ...
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Monday Economic Report

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Survey: Outlook Rebounding, Revenue Recovery Expected 2021 or Later. In the latest  NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey , 66.0% of respondents reported a positive outlook for their company in the third quarter, up from 33.9% in the second quarter, which had been the worst reading since the Great Recession. However, the outlook measure remains below the historical average of 74.4%. Weak domestic demand continues to be the top primary business challenge. Respondents were asked when they expect revenues to return to pre-pandemic levels. 62% expect their firm’s revenues will not get back to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2021 ...
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