Sectors

Readings: Manufacturing

At Google, Robotics Is in Sleep Mode

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Google’s aggressive effort to build a robotics division has fizzled. Initially welcomed as a leader for the robotics industry, insiders say the company failed to articulate a vision and ended up slowing the development of the industry.

How Tyson’s Chicken Plant Became a Turkey

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Why would a Kansas town reject a new facility offering 1.600 jobs? There may be many answers, but reputation may be one factor that explains the reaction of Tonganoxie, Kansas, residents to a new Tyson Foods facility. Other companies acknowledge challenges in successfully locating new poultry processing plants. In this case, however, Tyson seems to have made a few avoidable missteps leading up to the announcement of the new facility.

Adidas Automates to Make Shoes Faster

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Adidas is opening two new highly automated manufacturing facilities that can produce customized shoes quickly and closer to markets. A new factory in Germany can produce about half a million pairs of shoes annually while employing 160 people. A similar factory will open soon near Atlanta. The goal with these factories is to be able to respond quickly to new trends and help maintain stocks of highly-sought, full-price items.

Adidas Automates to Make Shoes Faster

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Adidas' new "Speedfactories" in Germany and the U.S. will use automation to get new shoe designs to stores in days rather than months. Adidas says this is the biggest revolution in shoe manufacturing since moving production to Asia.

Man vs. Machine: Architecture

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Software and hardware are moving at great speed to use artificial intelligence in rapid iteration environments. One area that is particularly shows potential gain is that of design. New software from Autodesk Research has shown particular promise by modifying older designs to seek efficient solutions far more quickly than could be accomplished by drafting new plans. Despite these gains, experts believe it is still necessary to have trained humans coupled with excellent software to reach the best conclusion.

Innovation SuperSensor

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Gierad Laput, a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon's Future Interfaces Group, has developed a sensor that resides in a room and relays information on potentially important changes in the room's environment relating to several appliances or units there. This is an improvement because customer won't have to have separate sensors for each unit. Funding to further explore the possibilities of monetizing this innovation has already reached $2.2 million.

Germany Stays in the Center

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Globalism is alive and well in Germany, where 46 percent of GDP comes from exports. While large, well-known manufacturing firms are responsible for some of these exports, so are the much smaller, privately owned German manufacturing firms that export goods worldwide. Delo Industrie Klebstoffe GmbH, for example, makes the glue used in 80 percent of smart cards worldwide.

Guarding Big Pharma’s Crown Jewel

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

AbbVie Inc.’s blockbuster biologic drug Humira went off patent in 2014, but no one is making a generic version. Amgen Inc. is fighting them in court, but over 100 patents could protect AbbVie’s $16 billion annual sales of Humira for an additional 20 years.

The 33¢ T-Shirt

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

T-shirt manufacturing is returning to the U.S. as Chinese apparel maker Tianyuan Garments builds a $20 million factory in Little Rock, Arkansas, with incentives like tax breaks and infrastructure assistance. T-shirt bots from Softwear Automation of Atlanta will sew all the shirts, making them at the lowest cost in the world.

France's Industrial Past Haunts Macron

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

New French President Emmanuel Macron was elected in part because of his vision for fostering innovation in the country. Just like in organizations, the need to replace and/or retrain its workforce is a key element, but unlike within companies, the pain of an underdeveloped workforce cannot simply be removed.

The 33¢ T-Shirt

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

China-based Tianyuan Garments is building a new factory in Arkansas that will be highly automated, making T-shirts for about 33 cents each. Tianyuan is one of China's largest apparel makers, with this plant allowing the company to be more responsive to shifts in the North American market. The sewbots have been developed by a U.S. company, Softwear Automation, and will be able to make about 23 million T-shirts a year.

The Soft Edge That's Landing Solid Sales

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

In 2003, fourteen-year-old Nick Gilson decided that he would design a new snowboard for himself. Using a concept he had observed while building a catamaran with his father, he saw the possibility of improving upon the design of snowboards to create an even better experience for enthusiasts. Ten years later, Gilson Boards was born, and Nick and his cofounder Austin Royer have built the company to 1,000 units of sales and earned more than $1 million in revenues. They have also garnered financial support totaling $1 million from investors. They are also extending some of their design advantages into the manufacturing of skis.

The Difficulties of Cloning A CEO

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Teva Pharmaceutical has been a symbol of Israeli entrepreneurship, and in Israel it has been called the “people’s stock.” After the 2011 death of Eli Hurvitz, Teva’s legendary former CEO and chairman, the company has floundered, going through a series of CEOs. Factors related to the company’s culture have exacerbated the challenge of finding a leader to succeed Hurvitz and positioning Teva for a changing economic environment.

Behold the Sheer Artistry of Tesla's Bond

Delvin D. Hawley, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

For Tesla's true-believer shareholders, all that stands between CEO Elon Musk realizing his vision and validating their risky bet is adequate liquidity. The bond market, from that perspective, looks like an infinity pool of capital. Even so, it's $1.8 billion debut in the high-yield bond market is surprising for several reasons.

Will Bosch Choke on VW's Exhaust?

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Bosch, the German auto parts manufacturer, is investing billions of dollars in R&D as it works to transform itself into a global technology company. In the midst of this endeavor, the company is facing increasing scrutiny for the role it may have played in the diesel emissions scandal that first came to light in VW cars. While Bosch’s role remains unclear, potential damages could be in the billions and the reputation costs could affect the company’s future.

The Everyman Ride For the Upper Half

Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Tesla Model 3, which starts at $35,000, has racked up almost half a million reservations and is drawing more deposits by the day. However, price creep for better-equipped models could reduce that number. CEO Elon Musk described plans to quickly ramp up output of the Model 3 as “production hell” for workers at Tesla’s lone car assembly plant in Fremont, California.

China’s Elusive Goal: A Global Apparel Brand

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Sophisticated Chinese apparel manufacturers are behind most leading global apparel brands, and some would like to move forward with their own global brands. Down coat maker Bosideng’s retreat after five years in London is a cautionary tale.

Globalism Is Alive and Well

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Carlos Ghosn has assembled an alliance of auto manufacturers that has a global reach. He successfully turned around the struggling French auto company Renault, and later was successful with Nissan. The alliance now includes Mitsubishi, AvtoVaz, and Dongfeng.

Globalism Is Alive and Well

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

As chairman and CEO of a global alliance of auto companies, Carlos Ghosn has had success with helping struggling companies become more profitable. He believes in cutting marginal operations so that he can invest in the more profitable ones and help them thrive. He is an advocate of globalization.

Pins and Needles in the Heart of the Alps

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Forster Rohner AG produces fine textiles and lace in factories in Switzerland, Romania, and China. The factory in Switzerland is highly automated, while also employing highly skilled workers who prepare very detailed work by hand. In addition to its 250 Swiss employees, the company employs another 640 at factories in Romania and China, where lower priced goods are produced.

The Crazy Math Behind Drug Prices

Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Insulin prices have soared 270 percent in the past 10 years. Intermediaries that negotiate to lower prices may cause them to increase, too. Courts are being asked to rule on the role of pharmacy benefit managers in that inflation.

Remodeling a Sedan Plant for the SUV Era

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Large factories require large volume to run efficiently. As the American market has shifted from sedans to SUVs and trucks, Toyota Motor Corp. has decided to spend $1.3 billion to transform its huge Camry plant in Kentucky to one that can produce 11 different vehicles and shift quickly among them.

500,000 Tons of Steel. 14 Jobs

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

As politicians and countries maneuver to keep steel mills and other factories at home, the companies are maneuvering to maintain their competitiveness through automation. Voestalpine AG’s fully automated steel wire plant has only 14 jobs, but they are “really attractive.”

The Asian Jobs Ladder Is Broken

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

For the past several decades, labor-intensive manufacturing of textiles and clothing has shifted from higher wage countries to lower wage countries, and in the process helped bring jobs and economic growth to increasingly poorer countries. With advances in technology and automation, however, that regular shift to the next country with lower pay levels may be coming to an end.

Finally, a Cheap(ish) iPhone

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

India is now the best opportunity for smartphone growth, but Apple has only 3 percent market share there. To compete with cheaper Chinese and Indian phones, Apple has begun offering older models at discount prices.

Where Buffett Failed

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

A ten-person shoemaking startup in Maine is trying to keep the craft of hand-sewn footwear profitable in the era of globalization.

The Price of a Digital World

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Twenty-five years ago, U.S. chipmakers vowed to stop using chemicals that caused miscarriages and birth defects. And they did—by outsourcing the danger to women in Asia.

The Price of a Digital World

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

In the 1980s and 1990s, a series of studies in the United States showed that workers at semiconductor manufacturing facilities had abnormally high rates of miscarriages. The US industry responded by trying to eliminate many of the most noxious chemicals, improve working conditions, and shifting semiconductor manufacturing to other countries. More recently, the handling of highly toxic chemicals in semiconductor plants has also been associated with a number of other health problems, including cancer, infertility, and birth defects in the children of male workers.

Smiles Aren't Factory-Made

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

An obsession with building factories that make "things" that could be more efficiently produced in other countries could be counter-productive to improving the economic health of working-class Americans. The highest paying jobs, and the most valued added, come from the early stages or product design and development, and the latter stages of customer service and support. Policies that would encourage companies to invest in low-margin manufacturing operations, rather than other activities, could hurt their overall competitiveness and lead to prices increases for U.S. consumers.

How Does Tax Avoidance Play in Peoria?

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Caterpillar has been a symbol of U.S. manufacturing worldwide, with its equipment in use in probably every country. The company is also known for its ability to deliver parts to repair the equipment, wherever it is being used. Where the profits on those parts should be booked, and taxes paid, however, is now under scrutiny.

All About the Benjamins

Delvin D. Hawley, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

General Motors is posting record profits even as its major rivals are moving to lower investors' expectations. CEO Mary Barra's heavy focus on profitability, and operating margins in particular, has led her to scale back or entirely abandon investments in emerging markets like India and Russia, although those markets represent many millions of annual vehicle sales. She says that GM won't win by being all things to all people everywhere.

All About the Benjamins

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Mary Barra may be leading GM away from its past as she focuses on a profitable future. GM is leaving some markets to focus on high profit margins and investments that will position it for a period of rapid change in the auto industry. In addition to changing the company's strategy, this focus is also changing elements of GM's culture.

All About the Benjamins

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

GM was once the leading global automaker with a presence in all of the major and emerging markets. But CEO Mary Barra has decided to ditch low profit-margin markets like India and Russia to focus on more profitable markets and invest in being a leader in new technologies.

Satellite Pics for Cheap!!

Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

An Iranian immigrant in Silicon Valley is challenging the $500 million behemoths and touting night shots that pierce cloud cover. Spy-quality satellite imaging for cheap.

China—With Western Help—Finds Its Wings

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Comac, or Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., is planning to compete with Boeing and Airbus in the aircraft industry. Comac's model C919 took its first flight last week from Shanghai. The Chinese domestic market for aircraft of this size, a single-aisle model that can carry 158-174 passengers, is expected to be more than 5,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.

Why Mexico's Autoworkers Aren't Prospering

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The role of unions in Mexican factories is a bit different from the standard procedure in the United States. Before a factory even opens, a contract is signed between a local labor union that will represent workers and the factory's owner. Dues are paid by the factory, and many workers are not even aware they are members of the union.

BMW to Staff: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Despite record profits, BMW is perceived to be falling behind in the fast changing world of electric cars, self-driving vehicles, and robo-taxis. So the company's CEO is putting employees through a day-long session to raise awareness of the challenges and to instill fear of falling behind.

China's Robot Revolution

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

China is fast becoming one of the larger markets for workplace automation. This has led to the development of a large number of Chinese companies in the robotics and automation industries, though many currently just assemble components designed and manufactured by leading German, American, and Japanese robotics companies. But in the process, these companies and Chinese central planners are working to create a competitive robotics industry in China.

White Men Can Change at Rockwell Automation

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Diversity and promotion of minorities at Rockwell Automation's has improved as a result of actions designed to change the attitudes of its largely white, male staff. Employees take training programs that encourage them to better see the world, and the company, through the eyes of minority employees. Employees are sensitized to recognize attitudes and behaviors that cause minorities to feel unwelcome.

China’s Robot Revolution

Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Some 800 robot makers seek scale as Chinese industry automates. JD.com, E-Deodar, and Midea lead China’s charge for domination. It has also deployed a pollution-monitoring robot and a deep-sea robot.

U.S. Dental Labs Are Gritting Their Teeth

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Manufacturing of dentures and dental implants has become more automated and is increasingly done in low-wage locations. A combination of the use of digital technology, consolidation among dentists, and lower costs overseas has contributed to a shift in production of dental fixtures. U.S. manufacturers that have remained competitive have shed jobs by investing in automation.

Chinese Cars May Lose Their Learner's Permits

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

China is the world's largest auto market, and most cars are sold under a foreign brand name. This is a result of China's policy of requiring foreign car makers to work with a joint venture partner, and in the process transfer some technology and manufacturing expertise. As the Chinese government considers dropping this restriction, it could hurt local manufacturers who have come to depend on the profit streams from foreign-branded vehicles.

Finally, Some Good News for Shipyards

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The shipbuilding industry has taken a significant hit in recent years, as low oil prices decreased demand for oil tankers and offshore drilling rigs. There is now a bit of hope, however, as demand for liquefied natural gas is driving demand for gas tankers. Demand for electricity in India and China is boosting demand for clean electricity-generating technologies, hence demand for liquefied natural gas from the Americas.

Remember That Time Trump Said He Saved 1,100 Jobs at a Carrier Plant in Indiania?

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

In early 2016, Carrier announced it would be closing a furnace factory in Indiana and shifting production to Mexico. In a mature manufacturing industry that requires minimal skilled labor, the two primary ways to reduce operating costs are to increase automation and/or lower wage costs. One approach to lowering wage costs is to shift production to lower wage locations. In Carrier's case and in the words of its CEO, the timing happened to coincide with the "silly political season" that was short on "adult supervision." The Indiana plant, however, will for now remain open.

Don’t Let the Monster Eat You Up

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Beginning in the 1990s, Alabama used tax breaks and other incentives to attract foreign auto manufacturers to the state. As multiple auto companies built factories in Alabama, auto-parts makers followed. Questions about safety violations and working conditions at these auto parts factories raise questions about potential costs associated with Alabama's manufacturing renaissance.

Training Day

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

KentuckianaWorks trains young adults and displaced blue-collar workers with sought-after advanced manufacturing skills. Its success illustrates the relationship between human resource management, education, and training. It also illustrates the shared needs of workers, employers, and society.

General Motors: A Continental Retreat

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

After pulling Chevrolet out of Europe in 2013, prospects for General Motors there have not improved. Now GM has agreed to pay French automaker PSA Group to take Opel and Vauxhall Motors as it exits Europe.

How to Lose $6 Billion

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Nuclear power looked like a promising business when Toshiba acquired Westinghouse Electric in 2006. Now cost overruns and delays at the only nuclear plants under construction in the United States since 1979 will cripple, if not bankrupt, the once formidable industrial conglomerate.

Survival of the Fitted

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Data mining by traditional brick-and-mortar fashion retailers is not a new thing, but third party data tracking in the internet era is creating advantageous data that can lead to better targeting. Le Tote, a fashion rental service that uses products from such traditional retailers as the French Connection, collects data on the level of satisfaction of their customers (who pay a fee for their service) and now partners with the retailers to help meet the needs of consumers in a tailor-made way.

Big Meat Braces for a Labor Shortage

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants are not the most enjoyable places to work, and while the pay typically exceeds minimum wage, employers have a hard time attracting and keeping employees. In order to keep operations running and meat prices at levels customers have come to expect, plants have increasingly turned to immigrant and/or refugee labor. With the recently announced travel and refugee ban, many workers that had hoped to build a life in America and bring their families to join them, now wonder if they can ever achieve the American Dream, and meat processing plants wonder if they will be able to find enough workers to fill the jobs.

Can Sneaker Makers Come Home Again?

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Athletic footwear makers may bring some manufacturing back to the United States to save on shipping and perhaps avoid a Trump Twitter tirade. But the factories are likely to be highly automated and create few jobs.

Can Sneaker Makers Come Home Again?

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The manufacturing of sneakers has been a labor-intensive process, and thus, much of the manufacturing has taken place in low-wage nations. With changes in design and new manufacturing techniques, it may be economic to move some production closer to markets. This will reduce shipping costs, while shortening the time to market and making it easier for manufacturers to quickly respond to shifting demand.

Trump Threatens to Undo NAFTA's Auto Alley

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The supply chain in the automotive industry is incredibly complex, with parts coming together into subassemblies and then joined with other subassemblies before being assembled into final vehicles. Under NAFTA, regardless of the North American country where final assembly takes place, most vehicles are made from parts manufactured or assembled in the other two countries and other countries worldwide. Simple-minded ideas such as imposing a tax on imports from Mexico sounds like a way of shifting manufacturing to the United States but may result in fewer U.S. manufacturing jobs if auto manufacturers shift production outside NAFTA to lower prices for consumers.

Who's Gonna Buy All These Audis in China?

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The Chinese auto industry has been growing steadily for 26 years, with foreign luxury brands such as Audi doing very well. The market is shifting, however, as other luxury brands such as Mercedes are experiencing faster growth. Meanwhile, there is also pressure for more fuel-efficient, electric, and hybrid vehicles. Thus, Audi dealers are finding it hard to make a profit, while Audi seeks out additional sales channels to spur growth.

China Gets Serious About Shrinking Steel

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

China is the world's leading steel exporter, and in the process has driven down worldwide steel prices. The Chinese government is now trying to restructure its domestic steel industry, closing smaller producers. This should help the country reduce air pollution while giving some financial relief to other steel makers.

Secret Formula

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Leading apparel retailer Zara rejects the label fast fashion because of the company's focus on design. Yet its designers are driven by sales and consumer data as they deliver fresh styles to stores twice weekly.

Secret Formula

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Inditex's business model for fast fashion allows it to frequently update its inventory and adapt its offerings to different tastes in different countries. Rather than rely on lead designers to try and predict or create fashion trends, the company uses data and a team of designers to continually shift production at its factories. Since a large portion is produced near the Inditex's headquarters in Spain, new designs can move quickly into production and onto store shelves in Europe.

For Manufacturers, Russia Is Now a Bargain

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The fall in the value of the ruble, along with real wage declines, has contributed to a boost in Russian exports of some manufactured goods. Although the cost of doing business in Russia is still higher than in many other countries, it is very competitive with eastern Europe, and exporting to Europe can make sense for goods with high transportation costs. Both IKEA and Samsung have recently expanded production at factories in Russia.

Carmakers Could Hit That Wall, Too

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The North American automotive industry is highly integrated across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, with parts and vehicles flowing back and forth across borders. All that could change if Donald Trump follows through on his threats to levy import taxes and cut trade with Canada and Mexico. The implications for automakers from Ford to Toyota to Volkswagen are significant, as are the resultant rise in prices of that U.S. consumers would face.

Engineering the Sound of Silence at Porsche

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Porsche plans to have a high powered all-electric coupe out by 2019, just in time for the EU’s tough new carbon emission standards for 2020. Porsche’s Mission E will also growl like a Porsche.

The Toll of Cheap Clothing

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Following the April 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, multinational companies and the government are trying to improve factory working conditions.

Look Familiar?

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Google's new high-end Pixel smartphones will compete directly with Apple's iPhone, but also with Samsung and HTC and the rest of Google's Android partners. Google says it will treat its new hardware division just like the other Android partners and is confident it can keep it all together.

The Foxconn of the Auto Industry

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Canadian auto parts supplier Magna International is developing a concept car with autonomous driving and emissions-free technologies. It is positioning itself to be the contract manufacturer for automakers, old or new, seeking to introduce such vehicles.

The Foxconn of the Auto Industry

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Any company considering entry into the auto industry will likely be in contact with Magna International. Magna makes a variety of components that go into most autos, and operates assembly lines that produce cars for certain auto companies. It is currently exploring how it might create a platform that companies considering entering the auto industry could use as the basis for their vehicles.

Using DNA Markers To Spot Bogus Fabrics

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Egyptian cotton is known for its long fibers that help make fabric particularly smooth and comfortable. Many retailers and brand name designers proudly label their bedding as being made with Egyptian cotton. Unfortunately, given the small scale of the Egyptian cotton production, it is simply mathematically impossible for all the bedding labeled as Egyptian cotton to actually have come from Egyptian cotton. As cotton goes through the various stages of production, it is common for cheaper varieties to be used. Now steps are being taken by retailers and designers to have the cotton they purchase be marked, and then subsequently tested, to make sure they are ending up with fabric that uses the cotton they paid for.

America Still Makes Things but Sometimes Needs Foreign Help

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

While there have been shifts in manufacturing over the past few decades, there are still opportunities for manufacturing to thrive in developed countries such as the United States. Globalfoundries' facility in New York makes semiconductor wafers and employs 3,000 people with an average salary of $92,000. 9to5 Seating, a Calilfornia-based chair manufacturer, exports quality components from its U.S. factory to China, where assembled chairs are then sold in markets such as Saudi Arabia and China.

These Paper Tubes Are Still Made in America

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Family owned and managed for over 100 years, New England Paper Tube was driven into receivership after 3 decades of losses in the face of foreign competition. Under new ownership and lead by the former production manager, the company has returned to profitability by focusing on the products where it has competitive advantage, like mortar shells for fireworks and the military.

Asia Is a Growth Market For Military Aircraft

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Foreign sales are becoming increasingly important to U.S.-based defense contractors. Many Asian countries are ramping up their defense spending, while U.S. defense spending on new systems remains relatively flat. As part of a proposal to win sales in India, Lockheed-Martin and Boeing have both indicated that they will manufacture fighter jets in India rather than simply exporting them from the U.S.

Scaling Up Is Hard to Do

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Business incubators, accelerators, innovation labs, and a smorgasbord of other entities exist to create or jumpstart entrepreneurial endeavors, but a recent trend of note is to help existing small businesses take their goods and services to the next level.

Yasso's Big Fat Frozen Greek Yogurt Success

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

An unexpected occurrence offered the founders of Yasso, a five-year-old company with an already established market in the northeastern United States, an opportunity along with a decision to expand. The business now earns $50 million in sales.

This Kitten Has Claws

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Precision Castparts had strong stock performance under CEO Mark Donegan, until a rough time in the oilfield services business led to a big drop in the company's valuation. Seeing a buying opportunity, Berkshire Hathaway purchased Precision Castparts. The culture at Precision Castparts was one of strong pay-for-performance, but where failing to make the numbers would lead to a verbal thrashing or being fired.

China's City Dwellers Learn to Love Pickups

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Pickup trucks have been banned in most Chinese cities in order to lessen congestion and air pollution. Relegated to use in rural areas and on farms, sales of pickup trucks have been limited. Domestic manufacturers Great Wall Motors and Jiangling Motors have dominated the market, with limited imports from Ford and Toyota. A recent loosening of regulations, however, may be good news for foreign truck manufacturers.

This Owl Won't Save America's Jobs

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

In 2013, Wal-Mart announced a plan to encourage more manufacturing in the United States. Pledging to spend $250 billion over ten years on "Made in America" products, the goal was to entice companies to shift about 250,000 jobs to U.S.-based factories. While the results suggest that products can be efficiently manufactured domestically, with the program leading to an increase in U.S. manufacturing, the number of workers hired has not likely met the projections.

Wheeler Dealer

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Detroit Bikes is helping to bring manufacturing back to motor city. But the economics of making bicycles in the U.S. are challenging.

Courts Deal a Setback to Unions and Obama

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

A U.S. district judge’s recently issued injunction highlights challenges in determining the cost-benefit trade-offs associated with mandated disclosures. The injunction blocked implementation of a new Department of Labor regulation that would require companies to disclose payments for more types of anti-unionization consulting services. While unions argued that the regulation would increase transparency and “level the playing field,” the judge decided that the expanded scope of disclosures could adversely affect the availability of legal advice regarding responses to union-organizing campaigns.

Endangered A380 Spotted

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Despite its glamorous first-class accommodations and superjumbo capacity, the Airbus A380 has been a financial disaster. Little interest from airlines other than Emirates could force Airbus to kill the program.

Stomping Grounds

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s founder and CEO, has many ambitions for his company. These include intertwined business and social objectives of becoming world’s biggest sportswear company and revitalizing the city of Baltimore. A passionate and visionary leader, Plank consciously seeks to use the company’s momentum to shape Baltimore’s future.

Swimmin' in Batteries

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

By 2018, Tesla will need to double the annual global production of lithium ion batteries. In moves reminiscent of Ford’s River Rouge, Tesla has integrated battery production and is making moves to control supply of the minerals needed.

A Tractor for Cuba

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The first U.S. foreign direct investment in Cuba is a startup that will make tractors for small farmers. The international new venture could solve a significant problem in Cuban agriculture, if the farmers can afford to buy them.

Material Progress: Five Substances of the Future

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

These five substances offer opportunities for secondary innovations that can make a myriad of products perform better.

A Tractor For Cuba

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

While Cuba has significant agricultural potential, one of the things holding back agricultural production is a lack of modern farm equipment. Now two U.S. entrepreneurs are hoping to change that by operating the first U.S.-owned manufacturing facility in Cuba. The tractors will be of a simple and adaptable design and targeted for operations on the relatively small farms of Cuba and other developing nations.

Sixty Million Car Bombs

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Takata’s travails continue as the recalls of its airbags expand. Takata was the only airbag manufacturer to use ammonium nitrate, a chemical with well-known stability issues, as a propellant. Takata’s corporate culture and leadership help explain the decisions that led to the continued production of potentially lethal products and the largest auto recall in history.

A Spanish Delicacy Grazes in Texas

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Importing pigs that are considered delicacies in Spain but relatively unknown in the United States can be a bit of a risky proposition. Two men in Texas believe that it is worth investing $3 million of their money to build a specialty market for these cured hams.

Why Tesla Scares German Carmakers

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Purchasers of Tesla's electric vehicles are often looking to spend $40,000 or more on a car. In surveys of Tesla shoppers, the other brands they were most likely considering were BMW, Toyota, Audi, Honda, and Mercedes-Benz. U.S.-based brands such as Cadillac, Chevrolet, Jeep, and Dodge appeared far less often on the shopping lists of Tesla customers.

The Greening of Adidas

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Investments in energy efficiency can take years to pay back from cost savings so are often rejected by CFOs. But framing them as a portfolio with returns of over 20 percent convinced Adidas to invest millions per year.

German Engineering for Chinese Wannabes

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Germany's Borgward auto company was founded in 1924 and at one point was responsible for 60 percent of the country's auto exports. By 1961, however, it had gone out of business. Now the brand is being revived in China, with a Borgward SUV being manufactured by Chinese truck-maker, Beiqi Foton.

An East German Challenge to the Swiss

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Last year, watch exports from Germany rose 14 percent, while Swiss watch exports fell 3 percent. Part of the difference in magnitude is driven by the significantly smaller size of the German watchmaking industry, but underlying economics help explain the trends. As the euro has fallen in value relative to the Swiss franc, German watches are relatively more affordable.

A New Dimension for Post-PC Taiwan

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

As the technological world shifts to phone and portable methods of operation, the PC market has been dwindling. Mass manufacturers need to use their capacity for new products, and 3D printers seem to provide a new growth oriented market.

Keeping It In the Family

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Founding a business and developing its brand is a lifetime task for many entrepreneurs. Letting go and passing it on to family is sometimes a far more difficult task.

Reclaiming Instant

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The Impossible Project aims to revive the business of making instant film and cameras that once put Polaroid at the top of the tech world. *This article is not available online.

Can Lincoln and Caddy Find Fans in China?

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

China is the world's largest car market, and the luxury segment is growing quickly. While Mercedes, BMW, and Audi have done well in capturing market share, other competitors are trying to pick up a portion of this lucrative market. In January, General Motors opened a Cadillac plant in Shanghai, which will help it avoid import taxes of about 25 percent. Ford is also opening specialized showrooms for its Lincoln brand, offering the same level of customer service as a five-star hotel.

Showdown at the Electric Garage

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Tesla has busily developed a defensible position in high-end, electric-powered automobiles. With an inelastic demand curve as it relates to oil price fluctuations, their resilience is sound in that sector, but now they have to deal in a sector that is more affected by oil prices. Chevy is also interested in the sector, adding to the complexity in behavioral competitive issues.

Samsung and LG Have A Battery Problem

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Samsung and LG have been successful selling NCM batteries (nickel, cobalt, and manganese) for electric vehicles in China, with much of that success related to generous subsidies the Chinese government has provided to electric buses. A goal in stimulating the use of electric buses is to decrease pollution in China's cities. The government will continue providing subsidies, but only to the less expensive LFP batteries (lithium-iron-phosphate), which are available from a number of Chinese suppliers.

Inside the Billion-Dollar Dig to America’s Biggest Copper Deposit

Thomas Coe  |  Manufacturing

Two leading companies in the mining industry are in a partnership to develop the largest copper mine in the United States. The copper is located at depths that make mining the ore very expensive and hazardous. But the profits based on anticipated yield could be huge.

Honda CEO Pledges Quality over Quantity

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Honda’s new CEO, Takahiro Hachigo, is working to eliminate quality control problems and rebuild the company’s reputation. He's already reshuffled Honda’s executive ranks and plans to raise domestic output by 30 percent, to 950,000 vehicles, by 2020.

Move Fast and Break Things

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Under previous CEO Jack Welch, General Electric was highly successful as a diversified conglomerate. Jeff Immelt, who took over in 2001, has shifted the company's focus from financial services and home appliances to industrial products and associated software. He also has implemented cultural changes.

Where Retirement Isn't Job One

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

At a Brooks Brothers sewing factory in Long Island, New York, more than half the employees are over fifty-five years old, and the average tenure is thirty years. These older, highly skilled workers have the ability to make ties by hand or perform custom tailoring that can quickly supply stores in New York City. In order to help retain these older workers, Brooks Brothers has established a set of human resource management policies that appeal to veteran employees.

China Tries to Tackle Its Commodities Crisis

Thomas Coe  |  Manufacturing

The oversupply of many commodities in China has driven down related prices, impacting both local economies and global stock markets. In particular, steelmaking capacity in China keeps rising despite government pledges to cut production and end easy credit.

Intel and Samsung Are On a Collision Course

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

For decades, Intel has had a dominant position in microprocessors while Samsung has had a strong position in memory chips. Now the two firms are positioning themselves to take bites out of each other’s primary chip markets.

Intel and Samsung Are On a Collision Course

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Intel and Samsung, the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 chipmaker, respectively, have successfully dominated different segments of the market for years. Competitive forces are now causing them to increasingly go head-to-head for the same customers.

Apple's Other Johny

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Apple is well known for its differentiation on design and software. Less well known is that Apple spends billions to design its own chips for the iPhone and iPad.

The $400,000 Man

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has developed a crash test dummy that measures 7 times as many variables as the current standard. Not only that, there is an implication that it can also provide more accurate measurements as well. They sent out for bids to produce this test dummy, and the winner was Humanetics Innovative Solutions. The contract could be quite lucrative, at $400,000 per unit.

They're Hiring In Eastern Europe

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

With the integration of Eastern European countries into the European Union, large disparities in wages across the EU became evident. As a result, many Western manufacturing firms started shifting labor intensive manufacturing jobs to Eastern regions. Meanwhile, many Eastern workers started looking westward for higher wages. The result of those two trends has now led to low unemployment in Eastern Europe, and companies are struggling to find enough workers for factory jobs.

Stealing White

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Walter Liew spent decades collecting information about DuPont's proprietary process for producing titanium oxide, a compound used to make things white. Much of the information that he obtained came from disgruntled former DuPont employees. While DuPont has elaborate security processes designed to protect its titanium oxide process, Liew's success shows that former employees are a potential point of vulnerability for trade secrets. Corporations may find it valuable to maintain the loyalty of former employees, especially those with sensitive knowledge.

The Iran Invasion

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The multinational agreement regarding Iran's nuclear program has opened the door for many foreign firms to pursue business deals in Iran. Not only are many foreign business leaders visiting Iran, but on a recent trip to Europe, the country's president, Hassan Rouhani, closed deals with several European firms. Most American firms, however, still have significant restrictions on what they can do in Iran.

Haier Has Higher Ambitions

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Chinese appliance-maker Haier has become a major global competitor but, after fifteen years of trying, has yet to establish a strong position in the United States. Now it has acquired one by agreeing to pay $5.6 billion for GE’s appliance unit.

Haier Has Higher Ambitions

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Haier, a China-based manufacturing firm, is buying General Electric's appliance business for $5.4 billion. While General Electric appliances are well known in United States, the company has done little to expand its appliance business internationally. Haier has made some inroads in the U.S. market and expanded in other markets both through growth and acquisitions. This acquisition will help Haier move from a small to significant player in the U.S. appliance market.

Small Coffee Goes Venti

Thomas Coe  |  Manufacturing

The success of small, independent coffee roasters signals a strong demand for their processes and products. Craft beans are following the path of craft beer.

Less For Le$$

Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

As prices and mortgage rates rise, builders are trimming home sizes and cutting prices -- including offering homes starting in the $200,000 range -- to lure young buyers.

Innovation Dojo

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Apps have made it relatively common to have remotely controlled systems in the home. Unfortunately, these systems can be hacked, creating massive losses both financially and even physically. Dojo, a cybersecurity system domiciled in Israel and designed to pick up on hacking attempts on home systems, has garnered over $1 million in seed money for their solution to this problem.

A Merger That Activist Investors Can Love

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

By merging then breaking up into three companies, Dow and DuPont can achieve focus and scale at the same time. That should finally make their activist investors happy.

Yuletemps

Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Amazon’s boom year means a swell in temporary workers, which cuts into profit -- though not as much as putting them on staff would. The weekly price of Amazon’s holiday help is $70.4 millon.

Making Ethical Chic

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Everlane’s approach to business has been characterized as more "missionary" than "mercenary." The online retailer sells fashionable shoes, clothing, and accessories, but also discloses details about the factory where each item is made and the costs of production.

Why Takata's Recall Is Stalled

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Nineteen million Takata air bags have been recalled, and despite the seriousness of the safety issue, it may take four years to replace them all. The problem may be compounded by both additional recalls and the financial challenges facing Takata as carmakers stop ordering the company's air bags. While Takata and car manufacturers face challenges related to this recall, car owners are the real losers of this protracted process.

What Goes Up—But Doesn’t Come Down

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Small numbers of manufacturers now control the market for many common hospital drugs. Limited production and shortages have resulted in sustained price increases of 100 percent and more.

Faux-Rock Stars

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Entrepreneurial businesses are sometimes like trying to climb a rock wall, but in this case the business IS creating and manufacturing the rock walls.

Faux-Rock Stars

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Indoor rock climbing gyms are being opened worldwide, and the world's largest builder (Walltopia) comes from an unlikely location - Bulgaria. Two and a half hours outside Sofia, in the small town of Letnitsa, is a factory that has supplied walls to gyms in more than 50 countries. Through a combination of cheap labor, innovative designs, and willingness to develop custom walls for clients, Walltopia has gained a loyal worldwide customer base for their climbing walls.

Hang $99.99

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Wavestorm of Taiwan has become the surfboard industry leader by selling soft surfboards for $99.99 exclusively through Costco. Some say WaveStorm is killing the industry with low margins. Others hope it will expand the market and lead to eventual growth in sales of higher-end boards.

Hang $99.99

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

A Taiwanese manufacturer and a Canadian toy executive joined forces to make a low-price surfboard that’s a best-seller in the U.S.

Glencore Restructures, Zambia Suffers

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Glencore, a global mining company based in Switzerland, recently announced it will lay off more than 4,000 workers at mines in Zambia. During the shutdown, the company will spend money on improving the mining operations to try and cut operating costs. But for most workers, as well as the communities that supply goods and services to the mine workers, what had been a bright spot in a bleak economy will be dimmed.

Fraudvergnügen

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Legislation in the United States has encouraged automakers to explore new technologies to reduce vehicle emissions and increase fuel economy. While some automakers have turned to hybrid and electric vehicles, Volkswagen chose to invest in what it termed clean diesel technology. In many ways, this was simply building on Volkswagon's strengths and investments in diesel engines, but when the technology couldn't quite get the company to the point it desired, a few lines of code were used to trick the emissions tests.

A Wage Hike for Workers, A Win for Fiat

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Fiat Chrysler’s tentative agreement with the UAW will increase its employee wages across the board. Nevertheless, by avoiding a cap on the number of newly hired workers that it can employ, Fiat Chrysler will continue to enjoy a labor cost advantage over the other Big Three automakers. Unionized workforces make automakers’ compensation and other human resource management issues subject to labor union negotiations. Thus, the ability to successfully negotiate labor agreements with an eye toward developing strategic advantages is an important dimension of human resource management for Fiat Chrysler and other automakers.

In Brazil, Getting It There is No Fun at All

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Keeping production cost low is important for any firm, but inbound and outbound logistics within the linked value chain have powerful impacts as well. Infrastructural components can create advantages and disadvantages in the global market.

Smartphone Margins

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Apple claims 90 percent of the smartphone industry’s profits. Although other firms offer very competitive phones, so far they seem to be eroding one another's positions -- not Apple's.

Smartphone Margins

Eric Cardella  |  Manufacturing

In the ultra-competitive smartphone manufacturing market, Apple gobbles up close to 90 percent of industry profits, while Samsung takes the majority of the rest. So why do the other manufacturers continue to compete?

Smartphone Margins

Larry Tunnell, Ph.D., CPA  |  Manufacturing

Apple reigns supreme in terms of profit share in the smartphone industry. However, if the worldwide market shifts to lower-priced models, as expected, it is uncertain whether the firm's high profit margins can be sustained.

Metal Meltdown

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Strong demand from China drove high prices and robust investment in commodity materials for over a decade. Now China’s slowing economy has the increased supply meeting lower demand, and many industries are awash in materials.

Metal Meltdown

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The prices of commodity metals, such as copper and aluminum, are driven by a combination of fluctuating demand and much less volatile, large-scale production that adjusts slowly. When the Chinese economy was booming in the earlier part of this century, it generated strong demand for metals, causing prices to substantially rise. Companies such as Glencore and Alcoa were incentivized to invest in new mines and processing facilities. This additional supply is now coming into the market just as Chinese demand is dropping, causing commodity prices to fall.

That'll Set You Back At Least $7.3 Billion

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The European Union has made a point of separating governments from ownership in companies, and many previously state-owned companies are now public companies. There's a regulation in Germany, however, referred to as the Volkswagen law, that has allowed the government to maintain a direct ownership stake in the company—a so-called "golden share"—that gives it significant say in the operation of the company. Now that Volkswagen has admitted to rigging the software in many of its cars so that they appear to be more efficient and cleaner than they actually are, there are questions as to whether the unique ownership structure of Volkswagen helped allow this situation to come to pass.

Innovation: Vetigel

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Stop the bleeding is always the first priority in an accident. Sunaris, a three-year-old company headed up by Joe Landolina, has found a way to inject the bleeding area with a mesh-type material that dramatically reduces bleeding time. The product is currently finding success in the veterinary market. It uses an algae base that creates a scaffold to which the blood coagulates. The product is said to be the only of one its type to stop arterial bleeding. Sunaris will start human testing soon and see no reason why its product will not be available within the next few years.

Portuguese Shoemakers Get Fancy

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Shoemaking companies in Portugal are performing well financially as they move up-market. While they can not compete on price with Asian manufacturers, they can compete on quality and have found a profitable market position between high-end Italian shoes and lower-priced Asian models. Some have also added their own brands while continuing to operate as contract manufacturers for more famous labels.

The Plum China Posting That's Turned Sour

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

As an expatriate, being assigned to lead sales in the largest and fastest-growing international market would seem like a good thing. For Citroen's Sabine Scheunert, the dream job has turned into a real challenge as China's auto market has cooled. The downturn has led to dealerships needing to offer significant discounts to move inventory, and Scheunert's challenge is amplified due to evolving consumer preferences.

Diebold’s New Executive Suite

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

When Diebold CEO Andy Mattes assembled his management team at Diebold, he decided it didn't really matter where people lived and didn't expect them to move to Canton, Ohio, where Diebold is headquartered. Thus, various senior managers live in cities across the country and have regular conference calls. Since many executives spend much of their time traveling anyway, Mattes decided it was more important to hire the best people rather than the best people willing to move to Canton.

The Smartphone Shields Are Down

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Growth in China’s market of 400 million smartphone users has almost flattened, leaving manufacturers scrambling.The decline is particularly bad news for Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which has been dependent upon the rapidly growing domestic market.

Innovation: Child Prostheses

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

E-Nable designs 3D-printed prostheses for children older than 3 and shares its blueprints so they can be made for as little as $30. This way, the prostheses can be easily replaced as the kids outgrow them.

Fiat Positions Maserati to Replace Ferrari

Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is shifting gears in terms of the firm's strategy. Out is Ferrari and in is Maserati, which Marchionne envisions as the linchpin of his $52 billion plan to turn Maserati, Alfa Romeo, and Jeep into global brands and boost net income fivefold.

'OK, Ready for Work Again!!!'

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Shigenobu Nagamori started Nidec in 1973, and turned his small motor-making business into one of Japan’s most profitable multinational corporations. Nagamori, who has been recognized as one of Japan’s top business leaders, has an uncommon leadership style: He emphasizes motivation, dedication, and hard work over talent and intelligence.

Can DuPont Spin Off Its Liabilities?

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

DuPont has completed the spin-off of its major chemical operations. The new company, Chemours, inherited thirty-seven active chemical plants with products that generated 19 percent of DuPont's revenues. Chemours also inherited 62 percent of DuPont's environmental liabilities. The spin-off raises questions about DuPont's responsibility to meet obligations arising from decades of pollution.

Porsche's Buyers in China are Downshifting

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Porsche is expecting China to become its largest market this year, but customers are starting to choose slightly cheaper models.

U.S. Carmakers Take Different Roads In Russia

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Two competitors, two different strategies in Russia.

On the Java Sea, a New Shenzhen is Born

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

As labor costs rise in China, Indonesia tries to attract manufacturers.

The U.S. Pushes Thailand to Clean Up Tuna Inc.

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The U.S. State Department and multinational retailers are taking steps to address human trafficking and poor working conditions in Thai factories.

The U.S. Pushes Thailand to Clean Up Tuna Inc.

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Human trafficking and migrant laborers have cast a shadow on Thailand's tuna industry.

Can You Spot the Difference?

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Should new autoworkers be second-class citizens?

Intel Buys Its Way Deeper Into China

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The company is spending billions on factories and state-owned rivals.

The Semiconductor Revolutionary

Pedro M. Reyes, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Gallium nitride promises to replace silicon as the semiconductor of choice in transistors.

It's Raining Cars in China

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The booming market for autos in China has caused automakers to expand capacity faster than the demand warrants.

Changing Flags to Use India's Ship Graveyard

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Old European ships find their way to scrapyards in India, working around EU regulations.

Subterranean Sprawl

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Kansas City's Sub Tropolis, a subterranean industrial park, takes advantage of natural energy and climate advantages to attract tenants.

Cambodia's Wages Rise, Orders Don't

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Rising wages in Cambodia cause multinationals to look elsewhere for cheap labor.

Xiaomi Puts a Windfall to Work Beyond Phones

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Xiaomi, which raised $1.1 billion in December, is pouring money into its own investments.

China Dealerships Flex Their Muscles

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Chinese car dealerships battle with car makers over growth and margins.

Innovation: All-in-One Earbuds

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

If you can't have everything between your ears, you can at least have it all in your ear.

The World's Biggest Car Company Wants to Get Rid of Gasoline

Douglas L. Wilson, MBA  |  Manufacturing

Will electric vehicles become a thing of the past? Toyota has a vision that its hydrogen vehicle will become the first mass-market hydrogen car.

Zara Follows Shoppers Into the Bedroom

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Zara Home is helping propel growth at the world's largest retailer.

Outsourcing: Loss of U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Picked Up Speed

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Outsourcing has been taking place for longer than most U.S. college students have been alive.

Plastic That Carries a Big Charge

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

An engineer has developed a 3D-printing plastic he claims can be used to print electronics.

Bangladesh’s Toxic Tanneries

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Bangladesh exports leather, but the environmental and health costs remain local.

Bangladesh's Toxic Tanneries

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Bangladesh's $1 billion leather export industry is hazardous for workers.

Bangladesh's Toxic Tanneries

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Bangladesh has a $1 billion leather industry. Unfortunately, safety and sustainability are not priorities.

India vs. China

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

India is becoming increasingly attractive to manufacturers, although it is still in need of infrastructure improvements.

Can Google Be as Shiny as You-Know-Who?

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Android Lollipop and new Nexus devices will have trouble drawing buzz away from Apple.

Marchionne's Last Lap

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has big plans to gain a position among the small number of large global automakers.

Marchionne’s Last Lap

Douglas L. Wilson, MBA  |  Manufacturing

Fiat CEO Marchionne says his expanded company will boost sales 60 percent by 2018. Analysts are doubtful.

Marchionne's Last Lap

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Fiat tries to reconfigure its product lineup to find the right niches in markets worldwide.

Can Renault Keep Dacia Cheap?

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Low cost auto factories in Eastern Europe create a jobs and export engine for the region.

China's New Export: Military in a Box

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

China's exports of military equipment are growing, as it provides easy-to-use, inexpensive arms to developing countries.

Australia Reinvents Itself

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Australian exports of coal and minerals to China are falling, while exports of beef are rising.

Using the Web to Police Dangerous Workplaces

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

OSHA hopes that publicly disclosing workplace injuries will motivate employers to improve safety.

Innovation: USB Business Card

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

All you have to do is wave my business card next to your tablet or laptop to find out all about my business.

Using Fishing Nets to Make Carpets Cleaner

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Interface, which has reduced the proportion of unrecycled nylon in its carpet production by almost half, believes sustainability is its best long-term strategy.

Using Fishing Nets to Make Carpets Cleaner

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Interface's sales are growing as it makes progress toward eliminating waste and meeting other sustainability goals.

Made in Memphis

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Rising transportation costs and wage rates in China are causing firms to relocate manufacturing to the Southeast U.S.

Made in Memphis

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

Manufacturing is slowly returning to the U.S. -- and much of the action is in the South.

Made in Memphis

Larry Tunnell, Ph.D., CPA  |  Manufacturing

How have tax incentives and labor costs affected the location of new manufacturing plants in the South?

High-End Motorcycles Meet India's Mopeds

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Erik Buell Racing, maker of powerful trophy motorcycles for the rich, will add low-priced bikes made by Hero MotoCorp of India to its line next year.

High-End Motorcycles Meet India's Mopeds

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

India’s largest maker of two-wheeled vehicles is investing $25 million in Erik Buell’s latest bike venture.

Short-Circuit

Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Toyota and Tesla had high hopes for their jointly developed electric RAV4. But they’ve sold fewer than 2,000 of the SUVs. Toyota, whose homegrown electric RAV4 was discontinued in 2003, is distancing itself from Tesla’s focus on all-electric vehicles and embracing fuel cells, a technology Tesla founder Elon Musk ridicules.

General Electric Wants To Act Like a Startup

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

GE’s new FastWorks program could enable it to do business faster, cheaper, and better and make lean startup the next big management innovation.

Turning Ethiopia Into China’s China

Brian Kench, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Ethiopians make $40 a month stitching shoes. Their Chinese counterparts make more than $400.

Turning Ethiopia Into China's China

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Labor costs in Ethiopia are approximately 10 percent of those in China, causing some Chinese companies to shift production to Africa.

Tech Giants Struggle to Break Into Cars

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Microchips for cars are a large market poised for strong growth, but big chipmakers like Intel and Qualcomm are just getting started.

Crazed Pervert or Misunderstood Genius?

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The ouster of American Apparel's CEO shines a light on the company's uneasy balance of idealistic social responsibility with a variety of transgressions.

Why Mexico Is Speeding Past Brazil in Cars

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The next car an American purchases—even if it has a German or Japanese brand name—might just be made in Mexico.

Sony Bets It Can Find The Next Big Thing

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Despite mounting losses, Sony is increasing spending on R&D and releasing new products like the SmartBand, which it hopes will be the next big thing.

Sony Bets It Can Find The Next Big Thing

Douglas L. Wilson, MBA  |  Manufacturing

Sony lost $1.3 billion last year and continues to spend on research and development. Are Sony’s actions a testimony to a long-term vision or a design for short-term collapse?

Intel’s Big Push for Vietnamese Engineers

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Intel has staffed up its plant in Vietnam by sending local students to Oregon for college-level training.

Think Old.

Douglas L. Wilson, MBA  |  Manufacturing

Volvo owner Zhejiang Geely is investing $11 billion to revive Volvo’s popularity, especially in the U.S. where sales fell 55 percent in the past decade.

America's Got Milk and China Wants It

James Richardson, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Growing middle-class populations have exploded global demand for dairy products and given U.S. dairy farmers their best performance in decades.

The Conflict Over Conflict-Free Minerals

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Although some companies opposed the Dodd-Frank conflict mineral provisions, Intel worked for years to make its global supply chain conflict-free.

Philippine Customs Is Getting Scared Straight

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

A new Philippine customs commissioner is cracking down on bribery and corruption.

For Bangladeshi Women, Work is Worth the Risks

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Hazardous garment factories provide one of the only ways out of poverty for many Bangladeshi women.

For Bangladeshi Women, Work Is Worth the Risks

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Working in poor conditions in the garment industry has helped raise the living standards of many women in Bangladesh.

Can HTC’s Co-Founder Come to the Rescue?

Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

HTC’s chair and co-founder has stepped in to revitalize the company but isn’t advocating for radical changes.

Delta Attempts to Ground 'The Bank of Boeing'

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Skeptics question a government program designed to help U.S. manufacturers sell to foreign buyers.

Samsung's War at Home

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Troubling allegations raise questions about Samsung's responsibility for its employees' illnesses and deaths.

I’ll Pass

Douglas L. Wilson, MBA  |  Manufacturing

Convertibles, long a symbol of fun and freedom, are going the way of the Model T.

In the Diaper Wars, Every Pee Point Counts

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

Pampers brand is especially important to P&G because it lets the company forge ties with moms, the company's "core customer."

Born-in-the-USA Luxury Gains in China

Douglas L. Wilson, MBA  |  Manufacturing

China now accounts for more 25 percent of global luxury spending for U.S. brands, and U.S. sales are growing faster in China than pricier European luxury lines.

Your Wilting Retirement

Delvin D. Hawley, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

According to hundreds of government filings analyzed by Bloomberg, 18 percent of companies have reduced the amount or delayed payment of 401(k) matching funds and dragged out vesting schedules. For many, that could mean the difference between financial security and scarcity in old age.

No Tax Breaks for Boats

Larry Tunnell, Ph.D., CPA  |  Manufacturing

Should the mortgage-interest deduction for yachts be repealed, and how much in tax revenue will it save if it is?

Lenovo Takes on Apple and Samsung

Angelina I. T. Kiser, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Can Lenovo compete with Samsung and Apple?

Putting a New Name on an Old Idea to Fix Inner Cities

Larry Tunnell, Ph.D., CPA  |  Manufacturing

How likely is it that the “promise zones” President Obama is proposing will make a difference to communities within them?

Factory Jobs Are Gone. Get Over It

Pedro M. Reyes, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Factory jobs are going, going, gone.

Factory Jobs Are Gone. Get Over It

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

Although many people think the return of lost manufacturing jobs is just what the United States needs, most experts would disagree. Across richer countries, growth has been accompanied by a decline in the number of manufacturing jobs and a rise in the number of service jobs.

Luxury Car Makers Bet on Lower-Priced Rides

Douglas L. Wilson, MBA  |  Manufacturing

Are you looking for a Chevy or a BMW? The three major German auto manufacturers are introducing luxury sedans at lower prices than some mainstream U.S. cars.

My Fridge is Smarter Than Yours

Douglas L. Wilson, MBA  |  Manufacturing

Samsung’s goal for your kitchen is simple: It wants to own it by 2015.

Syria's Small Factories Struggle to Survive

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Manufacturing output in Syria has shrunk as the civil war has shuttered (and bombed) factories.

A Plant Manager Adapts to a Changed China

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

China's rising labor costs drive multinational firms to shift production priorities at Chinese factories.

Airbus May Need a Plaid Jacket

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

Since the 1993 introduction of the Airbus A340, soaring oil prices have dried up demand for the large capacity plane with four Rolls-Royce engines. Airbus took a big risk by guaranteeing the plane's resale value, a move that is coming back to haunt the company now.

Mexico's Surprising Engineering Strength

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

The big draw for foreign investment in Mexico is no longer just availability of assembly line workers. Skilled engineers are one reason carmakers have invested nearly $13 billion in Mexico in the last three years.

Cisco’s Tough Sell for Conference Rooms

Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Cisco is struggling to sell its pricey telepresence systems next to upstarts’ $10 monthly software subscriptions. Will its lower priced systems and new subscription-based model compete effectively against its new rivals?

Stranded

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Despite Apple's code of conduct and supply-chain audits, workers in the company's supply chain fall victim to excessive recruitment fees and other mistreatment.

Electrolux's Holy Trinity

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

To move up market, Electrolux is changing how it develops new products.

A Chicken Of Convenience

Douglas L. Wilson, MBA  |  Manufacturing

Would you like condoms, cigarettes, or a chicken burrito? With traditional grocery stores sales falling, Tyson Foods now wants to leverage the marketing channel power of the more than 149,000 convenience stores in the United States.

Apple's Got You

Pedro M. Reyes, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Getting more personalized retail offers based on your preferences and shopping history is closer than you think.

Runs Out Fast

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

While many still see shale oil as the path to U.S. energy independence, there are signs that it may not be an easy or inexpensive path.

A Star-Powered Factory Opens in Haiti

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

IRII is using celebrity backing to bring change to Haiti's apparel industry and the lives of its workers.

China Turns the Screws on Multinationals

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

After years of looking at foreign companies as sources of capital, technology, and managerial know-how, China appears to be specifically targeting European and U.S. multinational companies in a crackdown on anti-competitive behavior.

Is a New Age of Productivity Dawning?

Pedro M. Reyes, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The next stage in innovation and new productivity gains could lead to higher revenues and lower costs.

A Culture Clash in the Yogurt Aisle

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

In just six years, upstart Chobani has grabbed first place in the Greek-style yogurt U.S. market. After being blindsided by the upstart, Danone is using its marketing heft to regain the lead position.

Need a New Building? Call the Philippines

Pedro M. Reyes, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Construction outsourcing can help companies reduce costs by as much as 20 percent.

In China, the Hunt is On for Energy Savings

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

For Chinese factory managers, reducing energy costs is an economic imperative, but it may also create environmental and health benefits.

Need a New Building? Call the Philippines

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Outsourcing large components of buildings or factories can cut costs and improve quality.

Big Waste Country

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Scrap wire and metal from the U.S. are being shipped to China for recycling and reuse.

Splits End

Delvin D. Hawley, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Only 10 companies in the S&P 500 have carried out stock splits this year, compared with an annual average of 48 since 1980.

Apple Sets Off a Biometrics Arms Race

Angelina I. T. Kiser, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Biometrics companies are benefiting from a potential iPhone fingerprint scanner.

This Great Wall is Built on SUVs

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

Analysts believe Chinese automakers are about a decade away from delivering their first globally competitive vehicle. Great Wall may be the company to pull it off.

Chemical Companies Are Rushing To The U.S.

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Abundant natural gas in the U.S. is driving investment in chemical, plastics, and fertilizer plants on the Gulf Coast.

This Is What Success Looks Like

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 on the San Francisco Airport runway may look bad, but the low number of casualties is a testament to improvements in airplane safety, a culture of learning from accidents, and the effectiveness of shared responsibility for safety.

A Scary Tour of Bangladesh's Factories

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Dhaka, a city of 18 million, has more than 3,500 garment factories.

King Cat

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Caterpillar is reporting record profits. Its CEO has been rewarded by steep increases in compensation. Should the company's employees benefit, too?

The Paradox of Bangladesh

Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

How should multinational companies respond to deplorable working conditions in Bangladeshi factories?

Bond Investors Hope to Avoid a Repeat of '94

Delvin D. Hawley, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Will clear communications from Bernanke help avoid market disruptions when the Fed finally allows interest rates to rise?

What’s Hot Right Now? Drywall

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

Homebuilders face rising prices of everything from plywood to drywall as buyers return to the market and increase demand for housing.

Alabama Opens Its Wallet to Woo Airbus

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

Even though its move to Alabama will increase manufacturing costs, Airbus recently broke ground on its first U.S. manufacturing facility.

The World's Cheapest Car Runs Out of Gas

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

At less than $3,000, the Tata Nano may be too cheap.

The Merger Boom That Fizzled

Delvin D. Hawley, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The value of global takeover and merger announcements in March was the lowest since July 2009. Why do some think a sharp rebound is coming soon?

Toyota's Awesome Yen Advantage

Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

The yen falling 16 percent in the last five months translates to about an additional $1,500 cost advantage per each car made in Japan.

Europe’s Carmakers Are Fighting to Shrink

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

Europe's carmakers want to close five factories and cut 30,000 jobs. With a long history of worker protection and labor laws that support workers, those tasks won't be easy or quick. Even if they pull it off, it may not be enough to restore profitability. Some experts think it will take closing ten factories.

How Apple's iWatch Can Be a Moneymaker

Angelina I. T. Kiser, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Apple sells a lot of electronics, but can it sell the iWatch?

Computing that Makes you Feel

Angelina I. T. Kiser, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Computers may have feelings after all.

The Last Days Of The PT Cruiser

Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Could a car’s quirky design that is still cultishly worshiped online be adequate to help it survive?

Mobile Apps, Now for Immobile Devices

Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.  |  Manufacturing

Is the battery dead on your phone? Switch to your PC and continue the fun.

Enjoy Those Chocolate Hearts While You Can

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

Satisfying our craving for chocolate is likely to be more expensive very soon.

Hooray for Hierarchy

James J. Stewart, DSc  |  Manufacturing

It turns out that traditional, Weberian bureaucracy as a form of enterprise organization has supporters.

The March of Robots Into Chinese Factories

Ralph W Flanary, MBA, CFE  |  Manufacturing

The most populous country in the world will soon see its huge labor force begin to shrink. The current fast track toward industry automation may be the key to continued wage increases and moving Chinese manufacturing companies up the value chain.


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