Industries

84 articles

America Deserves a Modern Transportation System

Here are five ways to improve transportation and infrastructure in the e-commerce era.
Tom Jensen | UPS

At UPS, we see the impacts of lagging infrastructure investment in real time, as 85,000 UPS drivers hit the roads every day. Congestion comes with costs  —  if our fleet is delayed by an extra five minutes every day, it costs us more than $100 million annually. And the impact is seen in more than […]

How to Read a Cardboard Box

Every box tells a story if you know how to decipher it.
Mary Roach | Bestselling Author

People whose profession involves cardboard boxes — making, packing and shipping things in them — don’t say cardboard box. That’s a layman’s term, vague and imprecise. Professionals say corrugated fiberboard container. Even that is imprecise. Do you mean singlewall corrugated fiberboard or doublewall – that is, is there one layer of corrugation between two linerboards […]

Global E-Commerce Fraud – Are Your Customers Real?

Here are four tips to reduce risk in the e-commerce space.

E-commerce brings many opportunities to quickly reach more customers nationwide and across the globe. It also brings risks of domestic and international fraud. In the U.S., online fraud increased 39 percent between January and June last year, according to the October 2016 Global Fraud Attack Index. Global e-commerce certainly carries risk, as well as opportunity. […]

Welcome to the Age of the Super-Powered Shopper

Let's take a trip down e-commerce memory lane. Here are seven ways e-commerce has changed over time.
Yura Choung | UPS Longitudes

In 1979, Michael Aldrich connected a telephone line to a television, which connected to a computer to create a concept called “teleshopping.” In other words, people could shop from home. Almost 40 years later, we live in a world where Cyber Monday is an online shopping holiday, and augmented reality lets us look in a […]

Shopping Redefined

Complex technologies and strategies produce a surprisingly simple approach.

The retail and logistics industries have developed a number of terms to define how consumers purchase products. Single channel, multichannel and omnichannel are just a few of these buzzwords. While these terms have their place, they can contribute to a disconnect between merchants and their customers. To consumers, it’s just shopping. The convergence of the […]

New Manufacturing Jobs Require New Manufacturing Skills

With a focus on reskilling, education and training, technology won’t control the manufacturing workforce.
Lisa Campbell | Autodesk

Making spare parts doesn’t sound like ground zero for a technological revolution. But at a time when the entire manufacturing workforce is bracing itself for the changes sweeping the industry, the concept of “replacements” takes on extra resonance. I recently met with managers on the shop floor of an industrial machining company, discussing the challenge […]

What American Manufacturers Can Learn From Henry Ford

Manufacturers must keep up with innovation or risk being outpaced by global competitors.
Bill Lydon | Automation.com

American manufacturers are competing not only against each other but also against their global counterparts. When it comes to automation, manufacturers don’t have a choice but to invest in new technologies. As history shows, it’s the early adopter who will get the worm. American manufacturing companies need to invest in industrial automation because their global competitors […]

High Fashion Meets Maker Manufacturing

The line between fashion and technology is blurring. What does this mean for future innovations?
Lyn Jeffery | Institute for the Future

Fashion has always been a form of communication and self-expression, a quick visual signal of one’s tastes, allegiances and socioeconomic position. During the next decade, personal fashion and personal computing will begin to blur, offering us a new way to think about what today we call “devices.” Whereas today’s personal devices help us communicate primarily through […]

Connected Consumers, IoT and What Retailers Need to Do Now

Check out this Q&A on how IoT will shape the future for retailers.

Doing your laundry and notice you’re low on detergent? That used to mean a trip to the grocery store. Now you have options: You can order it online. You can press your Tide Amazon Dash button to have it ordered automatically, or you can ask Alexa to order it for you. But in the future, […]

How to Unleash Your Creativity

The world of Formula 1 is a laboratory for exploring human creativity through drivers and their teams.
James Hewitt | Hintsa Performance

The Formula 1 season will begin later this month, pitting the most talented drivers in the most finely honed machines against one another. The image of a car designer sitting at a computer, working on a complex 3D visualization, is consistent with our perception of a creative person, but you may not immediately think about […]

It’s Pedal to the Metal for Driverless Cars

Why drive yourself when a self-driving car could be a safer alternative?
William Messner | Tufts University

When a May 2016 crash killed the person operating a Tesla Model S driving in Autopilot mode, advocates of autonomous vehicles feared a slowdown in development of self-driving cars. Instead the opposite has occurred. In August, Ford publicly committed to field self-driving cars by 2021. In September, Uber began picking up passengers with self-driving cars […]

The Factories of the Past are Turning into the Data Centers of the Future

Here's how our data-rich lives will transform our physical and social landscapes.
Graham Pickren | Roosevelt University

We live in a data-driven world. From social media to smart cities to the Internet of things, we now generate huge volumes of information about nearly every detail of life. This has revolutionized everything from business to government to the pursuit of romance. We tend to focus our attention on what is new about the […]

Closing the MRO Gaps

Companies that sell spare parts, chemicals and other maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) supplies are scrambling to adapt to evolving customer expectations.

Manufacturing long-lasting equipment — think industrial machinery — can be a profitable business, especially for those who understand their markets and customers best. But the real profit opportunity comes after the machinery is sold. That’s because equipment owners typically spend many times the original purchase price on spare parts, chemicals and other materials required to […]

Manufacturing Customer Satisfaction

Can after-sales product support set manufacturers apart?
Harld Peters | UPS

For industrial manufacturers, it’s a classic “gap-in-the-market” opportunity. And it couldn’t come at a better time for the sector. Nearly four out of five buyers of capital goods — 78 percent to be exact — say they expect their industrial suppliers to provide speedy, on-site support and service for their products during the equipment’s long lifespan. Yet roughly one in nine […]

This Tiger Still Has Teeth

Chinese exporting has slowed, but leading manufacturers are implementing innovative logistics practices to regain their momentum.
Richard Loi | UPS

Chinese exporters dominated the global manufacturing game for so long that it was easy to believe their domination would continue indefinitely. But the evidence is increasingly clear: The world’s second-largest economy — an economy that boomed in recent decades thanks, in large measure, to exports — needs to change the way it does business as headwinds threaten future growth. The […]

Move Over Lean Six Sigma, Here Come Smart Operations

The digital transformation of manufacturing is forcing industrial companies to get smart. What’s your company’s IQ?

It sounds like an industrial-strength bad joke. But for manufacturers, it’s no laughing matter. After shelling out hundreds of billions of dollars collectively over the last few decades and completely reorganizing their factories to improve product quality, reduce waste and stay ahead in an increasingly competitive global industry, the world’s manufacturers have been put on […]

A Manufacturing Metamorphosis

It’s Manufacturing Week on Longitudes. Here’s why we’re so excited about innovations already at work and on the horizon.

Of all the ways the world is changing, how we make things is perhaps changing most of all. The traditional manufacturing model, defined by cheaper labor, rigid supply chains and larger inventories, is evolving before our eyes. A nimbler, dare I say, smarter, strategy is emerging. Manufacturers need speed, efficiency and the ability to ramp […]

The Essential Role of Logistics in a Growing Circular Economy

How resource scarcity and price volatility are causing companies to move to a more circular strategy.

In today’s world, the basic model for the production of goods is linear: Natural resources are extracted and turned into products that are used for a limited time. While some of these products are recycled, most eventually end up in the world’s landfills.  This model is becoming increasingly unsustainable and expensive for businesses. Commodity prices […]

Bionic Design Revolutionizes Flights of the Future

Using bionic design and 3D printing, Airbus is creating a lighter, more sustainable airplane.
Ken Micallef | Redshift

Imagine you’re flying to a vacation destination. To avoid sudden turbulence, the plane’s wings change shape. Or the plane is struck mid-flight, and the impact hole seals before your eyes. Or the plane’s body becomes transparent, allowing you to see out in every direction. That’s the vision of Airbus’ Concept Cabin, introduced in 2011. It […]

Car Talk That Saves Lives

How connectivity can make self-driving cars safer on the road.
Huei Peng | University of California

The death of a person earlier this year while driving with Autopilot in a Tesla sedan, along with news of more crashes involving Teslas operating in Autopilot, has triggered a torrent of concerns about the safety of self-driving cars. But there is a way to improve safety across a rapidly evolving range of advanced mobility technologies […]

Paving the Path to a More Productive Society

The U.S needs to invest $3.3 trillion on new infrastructure to support expected economic growth out to 2030. It's time to get started.
Jan Mischke | McKinsey Global Institute

Bruce Upbin | Hyperloop One

Sixty years ago, the U.S. embarked on one of the greatest public works projects since the Roman Empire: the Interstate Highway System. It was a bonanza of productivity for an American economy emerging with brawn from World War II, at one period yielding an annual return of 54 cents for every dollar spent. But in […]

Back to the Future with DeLorean

The gull-wing doors and unusual construction of this iconic car made it a perfect Hollywood time machine. Can it make a comeback?
Brian Sweat | Alterity, Inc.

The DeLorean story is fascinating — it’s a story of innovation and hope. For some, DeLorean is an aspirational brand. Many fans and enthusiasts don’t own a DeLorean, but they participate in online forums, buy collectibles and attend fan events. Of course, the influence of the “Back to the Future” trilogy cannot be discounted in the role […]

Retail Steamrollers: Power Shoppers and Millennials

Don't get flattened by the competition.
Bala Ganesh | UPS

“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you are not part of the steamroller, you are part of the road,” says author Stewart Brand, editor of The Whole Earth Catalog and founder of the Global Business Network. Retailers who do not stay ahead of the technology curve are likely to get flattened.  Consumers are adopting new technologies more quickly than ever […]

The Smartphone Is Changing Retailing for Good

Nearly half of mobile users are using smartphones or tablets to make online purchases. Is your retail company ready for the small screen?
Bala Ganesh | UPS

Pocket-sized communication devices seem to be taking over our lives — and exercising our thumbs — more than many retailers realize. “The smartphone revolution is under-hyped…more people have access to phones than access to running water,” says Marc Andreessen, entrepreneur, investor and cofounder of Netscape. In terms of time spent, mobile (i.e. smartphone and tablet) […]

3 Golden Rules of Retail

Retailers focused on customer needs win in the long run.

Failing fast, deploying minimum viable products and pivoting when necessary are what most entrepreneurs consider standard protocol these days. Much of this lean startup methodology has crept its way into the corporate world.  We see the effects of this mindset in companies’ logistics strategies across multiple industries, with many e-commerce giants racing to provide more […]

Industrial Distributors Reach a Fork in the Road

Buyers of industrial products increasingly expect rich e-commerce experiences
Simon Bhadra | UPS

Industrial distributors are facing a significant challenge from their B2B customers: Provide a rich online experience that’s similar to a consumer’s online retail experience, or risk losing them to a manufacturer or competing distributor. E-commerce has permeated every facet of the industry, fostering faster response times and tighter margins while increasing expectations for customer service […]

Keeping Up With the Customers (Sustainably)

Online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores are trying to hit all of the fulfillment channels. How will sustainability fare?
Todd Wasserman | HPE Matter

A few years ago, “showrooming” – in which a customer checks out a product at a physical store and then buys it from a different business online – looked like the harbinger of doom for brick-and-mortar retailers. Then shoppers flip-flopped that behavior, engaging in what’s dubbed “webrooming.” Now it’s common for customers to research items […]

Why Local Manufacturing is the Key to Sustainable Manufacturing

For some businesses, it pays to go local. It's good for the planet, too.
Jay Rogers | Local Motors

The concept of sustainable manufacturing is difficult to pin down. To critics, the notion of truly sustainable manufacturing is a pipe dream. But to creative minds with an eye toward the future, sustainable manufacturing is an ideal to march toward with zeal. In my view, the key to achieving sustainable manufacturing is to bring the […]

Aero Experts Agree: Emerging Markets Offer Enormous Potential (And Enormous Challenges)

How aerospace companies navigate obstacles as they pursue opportunities in emerging markets.
Simon Bhadra | UPS

Sprawling global supply chains are fast becoming the norm in the aerospace industry, where aircraft manufacturers and the companies that provide their parts and services are under increasing pressure to enter new and emerging markets. Some regions – like Southeast Asia and the Middle East – offer astounding growth opportunities. Aerospace companies that ignore those […]

Aerospace MRO Providers Facing New Demands

Strong logistics partners can help navigate emerging markets, where there’s no margin for error.
Alan Amling | UPS

Emerging market growth is reshaping commercial aircraft manufacturing with historic repercussions for the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) side of the business. Aerospace supply chains now sprawl across the globe, creating fresh opportunities for plane-makers and their suppliers. The resulting complexities can be daunting, especially for manufacturers that lack the logistics expertise to meet new […]