Industries

74 articles
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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 […]

Horizontal color image of female hands holding a digital tablet in a modern plastic production line. Ordering on-line from injection moulding factory on a touchscreen tablet computer. Large factory, industrial machines, robots and manufacturing equipment arranged in background.

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 […]

Car braking system repair.

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 […]

Man unscrewing motherboard of a laptop.

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

White truck on the asphalt rural road in the polar night

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

Animation courtesy of Hyperloop One

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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) […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Want to Thrive in Disruptive Times? Start With an Agile Supply Chain.

Here are seven ways logistics can help you find a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.
Martin Christopher | Cranfield University

Companies operating in every industrial sector and in every market around the world are facing significant challenges, ranging from economic recession to demographic shifts and geo-political upheavals, to name but a few. The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries are no exception. When confronting these changes, it will be crucial for companies to develop agile supply chains. […]

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La Vía Rápida A La Oportunidad Económica

Para las compañías mexicanas y estadounidenses, el comercio transfronterizo puede desatar un potencial ilimitado.
Augie Picado | UPS

A menudo, el comercio es descrito como un juego que no suma, en el que una nación sólo puede destacarse en detrimento de la otra. La evidencia más notoria de esta falacia es la floreciente relación entre los Estados Unidos y México. A modo de contexto, todos los días, EE. UU. y México intercambian 1.4 […]

Bright red shipping cranes in Ensenada, Mexico with shipping containers

Fabricantes Estadounidenses Encuentran La Tercerización Óptima en México

El ascenso de México constituye un caso claro de estrategia de tercerización óptima para los fabricantes estadounidenses.

Hoy en día, cada vez más, las sofisticadas importaciones estadounidenses —a menudo procedentes de las industrias aeroespacial, automotriz y de alta tecnología— tienen un denominador común: se fabrican en México. Esta tendencia refleja que los fabricantes estadounidenses tienen una creciente confianza en que México ofrece mucho más que mano de obra asequible a lo largo […]

Fotografia del Palacio de Gobierno de Guadalajara en la noche

Is Mexico the New Detroit?

Why your next car is more likely to come from Latin America.

Quick, name the largest vehicle producers in the world. China, Japan, Germany, and the United States are probably among the more common answers. You might be surprised to learn that Mexico now belongs in that group. Mexico is the seventh largest car manufacturer in the world – and the second largest exporter to the United […]

Metropolitan Cathedral and President's Palace in Zocalo, Center of Mexico City Mexico Christmas Sunrise

A Middle-Class Wave in Mexico

This Latin American nation is poised for explosive growth in the years ahead – and it can thank a tech-savvy middle class.

In case you missed it, check out the first two articles in our Mexico series – The Fast Lane to Economic Opportunity and U.S. Manufacturers Find the Right Shore in Mexico. A country without a vibrant middle class is a country without a future. To grow this critically important demographic, any modern nation must provide its […]

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The Fast Lane to Economic Opportunity

For U.S. and Mexican companies, cross-border trade can unleash unreached potential.
Augie Picado | UPS

Trade is often portrayed as a zero-sum game in which one nation can excel only at the expense of another. Nowhere is this fallacy more evident than in the burgeoning relationship between the United States and Mexico. For context, the U.S. and Mexico exchange $1.4 billion in goods every day – that’s about $1 million […]

Bright red shipping cranes in Ensenada, Mexico with shipping containers

U.S. Manufacturers Find the Right Shore in Mexico

Mexico’s rise makes a compelling case for the right-shoring strategy for U.S. manufacturers.

Note from the Editor: We’re talking about Mexico all week here at Longitudes. We’ll take a look at the rise of the right-shoring movement, the growing importance of the U.S.-Mexico trade lane, the evolving nature of the Mexican middle class and the auto industry of tomorrow in Latin America. But really, Mexico’s ascent is a […]

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How Technology and Big Data will Create a New Golden Age of Retail

Designers need to change their thinking. It's about what the data is telling you.
Matt Alderton | Redshift

Shopping used to be stimulating. Although its end was sales, its means was a mix of status and spectacle. It was social commerce in which partakers transacted not just cash, but also cachet. Nowhere was this more evident than in the earliest department stores, whose architects designed them to be destinations. In London, for instance, […]

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A More Electrified Auto Supply Chain

Will your business help lead the transformation or get caught trying to catch the rest of the field?

In 1980, my dad thought it would be a great idea to load my mom and their three kids – all of us under the age of 13 – into the family’s 1976 Ford pickup to tour the Western United States. He spent weeks planning the route. So many hours to drive here, so many days to see Carlsbad […]