Manufacturing

33 articles
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 […]

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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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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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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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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 […]

Airplane wing with jet engines and clouds. Sky is blue with fluffy cumulus clouds

Cruising at Altitude

Q&A with Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group about how aerospace growth has hit cruise control and what's coming up next.
Richard Aboulafia | Teal Group

The aviation industry has rarely looked so good, and that has Richard Aboulafia concerned. The self-described “Cassandra” of aviation, the vice president of analysis at Teal Group warns that industry players shouldn’t anticipate another dozen years like the ones that just passed — with ever-climbing demand and record-high deliveries. “I don’t see any reason to disrupt this […]

TED@UPS salon at Porter Sanfor III Performing Arts & Community Center, September 2, 2015, Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Mark Tioxon/TED

TED@UPS: What Happens When Pigs Fly?

Since these new consumer expectations are not going away, something’s got to give.
Alan Amling | UPS

Summary:  “That will happen when pigs fly!” How many times have you heard that in your life? I heard it when I was a kid and tried to build a hovercraft from my Mom’s vacuum cleaner. I still hear it today from time to time. It’s what practical people say to dreamers. They’re often right…but […]

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Don’t Make After-Sales An Afterthought

UPS research reveals that most small-to mid-size industrial machinery companies don’t see replacement parts and service as a way to stand apart. That’s a problem.

Industrial machinery manufacturers are wired to focus on what’s new. Such a mindset is understandable. Companies’ pipelines depend on developing the latest, most cutting-edge products to keep customers happy. It may sound counterintuitive, but for many manufacturers, new opportunity awaits in the services that are most easily overlooked. UPS data shows that 78 percent of […]

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Industry 4.0: Smart Factories Need Smart Supply Chains

Automated manufacturing facilities will require higher levels of logistics integration.

It’s been just three years since Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research coined the term Industry 4.0 to describe a manufacturing and assembly process closely aligned through interconnected machines. Also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the next evolution of manufacturing has arrived with the promise of increased efficiency, productivity, and quality control achieved […]

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7 Ways 3D Printing Is Disrupting Global Manufacturing

Why this innovation renaissance will only accelerate.
Rick Smith | Fast Radius

3D printing production is still in its infancy, but it is already inevitable. And if you look closely, you will find numerous indications that this historic shift is already well underway. For the last decade, 3D printing has been the playground of the maker community, while commercial applications have been limited to prototyping. But now, […]

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3D Printing And The New Economics Of Manufacturing

3D printing production is still in its infancy, but it is already inevitable.
Rick Smith | Fast Radius

3D printing production is just scratching the surface of the multi-trillion dollar global manufacturing industry. But its dominance is already pre-determined. This is because modern manufacturing, despite numerous technological and process advances over the last century, is still a very inefficient global system. Today’s world of mass production is based on one simple rule: the […]

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Not Your Grandfather’s Factories

Attracting millennials to manufacturing.
Anne Kim | Republic 3.0

For much of the past 30 years, the American public’s view of manufacturing has been unrelentingly grim: shuttered factories, laid-off workers and the steady disappearance of “Made in America” products from consumers’ shelves. But U.S. manufacturing is showing strong signs of rebirth. Since the end of 2010, U.S. manufacturers have added more than 730,000 jobs, […]

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Manufacturing Wealth

Can manufacturing be Africa’s route out of poverty?
Justin Yifu Lin | World Bank

All low-income countries have the potential for dynamic economic growth. We know this because we have seen it happen repeatedly: a poor, agrarian economy transforms itself into a middle- or even high-income urban economy in one or two generations. The key is to capture the window of opportunity for industrialization arising from the relocation of […]

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Labor in the Age of Robots

Adapting the labor market to a world of increasingly automated workplaces is becoming one of the defining challenges of our era.
Guy Ryder | International Labor Organization

Fears about the impact of technology on the labor market are nothing new. In the early nineteenth century, a group of English textile workers known as the Luddites worried that new technologies like power looms and spinning frames would cost them their jobs. They protested by smashing the machines. Today, anxiety that new technologies could […]

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Man vs. Machine

Will technology steal our jobs?
Lucian Tarnowski | BraveNewTalent

As technology transforms millions of jobs around the world, it has created a “second machine age”, which represents a new inflection point in history. Just as in the industrial age, machines are improving the effectiveness of the workforce – but they are also automating tasks that humans once performed. How will technology affect jobs in the future […]

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The New Manufacturing?

Can service industries play the role that manufacturing did in the past?
Dani Rodrik | Princeton

The global discussion about growth in the developing world has taken a sharp turn recently. The hype and excitement of recent years over the prospect of rapid catch-up with the advanced economies have evaporated.Few serious analysts still believe that the spectacular economic convergence experienced by Asian countries, and less spectacularly by most Latin American and […]

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Revitalizing India’s Manufacturing Industry

How manufacturing can help solve India's unemployment issues.
Anwarul Hoda | ICRIER


Increasing the GDP growth rate will be a major task for India’s new government. GDP growth will be critical for eradicating poverty and improving the living standards of India’s population.The economy also faces the daunting challenge of providing employment opportunities to about a million people being added to the job market every month. Rapid expansion […]

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U.S. Manufacturing In Strong Condition

Despite falling employment, the U.S. manufacturing base is growing larger, more productive and more competitive
Lindsay Oldenski | Georgetown University

Theodore H. Moran | Georgetown University

Recently, a number of studies, descriptive employment statistics, and statements by U.S. politicians have raised concerns about the strength of U.S. manufacturing. For example, in a January 2014 Journal of Economic Perspectives article, Martin Baily and Barry Bosworth expressed concern about the recent absolute decline in U.S. manufacturing employment, as well as the long-recognized decreasing […]