Tag Archives: manufacturing

A Manufacturing Renaissance; Is the Tech/Software Boom Over?

David ColeDr. David Cole is the Chairman of AutoHarvest (autoharvest.org), a web based tool to accelerate innovation in the auto industry. Dr. Cole is Chairman Emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research and a former Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan where he taught courses related to the automotive field for over 25 years. He is a fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers, Engineering Society of Detroit and Society of Manufacturing Engineers and was recently elected to the Automotive Hall of Fame.

We are in a period of amazing, almost transformational change like we have never witnessed before and all indications point to the pace quickening as we move forward from today. Clearly one dimension of this dynamic period is the incredible rate of change in technology that surrounds us from cars and housing to personal communication and healthcare.

For the past several decades the growth in technology is particularly evident in electronics with the control of just about everything shifting to electronic chips and their embedded software. These include cell phones and their multiple apps, the tools we use to design and manufacture goods of all forms, modern agricultural tools that enable farmers to optimize their business and the multitude of electronic items that pervade our lives.

It has been a great run and we have celebrated the enormous success of companies like Apple, Dell, Microsoft and Intel with very high evaluations and significant wealth creation for all involved. A new and really quite profound emerging question is what’s next? I’m not suggesting that these important companies will disappear nor will the technology they have developed but what they have produced and continue to produce may be becoming more of a commodity where the low cost provider wins. Many have seen significant declines in their value in the past several years. Have they peaked and, if so, what’s next?

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Building a Fortune 500 Manufacturing Corporation from Scratch (Synergy and Homogeneity for Growth in Manufacturing)

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Founder and former CEO, JPIndusries,Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial corporation. Publisher of www.BusinessThinker.com

J.P. Industries. Inc. (JPI) made its first acquisition – a metal stamping firm with annual sales of $3 million. Within the next ten years JPI joined the Fortune 500 Industrial Corporations. It was merged into T & N, plc of the UK in its 11th year.

Writing about JPI, I would like to start with the two factors I consider central to the success of JPI: synergy and homogeneity.

You are probably saying to yourselves that synergy was a concept of the 1960’s which was not notably successfully employed by the conglomerates which coined it, and that homogeneity reminds you more of processing milk than of conducting business. However, I believe that understood and applied correctly, the   concepts   expressed by these words have clear practical meanings and direct application to business growth.

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Michigan’s Economy

I have come to wonder, particularly since the recent recession,  of  what is lacking or better what needs to be done in Michigan to cushion some of the up and downs of the Auto industry and the inevitable reductions in employment created by ever increasing automation incorporated by large manufacturing corporations.

I have made the following observations:

1)    We have in recent years entered a new economy, one whose core is fundamentally different from its predecessor’s, say the automobile age was from the agricultural era.

2)    The economy is barely chugging along and there is apprehension about employment levels . . .

The reality we have is very troubling, because what is disappearing is not just certain number of jobs or jobs in certain industries, or even jobs in America. What is disappearing is the very thing itself: The Job. The job is becoming a vanishing species an antiquated notion of employment.

3)    Nationally the manufacturing sector is employing an ever decreasing percentage of total labor; currently I believe at 11%.

4)    The civil service, etc employs approximately another 20%.

5)    Unemployment is at 9.1%

6)    Therefore approximately 60% must be working in other sectors of the economy.

Now what do these observations tell me, a non-economist?

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