Tag Archive: automation

The Skills Gap Emerges as #1 at Prominent Supply Chain Conference

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At the Southern California Supply Chain and Logistics Summit conference, there were several keynote speakers from industry icons such as Amazon, UPS, Union Pacific and more.  One might expect quite a lot of interesting insights into the latest supply chain trends yet the most common theme among the presentations tied back to the skills gap. It boils down to having the “right people” for success – both in terms of employees and supply chain partners.           Several of the themes emerged the supply chain summit:  Automation: Friend or Foe? With the advances of automation in the…
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The Economy and the Inland Empire are on Fire!

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IE Forecasts Since we attended not one but two economic forecast events last week (one hosted by Claremont McKenna and one hosted by the Inland Empire Economic Partnership), we thought it made sense to share the take-aways:     The economy has never looked better especially in the Inland Empire – All the signs point up.  Even though folks are concerned about when the other shoe will drop, from an economic point-of-view, all appears positive.  Jobs at record levels with the Inland Empire leading California –  We are virtually at zero unemployment. Perhaps we need to be concerned about retaining…
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Amazon Fears Driving Supplier Price Concessions at Costco

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Amazon continues to wreak havoc on supply chains worldwide.  A client that does not compete directly with Amazon forwarded an article on Costco’s new price pressures on suppliers in response to Amazon concerns.  She said that these types of industry moves were creating disruption and price pressure in her industry, even though unrelated to consumer products.  Thus, we better pay attention!   According to an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, Costco’s remarks were the first time a retailer in their coverage has explicitly admitted exacting price concessions from suppliers. That is a BIG deal!  Costco’s CFO has said the brands need…
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Manufacturing is HOT

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In the last week, not only have there been several articles about the positive strides manufacturing is making but it also has come up in several presentations we have attended such as the Inland Empire Economic Forecast. Here is a compilation of just a few of the HOT topics and trends.
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Is Supply Chain Top of Mind for Your Business?

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Earlier this week, I spoke on a panel at a ProVisors (a top notch group of trusted advisers) event about supply chain and its impact on the Southern California and Inland Empire economy. The event prompted me to think about whether we are keeping supply chain top of mind (from your suppliers’ suppliers, through your manufacturing operations – insourced, outsourced or both – to your customers’ customers, inclusive of transportation and logistics networks, IT etc.). It will have a dramatic impact on your business success, and, in Southern California’s case, the economy. For example, is the Amazon Effect (the notion of 24/7,…
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Technology – Should We Take It or Leave It?

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Technology is a hot topic. Artificial intelligence. Autonomous vehicles. 3D printers and additive manufacturing. Business intelligence. We can’t stop talking about it. Many times, these topics are somewhat like fads. Even though there are benefits, we can get carried away and not even pay attention to whether we are gaining value. Thus, we should take a step back and ask a few questions: 1. Do we need the technology or is it just cool? 2. What value does the technology provide? Does it yield a return on investment? What is that return on investment? 3. What is most valued by…
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Robots & Demographics

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According to Industry Week and Moody’s Investor Service, there could be a significant upside to robots with the near-term demographic time bomb in Japan and Germany. Certainly, work will need to continue to get done; however, as more and more workers retire, that could become a challenge. Thus, robots might have another advantage in addition to automation – as the percentage of workers over 65 is expected to soar in both Japan and Germany, robots might substitute for labor. Also, both countries are early robot adopters. Time is ripe for robots. What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?…
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Are Robots Good or Bad?

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According to the Material Handling & Logistics, robots are slashing U.S. wages and worsening pay inequality. That is certainly a provocative statement! According to new research by MIT’s Daron Acemoglu and Boston University’s Pascual Restrepo, one additional robot per thousand workers reduces the employment to population ratio from 0.18 percentage points to 0.34 percentage points and slashes wages from 0.25% to 0.5%. Regardless of the exact figures, it is certainly accurate that robots will replace certain types of jobs. Is this good or bad? It is for you to decide based on your circumstances. Technology and automation can keep you competitive and “save” higher…
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The L.A. Times & Automation

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I toured the Los Angeles Times last week and was impressed with the automation. Although newspapers seems like an old business, it was impressive in pure size and volume with minimal people. The business sprawls 2400 acres and is run with 200 people. There were robots to move huge rolls of paper through the facility. There was automated equipment that brought the papers from the machine to the next room over where it was compiled into stacks. We were fortunate to go inside a paper machine and see just how fast the paper ran by (although the example below was…
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Manufacturers Upbeat but Worry About Skills Gap

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According to Industry Week, the Fed’s survey of the economy expressed optimism; however, it also noted that labor markets are tightening. Since I’m also embarking on refreshing my 2013 Skills Gap research report, thus far, I’ve noted the same concerns for high-skilled positions. I hear far less conversation about lower-skilled positions when it comes to availability (instead I hear about minimum wage concerns); however, the vast majority of my clients require higher-skilled positions. In these cases, it is not always easy — or even attainable — to find the resources needed on a timely basis. What are you doing to get…
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