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Smart, connected products: Manufacturing’s next transformation

November 25, 2014 Comments off

Smart, connected products: Manufacturing’s next transformation
Source: Oxford Economics

Smart, connected products—the “Things” in the Internet of Things—are expected to power the next wave of manufacturing. However businesses must rethink their products, services, and processes, and most gains anticipated remain up for grabs.

​To better understand how manufacturers are navigating the opportunities and challenges surrounding smart, connected products (SCPs), Oxford Economics and PTC surveyed 300 manufacturing executives around the world. Only firms with strategies to develop these products were considered. The survey, along with a series of interviews with industry leaders, shows that the SCP revolution is well under way but remains in its early stages.

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USICT Releases Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2013

November 18, 2014 Comments off

USICT Releases Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2013
Source: U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC)

Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2013, an annual compendium of data and analysis examining changes in trade with key U.S. partners and in important U.S. industries, was released today by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC).

The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, releases the information in a web-based format that provides details and reasons for key shifts in trade and that can be searched by country or industry sector.

Users will find a comprehensive review of U.S. trade performance in 2013, focusing on changes in U.S. exports, imports, and trade balances of agricultural and manufacturing industries, key natural resources, as well as changes in U.S. trade with major partners and country groups. Also included are profiles of the U.S. industry and market for over 250 industry groups and subgroups, offering data for 2009-13 on consumption, production, and trade.

The report examines:

  • industry developments and the principal drivers influencing trends in U.S. trade;
  • leading products the United States exported to and imported from its most important trading partners and the key factors influencing trade in these products;
  • price fluctuations, global market trends, government trade policies, and other major factors affecting U.S. trade in 2013.

In the 2013 report, a special topic chapter provides an overview of the use of value added as an innovative method of analyzing trade flows, as well as a discussion of relevant data sources. The chapter describes how this information can help business officials, government representatives, and others better understand the economics of global manufacturing and gain a more precise and nuanced picture of trade deficits and surpluses.

The Changing Shape of UK Manufacturing

November 12, 2014 Comments off

The Changing Shape of UK Manufacturing
Source: Office for National Statistics

The contribution of the manufacturing industry to the UK economy has changed markedly over the last 60 years. On average, output in the industry has grown by 1.4% a year since 1948, although it has contracted around the economic downturns in the 1970s and early 1990s, and most recently and notably during the 2008-9 economic downturn. But output growth has been at a slower rate than that for the whole economy, and as a consequence the proportion of whole economy Gross Value Added (GVA) accounted for by manufacturing has fallen since the early 1950s. The change in manufacturing output over the long term is determined primarily by changes in its principle factors of production: labour and capital. An increase in either of these factors will tend to lead to an increase in output – however higher manufacturing output has been achieved despite a steady fall in the number of jobs and broadly stable capital stock. Therefore over this period labour productivity, as measured by output per labour hour worked, has increased. In other words, the manufacturing industry has become more productive. This article will analyse several potential reasons for the increase in manufacturing productivity over the long term such as: a better quality workforce; an improvement in the information technology base; a change in the composition of the UK manufacturing industry; more investment in research and development; capital deepening; and a more integrated global economy. These factors are intended to inform and encourage the debate around changes in manufacturing productivity rather than provide a comprehensive and definitive explanation.

EU — Being human in a hyper-connected era – The onlife initiative

November 11, 2014 Comments off

Being human in a hyper-connected era – The onlife initiative
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

The “Onlife Initiative”, a project launched by the Commission’s DG-CONNECT, explores the societal consequences of on-going digital transition. DG-CONNECT will present the conclusions of this project during a STOA workshop in the European Parliament on 2 December 2014.

The STOA workshop takes as its evidence-base that mobile broadband access to the internet, the Internet of Things, big data, open data, cloud-computing, social networks, and new forms of internet-based collaborative and co-creation models, (such as commons-based peer production and crowdsourcing), result in the ever-increasing pervasiveness of ICT in all aspects of our lives.

The digital revolution is clearly on its way. Governments are deploying e-government and e-participation systems, and in the political sphere, the new concept of online e-democracy clearly challenges the old representative democratic model invented by the Ancient Greeks. Progress in robotics, artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, self-driving vehicles, drones and smart factories may result in the massive automation (between 30-50%) of existing jobs in the next 20 years and will require changes to the education system for the new jobs that may be created.

Long-term prospects for health look promising and are aided by the rapid development of technologies such as low powered electronics, 3D printing and nanotechnologies. The application of the latest advances in gaming technologies to the learning and teaching environment already allows for dramatic improvemenst in education and vocational and education training in some sectors, such as medicine – a trend which looks likely to grow in the future. According to economists, the increased use of ICT in all sectors of the EU economy would be, all other things being equal, the most sensible way of increasing labour productivity and therefore growing the EU’s GDP per capita.

Serving Today’s Military Consumers

November 6, 2014 Comments off

Serving Today’s Military Consumers
Source: Nielsen

Veterans Day, originally founded to remember the cease-fire of World War I, has become a day for Americans to remember and honor all veterans, as well as active-duty members of the U.S. military.

But we aren’t the only ones who should remember these national heroes. Whether they’re on active duty or have already served their country, today’s military members and their families are also consumers. By understanding these shoppers and their families’ unique consumer habits, retailers and manufacturers can better reach this segment of the population and serve their specific needs.

U.S. Executives Remain Bullish on American Manufacturing, Study Finds

October 27, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Executives Remain Bullish on American Manufacturing, Study Finds
Source: Boston Consulting Group

U.S.-based executives at large companies remain bullish on American manufacturing, and their actions are starting to show it, according to new research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The firm’s third annual survey of senior manufacturing executives at companies with sales of $1 billion or more found that the number of respondents who said that their companies are already bringing production back from China to the United States had risen 20 percent—from roughly 13 percent to 16 percent—in the past year. The number who said that they would consider returning production in the near future climbed 24 percent—from about 17 percent to 20 percent. And a majority (54 percent) expressed interest in reshoring, validating last year’s result (also 54 percent).

U.S. Knowledge-Intensive Services Industries Employ 18 Million and Pay High Wages

October 21, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Knowledge-Intensive Services Industries Employ 18 Million and Pay High Wages
Source: National Science Foundation

The commercial knowledge and technology-intensive (KTI) industries play a big role in the U.S. economy. The larger component of KTI industries—the knowledge-intensive (KI) services industries—employed 18 million workers and produced 22% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012. The smaller component—the high technology (HT) manufacturing industries—employed 2 million workers and produced 2% of GDP in 2012. Although smaller than KI services industries, HT manufacturing industries have a greater concentration of workers in S&E occupations and perform a larger proportion of U.S. research and development. Both KI services industries and HT manufacturing industries pay substantially higher wages than the private-sector average.

Three KI services industries (business, finance, and information) and six HT manufacturing industries (aircraft; communications; computers and office machinery; pharmaceuticals; semiconductors; and testing, measuring, and control instruments) classified by the Organisation for Economic and Cooperation and Development are discussed in this report.[2] (Note: Because various data sources used in this report classify industries differently, different numbers may be reported for KI and HT industries.)

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