February 2017 Archive

February 14, 2017
How Manufacturing has changed (Economist)

Manufacturing has not really gone away. But nor has it held still. Some processes that used to be tightly held together are now strung out across the world; some processes that used to be quite separate are now as close as the workers and designers who share the shop floor in some factories. Assembling parts into cars, washing machines or aircraft adds less value than once it did; design, supply-chain management, aftercare, servicing and the like add much more.

February 14, 2017
Adidas’s high-tech factory brings production back to Germany (Economist)

Behind closed doors in the Bavarian town of Ansbach a new factory is taking shape. That it will use robots and novel production techniques such as additive manufacturing (known as 3D printing) is not surprising for Germany, which has maintained its manufacturing base through innovative engineering. What is unique about this factory is that it will not be making cars, aircraft or electronics but trainers and other sports shoes—an $80B-a-year industry that has been off-shored largely to China, Indonesia and Vietnam. The Speedfactory, as this plant is called, belongs to Adidas, a giant German sports-goods firm. Production is due to begin in mid-2017, slowly at first and then ramping up to 500,000 pairs of trainers a year. Adidas is constructing a second Speedfactory near Atlanta for the American market.

February 13, 2017
Kellogg Revises Distribution Method (WSJ)

Kellogg Co. is abandoning its traditional way of delivering some snacks to stores in an effort to cut costs, though it risks hurting sales of some products. The maker of Cheez-Its and Keebler cookies, which reported fourth-quarter earnings Thursday, will begin delivering its U.S. crackers and cookies to grocery stores’ warehouses, rather than directly to the individual stores.

February 1, 2017
World’s biggest shippers don’t grasp supply chain impact on climate change

The world’s largest corporations are failing to work with supply chain partners on climate change, according to a survey of 4,000 suppliers to the world’s leading shippers. The Carbon Disclosure Project polled suppliers to 89 of the world’s largest firms – including Walmart, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola – to assess how the multinationals were responding to and tackling climate change. While the report found that 68% of major shippers recognized the benefit of taking action, only 22% had engaged with suppliers and just 4% had actually actioned supply chain emissions targets.