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Manufacturing Innovation: Moving Fear Forward

The month of October was a tough month for me.  I found myself being moved by the passing of two innovators, Steve Jobs and Al Davis, owner of my beloved football team the Oakland Raiders.   Although I’ve never meet Steve Jobs or Al Davis, I found myself reflecting on why these two individuals had such a profound impact on my life and the world.  I began to reflect on the parallels of both men’s journey, and came to the conclusion that what made these individuals so unique was FEAR.  Not fear itself, but how they both moved FEAR FORWARD in their journey toward being successful Innovators and agents of change. Read More »

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Cisco: Built for Business

The world is experiencing explosive Internet growth. This growth has challenged businesses to seek a network that adds stronger value and delivers greater intelligence, reliability, security and versatility.

The network is more important today than at any time in history for the future of business innovation. Businesses that invest in an intelligent network are making an investment toward their future.

What platform will your business use to drive that innovation?

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Machine Builders in my Factory?

As you know there are many changes in manufacturing operations today. These certainly relate to Operations Excellence, Continuous Innovation, Energy Management, even the Supply Chain and Customer Service world. There are technology changes and personnel changes. There are Global impacts as manufacturing companies compete in new regions and those same new regions sprout new manufacturers. And at the end of the day (or maybe the beginning?) there is a need for someone to build a specialized machine.

We have already seen the power of a converged (technologically) network. Ethernet/IP helps the controls world provide information to the IT world. We see this every day, where older proprietary networks are replaced by standard Ethernet. Here are some thoughts as they relate to specialized machine builders:

So, we have this technology that can unify us, Ethernet. Who knew that years ago I sold against Ethernet? But that was a different version. Today is new, with managed switches, managed services, and tomorrow is your new today.

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Made in the USA, again

Finally, some good news. Amidst the standard fare of predictions of the inevitable decline and fall of US manufacturing, an interesting and encouraging 2011 report has been authored by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) called “Made in America, Again.”

According to the report, “Manufacturing is expected to return to America as China’s rising labor costs erase most savings from offshoring.” As US states become cheaper locations to manufacture goods compared to other developed countries, the report suggests that by 2015 manufacturing in some parts of the US will be just as economical as manufacturing in China.

The key reasons listed are: Read More »

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Steve Jobs Legacy for me – what’s important to you?

This is a tough blog post for me. Like many folks in the US and around the world I too believe we have lost a genius. From a consumer products perspective Jobs disrupted the animation industry, disrupted the music industry, disrupted the phone industry and disrupted the laptop industry. Disruption for the last  three meant big wins for Apple – big profits and big market share numbers.

We’re all wondering what was planned next and, despite assurances that Apple will continue to produce innovation and that innovation is in safe hands with the existing management, I have a feeling that the ‘Jobs spark’ will be hard to replicate in the future. I do have confidence that someone or ‘ones’ will appear in the future to continue the innovation the US has been famous for.

Steve Jobs  ‘Righting the Ship’ after he takes the Helm. He’s talking about his predecessor’s approach, not his! That’s why Gates etc. are laughing.

As Managing Editor of the Manufacturing Industry Blog I am allowed the occasional ‘Editorial’ only slightly related to the industry (well, that’s what I’ve decided, anyway!). So this blog is tough because I’m not going to address the innovation issue. I’m not going to address the need for improved education or more engineers or more math students (though they are sadly needed).

No, this blog is about priorities in life. I’ve learned, as many of us have, that Jobs allegedly  delayed getting surgery for his pancreatic cancer by three-quarters of a year, or thereabouts. It is reported that the new biography that’s due out on Monday has some of the details. Now I make no judgment on his choices, I’ll leave that to you as reader, but a “60 minutes” interview that airs on Sunday with biographer Walter Isaacson apparently confirms details that had been speculated upon or widely reported, including that Jobs might have been cured of his “slow-growing” cancer had he sought professional treatment sooner, rather than resorting to unconventional means.

Please don’t judge Steve Jobs, or me. But here’s a similar learning from both of us. I passed a certain age a while ago where I should have had my first colonoscopy. I delayed it. Too busy; not high enough priority; low risk factors; you name the excuses. Four years after that time, in 2010, my wife Julie forced me to have it done. We had a 6 year old and she had just given birth to our second child – a beautiful baby girl.

Unfortunately for me, It was bad news…

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