Vendors know things. They speak a special language, an information technology dialect that most small and midsize manufacturers can’t fathom, but that they respect nonetheless – perhaps because it’s indecipherable. These manufacturers are turning to experts, after all, since tech is something in which they don’t specialize. They cut the vendor some slack; they reason that IT types aren’t really proficient in their line of work, either.

What inspired this riff is “Complicating the Cloud,” a recent, insightful article by tech industry guru Jeff Kaplan. Kaplan makes a number of trenchant points, many of them coalescing around the idea that the vendor community has a vested interest in complexity. That meshes with my belief that it really is easy to get into the cloud – if the decision makers don’t allow the vendors to make it difficult. 

In today’s fast-paced world of business, owners and managers are looking for ways to streamline the supply chain process, reduce costs and increase efficiency. When looking to implement the most effective supply chain, many would note that technology plays a pivotal role.

Thanks to advanced breakthroughs in high-tech labor management systems, wireless devices, apps and cloud technology, great strides have been made in the past few years to enhance supply chain performance. It is important to note two essential factors that come into play to create a smooth, agile and aligned supply chain. 

During the Space Tech Expo in Long Beach, Calif., from May 19 to 21, numerous exhibitors, visitors and delegates will attend the premier event, all looking to discover the space and satellite industry’s latest technologies and innovations. As COO of United Launch Alliance (ULA), Dan Collins fully understands the need for innovation in the industry because he is responsible for the Atlas and Delta expendable launch vehicle programs. Collins will bring his expertise to the expo’s launch services market’s keynote panel on May 19, which will focus on competition, affordability and mission assurance.

ULA is going into Space Tech Expo having just unveiled its Next Generation Launch System in April. The new rocket, Vulcan, will make launch services more affordable and accessible, ULA says. It brings together decades of experience on ULA’s reliable Atlas and Delta vehicles, combining the best features to produce and all-new, American-made rocket that will enable mission success from low-Earth orbit all the way to Pluto. 

It has been determined that there is nearly no limit to what 3-D printing and additive manufacturing can produce, and this is great news for the manufacturing industry, which was mainly seeing negative news just a few years ago. To celebrate all that 3-D printing, scanning and additive manufacturing has to offer, SME is hosting the 2015 RAPID Conference & Exposition in Long Beach, Calif., from May 19 to 21.

Expected to be the largest in the event’s 25-year history, RAPID will provide attendees with the opportunity to engage with more than 195 exhibitors and explore the future of the industry through interactive experiences and keynote addresses. 

“RAPID 2015 gives established businesses and startups alike the opportunity to collaborate and further the growth of 3-D printing and additive manufacturing technology,” says Debbie Holton, director of events and industry strategy at SME. “Manufacturers attend RAPID because they know they’ll find the latest innovative solutions they need to compete successfully. Those that don’t attend will miss out on witnessing the newest 3-D technologies and finding their next competitive advantage.”

There is no question that the manufacturing industry is a major economic driver, and it continues to fuel business throughout the Northeast and nationwide. This is why more than 12,000 business owners, engineers, designers, production managers and purchasing executives will be gather May 12 to 14 at EASTEC, the East Coast’s premier manufacturing event. Produced by SME, the biennial event will take place at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass., and will features more than 650 exhibitors and three days of complimentary educational sessions.

This will be the 34th year of EASTEC, which will showcase the latest technologies in the industry, from additive manufacturing to waterjet cutting. SME organizes the show so it will provide attendees with easy access to industry experts, who will be sharing insights on how to foster innovation, increase productivity and improve profits. This year, attendees also will get to see more than 300 new products at the show. 

Whether 2015 legislative prospects regarding reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) are real is anyone’s guess. On the environmental front, TSCA reform is the only viable contender for serious legislative attention in the New Year, and even this is by no means a given. 

Consideration in earnest is dependent upon a variety of factors, the most important of which is the critical need for sustained bipartisanship. The September 2014 Udall/Vitter recasting of the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA), first introduced by Senators Lautenberg and Vitter in May 2013 and co-sponsored by 25 senators (13 Republicans and 12 Democrats), is an underestimated starting point for discussion. Before going into the merits of CSIA and Sen. Barbara Boxer’s alternative TSCA reform bill circulated in late 2014, a few thoughts on the context in which TSCA reform legislation will be considered may be helpful.

Much of the credit for the recent revival of the U.S. automotive industry has been given to the doggedness of the American workforce. The media has personified the manufacturing worker as a rugged, never-give-up type of guy whose unfailing determination has single-handedly build the next generation of automobiles. It’s an image that instills confidence and makes for a great commercial. Certainly, hard-working employees are the foundation of success for any company.

The California High Speed Rail Authority broke ground in early January on the nation’s first high-speed rail system, but additional attention also is focused on the fact that some of the world’s most advanced and cleanest diesel equipment will be used to construct the historic project.

“While there is a debate on the merits of the high speed rail project in general, one thing that is not in debate is the readiness of the most advanced construction machines and equipment to build the project,” says Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

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