As the manufacturing environment evolves, executives must evaluate and consider all costs, including workers' compensation insurance. By John Rosmalen

For the last 11 years, manufacturing in the United States has been slowly moving toward a path to recovery. Based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it can be viewed as a rebirth, albeit a gradual one. As the restoration of American manufacturing brings more jobs to the labor force, manufacturers will face a plethora of financial considerations to address including various laws and regulations, none the least of which is workers’ compensation insurance.

To understand the current milieu, here is a brief historical perspective on the evolving manufacturing environment and the challenges that will come with it. In the first decade of this century, American businesses were establishing partnerships with China to bring goods to the U.S.  Production costs were significantly below manufacturing expenses in the U.S., and chief financial officers focused more on risk management since there was no reason to be concerned about workers’ compensation costs and compliance. Then came the global financial crisis, which brought all of these problems to the forefront—poor product quality, safety issues, copyright and information theft.

DeWys Manufacturing web photo

DeWys Manufacturing is involved in all aspects of its custom metal fabrication projects, from beginning to end.

By Jim Harris

DeWys Manufacturing’s customers need not look to other companies to meet their metal fabrication needs. The Marne, Mich.-based company prides itself on being a “one-stop shop” for metal components used in a variety of sectors.

“We make it easy for our customers to write just one purchase order and have one invoice for the components we manufacture for them,” President C.T. Martin says. “If you want a custom metal component, we can take care of all aspects of that for you.”

The company’s diversified services – which it refers to as its “circle of companies,” includes precision sheet metal, machining, powder coating, contract manufacturing and product assembly. DeWys also offers engineering expertise. “We can help our customers engineer costs out of a product and make it more manufacturable,” he adds. “There are not many fabrication companies offering engineering in-house.”

How do manufactuers decide to integrate new technology

How do Manufacturers Decide to Integrate New Technology?

By Perry Sainati

It’s referred to as “Manufacturing 4.0,” the latest in a long line of wrinkles in our ever-changing world of heavy and light industry, a seismic marriage of technology, automation and computerization that is causing more and more manufacturing functions once done by human hands to be performed by sophisticated machines.

I will write more about Manufacturing 4.0 in the months ahead, especially from a human perspective.  But this issue I’d like to offer one quick take on the concept as a whole.  And to do that, let me first take you back a few decades.

Economic advisors to the first President Bush, witnessing a phenomenon that was already well underway in the world marketplace – namely the globalization of trade and manufacturing – urged the president to prepare for a virtual sea change in the very idea of macroeconomics.  Among the first things the United States should do, they told him, was to consider a strategic alliance/open trade policy with Canada and Mexico.  

J Tec web

J-tec Industries Inc. designs and manufactures the patented CarryMore® Tugger Cart System to deliver materials to manufacturing work and assembly stations in factories and reduce or eliminate the use of forklifts.

By Russ Gager

Lean manufacturing methods have proven effective in speeding factory production, but sometimes they require specialized material-handling equipment to realize their full potential. This is the specialty of J-tec Industries Inc., which can custom-design carts that can be pulled in a train, turn in tight spaces and mate with auxiliary carriers handling specialized equipment.

J-tec Industries’ flagship product is the patented CarryMore® Tugger Cart System. With the mother cart moving the weight and the daughter cart carrying the parts, the carts’ tandem “mother/daughter” design reduces costs and improves delivery times to production lines.

“It is unique in the simplicity, functionality, maintenance and operation of the system itself,” co-owner and President Jon Peterson says. “That is what our customers say they like the most when it comes to the product and the way they use it.”

In October, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced proposed changes to its regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regarding the export and import for recovery operations of hazardous wastes from and into the United States.

EPA’s regulations regarding the transboundary shipment of hazardous waste are found at 40 C.F.R. Part 262, Subparts E, F and H. Part 262, Subpart E applies to exporters of hazardous waste and is designed to ensure that hazardous waste is not exported to a foreign country without that country’s prior consent. Part 262, Subpart F contains the regulations that apply to importers of hazardous waste. Part 262, Subpart H contains the regulations implementing the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Decision Concerning the Control of Transfrontier Movements of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations. The proposal would modify the requirements under Subpart H and expand the jurisdictional scope of the Subpart to include shipments now subject to Subparts E and F.

According to recent research by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and environmental nonprofit As You Sow, large brands waste $11.4 billion every year because of poor packaging policies.

Although it is easy to point the finger at large corporations that use more resources, companies of all sizes must do a better job of managing the way that they approach environmental and sustainable packaging policies. Not only will creating or improving your sustainability agenda better the environment, it will help your brand and its bottom line in the long run.

This year marked the 30th anniversary for the Women in Aerospace (WIA) organization, which works to expand women’s opportunities for leadership in aerospace, as well as to increase their visibility in 

As in the manufacturing industry as a whole, women’s presence in aerospace continues to grow, and is bolstered by the fact that many organizations continue to recognize the extensive talents of women in the industry. 

First up, in late October, WIA recognized Ball Aerospace & Technologies Program Manager Lisa Hardaway, Ph.D., with the Leadership Award for Outstanding Dedication to Space Exploration. Hardaway joined Ball Aerospace in 1995 and was most recently the program manager for Ball’s Ralph imaging instrument that flew aboard NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto, returning the closest images ever seen of the dwarf planet on July 14. She  also has a long relationship with the Hubble Space Telescope, having worked on three Ball-built instruments. In addition, Hardaway was part of Ball’s Deep Impact mission and worked on the company’s star tracker program.

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