From the Shop Floor — The Week in Manufacturing (10/5/2012)

Industry Market Trends sat down recently with consultant and marketing guru AJ Sweatt to talk a little manufacturing.

A sign that things which once hit home in this country are starting to take root in China:  the country’s leading steel manufacturer has announced, as a cost cutting measure, it will shutter one of its plants.

China-based computer manufacturer Lenovo will open its first U.S.-based plant, this one in North Carolina.

The Worcester (MA) Telegram says that manufacturers in the Bay State are “grinding out more good jobs.”

The Washington Post, as only newspaper with its short-term goggles on can do, claims that while American manufacturing is not currently in decline, it is flat-lining.

Writing in Business Week, blogger Harold Sirkin says America’s export surge is just beginning.

America’s packaging machinery shipments jumped 19% across the board in 2011.

The domestic solar panel industry is eagerly anticipating a ruling of its various claims of illegal dumping and price manipulation against China, a ruling which seems just weeks away.

Speaking of which, the New York Times reports that by giving anyone and everyone who ever wanted them cheap solar panels, China created too much supply for world demand, and in the process may just have cut off its own nose to spite its face.  And the Washington Post says that, as a result, China is now rethinking its world domination strategyThe Hill, meanwhile, claims China’s green energy strategy is now officially “in disarray.”

U.S. manufacturing, much to the delight of many, including yours truly, rose last month for the first time in four months.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, two professors detail, “Why Apple Has to Manufacture in China.”

The slowdown of the Chinese economy continues to have a ripple effect throghout Asia, as manufacturing in the export-focused Singapore declined for the third straight month.  Given that, it’s my job to also report that China’s manufacturing has now contracted for 11 consecutive months.

USA Today says that even though manufacturers are hiring, job growth is slowing.

Supply Chain News is reporting that manufacturing is beginning to apply its lean principles to factory labor.

American Airlines says it knows why certain seats in their new 757 airliners came loose, and has a plan to fix the problem.

The Strategic Sourceror, apparently an agnostic rag focusing solely on sourcing issues — regardless of the consequence, job-wise, to this economy — unabashedly calls Mexico the new “hotspot” for low-cost job outsourcing. 

And finally, the Philadelphia Inquirer details why one local manufacturer is bringing its jobs back from China.





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