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Despite GM Setbacks, Toyota Leads Automakers in Recent Recalls

By APICS staff | 0 | 0 | June 17, 2014

Despite a series of heavily publicized automobile recalls by General Motors (GM) in 2014, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that, over the last five years, the biggest source of product recalls is not GM but its Japanese rival, Toyota.

GM so far this year has recalled about 14 million vehicles, ranging from products such as the Chevrolet Malibu to the Cadillac Escalade. However, out of all auto manufacturers, Toyota leads the pack in terms of the number of vehicles affected going back to 2010.

After Toyota and GM, the next few auto manufacturers with the most recalls are Honda, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, and Hyundai. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that smaller manufacturers such as Jaguar and Porsche make fewer cars, which means their aggregate levels cannot match up to the bigger brands.

Seeking a Less-Crowded Field, MBAs Find Success in Manufacturing

In the pursuit of immediate employment, factory floors are becoming more attractive to new masters of business administration (MBAs) than trading floors, according to a survey reported in Bloomberg Businessweek.

The Graduate Management Admission Council survey of more than 3,000 graduate business students around the world showed that those seeking jobs in manufacturing or healthcare were most likely to get offers in the spring. In both of those industries, 74 percent of graduates seeking jobs landed them, while only 57 percent of finance and accounting majors got jobs in their fields.

The trend also shows that those entering manufacturing likely switched to the industry without having prior experience in it. The work of MBAs in manufacturing also has gotten more interesting. Today’s MBAs must weigh whether to bring jobs back from overseas and decide how to capitalize on lower energy costs, said Scott N. Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. 

Commercial Drone Aircraft Approved in Alaskan Pipeline Operations

The first routine commercial drone flights have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, marking the next step in the market for unmanned aircraft, the Wall Street Journal reports. BP has signed on for a five-year contract to use drone aircraft in oil operations in Alaska, which is the first large-scale, government-sanctioned commercial drone program in the United States.

The 13.5-pound aircraft will capture and analyze data in the Prudhoe Bay oil field, one of the largest in North America. The drones will produce 3D maps of roads, pipelines, and well pads, as well as performing other tasks. According to the FAA, the US military’s experience with similar drones has helped ease approval for commercial use.

Manned aircraft are sometimes cheaper than drones, says Curt Smith, director in BP’s technology office. However, drones will gather more data, he says, enabling more effective, safer, and more efficient operations. One 3D model of an oil pit provided “more data in 45 minutes than … in the last 30 years,” Smith says. “It’s revolutionary.”

Retailer Turns Around Failing e-Commerce by Going Omnichannel

A heavily discussed business term in recent years is “omnichannel”—one definition being the integration of e-commerce, mobile sites, and apps into traditional physical storefronts. Business Insider reports that retailer J.C. Penney has embraced this phenomenon, turning around its collapsing e-commerce business.

As e-commerce sales declined 32 percent in 2012, Penney tried to reinvent itself as a high-end retailer, forgoing discounts and coupons. This alienated many of its price-conscious customers, especially in the online realm. Later, in 2013, new CEO Mike Ullman described Penney’s lack of an omnichannel strategy as an “organizational mistake.”

Now, Penney has aligned many of its in-store and web-based offerings, providing the same selection and price, eliminating fulfillment roadblocks, and increasing customer happiness. Year-over-year online sales increased 26 percent in the first quarter of 2014. 

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