APICS News

APICS News

Google Part of US Manufacturing Trend

By APICS Staff | 12 | 13 | July 03, 2012

Google’s newly released Nexus Q, a device for streaming digital media to home televisions, is “designed and manufactured in the USA,” an etching in its hardware boasts. The media player’s construction is somewhat of an experiment in American manufacturing, the New York Times reports. However, Google is not forthcoming about many details surrounding the device’s manufacture, including the location of its production facility or where its parts are sourced. 

Most electronics production has not occurred within the United States in recent years. “We decided, ‘Why don’t we try it and see what happens?’” says Andy Rubin, head of Google’s mobile division. Since the 1990s, a large number of technology manufacturers, including Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Apple, have shifted the majority of production to contract manufacturers in Shenzhen and other parts of China. Analysts indicate this trend may be reversing. Manufacturers both large and small have moved assembly operations to the United States in the past year, including General Electric and Caterpillar.

Reasons behind the shift include rising labor, transportation, and energy costs; risks of intellectual property theft; and the increasing importance of time to market. “You need a collaboration that is real time,” says Pat McIntyre, chief executive of ET Water Systems, a small irrigation systems manufacturer. “We prefer local, frankly, because sending one of our people to China for two weeks at a time is challenging.”

At $299, the Nexus Q is more expensive than similar products made by competitors Apple and Roku. According to Google, this is in part due to higher US manufacturing costs; however, the company expects the price to come down as it increases volume. 

Survey: UK Manufacturers Overly Optimistic on Innovation

A recent survey conducted by German conglomerate Siemens says that the perspective of UK manufacturers, who are “over-optimistic” in their belief they are the most innovative in the developed world, can prove harmful. The 

Financial Times reports these manufacturers are largely optimistic about the next 12 months, but a lack of investment may slow the manufacturing renaissance. 

While UK manufacturers place themselves third behind China and India in innovation, the INSEAD global innovation index, an indicator of innovation outputs, places the United Kingdom 10th, behind the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. “It’s good that we are positive but the evidence points out that we are not as innovative as we think we are,” says Jürgen Maier, managing director at Siemens Industry UK. Manufacturing will require sustained investments in development and equipment in order to claim a greater desired share of national output, he says. 

Of the survey’s 527 respondents--which span sectors including engineering, automotive, pharmaceuticals, and oil and gas--only 51 percent say they have investment plans for the coming year. Respondents also say their factories are not as automated as they could be. 

Maier says German manufacturers invest about one-third more annually than their British counterparts. “If we had that same level of investment we could be world beaters,” he adds. 

Greek Yogurt Craze Not a Boon to Some Milk Suppliers 

The rise in popularity of Greek-style yogurt, a thicker version of yogurt produced by straining to remove excess whey, is creating an unlikely problem for one manufacturer in a dairy state: the inability to source enough milk to continue increasing production. The Wall Street Journal reports that Chobani, a Greek yogurt maker formed in 2005 in New Berlin, New York, is continually challenged by the availability of milk. New York’s dairy farmers aren’t seeing any boosts to their bottom lines from the popularity of Greek yogurt and have not grown their herds to meet demand.

Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani’s CEO, says he will build a facility in Idaho instead of expanding production in New York, in part because he is certain of the supply of milk there. Milk production has surged in many states, including Idaho. Land is cheaper, property taxes are lower, and dairy farms are larger compared to New York. 

“You’d think that a growing business can go to their supplier, whether you’re talking about rolled steel or paper products or chip makers, and the supplier would say ‘Great, I’d be glad to help you,’” says Andrew Novakovic, a Cornell University professor and author of a paper called “The Chobani Paradox” about the difficulty of New York dairy farmers to capitalize on the Greek yogurt craze. The situation is more complex than that because milk is significantly different from rolled steel. Complex structures are in place to protect dairy farmers from price swings and ensure milk always has buyers. Cows cannot be idled like machinery once they begin milking.

While Chobani’s facility helped alleviate a severe milk glut in 2009, many New York farmers are still having a hard time making money. “In the past many of our farmers have struggled with an oversupply and that’s why many of them haven’t made it,” says Charles Schumer, a New York state senator in favor of legislation to support farmers. “It’s not that easy for them to expand.”

e-News Solutions

2012 APICS International Conference & Expo

October 14–16, 2012
Denver, Colorado, USA
Colorado Convention Center

Registration for the 2012 APICS International Conference & Expo is now open. The conference will be held October 14-16, 2012 in Denver, Colorado, USA. The theme of APICS 2012 is Elevate supply chain performance: Value creation through market alignment and integration.

Visit the APICS 2012 website and register today!

Introducing the APICS Risk Management certificate

APICS now offers a comprehensive, forward-looking program that will prepare you to lead risk management activities or participate in the development of global risk mitigation strategy. The APICS Risk Management certificate validates that you have received 12 educational contact hours in core and elective risk management topics.

Obtain the hours necessary to earn the certificate by attending the Risk Management learning path at the 2012 APICS International Conference & Expo (5 hours) and participating in one of the following to complete the remaining 7 hours 

  • a combination of risk sessions at future educational events including the APICS International Conference & Expo, APICS Supply Chain Asia Conference, or Best of the Best S&OP Conference
  • APICS Risk Management Seminar (7 hours)
  • pre-approved risk management education sessions at partner events.
Learn more.

Upcoming Webinar

Members-only: APICS Extra Live: Creating Strong Relationships Between Manufacturers and Distributors
Presented by: George F. Brown Jr., Founder, Blue Canyon Partners

Date: August 9, 2012
Time: 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. CT
Cost: Free

Register today.

Webinars On Demand Available

APICS Extra Live: Solving Supply Chain Disruptions―Beyond the tactical
Watch the webinar now.

APICS Extra Live: Strategic Imperatives for Improving Supply Networks
Watch the webinar now.

APICS Extra Live:
 Real-World Strategies for Improving Operational Efficiency
Watch the webinar now

APICS Extra Live: Racing Toward Operational Success with Kaizen
Watch the webinar now

APICS Extra Live: The People Factor in Supply Chain Excellence 
Watch the webinar now

APICS Members-Only Webinar: Operations Management Résumé Benchmarking Survey Résumé Structure and Organization
Watch this webinar now. 

APICS Extra Live: Advancing Your Supply Chain with Foreign-Trade Zones 
Watch this webinar now

APICS Extra Live: Merchandising for a Lean Supply Chain 
Watch this webinar now

APICS Extra Live: Keep Projects Flowing with Visual Project Management 
Watch this webinar now

APICS Members-Only Webinar: Résumé Formatting Best Practices

Watch this webinar now.

Purchase APICS supply chain risk and supply chain strategy folios 

Assess risk, develop your organization’s supply chain strategy, and understand how you can successfully implement or grow your organization’s sales and operational planning process with APICS folios.

$19.95 APICS member - Save 50%
$39.95 nonmember 

APICS Supply Chain Sustainability Folio: Uncovering the Triple Bottom Line

Supply chain and operations management professionals are increasingly called on to carry the torch of innovation to reduce costs, demands on resources, and waste; while increasing the reuse of existing assets, and enabling lean operations. Employing sustainable practices is critical to meeting these business needs.

APICS Supply Chain Strategy Folio: Make the Most of Supply Chain Strategy
Understand challenges and identify areas where senior management and operations management can work together to maximize the effectiveness of your supply chain strategy. Access this APICS folio to delve into critical supply chain functions and tasks that may not be effectively supporting your supply chain strategy.

APICS Supply Chain Risk Folio: Protect your Business with Risk Management
Mitigate and anticipate supply chain risks at your organization—from rising and falling demand to natural disasters, market uncertainty, and varying levels of trust among supply chain partners. Purchase this APICS folio to identify tools to deal with risk at your organization.

APICS S&OP Folio: How to Be an S&OP Champion
Predicting the future generally is thought impossible; yet, S&OP users seek to do just that by strategically directing businesses to achieve competitive advantage. Purchase this APICS folio to understand how you can enable your organization’s bottom-line effectiveness with S&OP.

Access APICS career development resources
Use APICS career packs to understand your career path and next steps, evaluate candidate qualifications, or establish consistency across your organization's hiring.

Free! APICS member
$29.95 nonmember 

  • Individuals seeking to advance in one of the career pack job title areas can evaluate their knowledge and skills, plan their next steps, and identify areas for improvement and growth.
  • Hiring managers seeking qualified candidates can identify specific knowledge, skills, and experience required when evaluating prospective employees and building job descriptions.
  • Organizations interested in developing their workforce can create consistency and establish required competencies for individuals in each of the career pack job title areas. 

APICS career packs:

For each job title, APICS career packs compile essential information to help you understand the job role, including

  • career path information
  • core competencies required of qualified candidates
  • job descriptions and keywords
  • how to use job titles and descriptions.

Download the APICS members-only report 2011 S&OP Practices and Challenges and purchase the APICS Folio: How to Be an S&OP Champion  
Predicting the future generally is thought impossible; yet, S&OP users seek to do just that by strategically directing businesses to achieve competitive advantage, and—more and more—are expected to do so to enable their employers' bottom line profitability.

Supply chain professionals: Take the APICS CSCP Learning System Free Demo today 
By earning the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) designation, you will demonstrate significant commitment to your profession and your career, distinguish yourself as an industry expert, and excel with your newly acquired specialized knowledge.



APICS CPIM exam study options
APICS offers a variety of study options to help candidates prepare for the APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) exams and enables them to choose the option that matches their preferred learning method.

Instructor-led courses
For students who learn best in a classroom-based environment, there are instructor-led courses.
Find courses at your local APICS chapter or find an APICS partner outside North America to find courses in your area.

Online certification review courses
Online courses are ideal for professionals who enjoy taking a structured class, but need more flexibility.
Other APICS self-study options
APICS offers a wide variety of tools for candidates interested in studying on their own, including the
  • APICS CPIM Exam Content Manual
  • APICS CPIM practice questions
  • APICS CPIM study notes.