CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, July 17, 2015

  • First the economy: Numbers out earlier this week say industrial production (manufacturing, mining and utilities) edged up slightly in June – although the manufacturing part of that was pretty much flat, according to USA Today.
  • Meanwhile, interest rates won’t be flat much longer, according to an AP story posted at the Internet home of KGAN-TV.
  • Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was in Maquoketa earlier this week, where he told employees of Jackson Manufacturing, within the hearing of The Des Moines Register, that he would make manufacturing a key focus if elected.
  • Manufacturing is already a focus for Walmart. The Washington Post has a decent story out today about Walmart’s efforts to boost its own reputation by trying to pull more of its suppliers back into producing in the U.S.
  • Meanwhile, The Detroit News has an interesting look at how Ford is using virtual reality to streamline is production process. Cameras, sensors and computers help the company track the effects of shadows on see internal parts and the ergonomic  strain of various movements on employees.  The upshot is it’s faster to put a transmission in an F-150 and worker injuries have dropped 70 percent.
  • Quality is the single biggest focus for manufacturers, according to a survey released this week by a Massachusetts consulting firm. According to the press release, “manufacturers are moving away from investing in standalone engineering and service workgroup tools, and toward more strategic initiatives like product innovation platforms and service transformation in the coming years.”
  • In other quality news, the Register notes that the big water quality lawsuit between Des Moines Water Works and three northwest Iowa counties has a trial date – in August 2016.

Thanks for reading.

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