In our May 31 article, “Scooters – The Next Mobility Wave”, we talked about how electric scooters such as Lime, Bird, and Spin have been taking cities by storm. We noted how they are many times met with enthusiasm by the younger and more adventurous residents who can easily find a scooter using an app on their phone, unlock it by scanning a code on the handle, and off they go. On the other hand, cities and municipalities, are cautious to embrace the new technology (sound familiar?), frequently at the behest of the older or less technologically adept residents. Often, these cities cite a host of problems, including pedestrian injuries, people riding on sidewalks, riders not wearing helmets and unused scooters blocking walkways and critical access to curb space. Across the country, cities’ approaches to handing these new forms of transit have been mixed, at best, and convoluted at worst.
There is a serious skills gap crisis in the U.S. manufacturing industry, an industry which makes up nine percent of the U.S. workforce, making it one of the largest workforces in the country. The manufacturing industry, like many other industries in our quickly-shifting, modern economy, requires skilled workers to fill critical positions, such as machine/equipment operators and automation supervisors. Without these skilled workers, the manufacturing industry would undoubtedly be disrupted and overall production and revenue would take massive hits. Despite the importance of skilled worker positions and the fairly high compensation offered, manufacturing companies are still finding themselves with a dearth of talent from which to hire some of their most important employees. For years now, the industry has reported that the number one issue plaguing it is a lack of skilled workers. There are almost three times as many skilled worker positions being posted than are being filled. Over the next decade, almost two million manufacturing jobs are predicted to go unfulfilled due to the skills gap crisis.
The threat presented by Hurricane Florence has forced government officials to order South Carolina residents to evacuate hurricane zones. Safety should always be the No. 1 priority for the millions of individuals and families affected by the storm. The mandatory evacuation and closure of many businesses and schools in the area has shut down a number of manufacturing facilities and distributors located in South Carolina.
Additive manufacturing (aka 3D printing) has long been a growing part of the auto industry. Companies started out using 3D printing for prototypes and small batch production. As technology advanced, the role of 3D printing is rapidly increasing. This week, several major players in the auto industry announced new developments for the role of 3D printing in the industry. HP unveiled its “Metal Jet” 3D printers, which it describes as 50 times more productive, with lower operating and purchase costs than existing technology. HP has already partnered with suppliers in the auto industry on the technology, and GKN Powder Metallurgy is already using the printers in its factories.
On August 9, 2018, Original Equipment Suppliers Association (“OESA”) held its 2018 Automotive Commodities Event covering a variety of topics related to commodities purchasing, including strategies for price risk management, insights into future mixed material usage in the automotive industry, and legal strategies for navigating volatile commodity markets. Highlights of the issues discussed during the event include: