Industry Market Trends

Worth a Look: Fixing Equipment Before It Breaks

Oct 03, 2012

Plus: Microsoft Pushes for STEM Education, the Turtle as Inspiration, Cost Benefits of Telecommuting, How to Overcome a Crisis and the Modular Pre-Fab Coffee Shop.

Sometimes the Internet seems like it's gotten too big. To help navigate this sea of information, Industry Market Trends' weekly Worth a Look feature spotlights some of the more interesting, informative and amusing resources that might have slipped under your radar - all in bite-sized chunks.

  • Microsoft Urges Greater STEM Focus | A better education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, may be the key to staffing the 3.2 million unfilled jobs in the United States, including roughly 600,000 manufacturing positions. Technology giant Microsoft has released a new white paper arguing for an increased focus on STEM subjects to improve the skilled workforce and make American firms more competitive. Microsoft executives have also outlined a strategy for a "pipeline" for STEM-based jobs.

  • Look to the Turtle for Continuous Improvement | Workers in manufacturing companies across the U.S. may benefit from adopting the turtle as their symbol of steady strength and applied knowledge, IndustryWeek's John S. McClenahen advises. He describes three key principles of operating excellence embodied in the turtle: a culture of continuous improvement; a willingness to learn from failures; and asking critical questions about delivering customer value and working with suppliers.

  • How Much Would You Save by Working from Home? | Telecommuting is increasingly shifting from being a perk to being a smart cost-saving measure. A new teleworking calculator, compiled from federal databases and studies, analyzes the time and distance traveled each day, vehicle type and the number of telecommuting days taken to determine precisely how much money was saved and how much productivity was gained by choosing to work from home.

  • 6 Ways to Overcome a Crisis | When a crisis strikes, resilient people are able to look beyond immediate conditions and see how things might eventually turn out. Resilience is an important quality among business leaders, and it can be cultivated and strengthened through practice. CBS MoneyWatch offers six strategies for working through tough times, including: remembering previous times you've overcome obstacles; creating back-up plans for emergencies; reaching out to helpful members of your social circle; and finding your best mood boosters.

  • The Modular, Portable Coffee Shop | Starbucks recently unveiled a new coffee shop in Colorado, but it has no chairs or tables - no room for customers at all. The new design is "modern modular," a small LEED-certified drive-thru and walk-up shop that was built in a factory and delivered by truck. Part of a pilot program on low-cost, low-impact expansion, future modular stores will be prefabricated and mass produced at a size of 500 square feet, just enough room for three to five employees and the coffee making equipment needed to provide the full Starbucks menu.

  • The Value of Predictive Maintenance | In the past, companies would wait for a problem to appear - a piece of equipment to break down or a pipe to burst - before initiating repairs, but today many companies rely on predictive analytics to conduct maintenance before an actual breakdown occurs. A new infographic from IBM explains how this process works and why some companies might benefit from it.

Infographic Credit: IBM