The Fourth Industrial Revolution Industry 4.0

November 12, 2018

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A recent IndustryWeek survey (Nov. 6, 2018) found that manufacturers are having trouble joining the Fourth Industrial Revolution, called Industry 4.0. And the World Economic Forum (WEF) found that 7 out of 10 manufacturers fail in pushing initiatives in big data analytics, A.I., and additive manufacturing.

But there is hope, the Forum asserts. They scoured the planet and after vetting 1,000 manufacturers, selected 9 “lighthouses” (listed below) with a solid Industry 4.0 strategy. “These pioneers have created factories that have 20-50% higher performance and create a competitive edge,” says a McKinsey exec. “They have agile teams with analytics, IoT and software development expertise that are rapidly innovating.” Industry 4.0 is expected to deliver productivity gains over $3.7 trillion.

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H&M Retail Chain Uses Accounting Data to Stock 4,288 Stores

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The retail industry is undergoing another major shift — to e-commerce.

The world’s largest clothing brand is turning to artificial intelligence to win back shoppers, reports The Wall Street Journal (May 8, 2018), as it works to reverse one of the worst sales slumps in its history. H&M retail chain is ramping up its use of data to customize what it sells in individual stores, breaking with its longstanding practice of stocking stores around the globe with similar merchandise. A spike in online shopping has led to fewer customers visiting stores, and digital startups are putting up fierce competition. H&M has repeatedly slashed prices to clear out $4 billion of unsold inventory. Continue reading

Watch this ship grow 49 feet longer

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What’s a cruise company to do when it needs a bigger ship? Apparently, just saw it in half and add an extra 49 feet. Silversea Cruises began the lengthening process of its Silver Spirit ship this month as part of a $100 million renovation, USA Today reports (March 20, 2018).

The transformation is currently underway at Fincantieri Shipyard in Italy. This type of lengthening has never before been employed for the extension of a luxury cruise ship. An extension is much cheaper than ordering a brand new ship, which can cost upwards of $1 billion.

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Walmart Dances with Robots

By David Render

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Pittsburgh-based Bossa Nova Robotics Inc. is sending its shelf-scanning robots out to 50 Walmart stores in California, Pennsylvania and Arkansas. The robots are being sent in a real-world use of technology to help Walmart keep its aisles stocked and ready for customers. The robots scan, passes information to the cloud, communicates that data to Walmart’s back-end system and relays that knowledge to store associates to keep store shelves stocked. Continue reading

Adidas Automates to Make Shoes Faster

By Barry Render

In a production hall as clean as a hospital, pea-size beads of white plastic pour into what looks like a minivan-size Adidas shoe box, complete with 3 white stripes down the side. That’s fitting, because in just a few seconds the machine heats and molds the stuff into soles of Adidas running shoes, with only one worker needed to wedge in pieces of plastic called stability bars. This is Adidas AG’s “Speedfactory,” where the shoemaker aims to prove it can profitably produce footwear in high-cost, developed economies, reports Businessweek (Oct. 9, 2017). Continue reading

How to Save Up to 43% on Credit Card Processing Fees

August 9, 2017

By Josh Dudman

After paying merchant processing fees, how much of each transaction do you actually get to keep? How much of a difference would it make to your income if you could lower your merchant processing fees by as much as 1.50%? Now you can. Today’s handy guide helps you discover how Level 3 Processing increases your profits, without any extra work.

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Outsourced Jobs to India May Now Go To Indiana

August 2, 2017

For years, American companies have been saving money by “offshoring” jobs — hiring people in India and other distant cubicle farms. “Today,” writes The New York Times (July 31, 2017), “some of those jobs are being outsourced again — in the U.S.” Salaries have risen in places like South Asia, making outsourcing there less of a bargain. (A decade ago an American software developer cost 5-7 times as much as an Indian developer. Now the gap has shrunk to 2 times). In addition, as brands pour energy and money into their websites and mobile apps, more of them are deciding that there is value in having developers on the same continent. Continue reading