July’s manufacturing industry news brings more bad news for consumer packaged goods companies, announced the top 30 Under 30, and digital manufacturing breakthroughs at Cisco Live.
CPG giants must face the music: General Mills to shutter plants and eliminate jobs…
After cutting about 3,500 jobs since 2014, 1,400 additional General Mills jobs will be lost as people are no longer reaching for packaged foods. The company has made decisions to “tentatively” close manufacturing facilities in New Jersey, “tentatively” sell a facility in Ohio, close a manufacturing facility and distribution center, and exit the fruit snacks business in China entirely.
Around 860 jobs will be affected overseas while 550 positions will be eliminated in the U.S.
These cuts stem from declining U.S. sales: while an overall 2.8 percent increase in retail sales was reported for the company’s fiscal fourth quarter, U.S. retail has seen 12 percent declines in that same period.
General Mills is not alone in this turbulent time for name brand consumer packaged products.
The Economist pointed out that during 2011-2015, large CPG companies lost nearly three percentage points of market share in America: “In emerging markets local competitors are a growing headache for multinational giants.” Even the world’s largest food company, Nestlé has missed the five to six percent sales growth mark for three years now. General Mills’ cereal brands and Yoplait yogurt have faced declining sales and the soup aisle has struggled in recent years.
What’s becoming clear in manufacturing industry news is that size is no longer an advantage for these titans when facing the fast paced changes in today’s consumer markets. The massive wave of craft goods is changing the game for everyone. According to a Deloitte survey, consumers would happily pay 10 percent more for a “craft version” of a good, more so than they would for convenience or innovation.
Organic products, American craft brewers—America now boasts over 4,000, up 200 percent in the last ten years—and other small “rivals” of these CPG titans are now becoming part of the survival strategy. While they may invent a few products, à la pharmaceutical giants, investing in, acquiring, and supporting the marketing, distributions, and regulation of small firms may keep the $30 billion global snacking industry agile enough to keep up with global consumer demands.
Miss the digital manufacturing breakthroughs at Cisco Live?
Over the course of a few days at Cisco Live, customers and analysts alike dove into the concept of customer stories. Keynote speaker Jason Silva wowed everyone with gems like, “Technology is the human mind turned inside out. We use technology to overcome our boundaries.”
“Our brains evolved in a world that was linear and local. Our intuition is linear. We don’t live in a linear and local world anymore. We live in a world that is globally interconnected and that is exponential in its nature. Technology evolves in exponential rates.” -Jason Silva
Other insights included:
- Voith, a machine builder with a focus on the Pulp and Paper industry, talked about implementing a collaboration suite. “They now know what’s going on and can troubleshoot without having to fly somebody to fix problems due to remote capabilities from Cisco and our partner LibreStream. This brings a huge value to their customers who are in remote areas and allows them to save time and expense.”
- One Cisco customer spoke on how he has implemented a zero downtime offering based on predictive maintenance algorithms. With 6,500 machines currently pushing data to the cloud, it allows savings of anywhere from three minutes to hours of downtime. At $20,000 per minute of downtime, that’s some serious ROI.
- Cisco CTO Zorawar Biri Singh shared how digitization requires companies to transform processes, empower their workforce, and personalize their customer experience.
“If you aren’t building deep learning/machine learning capabilities into your products, you aren’t relevant.” -Biri Singh, CTO of Cisco
- Scot Wlodarczak presented Cisco’s work with Daimler Trucks insights in their transformation during the “Cisco Digital Manufacturing Solutions in Practice at Daimler Trucks” breakout session. Daimler trucks installed pervasive wireless connectivity to allow employees and machines to be connected across the entire factory.
Daimler Trucks of North America defined and established an automation architecture practice to help in bridging the gap between IT and Operational Technology—controls and automation—job functions. The company utilizes real-time visibility across production operations and data is now transmitted securely to managers and helps them make more informed decisions quickly while maintaining more efficient plants.
Manufacturing Engin30 Under 30 …
Manufacturing Engineering published SME’s 30 Under 30 list, featuring a glimpse at the industry’s careers of the future and the young talent who will pioneer the innovations of tomorrow.
Here’s a peek at two young innovators who made the cut for their work in automotive, aerospace, addictive, medical, automation, and robotics:
The youngest honoree on the list, 16-year-old high school student Fabian Bartos, is immersed in 3D printing—he fabricated a replica of the White House and gifted it to President Obama—along with complex architectural models, working with classmates on a project for e-NABLE, a 3D-printed prosthetic hand for a child in need of functional limb replacement.
“It fascinates me how you can design something on a computer and then you can hold it in your hand,” Bartos says.
Andrew Siwicki works as a field service engineer at ABB, Inc with many different applications related
to robotics, but his professional and superior work best known from Lady Gaga’s 2016 Grammy Awards tribute to David Bowie …featuring his robotic piano.
“The idea was kind of out there, but we trusted her and she was right—it was awesome. Working with a robotics system is incredibly rewarding. It’s amazing to see what robots can do.” -Andrew Siwicki