Women in Manufacturing: From Rosie the Riveter to Rose the CEO

My grandmother, Celia Shulman worked in the same factory in Philadelphia for 40 years. She made transistors for radios, TV’s and other electronics. She painted stripes on the transistors and worked in the shipping department at night. She never complained about her job and was proud to be able to go to work every day and support her family as a single mother. It was an honorable career then, and for many women in manufacturing today, still is.  

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The Future of Plastics: The Material of Choice

Plastics make up the third largest manufacturing industry in the U.S. It is one of the most widely used materials in this country due to its durability and versatility.  According to SPI, the Plastics Industry Trade Association, the U.S. plastics industry employs nearly 900 thousand workers and creates more than $380 billion in annual shipments.

SPI just launched their first issue of the Plastics Market Watch, a series of analyses focusing on specific end-markets for the plastics industry. This series will look at the impact of the consumer on the business of plastics, including demographics, economics, policy developments and technological improvements. The first report discusses the trends for the automotive & transportation markets. Healthcare, packaging, and housing & construction will be analyzed in future publications. To give you a summary of this research, we have included a review from SPI’s blog “In the Hopper”.

The following post by Kimberly Coghill appeared on the SPI blog “In the Hopper” on June 10, 2015.  Follow SPI on Twitter

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Can Robots + Humans = the Ideal Workforce? 

Portions of this article were written by Jeff Green, Social Media Manager at Rethink Robotics and appeared on their blog

In a recent article from American Express Open Forum, our CEO and President Michael Araten spoke about what it’s like to hire a robot, in particular, Baxter, a collaborative robot from Rethink Robotics. The article states “employing a mix of human and robotic employees could become a more mainstream staffing strategy among small businesses in the near future.”


Robots such as Baxter can also help companies save money and increase productivity. At Rodon, robotics and automation have given us a competitive edge, especially against overseas manufacturers. A robot such as Baxter can work 24/7, has no need for benefits or breaks and can be taught a task within minutes.  "The employees love it. They've personalized the machine, and it feels like you're living in the future when you have a friendly-looking robot working alongside you," Araten says. 

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Manufacturers Forum - A Morning Well Spent

The Manufacturing Alliance of Bucks and Montgomery Counties held their second Manufacturing Forum of the year.  Relevant and actionable information from some of the area industry leaders packed the morning agenda.  Topics included training, financing and cyber security.

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The First Fathers of Manufacturing

In celebration of Father’s Day on Sunday, we thought we’d focus on the men that helped make this country what it is today. What better way to celebrate this day than to recognize some of the founding fathers of manufacturing and their contributions to modern day technologies? There were many to highlight, and many that contributed to today’s manufacturing growth and development. It wasn’t easy to narrow down the list, but we picked some of our favorites.

We hope you enjoy reading about their contributions and wish all of the dads out there a very Happy Father’s Day on Sunday!

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How to Improve Product Safety through Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory compliance has become a focus in recent years.  Products from other countries, particularly China, face additional scrutiny.  From car seats to dog treats, there have been numerous safety problems. 

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The True Cost of Using an Offshore Supplier

There are many factors that impact the total cost of goods purchased.  On the surface, some offshore suppliers may seem cheaper.  However, the true delivered cost is impacted by many variables.  Using this overview, you should be able to better compare all of your supplier choices.

Shipping - This cost must be calculated accurately to determine the true “Cost of Ownership”.

Many companies fail to understand the full cost of shipping from China and other low wage countries.  Depending on the contract, importers may be responsible for picking the goods up at the factory door.  Many foreign manufacturers will include FOB (Free on board) shipping.

Factors to consider include:

FOB – This is the price paid by the manufacturer to get the goods to port.  Depending on the contract this may be an inland port.  Once on the carrier, the purchasing company pays for the remainder of the shipping costs to the final destination (s) as well as import duties and taxes.  All of these charges need to be considered to assess total shipping costs.  Having a FOB contract and terms will guarantee all parties know the extent of their financial responsibilities.
Time to market – There is also a cost to any delays that occur in receiving goods for sale.  When commitments and time lines are not met, profit is lost.  Once a delay occurs, to get merchandise to market in time, some manufacturers have used air freight to expedite the shipping.  Air freight can be 10x more expensive than shipping by container which can erode margins quickly.

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Quality Certifications and Why They Matter

In the past, many businesses operated on the assumption that their vendors were in compliance with the latest rules and regulations regarding their industry.Technology and materials were limited, so buyers worked with manufacturers who could produce the best product often without clearly defined quality guidelines or parameters.

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Join us in NYC for the Design & Manufacturing show

The Atlantic Design & Manufacturing Show is coming up in a few weeks (June 9-11 at the Javits Center in NYC), and we're getting ready to attend and exhibit at the show.  It's a show that we find worthwhile and one that we wouldn't miss. This well-attended show offers visitors a wealth of information, events, and exhibits.

The show is a composite of several shows that are focused on the plastics manufacturing industry. 

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