The EU Has Been Sticking It to the US For Years – Do We Kick Them While They Are Down?

Most people who believe in free markets and free market economies also believe in global trade; free and fair trade that is. But that’s not what we have in the world, especially when one of our major trading partners operates in a world of state-run capitalism, currency manipulation, and actually sees international trade as a lesser form of war. But before I go, and blame China for the ills of the global economy, even if it is a rather large factor, I would like to point a finger at the European Union.

You see, they’ve been telling us for years how to run our economy, government, finances, and economic affairs. Of course, the EU is about ready to crash and come apart. In part due to socialism, and socialist governments that are part of the euro zone. Whereas there may be a common currency called the “Euro” which continues, it appears that the euro zone will not look the same as it does now in five years.

Every time a US company goes to Europe and starts doing very well, the European Union attacks it through their regulatory process. They’ve attacked all of the great American companies which have tried to get into that market. And yet if we were to do the same, and usually we don’t; they scream bloody murder. The United States has been getting the shaft from the European Union for far too long.

Indeed, they’ve been attacking our nation and our largest corporations through schemes such as global warming, and they’ve done everything they can to stick it to us every time we turn around. Now the EU is in trouble, and we warned them that they were going to get into trouble, and they’d really like us to help out. I’d say it’s time to short the Euro, and short all European corporations and banks, and take them down for the count.

Am I suggesting economic warfare? Are you going to call me onto the carpet for wanting a little revenge for how we’ve been treated for the last couple of decades? Are you going to tell me that two wrongs don’t make a right? Well, what if I were to say to you that maybe the EU doesn’t deserve all the success it had in the past because they haven’t played fair? And what if I were to say to you that the future falling and collapse of the Chinese economy is also a just reward for how they played themselves against us as a favored trading partner?

There was an interesting article in the Associated Press on November 13, 2011 titled; “Ripples from Europe starting to hit US shores – Debt crisis starts to manifest itself as fewer orders from America’s biggest trade partner,” which stated;

“The EU crisis is impacting the US Economy; Stock-market gyrations unsettling consumers thus, curbing spending. U.S. firms with EU exposure are suffering from lower sales, prices and profits. Banks worldwide are cutting lending & hoarding cash due to potential losses on holdings of Greek, Italian and other government debt. U.S. and overseas banks are keeping about $1.57 trillion in reserves at the Federal Reserve, increase of $580 billion; and finally the uncertainty causing US corporations to hold onto their cash rather than hire and invest.”

Yes, we are being impacted by the EU crisis, it is affecting our stock market, and it will affect our banks and corporations. That means it will affect our employment recovery, and probably take our GDP growth down to 0%. Remember we were at 2.5% not long ago for GDP growth, and we were hoping that would accelerate. But obviously that can happen because we have exposure to Europe. So we are going to have 0% growth because Europe didn’t play things fair and inevitably collapsed their economy. Why should we get screwed twice?

If Europe falls, let them fall. If the Middle East falls let them fall. If China falls, let them fall. These folks have taken advantage of us at every single turn. They treat us like crap, and they are completely demanding. They won’t listen to our financial wisdom, or play fair with us. We are the largest economy by a factor of three on this obviously for a reason. We need to do things our way with a free-market economy, and nations that want to do business with us need to trade fair and square and stop screwing us.

It’s time for the American citizens to consider boycotting products from China, and demand that we are not involved in bailing out Europe. Why, because we should not reward bad behavior, and because our way works. At some point we are going to have to enforce the rules of free and fair trade on this globe. They play our way, or they have no access to our markets. Does that sound too harsh? Oh, I bet it will to the Council on Foreign Relations, the State Department, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations, and all the leaders of China and Europe, and while I’m at it – let’s not let Russia off the hook either.

It’s time that we stopped letting the rest of the world screw us on trade deals, and then demand that we help protect them. America first! And then secondly, we will do business with any nation on fair and free terms of trade. We will remain in communication with all nations, and friends with all nations. But we shouldn’t be trading partners with nations or groups of nations which keep stabbing us in the back. They play fair, or maybe it’s time we lay down the letter of the law.

It’s time to do it our way, because our way works, and their way obviously didn’t. If you disagree with what I have to say here today, you may shoot me an e-mail, but I suggest you come with facts, because I have economic data, and over two decades of clipped newspaper and magazine articles from all of the top economic and business publications. I don’t even need the Internet to back up my case. Please consider all this and think on it.

RFID Automated Robotic High Tech Warehouses – Beware the Promises of Profits Without People

Over the years the distribution warehouse industry has been bombarded with RFID white papers. Most of these claim through the careful crafting of case studies that they can save automated warehouses tons of money on labor if they switch to RFID computerized tracking systems. However, anyone who is truthful about this industry realizes that you can’t get rid of all the people just yet.

Sure, the only real way to save lots of money and cut costs in a large Corporation is by eliminating much of the workforce. That makes sense, but in reality it is not always practical. I often have to advise companies in such situations, when dealing with high-pressure software and tech salespeople promising profits without people, that a distribution or manufacturing company can only cut costs so much using automated robotic high-tech solutions.

Now mind you as a futurist I am all for technology, and as a former businessman now retired I am all for efficiency and saving money. Indeed, I like most people who are decision makers in business realize that labor is by far the biggest cost, and headache. Still, RFID systems are often challenged, and they never do everything go perfect.

Someone needs to run the system, someone needs to check up on the system, and if you think the system is foolproof and can never break you are kidding yourself. In that case, you’ve obviously not been in business long enough to have met Murphy. Murphy is a character who lives in every warehouse, every manufacturing facility, and he causes problems in every single aspect of the supply chain in any distribution system. Don’t kid yourself. Please consider all this.

How To Choose An Automated Handling System Vendor

Choosing an automated handling systems provider is a crucial decision for any business involved in the manufacturing or supplies industries. A complete end-to-end handling and management solution can improve the productivity of any modern business, for this reason, choosing the right vendor is an activity that requires careful thought and analysis. To help you make a choice which is right for your company, the following considerations should be at the forefront of your mind, especially when weighing up the pros and cons of particular vendors.

First of all there is the budget. You should be clear in your exact requirements prior to making contact with any suppliers of automated handling systems, consider such factors as the type of machinery and equipment that you would require. By submitting accurate information to three or four different vendors, you should be able to receive accurate quotes that will allow you to make the right decision. Pay close attention to the operational costs and not just the expense of installation.

Another important issue is flexibility, modern businesses need to be highly flexible to stay on top of demand. There can be constant changes in the amount of goods that need to be handled as well as fluctuations in priorities. It is important to have in place a solution that is adaptable and inherently scalable.

One issue that should never be overlooked is worker safety. The handling systems that are used should minimize worker fatigue, and drastically reduce the risk of injury. It is important to be clear on the human-system interactions that would be required, so that solutions can be put forward that ensure worker safety is never compromised.

The time it takes to integrate a new conveyor belt or similar piece of equipment is another factor that should not be overlooked. If you are planning to replace a current system with a new design, the downtime can cause a bottleneck which results in a considerable loss of income. The vendor chosen should understand this issue and put forward a guarantee that the time required to make the switch will be as short as possible. Any possible obstacles should be identified before the installation process has begun.

With today’s economy remaining sluggish, choosing the right type of automated handling system is an activity that has taken on a greater importance. With a careful and detailed needs-analysis, it should be possible to choose a vendor that helps your business to grow.

Evaluation of an Industrial Automation Solution Provider

An industrial automation solution provider is part of a special class of companies. Their whole reason for existence is to provide solutions, obviously, but in doing so they need to have a broad base of expertise in manufacturing operations and the technology that can contribute to its optimization. In order for these companies to be successful in plying their trade they must be independent entities, able to piece together automation products from many different suppliers to build an automation solution that best meets the needs of a client company. Independence is an important part of characteristic of the industrial automation solution provider. When hired by a client company to evaluate processes, the industrial automation solution provider must not be grafted into the automation products of any manufacturer. Their solution should be independent to give an unbiased and optimum solution to the client.

The process of hiring such a company to optimize the manufacturing operations of any given business is a complicated chore for any business. It does not matter if the hiring company is very experienced in outsourcing for automation or the company is doing it for the first time, this task can be daunting for any company. There are a series of thoughts and questions that a manufacturer might use to help them in the process of getting the right industrial automation solution provider for their project. Most of these are practical, common sense thoughts that get to the heart of whether the industrial solution provider is best for a business. It is a good idea for a hiring company to find out why they should hire a given industrial automation solution provider over others that are their competitors. A good answer to this question lies in the areas of professionalism, technical ability, automation application knowledge, and industry proficiency.

An industrial automation provider has professionalism if they have a well-defined set of well-ordered processes that they use to approach the definition of and implementation of an automation solution. This includes going into very fine detail about what the expectations of the hiring company are as they relate to the automation project. This means the provider will get everything that is required down on paper at the beginning of the project to have the client company sign off on what has to be done and what is expected. There is a definite order to the tasks that are required, but there can be adjustments made, if required, during the project life. As an option it might be a good idea for the hiring company to sign off on each stage of the automation project as it is completed by the provider. It would be an excellent idea for a hiring company to have prepared a written list of expectations that would be required of the provider in the implementation of the automation project prior to the start of the project.

Technical ability is acquired by the staff of a provider by having direct experience with the capabilities of machines from several suppliers of equipment. This knowledge sometimes comes from having worked with one or more vendors or from the successful installation of machine models in previous automation projects. This characteristic is quite closely akin to industry proficiency. Both require that employees have knowledge of automation equipment models and what each model can do in an automation application. Automation application knowledge is the ability to know where to look to for the right machines to do the task at hand, as part of the overall automation solution. This helps to attach different pieces of equipment together to create an optimum solution for the client company.

Most solution providers are willing to use the right equipment to get the right optimum solution for a client if that is what is necessary to get the job done right. Because of this the suppliers of automation equipment make efforts to design their equipment so that it can be easily integrated with equipment that is supplied by other companies. From the viewpoint of the hiring company the hiring of a solution provider is easier if the provider does not have proprietary connections to equipment suppliers. It is thought that the solution that is provided by this company will be unbiased and can be more easily optimized if any equipment can be considered to be included by the provider. A lot of the smaller industrial automation providers would not have such a direct connection to suppliers, so they might be a best option for a hiring company if they have the right expertise and can deliver what is expected.

Outsourcing the Supply Chain to Strengthen Warehousing and Fulfillment Distribution

All great companies take time to question why and how they conduct business – their strategy, their structure, and of course operations. For companies that manufacture and distribute their products, having an efficient supply chain is core to their business success, but likely not a core competency. Often, core competencies lie in product innovation and sales and marketing. Why would a company like this, particularly experiencing strong growth, try to manage the supply chain through to fulfillment?

Warehousing and Distribution – The Argument for Outsourcing

Supply chain management, like any industry, is evolving and technology is playing an increasingly large role. Product labeling, inventory management, and fulfillment processing are increasingly automated. Automating inventory and fulfillment process flow means efficiency. It also means significant and ongoing investment in advancing technology.

How many companies can afford capital expenditures in what essentially is a “support” function? Not many and those that do are likely not to build a “best in class” system. A supply chain management firm involved in warehousing and distributions solutions exclusively, likely has developed (customizable) technology that can match your business needs. Of course, you can try to “build it” – at considerable cost, time, and likely with setbacks along the way – or implement something that already meets your needs.

Benefits of an Outsourced Supply Chain – Partnering for Inventory and Fulfillment Services

If your company is successful due to great product innovation, design, and/or because you have standout marketing and sales capabilities then inventory management and fulfillment may be very uninteresting. What benefits, hard and soft, would you realize by outsourcing the post-production portion of your supply chain?

They all relate to faster, better, cheaper. An integrated order processing and fulfillment system with a full service third-party logistics provider (3PL) will bring you access to experts in the field. Your outsourced warehouse will often receive your orders in real-time and in doing so, can fulfill orders same day. That enriches the consumer experience and invariably can lower your costs.

Outsourcing allows:

  • Your organization to focus on core competencies
  • Reduced capital expenditure requirements on non-core departments which increases cash flow.
  • Reduces human resource management efforts related to supply chain and fulfillment.
  • Reduces freight and courier costs if you’re able to leverage your 3PL providers’ account discounts.
  • Improved order fulfillment and inventory count accuracy.
  • Flexibility to scale up or down – from both a space requirement perspective and staffing perspective.

All businesses must drive productivity and growth, and the fact that many leading organizations are outsourcing all or part of their supply chain is telling. Particularly for small and mid-size business, it may be time to re-evaluate the scalability and cost benefits related to outsourcing inventory management, warehousing and distribution services.