MISSED COLLABORATION CHANCES
LEAVING WISDOM UNSHARED
Exporting energy: The U.S. is poised
to satisfy much of the world’s natural
gas demand, with exports expected to
quadruple to 1.9 billion cubic feet per day
by the end of 2017, according to the U.S.
Energy Information Administration.
Where does it come from? As its name
suggests, nature — plant and animal
matter buried under the Earth’s surface
for millions of years. A fossil fuel, it was
formed when the matter was exposed to
pressure and heat, forming coal, oil and
What’s it used for? Natural gas powers
cooking and heating for many homes and
businesses, accounting for 26 percent
of U.S. electric power sector energy
consumption in 2015. It is also used
as fuel for vehicles and as feedstock
in plastics, fertilizer and chemicals
And that’s a fact: The world’s largest
natural gas producer since 2009, the U.S.
is challenging Australia and Qatar as the
biggest exporter, according to a report by
the International Energy Agency. ISM
Future workforce capabilities are a major
concern for manufacturers, especially as
their industry becomes more high-tech,
according to a report by Sikich LLP, a
Naperville, Illinois-based professional
Sikich’s 2017 Manufacturing Report
states that almost 60 percent of the more
than 250 respondents surveyed identified
a lack of qualified workers as a barrier to
business growth. However, companies
are not training current employees, as
more than 80 percent of respondents said
their organizations provide 40 or fewer
hours of annual training. Nor are they
building a talent pipeline — more than
half said their companies do not recruit
at high schools, community colleges or
“Manufacturers must prioritize workforce
training and development within their
organizations and collaborate with
schools and professional associations to
train and recruit talent,” says Joy Duce,
partner-in-charge of Sikich’s human
resource consulting services practice.
Despite those concerns, 69 percent of
respondents said they expect an increase
in manufacturing head count at their
Procurement success is dependent on effective supplier relationship management,
which can’t happen without innovation-driving collaboration. But much of that
knowledge and expertise is left untapped due to a lack of collaboration, states a
report by Maplewood, Minnesota-based manufacturing conglomerate 3M.
Researchers for Driving Growth and Innovation Through Supplier Partnerships
surveyed 237 U.S.-based suppliers, finding that just 43 percent feel empowered to
collaborate with or make suggestions for improvement to their customers. And 70
percent of suppliers indicated that at least half of their customers lack systems or
processes that encourage collaboration.
“Whether it’s a more affordable way to package goods or a new product innovation,
organizations that fail to engage with suppliers risk leaving major value, cost savings
and expertise on the table,” the report states.
Technology could help foster collaboration through supplier-managed inventory
models that ensure two-way participation and value. Thirty-five percent of
organizations are promoting the use of such models, citing better forecasting
accuracy and enhanced sharing of information among the benefits.
Researchers also asked suppliers about their risk concerns; such cost factors
as volatile commodity and supply prices were the overwhelming (61 percent) top
choice. Uncertainty regarding the Donald Trump administration’s policies ( 15 percent)
was second, followed by regulatory compliance issues ( 8 percent).