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Surprises from a robotics company

April 24, 2009

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Spring is the time for showers, flowers, and open house tours.When April rolls around, technology developers and service providers open their doors to supply chain partners, customers, and even employees. It's a cost-effective way to reach out and share knowledge about what's happening in...

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One bag of garbage

April 22, 2009

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It's one of those days—a day with a calendar reminder that we are to celebrate or commemorate something or someone. A day in which we are supposed to incorporate some sort of activity to honor the day's designated honoree. Today is a double whammy— Administrative Professionals...

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A good wind blows

April 20, 2009

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Some ugliness emerged Friday just south of Grand Rapids, Mich., where fights broke out at Wayland Chevrolet on the same day dealership employees learned they would be losing their jobs. According to the Associated Press, the dealership blamed its fate on the ailing auto industry, and on the...

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Worker retraining: Easier said than done

April 17, 2009

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I've got to leave work a little earlier than usual today. Actually, this is nothing new. It's been going on for about 12 weeks.I started taking a Spanish class—Occupational Spanish 101 to be exact—at a local community college in the hopes that I could beef up some...

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Hot off the press!

April 16, 2009

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April 15th has come and gone, and no doubt many of us used the occasion to visit the post office, drop a check into the mailbox, and curse the federal government. On a closely related note, you might have noticed that on the same day the Federal Reserve System released one of its economic reports,...

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Thwarting piracy

April 15, 2009

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Real life often is every bit as fascinating, suspenseful, and unbelievable as a bizarre movie plot—sometimes even more so. The past few days, I watched with incredulity the coverage of the recent Somali pirate attack on the U.S. ship, Maersk Alabama, in which Captain Richard Phillips was...

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Would you want to work here?

April 13, 2009

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A visit last week to an OEM of construction equipment made me feel good about manufacturing in America. Based in Salisbury, just north of Charlotte, N.C., Power Curbers Inc. plasma-cuts, saws, welds, and machines parts for curb-making machinery. Like many connected with the construction industry,...

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Spraying to all fields

April 9, 2009

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The baseball season started earlier this week. Temperatures in the Chicago area barely crept above 50 degrees this week, with snow falling on Sunday, but I witnessed baseball on the television. All is right with the world.So in the spirit of baseball, I'm going to cover a lot of area. Hitters...

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'Tell me something good'

April 8, 2009

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As many do before heading off to work each day, my husband and I turn on a local television station to check the weather forecast. This morning, the two items we heard before the weather segment were about a gunman who shot several people in California (can we go a day without something like this...

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Gaining market share during tough times

April 6, 2009

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Buy low, sell high. Good rules to live by for the investment-savvy person. (I, being oh-so-not investment-savvy, usually do the opposite.) The phrase could be applied, slightly altered, to a business strategy: Invest during slow times so you can sell when times are good. That sounds like a smart,...

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Time to go RVing?

April 3, 2009

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I was talking with a fabricator at the Metals Matters conference in Carefree, Ariz., last week about vacations. I mentioned that one of these days I wanted to pack up the family up in a recreational vehicle (RV) and head to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore. Based on a similar trip taken by a...

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Are we there yet?

April 2, 2009

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No, you're not a family vacation; no, you're not driving a station wagon on a cross-country trip; no, you're not being bombarded with that question from a back seat full of impatient youngsters. Yes, you're asking yourself that question, and you'd probably like to ask every...

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April foolery

April 1, 2009

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Today, April 1, is known in the U.S., the U.K., and various other countries as April Fools ' Day, a day in which practical jokes are expected and can be performed without impunity—unless, of course, the joke causes serious harm.My dictionary-that-weighs-a-ton defines practical joke (an...

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The auto meltdown: 'It's all about the parts'

March 31, 2009

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"It's all about the parts. It's all about the parts."That was Jean Jennings, editor-in-chief of Automobile magazine in an interview yesterday with Marketplace host Tess Vigeland. Her comment really hit home with me, particularly after digesting the auto industry news and opinion that have...

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Lean conversation

March 26, 2009

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I"m in Carefree, Ariz., today for the first day of conferences at the fourth annual Metal Matters leadership summit, sponsored by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association. That follows a meeting I had yesterday with the folks from LAI International, a precision manufacturer of complex parts...

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