Multiple Authors
By: Anton Ovchinnikov, Hubert Pun, Gal Raz

According to standard economic theory, an increase in the number of competitors decreases prices and profits. Typically, increased competition puts rival firms on the edge, doing what they can to win over customers—including reducing price. But a curious phenomenon emerged in a series of class exercises, challenging this general wisdom and suggesting that there is more than meets the eye.

Business students and executives played an extended version of a supply-chain simulation game known as the beer game, developed by one of the co-writers of this article. The setting was a serial supply chain where players assumed the roles of a retailer, a wholesaler, a distributor, and a manufacturer. Players had to overcome the challenges of managing inventory, logistics, and communication among independent decision-makers, and could adjust prices according to their strategy.

Brian A. Weiss’s picture

By: Brian A. Weiss

From my standpoint, technology transfer is not easy, especially when attempting to introduce a new capability or technology into the manufacturing sector. Smaller manufacturers in particular present unique environments and challenges that must be appropriately understood if the transfer is to succeed.

NIST researchers have an ally that makes technology transfer less daunting: the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, also known as MEP. The MEP National Network comprises NIST MEP and MEP centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, as well as the MEP Advisory Board, MEP Center boards, the Foundation for Manufacturing Excellence, and more than 1,400 trusted advisors and experts at approximately 450 MEP service locations. The network’s state-based centers are hubs where small and medium-sized manufacturers can connect with government agencies, trade associations, universities and research laboratories, state and federal initiatives, and a host of other resources to help them grow and innovate.

Kari Miller’s picture

By: Kari Miller

Quality management is essential to the growth and performance of any organization. It’s a valuable resource in the effort to ensure that products and services satisfy the highest quality requirements and deliver positive customer results.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers must ensure that the ingredients and packaging materials they use comply with regulatory requirements and meet the standards their markets expect. Risk-based, incoming supplier-product inspections help optimize supplier compliance, improve quality, and boost company profitability.

How risk-based supplier inspections work

Conducting a risk-based inspection (RBI) program requires companies to implement a system that includes three primary components: a sampling plan, a skip lot schedule, and inspection state switching rules.

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By: Julie Winkle Giulioni

Welcome to the season that many leaders face with more than a little trepidation: midyear reviews. It’s the point on the calendar that serves as a reminder that the time remaining to deliver desired 2022 results is finite. It’s also the point when managers find themselves working (and worrying) overtime in preparation for conversations with staff to calibrate results and effort—and ensure that everyone is well poised to support success for the remainder of the year.

Even before the enormous changes ushered in by Covid-19, remote and hybrid working configurations, and the retention crisis facing many organizations, the value of the traditional review ritual was in question. Busy managers were challenged to find the time. And employees reported feeling that the exercise was an administrative necessity to be endured rather than a motivational touch point.

Multiple Authors
By: Sarah Schiffling, Nikolaos Valantasis Kanellos

Shanghai is slowly emerging from a grueling Covid lockdown that has all but immobilized the city since March. Although Shanghai’s port, which handles one-fifth of China’s shipping volumes, has been operating throughout, it has been running at severely reduced capacity. Many shipments have either been canceled, postponed, or rerouted to other Chinese megaports such as Ningbo-Zhousan.

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By: Zach Winn

Dairy farmers around the world have an information problem. To get the most accurate measurements of cow health and milk quality, many have to ship milk samples to labs or wait for a technician to come to the farm to collect milk samples from each cow.

Now Labby, a startup founded by two MIT alumni, is helping farmers get a clearer picture of their cows’ health with a device that can test milk from individual cows in fewer than 10 seconds.

Labby’s device sits at the front of an analytics platform that can help farmers detect diseases before they spread to the rest of the herd. Down the line, it could also give veterinarians historical health data on specific animals, help dairy farmers identify best practices, and allow farmers to increase transparency with consumers.

Using an optical sensing technology and AI to monitor milk quality and disease in real time, MilKey can detect levels of milk fat and protein of each small batch of milk to help farmers and vets keep cows healthy.  Image courtesy of Labby.

Multiple Authors
By: Tamara Sheldon, Knowable Magazine

As an environmentalist who totes kids around town, I would love to buy an electric car. But here in South Carolina, the cheapest electric vehicles (EVs) are at least three times as expensive as my used VW Jetta. What about those big government subsidies, you ask? The truth is that EV subsidies overwhelmingly benefit the rich, not moderate-income people like me.

The U.S. federal government will give you up to a $7,500 tax credit for an EV, but you only get this money at tax time, and you only get it all if you pay a lot in taxes. In 2016, 78 percent of federal EV tax credits went to taxpayers with incomes over $100,000.

Rebecca Beyer’s picture

By: Rebecca Beyer

There is Alexa sitting on the kitchen counter waiting for your next query. But before she tells you how to make a perfect avocado salad, would you like to know something about the person who invented her?

As the use of automated assistants and other AI agents becomes more pervasive, how humans interact with them is increasingly a subject of debate and research. Now, a new study reveals that when people think about the humans who create these tools, they view the robots’ work as more authentic.

The study was conducted by Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Glenn R. Carroll, his University of Washington colleague Arthur S. Jago, and Mariana Lin, a writer and poet (and Stanford lecturer) who helped create the voice of Apple’s Siri. Their paper was published in March 2022 by the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

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Measurement and standards challenges and opportunities abound as we head further into the 21st century. Let’s look at two examples: The first could revolutionize drug design—and make those drugs more available to the wider public. The second could democratize precision measurement—making it possible for anyone, anywhere, to achieve the same world-class accuracy that NIST can in its own labs.

Until recently, most of our medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, were created using basic chemistry. With relative ease, pharmaceutical manufacturers could produce drugs with uniform properties. However, a new, more complex and powerful form of medication, known as biological drugs, is emerging. Representing a broad new category of drugs, they can be made of proteins or DNA, and sometimes even from living cells and tissue.

Wonder drugs

In August 2015, former president Jimmy Carter was diagnosed with a once-untreatable skin cancer that had spread to his liver and brain. He seemed to have only weeks or months to live. But in December 2015, he received the drug pembrolizumab, made of biological antibodies. Along with radiation therapy, it dramatically reversed his cancer.

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By: Angie Basiouny

Plans by Hyundai and Samsung to invest billions of dollars in high-tech production facilities in the United States is a hopeful sign that a different kind of manufacturing is on the rise in the country after decades of industrial decline, Wharton professor Lynn Wu said.

During President Joe Biden’s three-day trip to Seoul last month, Hyundai announced it will spend $5.5 billion to build an electric vehicle and battery plant near Savannah, Georgia, about 275 miles from where it already operates a Kia manufacturing hub. Hyundai chairman Euisun Chung said the company will spend another $5 billion in the U.S. on artificial intelligence for autonomous vehicles. Last year, it bought a majority stake in robotics firm Boston Dynamics.

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