Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Outlook Remained Very Optimistic, but Firms See Accelerating Costs

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank reported that manufacturing activity continued to expand strongly in February, building on solid growth seen over the past year. The composite index of general business conditions increased from 16 in January to 17 in February, a four-month high. Many of the key underlying data points also reflected faster growth for the month, including new orders (up from 14 to 16), production (up from 16 to 21), shipments (up from 14 to 24), employment (up from 18 to 23) and the average workweek (up from 2 to 11). Forty percent of respondents said new orders increased in February, with 24 percent citing reduced sales. At the same time, exports slowed somewhat but remained positive for the third straight report (down from 6 to 2). Read More

Existing Home Sales Start the New Year Slower, with Supplies Limited

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said that existing home sales decelerated for the second straight month, down 3.2 percent in January. Sales of existing homes declined from 5.56 million units at the annual rate in December to 5.38 million in January, its slowest pace since September. Despite some easing in the past two months, the good news is that existing home sales remain not far from November’s rate, which was the fastest since February 2007. Read More

IHS Markit: U.S. Manufacturing Activity Improved in January to its Best Month since October 2014

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

The IHS Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI rose from 55.5 in January to 55.9 in February, registering the best reading since October 2014 and boosted by accelerating new orders (up from 56.7 to 57.8) and employment (up from 55.0 to 55.8). Similarly, the index for future output (up from 66.9 to 71.0) was just shy of December’s reading (71.1), which was nearly a two-year high. More importantly, this suggests very healthy growth in production over the next six months. At the same time, current output (down from 56.2 to 56.1) and exports (down from 52.9 to 52.1) eased slightly in the February survey but continued to grow at a promising pace. On the downside, input prices picked up in the latest survey (up from 58.6 to 61.9), with costs expanding at rates not seen since December 2012. Read More

Partnering with Suppliers is Key to Achieving Sustainability Goals

By | General, Sustainability | No Comments

Sustainability is at the forefront of many business conversations from the shop floor to the board room. Employees and leaders at all levels are identifying and engaging in solutions to make company products, systems and operations more climate-friendly while delivering strong sustainability options for customers.

For Ingersoll Rand, a world leader in creating comfortable, sustainable and efficient environments, sustainability is core to our business strategy and the way we operate.

Ongoing conversation drives shared goals, accountability

Every year in January, we bring together representatives from more than 100 companies within our supply base. Attendees are from every region of the world and are in large part members of our Preferred Supplier List – a group of strategic partners that align with our expectations for quality, service, value and risk.

The purpose of our conference is to address opportunities to continuously improve our collaboration, and strengthen our performance. We always include an element of business, social or environmental sustainability in our meetings. For example, last year we organized a diverse supplier expo and educational sessions on how to engage successfully with a diverse supplier base.

In 2018, we broadened and deepened our focus on sustainability through learning and breakout sessions designed to further integrate sustainability into our operations and focus on the areas that matter most. We discussed responsible sourcing, circular economics and other supply chain initiatives like zero waste pathways, and increasing diversity and resilience.

Overall, we want our supply partners to understand the sustainability elements that are important to us, and how we can create joint accountability for tracking, achieving and reporting breakthrough results.

Collective thinking results in sustainable solutions

We have a strong group of suppliers in every category who run the gamut from office supplies to highly engineered performance components for our products. We learn a lot from them, from sharing sustainability best practices to exchanging ideas on how we can improve areas from packaging to recycling. We also learn where our suppliers need help and how we can continue to partner and evolve to deliver sustainable, customer-driven solutions.

For example, one of our preferred supplier partners exhibited exemplary partnership with Ingersoll Rand in creating resiliency and driving sustainability in 2017 and was awarded our annual Sustainability Award. When their facility in Puerto Rico was hit by two major storms in 2017, the supplier extended immediate and generous humanitarian support to their employees in their time of need.

Then, thanks to their effective crisis planning, they took extraordinary measures to resume operations immediately to 80 percent capacity and to 100 percent within three weeks. This is true resiliency. They worked closely with Ingersoll Rand throughout the entire restoration process to ensure no customer production lines were affected.

We appreciate their like-mindedness in driving sustainable solutions even in the midst of unexpected challenging circumstances. As we continue to mature our business operating system for sustainability, we will continue to ask our suppliers to take a similar journey – whether it is tracking energy reduction or measuring environmental impacts through all phases of a product’s life cycle.

A commitment to sustainability is a factor in selecting our suppliers of the future. We need our suppliers to examine the entire value chain along with us to find the next set of productivity, efficiency and complexity reduction ideas to create a more sustainable supply chain.

Ultimately, through working together, we all agree that sustainability touches every aspect of our business, driving improvement, efficiencies and innovation. In today’s world, sustainability has to be more than just an ideal, it has to be a working part of the equation every day.

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Housing Starts and Permits Soared in January to the Best Paces since Mid-2007

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

The Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said that housing permits soared in January to their best pace since June 2007. New residential housing permits increased from 1,300,000 units at the annual rate in December to 1,396,000 units in January, a post-recessionary high. This should bode well for the housing market in the coming months, with stronger permitting activity pointing to healthy construction data moving forward. In that way, this report mirrored a similarly upbeat assessment from homebuilders, who anticipate single-family home sales rising briskly at rates not seen since June 2005. On a year-over-year basis, housing permits have risen 7.4 percent, up from 1,300,000 units in January 2017. Read More