American Factory – Documentary of a Chinese Automotive Factory in the USA

A good manufacturing documentary on Netflix is American Factory. This movie follows an American automotive plant that closed some time ago, and was reopened by a Chinese car glass manufacturer. It documents the differences and problems between employees and management in general and the cultural clashes between Chinese management’s and American workers’ expectations in particular. It is in fact very similar to the 1986 movie Gung Ho, except Gung Ho is a fictional comedy, whereas American Factory is as real as it gets. Good to watch!

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Fictional Movie on US-Japan Automotive Culture Clash – Gung Ho

Michael Keaton in 2002

Recently I watched a few feature-length movies about automotive plants America. The first one is Gung Ho, a fictional comedy from 1986 featuring Michael Keaton. The movie shows a Japanese car maker purchasing a closed-down plant in the USA, and lots of cultural clashes that threaten to close down the plant again. While not Academy Award-worthy, it offers insights into the cultural differences between Japanese and US Industry, although often exaggerated on both sides for comical effect.

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The Amazon Robotics Family: Kiva, Pegasus, Xanthus, and more…

Amazon Picking ProcessYou surely know this little orange robot at Amazon commonly known as Kiva, which powers many Amazon Fulfillment Centers. Turns out, there are more robots in use at Amazon, some for similar tasks, some for something completely different. In this post I would like to give you an overview of all the robots at Amazon (that I know of). There’s at least six different robots in action.

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Amazon Kiva Storage Strategies

Amazon Kiva Close upAmazon uses a pretty neat and nifty way to store its materials using robots. These are commonly known as Kivas, although Kiva is only the name of the company that originally invented them. Amazon calls them Amazon Robotics. In this post I will look in detail at both the design of their storage pods and how Kivas manage their inventory.

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Where Is All the Toilet Paper? Don’t Worry, It Is coming!

Empty Toilet Paper Shelf AustraliaIf you have been shopping lately, you may have noticed that due to the Corona virus crisis, your store is running short on some items like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, pasta, and other consumables with a longer shelf life. Even my next-door supermarket has been hit by the panic buying.

Since my semester just got postponed by four weeks for the same reason, I have lots of time to write and would like to dig deeper into the situation of the toilet-paper supply chain.

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Storage Strategies – Random Chaotic and ABC

Amazon Manual StorageIn my last post I looked at the disadvantages of fixed location storage. Usually much better is random chaotic storage. This is, for example, the preferred method of Amazon. This approach makes best use of the available space and generates less mistakes. When Amazon started using this, they reportedly were able to store twice as many items in the same space as as before.

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Storage Strategies – Fixed Location

Hospital SupermarketIn my last post I looked at different ways to store material. This post is a continuation, looking at where to put materials. I want to give an overview of the different options to help you choose one that is suitable for your situation. This first post looks at storage with fixed locations, and why this is usually not so hot.

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