Find the Latest COVID-19 Updates and Recommendations: The CI Blog »
Coronavirus Resources: COVID-19 Resource Guide »

2.21.19

Six Sigma Gives Way to Rendanheyi at GE Appliances

How China’s Appliance Giant Helped Wipe Out GE’s Middle Managers

From Bloomberg.com

Haier, the new owner, has its own plan to revive the struggling brand.

Weeks after sealing a $5.4 billion deal to buy General Electric Appliances (GEA) in 2016, Zhang Ruimin, chairman of China’s Haier Group, stood before 500 anxious GE white-collar workers who asked a barrage of questions about their futures. The irony wasn’t lost on Zhang, revered in China as a pioneering corporate titan but mostly anonymous to the outside world. When Zhang was struggling in the 1990s to transform Haier from a collective village enterprise into a world-class manufacturer, he idolized General Electric Co. because of its reputation for corporate excellence. “We went for courses at Crotonville, studying Six Sigma,” he says, referring to GE’s management training center in New York and the data-driven process-improvement strategy espoused by former Chief Executive Officer Jack Welch. “Now they were looking at me, asking: ‘What can you do for us?’ ”

As it turned out, quite a lot. Zhang may have cut his teeth on Six Sigma, but as Haier became the biggest appliance maker in the world, he thought it needed a different playbook to eliminate the sluggish bureaucracy that comes with size. So he created a management philosophy he calls rendanheyi, which translates loosely to “employees and customers become one.”

Read the full article

read more »

Dark Skies – Why is it important and what can you do about it

photo credit Laurie Blake, Selux

What is the one pollution that we can easily alleviate with no lasting detriment to our environment? Light pollution, and it affects more than just our ability to see the stars at night. On Wednesday, February 20th, Selux Corporation in Highland, NY hosted the first meeting of The Council of Industry’s Engineering/ Technical Network with a presentation on Understanding Dark Skies by James Brigagliano, LC, IES, LEED Green Assoc. and Product Manager for Selux.  The event included a delicious breakfast and a tour of the manufacturing facility after the presentation. This topic is especially relevant to Selux because they manufacture IDA-Approved Dark Sky friendly luminaires.

Light pollution disrupts the world’s ecosystem. According to darksky.org, “Scientific evidence suggests that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many creatures including amphibians, birds, mammals, insects and plants” This includes people, negatively affecting human health, increasing risks for obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, breast cancer and more. It is also estimated that 30% of all outdoor lighting in the US is wasted or unnecessary, this equals $3.3 billion dollars in wasted energy. New technology can help to conserve this energy and reduce the wasted light.

Redirecting outdoor lighting at night can increase safety. Glare from bright, unshielded lights actually decreases safety because it can shine into our eyes and constricts our pupils. This can not only be blinding, it also makes it more difficult for our eyes to adjust to low-light conditions. Smart lighting redirects light to where it is needed.

Selux has many outdoor fixtures that meet the IDA (International Dark-sky Association) Seal of Approval meaning they minimize glare, reduce light trespass and don’t pollute the night sky. Their recommendation is that to minimize the harmful effects of light pollution, lighting should:

  • Only be on when needed
  • Only light the area that needs it
  • Be no brighter than necessary
  • Minimize blue light emissions
  • Be fully shielded (pointing downward)

“James’ presentation was very informative, and it was great to learn more about light pollution and the possible solutions from someone who is so passionate about the subject. I think everyone there got a lot out of it!” said Serena Cascarano. Following the presentation, attendees were treated to a tour of the manufacturing facility. The presentation itself was held in Selux’s showroom with a variety of amazing lighting fixtures for both in and outdoors. We hope you will join us for the next Engineering/Technical Network presentation/tour and invite our members to submit ideas for future topics and locations.

If you have a presentation idea or would like to host the next Engineering/ Technical event please contact Alison Butler (abutler@councilofindustry.org).

read more »

What Robots Mean for the Future of American Manufacturing

By Al Root, from www.barrons.com

Industrial automation robots offer more than just labor saving productivity. According to robotics industry insiders, robots can bring jobs back to the U.S., improve factory productivity, and help manufacturers adapt to changing consumer preferences. It seems there is nothing robots can’t do. 

Read the full article here

 

read more »

Five Trademark Issues Every Business Owner Needs to Know

By Adam Rodriguez, Esq., Bleakley Platt,  a Council of Industry Associate Member

Growing up in southwest Yonkers, I witnessed first-hand the mistakes made by first-generation business owners. My grandfather ran a grocery store, and as an attorney I now see how vulnerable his business was.  He simply didn’t have the experience or knowledge to take certain steps that were critical to protecting his business and family.

Today, I work with business owners across all sectors, from independent retailers to franchise owners and commercial property owners.  Many of my clients are self-made, hard-working people dedicated to improving their families’ lives and contributing to their communities. They are living the American dream, and it’s gratifying for me to be able to help them.

But they also tend to make a handful of mistakes related to their brand and intellectual property, which can easily be avoided. Here are five things all business owners should know:

  1. What is a Trademark? Trademarks protect words, symbols, sounds, smells, and colors that identify and distinguish the goods and services of your company from those of another company. You are not required to register your trademark with the S. Patent and Trademark Office. But, if you do, you can obtain substantial benefit from it.
  1. Trademark protection is not linked to your business name. Incorporating a business does nothing to establish trademark rights. It merely prevents other potential businesses in your state from incorporating the same name.
  1. Trademark registrations never expire. As long as you renew it and continue to use it, your registered trademark will last forever. The oldest registered U.S. trademark, SAMSON with a depiction of a man fighting a lion, registered in 1884 for use with rope.
  2. Trademarks are affordable. Trademark registrations are not just for huge companies with billions of dollars in revenue. In fact, registrations are very affordable in the grand scheme of things. It can cost you as little as $225 to obtain a registration, plus attorney’s fees.
  1. Ignoring Trademarks can be expensive. A critical part of branding is selecting the right company name and logo. Business owners need to be sure that their company name and logo are not infringing on someone else’s trademark. Failing to perform a search of existing trademarks before selecting your name and logo can lead to infringement lawsuits and the expensive cost of rebranding.

Let’s expand a bit on those five basic points, and take a look at the benefits of registering a trademark, and what that protection provides:

  • Constructive notice to the public that you claim ownership of the trademark;
  • A legal presumption of your ownership of the trademark and the exclusive right to use the trademark nationwide;
  • The ability to bring a lawsuit to enforce the trademark in federal court;
  • A stepping stone to obtain trademark registration in foreign countries; and
  • Filing your trademark with the S. Customs Service to prevent the importation of foreign goods that infringe upon your trademark.

It’s important to take the proper foundational steps to create or register your trademark. Those steps include:

  • Pick a Good Name: Select something that is distinctive. Avoid descriptive or generic terms (High Quality Apparel), surnames (Gonzalez Bakery), and acronyms (ACT Towing). Try to invent a name, like Google or Kodak. These words tend to be very distinctive, and are generally the strongest trademarks.
  • Perform a Trademark Search: Prior to investing resources into your new brand name, at a minimum perform a preliminary “knockout” search to clear it for use. A search can help avoid expensive infringement suits or the cost of having to rebrand your product or service after an earlier trademark owner sends you a cease and desist letter.

Trademark searches are also important because failing to conduct one prior to adopting a mark can constitute evidence of bad faith in an infringement lawsuit, which can lead to increased damages. Spending the time and money up front to determine if a trademark is available can help avoid these unnecessary costs.

  • Move Quickly: Obtaining a trademark registration requires actual use of the trademark in commerce, but you don’t need to invest significant resources into a brand or even use the mark in commerce before you apply for a trademark registration. You can file an “Intent-to-Use” application to preserve your rights in a mark that you plan to use in the future. An Intent-to-Use application provides at least three important benefits.

First, you can determine if the USPTO will register your trademark without spending significant resources launching the brand. If the USPTO rejects the application, you can simply choose a different name or logo. Second, if a third party is already using a similar mark, you can avoid a potential claim of trademark infringement because you are not yet using the mark in commerce. Third, assuming your trademark is registered, the date you file the Intent-to-Use application will serve as the date of your first use of the trademark. This date can be very important if your trademark is ever challenged by the owner of a competing mark.

  • Be Careful: Statements you make in a trademark application have to be truthful. Willfully false statements can be punishable by fine or imprisonment. False statements can also jeopardize your application, and even result in a cancellation of your registration after it is issued.
  • Think Globally: Trademarks are registered and enforced by individual countries. So, if you intend to expand into foreign markets, you will need international trademark protection. You can use the international agreements (such as the Madrid Protocol) to obtain international recognition of your intellectual property rights. Under the Madrid Protocol, you can register your trademark in about 100 countries with a single application.

Next time, we’ll take a deeper look at the issues involved in international trademark protection. Meanwhile, visit my Facebook page “Trademark Tales,” Twitter feed, Instagram feed and LinkedIn for more thoughts on trademarks and other areas of the law.

Adam Rodriguez has a decade of litigation and transactional experience. Before joining Bleakley Platt, he was the Director of Real Estate for Westchester County, as well as an Associate County Attorney working on a number of high-profile cases. He also previously practiced intellectual property litigation at Morgan & Finnegan, LLP. See his profile page for more.

 

 

 

 

 

read more »

SUNY New Paltz Advanced Manufacturing Center receives Central Hudson Development Grant

 

Earlier this month the exciting news that “Central Hudson as & Electric Corp. has awarded the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center (HVAMC) at SUNY New Paltz a $200,000 Wired Innovation Centers grant to enhance the Center’s 3D metal printing capabilities, allowing HVAMC to perform high-resolution printing of wax components and direct metal printing, and acquire new post-processing equipment that makes it possible to create high-quality, final use parts” was announced.

Central Hudson’s funding relied on getting matching contributions for the first $50,000 from the local manufacturing community. Many Council of Industry members stepped up to meet the challenge including Selux Corporation, Ametek Rotron, Schatz Bearing Corporation, Zumtobel Lighting and ColorPage. The Dyson Foundation also helped to initially support the center’s metal printing and wax printing capabilities by donating $500,000.

The Engineering Innovation Hub will be the new home of the HVAMC, and is scheduled to open later this year on the SUNY New Paltz Campus. It will be a brand new, state-of-the-art academic building, which was made possible by a $10 million award from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NYSUNY2020 grant program. The initiative supports the economic growth of academic programs throughout New York State’s public universities and colleges. “The mission of the program is to elevate SUNY as a catalyst for regional economic development and affordable education.”

SUNY New Paltz was also awarded $1 million from the Governor’s Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council’s annual Consolidated Funding Application. These contributions were all instrumental in making the new Engineering Innovation Hub a reality. Central Hudson first partnered with SUNY New Paltz in 2014 and has been a consistent supporter of advanced manufacturing at the college since.

“We’re happy to continue to support SUNY New Paltz as they expand the capabilities of the HVAMC into 3-D metal printing” said Vice President of Customer Services & Regulatory Affairs Anthony Campagiorni. “Fostering development in emerging technologies is essential to our region’s economic viability and we look forward to seeing HVAMC build on its current successes.”

For more details you can read the full article here.

read more »

Future plant design links data, operations

Manufacturers are ready to invest in next-gen digital production.

BY DR. KESHAB PANDA, L&T Technology Service, from www.plantengineering.com 

One of the primary elements in the transformation of the manufacturing plants is the changing nature of demand from the customers. There is sturdy economic impetus toward products that are high on precision, safe to use and safely produced, built to purpose, manufactured with less material consumption throughout the value chain, and environment friendly. While presently manufacturing is focused on productivity and performance, the future will be all about precision products. Manufacturers are supposed to accomplish this without compromising on the speed or quality. This leads to some intriguing questions pertaining to plant design. How will the plant of the future be created and managed? How will data be used for production? How will plants be structured over the next decade?

Read the full article

read more »