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Monday, September 12, 2011
In order to soften the burden of technology spending, have the site built in a manageable platform. Edits to the content I was talking about earlier is far easier when you use a content management system or CMS. These provide a backend interface to the website, which makes changes to text, images, and video easier. I suggest asking your web designer to use Joomla! or Word Press to build your company’s website. These have mostly the same functionality, but each of these CMS platforms has different plug-ins, extensions, and styles of templates. Template files can be modified so there is a lot of room for customization. You have to install these into C-panel in order to use them, but once they are installed then the CMS becomes your interface to website creation. This is something that your web designer would already be in tune with. It reduces the need to learn some HTML or CSS, but as I’ve quickly learned, you can only avoid it for so long. You’ll want to integrate your branding across every page, but your home page or index page needs to be the core focus of your site. Because exports are up and automation machinery is on the rise, why not give some focus to technology. Although costly up front, we’re in the information age and it will keep the cost of doing business down. It will also make it easier to make contact internationally.
When robotics started to take off in the automotive industry in the 1980’s, specifically on the production line, the cost of technology was far greater. Not that it isn’t very costly today, but compare the prices of even personal computer technology during that period and you’ll understand what I am really implying. There was an obvious return on investment that automotive manufacturers like Ford and General Motors realized, but the upfront costs were in fact great. You would only want to invest in such technology if you were expecting to produce extremely high levels of inventory, where gained efficiency would create a higher margin of cost savings, resulting in a shorter investment return period. This would also help supply consumer demand if scarcity was a threat, but we’ll save micro economics 101 for another day. I believe that history is repeating itself as far as the investment in robots goes, especially on this scale. The North American robotics industry, represented by the Robotic Industries Association or RIA, has released purchase data for the first 2 quarters of 2011 and the numbers are really good. As a whole, robotics orders are up 41% overall, and the industry says that is the best results they have seen since 2007.
Nearly 600 million dollars in robotics were ordered by North American based companies. When compared nominally to the same base period in 2010, there were 50% gains in purchase orders for the second quarter this year. Most of the orders have come from automotive companies and their suppliers. It is no surprise that the automotive industry purchases more robotics technology than any other industry but both the food and consumer retail industry saw growth as well; 60% versus their previous results in 2010. However, automotive has taken a hit in recent years, so paired with increased exports from small to medium sized firms, manufacturing here in the United States is starting to see a few gleams of sun through their piles of inventoried steel. I would just like to see towns like Braddock, Pennsylvania recover after the U.S steel industry took a nose dive. I know that this is another industry that needs help, and that if growing, would produce high paying jobs. Now that I’m reporting on the recovery of the automotive sector, let us see if we can’t jump start a few industries through speculation and optimism.