Last updateTue, 18 May 2021 4pm

Trends & Forecasts

A Snapshot of Women in the Manufacturing Workforce

A comprehensive study of women who work in manufacturing was released in December 2020 byThomas (www.thomasnet.com) and Women in Manufacturing (WiM, www.womeninmanufacturing.com). It will serve as a benchmark for following progress and gaining insight into various areas, including the lack of women in management, improving diversity and inclusion practices in the industry and how increasing the number of women employees can help address the manufacturing skills gap.

Pulp and Paper: Changing Habits

Different sectors of the pulp and paper industry have reacted differently to conditions during the pandemic, conditions affected by the surging demand for paper products, said Soile Kilpi of AFRY, an international engineering, design and advisory company. Kilpi updated attendees on the status of the pulp and paper market at VMA’s Market Outlook Workshop, held in August.

Larger companies are improving operations and may be closing some facilities and investing in others. Midsize companies are making investments in new assets.

International Trade: A New World

ShipAndContainersThe world of trade has seen some unprecedented changes in the last few years, changes made more complicated by COVID-19 and what it has done to supply chains, Paula Connelly, a member of the Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg P.A. law firm told attendees at VMA’s Virtual Outlook Workshop in August.

Although the most visible events are those that have occurred between the U.S. and China, Congress and the Administration have expanded their scrutiny to other countries and a broader range of trade practice concerns beyond retaliatory tariffs, including currency manipulation, security concerns and forced labor.

Virtual Market Outlook Event Exceeds Expectations

During the 2020 Market Outlook Workshop August 6 and 7, more than 140 people from across the U.S. and Canada gathered together via laptops and electronic devices to learn what economic experts predict may happen in the short and long term and how that could affect the valves and pumps industries, and to discuss what they were hearing.

“The feedback to our first virtual event and overall participation was even better than we expected,” said Heather Rhoderick, CAE, president of Valve Manufacturers Association (VMA), which produced the event with the Hydraulic Institute (HI).

Blockchain Won’t Save the World, But What It Does, It Does Very Well

What is blockchain, anyway?

Although one of the most over-hyped technologies of the last few years, blockchain has been around for more than a decade. As with all technologies, it has been maturing and its applicability to supply chain activities has been growing rapidly.

Simply put, blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, is a shared ledger. It consists of a ledger of transactions that is shared among the parties in a given network. Everyone has access to the same copy (the distributed part) at the same time, which makes sharing information in real time practical. The governance rules for the shared ledger are established in advance, which also means you don’t have to give away any trade secrets to those in the network. Only information you want to share is distributed to the ledger.

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