Volume 23 | Issue 3 | Year 2020

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With the imminent release of vaccines and continued encouragement of masking and social distancing, industry continues to adjust and move forward.

Case in point is our featured article about Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs), otherwise known in the United States as consumer packaged goods. Thanks to the growing popularity of online shopping and particularly COVID 19 which has forced more consumers to shop online, FMCGs need to reconsider their marketing strategies and deploy new digital tools. Matthias Förster, VP and Global Consulting Industry Leader for Atos, an international IT company with a focus on helping clients achieve their digital transformation goals, discusses how FMCGs need to adapt a “new normal” employing artificial intelligence, software bots, image recognition and analysis, blockchain technologies and, perhaps most significantly, the smart factory concept to reduce production, supply chain and back-office costs. Förster explains how digital transformation of even small FMCGs enable them to compete against well-established brands. Meanwhile, the established brands need to rethink how digital transformation can complement their brick and mortar sales as well as hold off these new competitors.

Back in the real off line world, we take a look at how COVID-19 has reshaped public perception of trade schools. A survey of more than 1,500 people found that an overwhelming majority (91 percent) believed that trade school was an equally good or better option than four-year college during the pandemic. With a greater desire for job security and lower debt, prospective students are more likely to choose trade school in greater numbers over the coming decade. Which is good news for manufacturers looking to fill an expected surge in job openings for skilled workers.

Florida has invested billions of dollar over the decades to expand seaport capacity. The impacts of the pandemic have only further highlighted the importance of investing in port infrastructure. The Florida Ports Council details plans for a three billion dollar investment over the next five years to ensure the state’s major role in global commerce.

Vinyl is increasing in popularity, and we don’t just mean vinyl records that are a resurgent favorite medium to play recorded music among audiophiles. The Vinyl Institute emphasizes the sustainability of a whole range of products, particularly those such as face shields, blood bags and IV tubing that are in high demand during the pandemic.

If the pandemic reminds us of anything, it is that as humans a virus doesn’t heed borders or ethnicity or beliefs. Just as we all share the same vulnerabilities, Dr. Peter Langdon Ward reminds us of our common heritage, and how skin differences are the result of evolutionary adaptation.

Rounding out this issue of Industry Today we have feature articles on Jack Daniels, East Coast Repair and Fabrication, Innovative Refrigeration and Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA.

Enjoy the issue. We look forward to continuing to provide you with comprehensive coverage of industry and manufacturing in 2021.