October 6, 2013

As American manufacturing continues to improve, news reports about industry inevitably focus on the technological advances that drive many modern facilities. But not all of the nation’s factories are teeming with robots and high-powered computer systems. Due to razor thin operating budgets, a number of plants across the country use the same machinery they’ve relied on for decades. For instance, an Alcoa plant in Cleveland still presses aluminum alloys with a 50,000-ton forging machine that arrived on American soil from Continue reading

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September 2, 2013

When it comes to pulling off a corporate comeback, there’s nobody quite like Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. He’s had to fend off detractors at every juncture, beginning with those who denied his company’s ability to compete with the traditional video store. After almost singlehandedly ending that era of home video distribution, Hastings nearly lost it after he split Netflix’s streaming and DVD delivery services in two. The schism cost the company millions of subscribers and sent stock tumbling from $298 Continue reading

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July 15, 2013

Throughout Pepsico’s history, one thing has remained constant: the company’s flagship soft drink has always played second fiddle to chief competitor Coca-Cola. Known by name by billions throughout the world, Coke is not only the gold standard of soft drinks, but of branding in general. Although Pepsi and its umbrella of products certainly command a fair market share, Coca-Cola’s continued worldwide dominance is all but assured at this point.

Except in Russia, that is. Pepsi was one of the first Continue reading

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July 12, 2013

 

First days on the job tend to be stressful. Not only must fresh hires learn the names of a litany of new colleagues, they may also be required to endure often boring orientation sessions. In corporate environments especially, these standardized introductory rituals teach new hires to tone down their own personalities in order to conform to the company’s way of doing things. While this is likely an efficient way to acclimate employees to the job, new studies show that Continue reading

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April 5, 2013

swissWhen the credit crisis hit in 2008, much of the public’s ire fell on the Wall Street executives who earned enormous salaries as the financial system crumbled. Legislators and activists demanded that the country’s corporations revert to more reasonable pay packages, especially those companies who received government bailouts. Nearly five years later, however, little has been done to curb outsized executive compensation. Well, at least in the U.S.

Switzerland, on the other hand, recently voted for legislation that aims to Continue reading

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April 3, 2013

 

In the eyes of many Occupy Wall Street sympathizers, the people who run America’s biggest companies are untouchably wealthy power brokers. However, this viewpoint fails to take into account the startling effect that the recession had on job security across the spectrum. One need not look further than the fate of former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason. After a string of failures, the board elected to part ways with the company’s founder. In his farewell statement to staff, Mason cheekily Continue reading

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March 20, 2013

yarnAs long as there are offices, there will be conflicts between management and staff. Still, no business can hope to succeed without a successful working relationship between these two occasionally combative entities. Managers will always need motivated employees to work hard and achieve the company’s goals, and employees will always need managers to set those goals and pay them for their efforts to meet them. Indeed, this seeming imbalance of power is why some staffers inevitably come to resent their Continue reading

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March 5, 2013

With economic recovery proceeding at a sluggish pace, many companies are operating on razor thin margins that can be easily disrupted. For instance, business got so slow at the plastics company Saint-Gobain last fall that executives cut worker hours by 40 percent. Although this type of story has become all too common since 2008, a federal government-funded work share program ensured the company’s staff didn’t lose their entire income. Thanks to the additional funds, Saint-Gobain’s employees recouped 70 percent of Continue reading

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March 1, 2013

The revival of American manufacturing is often cited as a clear indicator of the economy’s slow but sure recovery. After all, manufacturers added half a million new jobs since 2009, marking one of the few positives in this relatively sluggish upturn. But that statistic doesn’t tell the whole story: none of the workers who landed those manufacturing jobs are in a union. In fact, the number of union factory workers dropped by four percent from 2010 to 2012, just as Continue reading

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February 10, 2013

When it comes to running a business, you can never know too much. That’s why many national chains are sending potential franchisees to school before they get the keys to a store. Although classroom lectures figure in to many of these programs, the main goal is to educate the franchisee-to-be on as many aspects of the business as possible. This can include everything from working the grill and mopping floors to employee management and media relations.

At Culvers, for instance, Continue reading

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