June 22, 2021

Last month, we looked at how the global shortage of microchips has severely restricted production of everything from video game consoles to dog washing stations. This video examines the manufacturing process for these precious components and explains why semiconductor production cannot be easily increased. 

Questions:

  1. Why is it difficult for manufacturers to speed up production on microchips and semiconductors?
  2. What are some possible solutions for increasing global microchip production?
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At the beginning of the year, we looked at how an explosion in demand for consumer electronics led to a shortage of microchips across the globe. This semiconductor shortfall has continued in the intervening months and its impact has spread across numerous industries. Along with preventing carmakers from installing vital microchips in vehicles, the shortage has also hindered production of iPads, farming equipment, and even dog grooming machines. 

“This particular problem affects all aspects of manufacturing, from little people Continue reading

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January 14, 2021

At the start of the pandemic, auto companies anticipated a drop in car sales that indeed lasted throughout spring and summer of 2020. As a result, manufacturers cut back on orders of expensive items like microchips while demand remained low. By the end of the year, though, auto sales bounced back quicker than expected, which sent car companies scrambling for supplies. But try as they might, none of the major firms could seem to secure the microchips they needed for Continue reading

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November 19, 2020

Sony’s PlayStation 5 launched earlier this month and is expected to be one of the blockbuster products of the holiday season. This video looks at the evolution of the console throughout the years and how it became a central focus of Sony’s business.

Questions:

  1. How did the PlayStation help Sony transition from a consumer electronics manufacturer into a gaming company?
  2. Why did Sony decide to focus closely on the gamer market for future generations of the PlayStation, and how did they accomplish this task?
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November 10, 2020

When lockdowns started to be put in place in March and April, parents across the country took to social media to find out which products would keep their kids entertained at home for extended periods of time. The overwhelming favorite among Facebook groups and blogs soon became the Nugget couch, a microsuede fabric couch that is specifically designed for kids to go crazy on. Although it certainly can be used as regular furniture, the Nugget is mainly designed for fort-building, Continue reading

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September 18, 2020

In order to assess the state of the economy, analysts often examine how many long-lasting goods are being ordered by retailers and manufacturers. The idea is that companies who are confident enough to stock up on durable goods like appliances and cars are anticipating a consumer base that’s eager to purchase them. This video looks at the durable goods indicator and explains how investors often look beyond it to get a better sense of where the economy is headed.

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August 20, 2020

As companies across all industries look for ways to reduce contact between employees during the pandemic, many are turning to automated labor as a way both to stay safe and trim costs. This video looks at how advanced robotic technology could change workplaces in the long term while also examining the potential limitations of automation. 

Questions:

  1. Why are many companies investing in automated labor during the pandemic?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of automation?
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August 6, 2020

Global sales of household cleaning products and disinfectants have skyrocketed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, supplies of some products have become increasingly strained as even the biggest brands struggle to keep up with demand. For example, Clorox CEO Benno Dorer said that the company will not be able to fully stock grocery store shelves with disinfectant wipes until at least 2021. 

Clorox has also been running low on many of its most popular items, Continue reading

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April 30, 2020

Although many companies remain closed during the ongoing pandemic, some businesses have been able to alter their operations to produce increasingly vital supplies. This video looks at how Dogfish Head Brewery managed to keep its employees on the payroll while also supplying local hospitals with hand sanitizer.

Questions:

  1. How did Dogfish Head Brewery change its operations to make hand sanitizer?
  2. What is the three-step process that Dogfish Head Brewery used to engage with their community during the coronavirus crisis?
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April 17, 2020

With millions of cars off the road and thousands of airplanes sitting idle on tarmacs, oil consumption has plummeted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. This has led to a drastic drop in petroleum prices that could have an enormous impact on the global economy in the months to come. This video looks at how trade tensions caused prices to fall before the Covid-19 crisis and how oil producing nations are now rethinking their priorities. 

Questions:

  1. How has Continue reading
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