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Archive for January, 2008

A worldwide Initiative to Upgrade the Precision Engineering Industry

Monday, January 7th, 2008

Globalization is reflected in a proliferation of free trade agreements, double tax agreements, investment guarantee agreements, mutual recognition, and special economic zones. More economies are pushing to raise their competitiveness quotient, in which the technology index represents a significant component. The market gurus have highlighted innovations in technologies and systems which have allowed miniaturization, greater precision, new functionalities, new materials, shorter life cycles, and higher productivity.

There is a progressive trend for product manufacturers to outsource more of their operations so that they can concentrate on their core strengths of design and development. This provides excellent opportunities for the more enterprising precision engineering companies to move up the value chain. A business model that is becoming increasingly common is one in which the product manufacturer nurtures of pool of supporting companies to form a manufacturing ecosystem. There are a number of important considerations for precision engineering companies to adapt to such a symbiotic relationship.

The strategic importance of Small and Medium Enterprises in general and in the precision engineering industry in particular is widely recognized, as they make a significant contribution to the economy and to employment. Often hindered by limited resources, precision engineering companies require assistance in the five Cs: competencies (know-how and intellectual properties); capital (for investments and expansion); connections (to markets and alliances); conditions (government policies and macroeconomic environment); and culture (attitudes and mindset of the workforce). The measurement of very small parts (with structures smaller than 0,1 mm) has become another focal point of work. After a probing system specially tailored to microstructures was developed by the Coordinate Measuring Machines Section in recent years and successfully transferred to industry, this system is now increasingly used for the calibration of small parts.

To meet the current challenges, experts in the industry have suggested strong leadership in decision making, giving priority to process innovation, and digitizing competitive knowledge. The emerging technologies that will be significant are life sciences, information and communications technologies, environmental technology, and nanotechnology. Manufacturing technology, infrastructural technology, and energy are important enablers.

Countries such as Singapore, the Republic of China, and Malaysia see technology as an important vehicle in their transformations into high-tech, knowledge-based economies, as low value-added manufacturing operations continue to move to lower-cost countries. With the tendency of the original equipment manufacturers to outsource more of their operations, the enterprising precision engineering companies are raising their competencies to position themselves better for such opportunities. Another development that has significantly influenced the modus operandi of precision engineering companies is the need to follow the multinationals to new countries and markets. With production facilities spread across different countries, precision engineers must equip themselves with the necessary IT and supply chain management facilities to coordinate their operations.

Developing Your Real Estate Web Presence

Monday, January 7th, 2008

Real estate is often the first industry to be affected by changing Internet technology. From social networking to mapping, new applications and website tools are often first tested by Realtors looking to connect with buyers and sellers. This isn’t because most Realtors are computer programmers, but because their industry demands they have a presence online. Busy real estate professionals can save time by making full use of the latest online tools, but usually first they have to spend time learning how to use them. This article broadly addresses that subject, with tips on the latest Internet trends, so Realtors can develop an effective online strategy.

The cornerstone of a successful online real estate practice is usually a good website. Many Realtors use their website as their brand, and direct as many potential leads to it as possible. With the means and patience, a Realtor can use his or her website to exercise a lot more control over interactions with clients, and ensure that their services and skills as a professional are laid out properly.

With the amount of real estate web technology out there, most industry professionals expect it to be easy and inexpensive to get a decent website up and running, but this isn’t yet the case. The wide variety of real estate tools out there may in fact be slowing things. A good option, if you can’t make the website yourself, or hire staff to do it, is to work with a real estate web development company. This will help simplify the site architecture process because many companies already have standardized site plans you can build on, and it’ll give you a partner on the tricky details, like displaying listings.

With new tools and trends coming online every day, it can be tempting to constantly try new web marketing and networking strategies. Smart Realtors will resist this temptation, however, and stay focused on their brand and goals. The trick is to examine and research new Internet tools, rather than implement them right away, unless you’re absolutely sure one’s for you.

The most successful online Realtors are often the best communicators, rather than the fastest technological innovators. These professionals spend a lot of time developing their web presence, but they generally pay more attention to their market than new website widgets, and that’s what makes them successful.