Grainger CEO: Productivity improvement a critical issue

More than 5,000 customers, 2,200 suppliers attend 2012 Grainger Show

02/27/2012


Grainger president and CEO Jim Ryan kicked off the 2012 Grainger Show in Orlando by pointing to productivity and workforce development as the two major challenges facing the myriad businesses Grainger serves across the U.S.

“Anything that has productivity attached to it, we’re seeing companies investing in it,” Ryan told more than 5,000 customers and 2,200 suppliers from around the country who gathered in Orlando for the annual event.

On the workforce front, Grainer is continuing its relationship with the American Association of Community Colleges by committing $400,000 to support 200 scholarships for students pursuing careers in the industrial trades. The scholarships are available at 100 community colleges across the country. This commitment brings the company’s total investment in technical education to nearly $2 million since 2006.

In a wide-ranging press conference after his keynote presentation, Ryan said the focus on productivity improvement has become an outflow of the economic recession. “When companies are down 5%, 10% they know how to take costs out. When it’s 30%, 40% 50%, it causes fundament changes in your business. More companies are paying attention.

“It’s caused a permanent change in buying behavior,” Ryan added.

Ryan called the workforce development issue, “a big issue not just for our customers but for the U.S. economy as well.” Citing a recent report that 600,000 skilled manufacturing are unfilled despite an 8.3% unemployment rate, Ryan said the company’s interest in the issue continues to increase.

“There are great jobs going unfulfilled. We need to shed more light on this issue,” he said. “Finding a way to resolve it is critical to the recovery of U.S. manufacturing. Businesses aren’t going to stand around and wait.”

On a number of other topics:

Sustainability: Ryan said new warehouse facilities in California and Illinois will be LEED Certified, but that the certification is secondary to the business value of sustainable facilities. That’s a point they make to their customers, and one their customers are demanding more and more. “It’s a business investment that also happens to be the right thing to do,” he said.

Global expansion: Grainger has purchased suppliers outside the U.S., and about 25% of Grainger’s business is now outside the U.S., a figure Ryan expects to keep growing. “Outside of the developed economies, there are not many broad-based suppliers. It’s increasingly difficult to be a single-country supplier in this business.”

As global manufacturing grows, Ryan thinks Grainger will continue to look at acquisition – although don’t necessarily expect to see the Grainger name used after these acquisitions. “Regardless of where you go in the world, this is a local business.” 

Six key trends:

Grainger president and CEO Jim Ryan cited six key trends in the global manufacturing economy:

  • A still uncertain economy
  • Increased foreign competition
  • A global war on talent
  • Big investments returning to the industry
  • Business productivity is increasing
  • Improved MRO productivity through supplier consolidation


No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.