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Wednesday, July 29 2015

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics - tripping, falling, and slipping account for the majority of “general industry accidents.”  In fact, statistics show slip and fall accidents make up 15 percent of all accidental deaths, 25 percent of all injury claims and – shockingly – 95 million lost work days each year.

It goes without saying that warehouses need to find ways to prioritize workplace safety for the health and productivity of the workforce. But what are some ways organizations can streamline operations for improved results overall?

The following is our top ten list of ways warehouses can drive more efficient and productive warehouse operations:

1. Consider Automation
Boston Consulting Group research shows 1.2 million robots are expected to be deployed across manufacturing facilities in the U.S. by the year 2025. Why? Not only can robotic automation help manufacturers achieve greater warehouse productivity, but it can also drive significant cost savings as compared to employing workers.

Posted by: Nicole@ExpansionSolutionsMagazine.com AT 10:03 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, July 29 2015

In this year’s first quarter, renewable energy led the way for newly installed electric generation, and solar energy contributed a strong 214 megawatts (MW) from 30 units, second only to wind within the clean-energy category, according to a report coming out of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

That’s just one quarter, of course, but it nevertheless is emblematic of solar energy’s rising presence on the U.S. energy landscape. To be sure, solar projects of varying sizes are popping up around the country. The age of utility-scale solar as a mainstream energy source is well underway.

Here are just a few notable indicators from the Solar Energy Industries Association:

  • In 2016, 16 states will install more than 100 MW of solar. That compares to only two states back in 2010.
  • California is expected to install as much solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2016 as the entire country did in 2014.All solar market sectors – residential, non-residential and utility scale – are expected to grow by 25 to 50 percent over the next two years.
Posted by: Nicole@ExpansionSolutionsMagazine.com AT 09:53 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, July 28 2015

Economic developers from across the country hear the same chorus again and again from their major employers: “We are hiring and we can’t find the people we need!” Indeed, the lack of sufficient quantities of skilled workers is a real brake on economic growth that appears likely to worsen as skilled baby-boomers begin to retire in greater numbers. This workforce gap is particularly puzzling when juxtaposed with the number of unemployed and under-employed people seeking better wages.

In part, to deal with this human and economic problem, President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law in 2014. WIOA is the replacement to the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and is meant to better “match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.”  We believe that WIOA offers a real platform to allow economic developers to engage with their local Workforce Investment Boards in a new and more comprehensive way. Below we describe two case studies where just such a collaboration has yielded fruit in the form of a more integrated economic developer-workforce development system. We also provide recommendations for others wishing to build this economic-workforce bridge in their own communities.

Posted by: Nicole@ExpansionSolutionsMagazine.com AT 02:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, July 28 2015

“Hey! That boat sounds like it’s going to hit the dike!” I yelled the warning to Phil Broussard, as we struggled to pull his jonboat across a hump of land deep in the wilds of Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Louisiana.

“It just did,“ Phil, laughed as a terrific pounding noise came from the yon side of the embankment only a few feet away.
With a terrific clanging and banging, one of the most wrinkled aluminum jonboats I have seen, suddenly fishtailed across the four-foot rise of land. A 10 horsepower Mercury outboard screamed in protest as the whirling prop flew up then bounced hard against the earthen dike, causing the skidding boat to thrash like a fish out of the water! A second later, the boat, with a man holding on to the tiller with both hands, plowed headlong into the water, the motor fell down and the beat-up watercraft streaked away as if nothing happened.

“That’s just a local Coonass making his rounds,“ Phil chuckled, noting the look of astonishment on my face. He explained the Cajuns who live, fish, hunt and trap in this remote, but the amazingly-rich outdoor treasury, dislike dikes, rule and laws made by people rarely every go to the trouble of pulling a boat over the designed boat crossing.

Posted by: Nicole@ExpansionSolutionsMagazine.com AT 01:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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