Although the manufacturing industry has been suffering just as much as, if not worse than, the rest of the U.S. economy over the past few years, some positive news came this week as Reuters reported that factory output rose in August. This recent increase came due to the pace of motor vehicle assemblies jumping to a six-year high. The supply chain and manufacturing industry has benefited recently by what warehouse management systems and other similar pieces of technology have brought to the table, as they have allowed these companies to become far more efficient.

The Federal Reserve said manufacturing production advanced 0.7 percent, with the rise helping the industry to come back somewhat from the previous month's 0.4 percent drop. Businesses are upbeat about the future, the news source said, even after another report in New York state showed a slight dip in factory activity.

"Growth in the manufacturing sector is picking up and will run faster over the balance of the year than has been the case in recent months," said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.

Ted Wieseman, an economist at Morgan Stanley in New York, said the recovery is an encouraging sign for business in the industry. Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh, said the economy's expansion is happening quickly enough to help create more jobs and improve the unemployment rate. Not only have there been increases in auto production, but consumer goods, high-tech equipment, electrical equipment, appliances and other areas of manufacturing all jumped in the previous month.

Improvement of profitability with time tracking
Technology may be one of the big reasons why the manufacturing industry has seen so many improvements. Industry professional Kevin Prouty wrote on Manufacturing.net that utilization of time tracker software can help improve profitability by keeping track of the true labor costs at a company. The variance is usually larger than most organizations would like it to be and this type of technology can help fix that fact.

"Labor costs affect many other areas of the business as well, amplifying the impact of data inaccuracies on the financial health of the business," he wrote. "If costs are not accurate, engineering cannot make the best business decisions in the product design phase or search for changes that could enable more cost-effective production."

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