"American industry is dead," say the pessimists. And I admit that the picture hasn't been rosy for many manufacturing sectors. Yet, there are still segments of American industry that should lead to optimism. One such sector in particular is control room furniture manufacturing.
What makes affordable noc furniture an interesting study? First off, furniture is classified as something called a durable good. In case you aren't aware, these types of goods indicate the economic health of a nation. The idea is that companies purchase more durable goods when their confidence in the economy is strong. It works both ways though, a company without faith in the economy will put off durable goods orders. Put another way, if people are buying items meant to last, they are confident in the national economy for the life of that item. More concretely, orders for durable goods is a reliable predictor of gross domestic product growth.
This is good news for the economy. There was a 13% increase in furniture factory orders between this April and last. There is a reason for comparing orders year-to-year rather than month-to-month; month-to-month is much more volatile. Comparing April-to-April, we see that not just orders have increased, but that shipments and order backlogs are up by the same percentage. Overall, orders in the first 4 months of 2014 were 5% above that of last year. This is a significant margin of growth. Take into account that overall, durable goods orders vary by less than one percent most years.
Allow me to point out that these figures are for the consumer furnishings sector. But I think they mirror control room furniture orders to scale. The reason for this is that shipments of durable goods is also predictive of GDP. We see that shipments in that sector were up 6% in the first four months of this year.
Looking at the numbers here, it looks as though American industry is in good health. Actually, it seems to be growing as well or better than ever, if one focuses on specific niche markets like control room furniture. We see the groundwork for this continued domestic growth in American companies like Inracks Corp, with their commitment to Made in the USA ideals.
Have you ever wondered what ergonomics is?
Ergonomics is the process of designing systems to better the interaction between humans and the tools they use. The philosophy is often brought into the workplace in order to improve upon employee morale and productivity. This can also be brought into the home to provide safe conditions and other improvements. Either use can have added medical benefits by reducing the chances of disabilities such as repetitive strain injuries or skeletal disorders. Ergonomics, taken to the next step, provides solutions to limitations people have, including the assistance to people with disabilities.
Some have said that the principles of ergonomics can be traced back to fifth century BC Greece. Tools better fit to the human hand, being refined over time, provide the foundation of ergonomics in these early times. Egyptian surgeons have been demonstrated to have arranged their tools in a manner that would streamline surgical use and increase. Frederick Winslow Taylor was the first to introduce ergonomic principles as a discipline to be observed to provide the optimum method of carrying out a task. One example of his efforts came from reducing the size and weight of coal shovels which had the effect of tripling the amount of coal that was shoveled.
Of course, ergonomics would become very useful as an idea regarding the waging of war. One particular area of benefit from ergonomic study was the field of aviation. This was especially true in designing controls that presented an intuitive means of operation and assisted the pilot to overcome the effects of altitude. By the1930s, Edwin Link had invented the first functional flight simulator based on ergonomic and aeromedical research. When World War II arrived, the military was able to use things that had been learned from ergonomics to design new equipment that took full advantage of human capabilities, both physically and cognitively.
The interest in ergonomics, or "human factors," spread from the military into many other fields. Automobiles and civilian aircraft, for example, both began ergonomic research to improve the function of their machines by operators.
Perhaps the next largest impact on industry came with the dawn of the Information Age and the rise of the computer. The development of the personal computer (PC) was heavily influenced by the goal of compatible Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). The personal computer spawned a series of devices and furniture, most designed with ergonomic principles. The mouse, molded to fit the human hand, and command console furniture, which complements the human body, are some of the many examples. Control room consoles and data center consoles are examples of these designs at work in business and government.
Full-time specialists in ergonomics, sometimes called user trial engineers, became the obvious result of its popularity in the workplace. Safety is another concern of these specialists, working to implement new rules or features which enable a safer work environment. This includes considering things that exists within the environment such as climate, light and temperature. Today, these specialists can be found employed in most fields, some of which include aviation, computer technologies, highway safety, psychology and engineering.