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Takata and Other Lessons Not Learned

Looking back at the manufacturing headlines from one year ago shows that some are simply doomed to continually repeat their mistakes.

Admittedly, there is something ironic about a show called IEN Now looking back on trends that impacted the U.S. industrial sector exactly one year ago, but I think you’ll appreciate why we found some of this recent history so poignant. And hey, it’s not like anything bad has ever happened because somebody tried something a little different on Friday the 13th.

Generally speaking, gas was 46 cents/gallon more and the unemployment rate was one-half a percentage point higher. On a negative note, the purchasing manager’s index was nearly a point higher than our current 50.8 percent standing.

Now to the more ironic headlines of one year ago. Fiat Chrysler added nearly 69,000 Jeeps to an ongoing side airbag recall centered on software which was causing the airbags to inflate without a crash. The final number of vehicles involved in the recall would climb north of 600,000 by the end of 2015.

If you recall, the early portion of 2015 was a tough one for egg and poultry producers as a bird flu epidemic wreaked havoc. One year ago the outbreak had spread from Iowa to Nebraska, resulting in the elimination of 1.7 million more birds More than 50 million chickens would end up being killed because of the disease in 2015.

And how could we forget that the initial stages of the Takata recall were taking shape. One year ago it was Toyota and Nissan jumping onboard by recalling a combined 6.5 million vehicles with inflator issues. At this point Takata had been fined about $1 million by the NHTSA. Takata, of course, denied that it was not cooperating fully with investigations.

As we know, the continued peeling of the onion that is Takata would, at last count, impact more than 100 million vehicles globally and send the company to its worst losses in company history – about $120 million in the recently concluded fiscal year.

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