New Steel and Aluminum Tariffs…PMA Standing Up for U.S. Manufacturing

President Trump yesterday signed a proclamation placing tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports.  Mexico and Canada are exempted from the tariffs for now.  The tariffs take effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 23.  The President’s action is the result of recommendations from two Section 232 (national security) investigations conducted by the U.S. Commerce Department. 
According to the proclamation, within 10 days, the Commerce Department will announce the process for filing a request for an exclusion for steel and aluminum products not available in the U.S.

These tariffs will place at risk the jobs of millions of Americans who are employed in the metalforming, metal stamping and other U.S. industries that use steel. Restricted availability and increased costs for raw materials will likely lead to current customers sourcing finished products from overseas competitors, who will produce them with foreign steel or aluminum and import them tariff-free.

We have s…

Energy Market Update: Factors and Trends to Consider this Winter

Guest Blogger: Alex Paciga
Communication Specialist, APPI Energy

As we move into the winter season, there are a variety of factors that will influence natural gas (and thus electricity) prices across the nation. Weather, production, and supply are likely the most influential factors on natural gas prices this winter. We’re expecting a cold winter, and though natural gas production is at record highs, we’re entering the season with historically low natural gas supply levels. Additionally, though it’s more a long-term factor than the preceding three, we must consider the effect that increasing natural gas exports will have on domestic prices. Winter is traditionally a time of price volatility and, generally, higher electricity and natural gas prices prevail during the colder months. As 50% of U.S. households and businesses are heated by natural gas, and the price of natural gas is directly linked to the price of electricity, everyone has a vested interest in understanding what the marke…

Attracting a New Generation of Leaders

Guest Blogger: Bill Frahm President, 4M Partners, LLC
Sheetmetal forming has many challenges and opportunities to offer students and new employees. New metals, new forming technologies, and evolving information and simulation technologies offer opportunities for engaged employees to shape the future. Adapting to change and leading the industry discussion requires the experience of seasoned employees, along with the energy and new ideas of knowledgeable young employees.

The market for talent is competitive. Your competition includes other manufacturers, Silicon Valley, Wall Street and government. Successful recruiting and retention involves attracting students to the industry and building a rewarding work environment. Unfortunately, manufacturing has to overcome negative perceptions.

The old Johnny Paycheck song, “Take This Job and Shove It,” has been around for 40 years. It’s been a standard of American blue-collar culture. The song’s sentiment counts among the reasons smart, young t…

An Effective Company Strategy Drives Success

An Effective Company Strategy Drives Success by Laurie Harbour
Looking forward to 2018 many analysts predict it to be a strong year for the metal forming industry. It is however, critically important that shops have a sound business strategy to fully capitalize on the good times, while preparing for the challenges that may be ahead. 
All too often, we find that a shop thinks they have a business strategy, but really it is just a set of goals such as sales targets or productivity numbers and no path or guidance on how to achieve these targets. Most sales people tell us as that they don’t really have a clear perspective on ownership's strategy. A good place to start is with setting a sound company strategy and to do this a shop must look at the data it already collects. To develop an effective strategy, it is important for leadership to understand the current state of the business and dig into the operational data.
•What customers or products deliver the highest level of profitabili…

Manufacturing for the Future: A Commitment to the Next Generation of America’s Skilled Workforce

Roy Hardy, PMA President
There is good news coming out of the manufacturing sector today.  Our industry currently employs some 12.4 million Americans.  That number is up by about 25,000 from last year and by nearly a million from 2010.  The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report from September 1, 2017 showed that hiring in the manufacturing industry continues to expand with 36,000 positions filled in the month of August.

American manufacturers are open for business.  We are hiring where we can and have more open jobs—hundreds of thousands of them—to fill.  Keeping the good news coming in our industry will mean finding a new generation of skilled workers to thrive in manufacturing careers.  The future is up to us.


Manufacturers who want to help inspire young people to consider careers in manufacturing should consider participating in Manufacturing Day on October 6 this year.  MFG Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing, geared toward showcasing what makes our industry gre…

Buy/Sell: The True Value of Face-to-Face Meetings

How many e-mails did you delete today without even reading them? How many times did you intentionally ignore a web ad by scrolling right past it? How many video ads did you skip as soon as you had the option?

The probable answers: A bunch, a bunch, and a bunch. I mean, they were just trying to sell you stuff…

But for those of us whose job it is to sell stuff, this trend is unsettling. The same techno-communications revolution that has allowed us to reach thousands of potential customers through mass e-mails, web advertising and social media has also made it easier for potential customers not to be reached. With a few clicks they can simply ignore or opt out.

So what’s a metalformer to do? In today’s increasingly-digital business environment, where can you get the level of undivided customer attention that email and social media just can’t match? Well, you can go grab the old-schoolers in your office and ask them, or I can just tell you: face-to-face meetings.

In terms of attention and…

Manufacturing Process Methods Compared – When to Apply Master Schedule

Content Provided By: Tom Titensor & Revolution Group

We can generally sort Manufacturing Business processes into three groups: Make to Order, Assemble to Order, and Make to Stock.  Make to Order is also known as custom build. Assemble to Order is used in repetitive manufacturing. And Make to Stock covers mass production of end products.

Let’s look at each one and see where to apply scheduling and planning tools for the best order to fulfillment timing.

Make to Order
Make to Order is the manufacturing process in which a large group of components can be made into very specific end products.

A printer may carry stock of many types and grades of paper and have the ability to create thousands of Ink colors. Skilled workers can use the tools and materials to create any item a customer may want printed. Then they can mass produce that Item into as many copies as the customer would like.

A die maker has large billets of steel in stock and with tools and produces very detailed dies to the c…