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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

PMA Member is "Ohio Strong"

"There is a quiet crisis upon us with a shortage of young Americans pursuing careers in manufacturing and the skilled trades, and in order to combat it and prosper as a country, we must work together to encourage young people to enter these fields." - Josh Mandel, Treasurer of Ohio

Josh Mandel, Treasurer of the state of Ohio, has recently unveiled the Ohio Strong Award, which is now being given to men and women throughout Ohio who are excelling in caeers in manufacturing and the skilled trades.  By highlighting the accomplishments of these individuals, Mandel and his office hope to raise public awareness of Ohio's need for more workers in the manufacturing sector and of the promising careers available in the field.

And a PMA member is among the Award's first recipients!

John Incorvaia of Toledo Metal Spinning Co. in Toledo, Ohio was given the Award on Monday.  During the presentation, Mandel said, "My hope is that if young people throughout the Toledo area and the state see what folks like John and others are doing to contribute to Ohio’s economy, they’ll be inspired to go into these jobs,” he said.  You can read more about Incorvaia and Toledo Metal Spinning Co. in this article from the Toledo Blade.

Congratulations to this fantastic PMA member on this important recognition.

Do you know a worker in Ohio who deserves this honor?  It's not too late!  Fill out the nomination form here.

Friday, March 14, 2014

PMA Member Kevin Harberts Takes Washington

Kevin Harberts
PMA Member Kevin Harberts testified yesterday before the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access.  The hearing was titled, Made in the U.S.A.: Small Businesses and a New Domestic Manufacturing Renaissance, and it was held in order to determine whether re-shoring is currently occurring, what factors might be influencing this trend, and what a growth in American manufacturing could mean for small businesses.

Check out our press release about the hearing and follow the link to read Mr. Harberts' full testimony.


Precision Metalforming Association Member Kevin Harberts
Urges Congress to Bring Manufacturing Back Home

Kryton Metals President and CEO Testifies Before House Small Business Subcommittee

Washington, DC - Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) member Kevin Harberts called on Congress today to support industry efforts to bring manufacturing back to America—for good.  Harberts, president and CEO of Kryton Engineered Metals, Inc. in Cedar Falls, Iowa, testified today before the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access about reshoring, or bringing outsourced manufacturing work back home to the U.S.

In his testimony, Harberts stated, “This time a year ago we had 63 employees, today we have grown to 71 and hope to hire another 8-12 this year.  We attribute this growth directly to reshoring a product line which left the U.S. a decade ago and came back to America’s heartland.”

Founded in 1981, Kryton Metals is an industry leader in manufacturing spun and fabricated metal products.  Company sales were hurt by the economic downturn in 2008-9 and Harberts was forced to lay off a large number of employees.  His business turned around when a foreign manufacturer decided to reshore work and moved production from Europe to his plant in Iowa.

“Foreign manufacturers choose to reshore and source from U.S. suppliers for several reasons such as price, quality, availability of raw materials such as steel, and location,” said Harberts in his testimony.  “The decision of our customer to supply from Kryton Metals will carry us into 2020.…We are going to save our customer money, grow our business, and – most importantly – create jobs in Iowa and throughout our entire U.S. supply chain.”

Harberts has high hopes for the future of Kryton Metals and the U.S. manufacturing sector but said that uncertainty in Washington has a chilling effect on American manufacturing growth and reshoring opportunities.

“While politicians argue among themselves, employers like me are stuck in a holding pattern,” he said, “We don’t know whether Congress will extend the R&D Tax Credit, we’re unsure what new rules OSHA and the EPA will impose on us, and we can’t find qualified workers in large part because Congress has not updated our job training laws in over a decade.”

Harberts concluded his testimony by appealing to Congress to take action and make the U.S. a coveted manufacturing location for global businesses.

“Domestic manufacturers can only lower their prices so far and we’re not changing our location,” he pointed out.  “To improve manufacturing’s forecast, we must look to overseas opportunities and convince foreign customers that the U.S. is THE place for manufacturing. Manufacturers are doing our part to encourage reshoring – now its Washington’s turn.”

Read Harberts’ full testimony here.

March 2014 Business Conditions Report Shows Things Are Looking Up

Our latest Business Conditions Report is out and it shows that metalforming companies and expected improvement over the next three months.  Read more below -


Business Conditions Report: March 2014

CLEVELAND, OHMarch 14, 2014—According to the March 2014 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect a slight improvement in business conditions during the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 117 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The March report shows that 38% of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months (up from 32% in February), 54% anticipate that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 60% last month) and 8% believe that economic activity will decline (the same percentage reported in February).

Current average daily shipping levels also improved modestly in March. Forty-eight percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (up from 46% in February), 37% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 31% last month), and 15% report a decrease in shipping levels (down from 23% in February).

However, metalforming companies anticipate a slight dip in incoming orders during the next three months, with 44% forecasting an increase in orders (down from 50% in February), 45% expecting no change (compared to 41% in February) and 11% predicting a decrease in orders (up from 9% in February).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff rose to 11% in March, up from 6% in February. The March 2014 figure is at the same level as it was in March 2013.

“Business conditions continue to be quite positive in the overall metalforming industry,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Companies continue to be cautious, due to higher costs of health care, continued threats of increased regulatory burdens and the failure of job figures to rise as they should if the economy is on a path to a stronger recovery. However, in a separate PMA monthly orders and shipment report, there were strong numbers posted for January new orders and shipments vs December 2013. It looks like Q-1 is off to a good start, and this month’s Business Conditions Report suggests that this should continue for at least the next few months.”

The monthly Business Conditions Report has been conducted by PMA since 1979. Full report results are available at http://www.pma.org/public/business_reports/pdf/BCREP.pdf. PMA is the full-service trade association representing the $113-billion metalforming industry of North America—the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming and roll forming technologies, and other value-added processes. Its nearly 900 member companies also include suppliers of equipment, materials and services to the industry. PMA leads innovative member companies toward superior competitiveness and profitability through advocacy, networking, statistics, the PMA Educational Foundation, FABTECH and METALFORM Mexico tradeshows, and MetalForming and Fabricating Product News magazines.

Monday, March 10, 2014

New PMA Chairman Elected

We're pleased to announce that we've elected a new chairman for 2014!  Read the press release below to learn more about Chairman Jody Fledderman and the rest of the newly elected PMA leadership.


Batesville Tool & Die President and CEO Jody Fledderman Elected PMA Chairman of the Board

CLEVELAND, OHMarch 10, 2014—The Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) announced today that Jody Fledderman, president and CEO of Batesville Tool & Die (BTD) in Batesville, IN, was elected 2014 chairman of the PMA Board of Directors.  PMA also announced that Bill Smith, president of Termax Corporation in Lake Zurich, IL, will serve as PMA Board first vice chair, and Ron Lowry, CEO and owner of Dayton Rogers in Minneapolis, MN, will serve as Board treasurer.

“I’m honored to be elected Board Chairman and thank 2013 PMA Chairman Bill Adler for his great leadership and all that he accomplished over the past year,” said Fledderman.

Fledderman announced that his theme of his one-year term as PMA chairman is Investing in the Future to Strengthen the Industry.

“PMA members are investing in new technologies such as new presses to replace older equipment not only for added capacity but to invest in the future,” Fledderman said. “We also are reaching out to the workforce of the future—our local high-school students—to show them the career opportunities manufacturing offers.  Even if a company doesn’t need new technology or a fresh pool of labor today, they will most likely need both soon, to fortify their companies.  You have to look ahead.”

Fledderman’s efforts to attract and develop the next-generation workforce have led to the creation of a new program for Batesville High School students that also encompasses the newly expanded local arm of Ivy Tech Community College.  Ivy Tech, with the generous financial support of the Batesville Community School Corp., BTD and other local businesses, moved into a new facility early in 2013.

“Ivy Tech has become a place where parents can be proud to send their kids,” says Fledderman.  “I believe kids need options other than a four-year college to further their education and career opportunities outside of high school, and the technical programs offered at Ivy Tech fit that bill.  Along with their high-school curriculum, our new co-op program becomes the proverbial third leg to the stool to provide support to kids as they look to begin careers in manufacturing.”

Fledderman seeks to spread the word about this program during his term as PMA chairman.

“I’ll work with PMA nationally to develop a template, conduct webinars and in other ways to help guide other companies should they wish to launch a similar co-op program in their community.  Such an orientation program from PMA will help companies recruit and develop the talent needed to provide for their future success.”

Learn more about Fledderman’s goals during his term as chairman in the April 2014 issue of MetalForming: www.metalformingmagazine.com.

PMA is the full-service trade association representing the $113-billion metalforming industry of North America—the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming and roll forming technologies, and other value-added processes. Its nearly 900 member companies also include suppliers of equipment, materials and services to the industry. PMA leads innovative member companies toward superior competitiveness and profitability through advocacy, networking, statistics, the PMA Educational Foundation, FABTECH and METALFORM Mexico tradeshows, and MetalForming and Fabricating Product News magazines.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Op-ed Co-authored by PMA President Published on Control Engineering Site

This week marks the beginning of the MFG Meeting (Manufacturing for Growth) in Phoenix, AZ.  The meeting is an annual gathering of manufacturing leaders from across the country, to discuss the state of the manufacturing industry and the path forward. The conference is hosted by three manufacturing associations: AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology, the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), and, of course, us - the Precision Metalforming Association.

Our asociation president, Bill Gaskin, co-authored a timely op-ed with the presidents of the two other host associations titled, "Manufacturing is Back. Now What?".  The piece was published on the Control Engineering site today.

You can read it on the Control Engineering site and below here -


Manufacturing is Back. Now What?

Three manufacturing-association presidents, NTMA, PMA, and AMT,
discuss ways to ensure the manufacturing sector’s long-term growth.


By Bill Gaskin, Dave Tilstone and Douglas Woods

More than 700 manufacturing leaders will descend on Phoenix this week for the MFG Meeting (Manufacturing for Growth), an annual gathering of manufacturing leaders from across the country, to discuss the state of the manufacturing industry and the path forward. The conference is hosted by three manufacturing associations: AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology, the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), and the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), each focused on a different segment of the manufacturing chain.

The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Index, a key indicator measuring the strength of manufacturing in this country, recently rose to 56.7 from 53.7 in January – the highest level in almost four years and the fastest overall improvement in conditions since 2010. This spike occurred despite one of the worst periods of severe weather this country has seen in years, which is traditionally a hindrance to manufacturing activity. Several studies also report a reduction in inventories and a steep rise in orders – all good signs for the industry. In addition, January marked the sixth-straight month the manufacturing sector added jobs to their payrolls and boosted their share of the labor market.  In fact, manufacturing has been one of the few bright spots in the employment picture over the past few years.

The “reshoring” trend in manufacturing is picking up steam. Many major American manufacturers are slowly but steadily bringing production back to the U.S. from foreign, traditionally low-wage locations. While the logic behind many offshoring moves was driven by savings in labor costs, manufacturers are now seeing the risks that go with a long supply chain, along with quality control issues. Additionally, those once low labor rates have begun to climb.  Manufacturers have a desire to be closer to their customer base and are taking advantage of reduced domestic energy costs.  The trend is being driven by major U.S.-based companies such as Ford, Whirlpool, and GE, but even international manufacturers are getting on board with U.S. production. Laptop-maker Lenovo is making its PCs in Whitsett, N.C., and other international manufacturers are following suit with increased investment within U.S. borders.

At the onset of the recession, the future of manufacturing did not look bright.  The sector had been losing jobs for more than a decade and many small and medium-sized manufacturers were struggling to keep their doors open – particularly those with strong ties to the automotive industry.  Many doubted that U.S. manufacturing would be able to continue in an impactful way, but it was an underestimation of the resilience of American manufacturers.

Fast forward to today, and manufacturing has become a high-tech and high-skilled industry, spurring innovations that ripple throughout the rest of our economy. Recently, President Obama announced plans for the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDI), to be located in Chicago, and the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute (LM3I), coming to Canton, MI.  As part of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation, these institutes join America Makes and the Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute as places where industry, academia, and government work together to accelerate R&D and shorten the time it takes for new innovations to go from design to production.

Yet the comeback of manufacturing is still a process in the making.  To make sure we sustain it, we need to make certain we are doing everything we can to nurture its growth and attract investment.

We first have to address our public relations challenge. Many parents and high school guidance counselors still have the wrong view of the manufacturing industry.  We need to get the message out that this is not your father’s manufacturing sector anymore.  Manufacturing offers great careers – good jobs at very competitive wages utilizing high-tech skills. Our sector’s pay and benefits often significantly exceed the national average. Yet manufacturing suffers from a severe shortage of skilled workers, with 74% of companies recently reporting job openings that remain unfilled.

We need to get the positive message about manufacturing out through grassroots efforts like MFG Day, which encourages manufacturers to open their doors and invite the community in to experience modern 21st-century manufacturing facilities. Another example is the National Robotics League and FIRST Robotics, which are programs that partner teams of middle school, high school, and post-secondary school students with local manufacturers to build robots, thereby directly engaging the next-generation manufacturing workforce.  Additionally, the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS (The International Manufacturing Technology Show) will host more than 9,000 educators, students and their parents in Chicago this fall to introduce them to exciting new innovations in manufacturing technology. The Student Summit is designed to allow young people to interact with today’s manufacturing industry so that they can translate their STEM education into real-world results within high-tech and high-value careers.

Beyond these initiatives, Washington could lend a hand by providing more predictability on tax provisions such as the R&D tax credit and the improved Sec. 179 expensing, both of which expired last year. Capital-intensive companies rely on the continuity of these provisions from year to year when making decisions to purchase new equipment, invest in R&D and hire new employees.

The manufacturing sector has gone from being written off to heralding a new wave of American innovation. It’s time for all of us to think about what we can do to help keep up the momentum.  Just as these manufacturing leaders make their way to Phoenix to discuss how to keep their businesses moving forward, the conversation needs to stay on the national stage all year long. It’s one of the best ways we can ensure U.S. economic growth and prosperity – both in the immediate future and in years to come.

Bill Gaskin is President of the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), Dave Tilstone is President of the National Tooling & Machining Association and Douglas Woods is President of AMT- The Association for Manufacturing Technology.  The three associations are jointly sponsoring The MFG Meeting, a conference that begins today in Phoenix, AZ and brings together more than 700 manufacturers representing the complete chain of manufacturing to discuss the current and future state of the industry. 

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