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Thursday, April 30, 2015

PMA’s April Business Conditions Report

CLEVELAND, OH—April 17, 2015—According to the April 2015 Precision Metalforming Association  (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect little change in business conditions during the next three months. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 120 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The April report shows that 33% of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months (down from 35% in March), 58% expect that activity will remain unchanged (the same percentage reported last month) and 9% believe that economic activity will decline (up from 7% in March).

Metalforming companies also forecast that incoming orders will remain steady during the next three months, with 41% predicting an increase in orders (down from 43% in March), 47% anticipating no change (the same percentage reported in March) and 12% expecting a decrease in orders (up from 10% last month).

Current average daily shipping levels improved in April. Forty-six percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (compared to 40% in March), 43% report that levels are the same as three months ago (the same percentage reported last month) and only 11% report a decrease in shipping levels (compared to 17% in March).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dipped to 7% in April, down from 10% in March. The April 2015 figure marks a slight decrease from this time last year, when 8% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.

“Business conditions in the metalforming industry seem to accurately reflect the current state of the U.S. economy—generally okay, with pockets of disappointment (mining, heavy equipment, segments of construction) and pockets of opportunity (aerospace, home and commercial electronics, automotive and appliances),” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Fabricated metal products, as a segment of overall manufacturing, finished Q-1 2015 with average growth of 2.7%, according to the Federal Reserve, while PMA’s orders and shipments data indicates that typical PMA members have experienced one to two percent growth year-to-date for 2015 vs. 2014.  Continued growth in regulatory burdens, lack of clear tax policy supporting manufacturing on the part of Congress and the strong U.S. dollar are all headwinds impacting PMA’s membership.  However, the April Business Conditions Report indicates continued firming in expectations for shipments over the next three months, which is a positive trend.”

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

PMA Member Spotlight -- Julius Feitl, Progressive Machine Die, Inc.

Each month, the PMA Member Spotlight features outstanding members sharing their insights into the latest industry trends and technologies.

PMA is pleased to introduce Julius Feitl, President of Progressive Machine Die, Inc, Macedonia, Ohio.

Julius Feitl, President, Progressive Machine Die, Inc. 

Q:  Which job classifications are the most challenging to find skilled workers?
A:  Press Operator and Setup Person – Most schools tend to focus on CNC operators, machinists and laser cutting, but there aren't any programs in schools specifically designed for press operators and setup people. At this point, the best way to find a skilled press operator or setup person is to hire them away from a competitor. This position is essential to stamping. I hope that in the future, schools start to offer training programs to develop these roles.

Q:  What is the biggest technology challenge metalformers face today?
A:  Understanding the benefits that servo presses offer by way improving efficiencies.

Q: What is on your wish list for your shop, next year (i.e., a new piece of equipment)? 
A: To buy a new servo press or potentially some feed equipment.

Q: What is the best conference or seminar you or your employees attended in the past year and why?
A: The CEO Roundtable hosted by PMA. This particular roundtable promoted great discussions that were very pertinent to me as a company owner. The conversation was focused, and I spent quality time interacting with peers that face the same challenges and issues I do.

Q: What conference topic (related to the metalforming/manufacturing industry) would you be most interested in attending?
A: Succession planning would be a great topic of interest to me.

Q: Minivan, SUV or sedan?

Q: What are the top three songs on your play list right now?
A: I don’t have a play list per se, but I like to listen to Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, the Allman Brothers, and just about any classic rock.

Thank you for your participation, Julius! 

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