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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

PMA’s July Business Conditions Report

CLEVELAND, OH—July 29, 2015—According to the July 2015 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies anticipate steady business conditions during the next three months. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 114 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The July report shows that 65% of participants expect that economic activity will remain unchanged during the next three months (up from 60% in June), 18% predict that activity will improve (down from 23% in June) and 17% believe that economic activity will decline (the same percentage reported in June).

Metalforming companies forecast a slight improvement in incoming orders during the next three months, with 36% predicting an increase in orders (up from 33% in June), 45% anticipating no change (compared to 48% in June) and 19% expecting a decrease in orders (the same percentage reported last month).

Current average daily shipping levels declined slightly in July. Twenty-three percent of participants report shipping levels are below levels of three months ago (compared to 24% in June), 48% report that levels are the same as three months ago (up from 41% last month) and 29% report an increase in shipping levels (compared to 35% in June).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 11% in July, up from 7% in June. The July 2015 figure is similar to this time last year, when 9% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.

“PMA member companies reflect a lackluster outlook for business conditions, typical of most manufacturing sectors in the United States, as we begin Q-3,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Only 18% of member companies expect the general economic trend to rise during Q-3, the lowest level reported in several years. On a positive note, however, 65% expect the economic trend to be flat, rather than trending downward, a view reflected by only 17%. PMA’s Monthly Orders & Shipments Report, released in late July, reported that the average metalforming company experienced a one-percent decline in orders booked during the first half of 2015 vs. bookings during the same period in 2014. Shipments for the same period were dead-flat in 2015 vs. 2014, reflecting substantial concern about external factors impacting the value of the dollar, energy prices, and softening trends in the U.S. and global financial markets.”

Full report results are available here

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Harry Moser Speaks Reshoring with PMA

In 2010 an initiative with the goal of bringing good, well-paying manufacturing jobs back to the United States by assisting companies to more accurately assess their total cost of offshoring, was started by Harry Moser, founder of Reshoring Initiative.

Moser will speak at Sourcing Solutions ™ powered by the Precision Metalforming Association on September 30 – October 1, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Sourcing Solutions is a powerful procurement program that brings together buyers and suppliers of fabrications, metal stampings, components, special tooling and dies, assemblies and more. The program is designed to introduce buyers to top-quality suppliers in a single location who have been pre-screened based on buyer specifications. 

Last week, we had the opportunity to speak to Harry and to ask him a few questions about the mission of the Reshoring Initiative and about his personal connection to this mission. 

Harry Moser, Founder, Reshoring Initiative

Q: What drove you to take initiative with this issue?

A: I grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey and the biggest thing in town was the Singer sewing machine factory. It was the largest factory in the world about 100 years ago, when most people owned a sewing machine. My father and grandfather both helped run the factory, and I also worked there during the summers in high school and college. I drove by one day about 5-10 years ago and the factory was all gone, and everything had been offshored. 

Q: How do you encourage companies to consider reshoring?

A: First we document the strengths of the reshoring trend by showing companies the amount that is being reshored, and how other companies in their industry are successful doing it. Second, we promote reshoring by giving presentations around the country to spread awareness of the initiative. Finally, we encourage companies to visit our website and view the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) estimator to help them evaluate their own operation.

Q: What is your vision for reshoring in America?

A: The goal is to bring jobs back to the United States and to eventually eliminate the trade deficit within 25 years. More specifically, it would be ideal if within 5 years half a million jobs were brought back to the states. If companies continue to use the TCO calculator to make smarter decisions, as well as political and economic stability, we could reach our goals.

Q: How can associations like PMA help this cause?

A: PMA can help by continuing their support and spreading the word about reshoring. By reporting “cases” of members that have reshored, other companies considering reshoring could follow suite. Companies may feel more confident buying American supplier jobs than relying on offshore manufacturing if they have seen success from other companies.

Q: How long do you think China will remain the worldwide leader in manufacturing?

A: The Chinese economy has lost a lot of momentum and credibility recently with the rise in wage rates. As a result, there are an increasing number of companies reshoring back to the United States. To help the cause, consumers should consider purchasing “Made in U.S.A.” products over foreign products, especially significant purchases. Walmart has committed to spending billions of dollars per year on U.S.-made products, and my current project involves helping them accomplish this by 2022. 

Q: Can you speak to your involvement in PMA’s Sourcing Solutions event and how this involvement supports your initiative? 

A: I will be giving a presentation on what is happening on the trend of reshoring, including how many jobs are coming back, what industries are reshoring, and why they are deciding to come back. I also will be demonstrating how to use the TCO estimator and other tools for making smart sourcing decisions, as well as providing examples for reshoring in the industry.

Thank you for speaking with us, Harry! 

For more information about the Reshoring Initiative: 
Email - info@reshorenow.org 
Phone - 1 (847) 726-2975

For information about Sourcing Solutions, visit the event homepage or contact Ilene Schwartz (ischwartz@pma.org / (216) 901-8800). 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

PMA Member Spotlight -- Beth Weissenrieder-Bennis, Weiss-Aug Company, Inc.

Each month, the PMA Member Spotlight features an outstanding member sharing his/her insights into the latest industry trends and technologies.

PMA is pleased to highlight Beth Weissenrieder-Bennis, director of strategic planning and marketing for Weiss-Aug Company, Inc., East Hanover, NJ. Weiss-Aug provides custom insert molding, precision medical and automotive metal stamping , and assembly solutions. With more than 40 years of experience serving the automotive, medical, electronic and semiconductor industries, the company's experts in design, engineering, tooling and manufacturing excel at providing precision manufacturing through innovative design.

Hear Beth's thoughts about technology challenges facing metalformers, finding skilled workers, how social media works within her company's marketing strategy and more!

Beth Weissenrieder-Bennis, 
Director of Strategic Planning and Marketing, 
Weiss-Aug Company, Inc.
Q:  Which job classifications are the most challenging to find skilled workers?
A:  Die makers and die technicians, tooling designers, and new product development engineers. We are not relying on outside resources to provide a crop of talent in these areas. We’ve always had an apprenticeship program, and are now expanding it to include die technicians due to the shortage of talent. Companies have to invest in educating and training workers. 

Q:  What is the biggest technology challenge metalformers face today?
A:  Increasing speed of bringing up new programs while maintaining quality. For our medical device customers specifically, time to market is everything. During the development phase, a part design can change by the hour, and the need for fast prototype fabrication technologies is necessary to keep pace. We also are pushed to continually reduce tooling lead times and meet early production start dates. Customers want things faster, but they don’t want to pay more or sacrifice quality. 

Q: What is the best conference or seminar you or your employees attended in the past year and why?
A:  We had two new managers attend the Management Development Academy (MDA). Both of these managers were promoted from within the organization from a non-management role.  The MDA not only helped them to develop management skills, but also their industry knowledge and exposure. 

Q: What is on your wish list for your shop, next year (i.e., a new piece of equipment)?  
A: Again with the need to increase speed, we’ve begun the process of bringing our tooling capabilities to the next level with a recent investment in a Yasda hard mill. Next year we will add an Amada DVI profile grinder, and CNC form grinder. These machines will enable us to work more quickly and accurately from solid models.  These files will then be sent to the CNC machines to grind/mill extremely tight tolerance punches, and split die sections.  We also will have the ability to fabricate our own electrodes for tooling.  The new CNC room will be a self-sustaining closed-loop system that will include a CMM and have reverse-engineering capabilities. 

Q: What are the advantages/disadvantages of being a next-generation metalformer?
A:  This is a tough question. The biggest disadvantage I think are that the odds are stacked against next-generation leaders. The Family Business Institute has the following figures: “Only about 30 percent of family businesses survive into the second generation, 12 percent are still viable into the third generation, and only about 3 percent of all family businesses operate into the fourth generation or beyond.”

The biggest advantage is the ability of the level of experience one can gain from an early age. Many next-generation leaders worked as youngsters during the summers at the plant. I know that I’ve worked in every department, from accounting to quality. As a result, I have a ton of respect for each function and understand that it’s all integral to our success.  This coupled with the exposure to leadership from an early point in one’s career can help prepare a next-generation leader.

Q: How does social media work within your company’s marketing strategy?
A:  Twitter/FB is good place for quick headlines to advertise job opportunities and industry/company news. LinkedIn is more valuable in that posting relevant articles and updates tend to get more views and help to build a network of new contacts and potential new customers.

Q: What are the top three songs on your play list right now?
A:  My almost 7-year-old daughter is the DJ in my car, so all we listen to is Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Katy Perry. I’m just happy to not have to listen to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat anymore!

Thank you for your participation, Beth!

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