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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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. 

MFG DAY

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 great.  There are already more than 1,400 events including open houses, shop tours and educational programs scheduled at facilities across the country.  PMA member companies have a long history of supporting job creation and skills training and, as a result, are always well represented on MFG Day. 

Tools for planning, organizing and hosting an MFG Day event are available on the MFG Day website – www.mfgday.com.  PMA has also produced a how-to guide for member companies.  Contact Christie Carmigiano at 216-901-8800 or ccarmigiano@pma.org for a copy. 

The Center 4 Metalforming Careers

Of course, efforts to foster future manufacturing workers should not stop with one day.  PMA members can make use of the myriad resources available through our Center 4 Metalforming Careers to help spread the word about opportunities in our industry.  Profile videos, industry brochures, answers to frequently asked questions, and other items can be viewed and downloaded on the C4MC website – www.center4metalformingcareers.org.  These items can be used to support outreach efforts at schools, job fairs and in communities across the country.

For a stronger workforce now and in the future, our industry is depending on us.  The most effective way to inform people about manufacturing and the high-tech, high-paying careers available now is to let them see what we do firsthand.  Keep up to date with more ways to get involved by following PMA’s blog, Twitter account and Facebook account.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

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 engagement, a face-to-face meeting is leaps and bounds better than e-mail. “You are twice as likely to convert prospects into customers with an in-person meeting,” argues marketing guru Michael Massari in an interview with Forbes. “The likelihood of getting a ‘yes’ increases, because it is so much easier to say ‘no’ in an e-mail or on a phone call.”

Beyond this anecdotal evidence, a recent study covered by the Harvard Business Review found that when asking people to fill out surveys, “face-to-face requests were 34 times more effective than e-mailed ones.”

The advantages of face-to-face contact are evident, but, naturally, cost is a prohibitive factor. It’s much cheaper to send even thousands of e-mails than it is to meet face-to-face with far flung clients and customers. But the cost might be worth it. In today’s business world, undivided attention for your pitch and figures is a near priceless commodity.

You can cut the cost of face-to-face meetings by taking advantage of trade shows and industry events like PMA’s Sourcing Solutions on September 28 in Milwaukee, WI. Sourcing Solutions brings buyers and suppliers together for two days of connections, deal-making and networking—all done in-person. Save time and money by having several meetings in one day, all in one location. Registration and information are available at www.pma.org/sourcingsolutions.

And if you want to learn how to strike the right balance between the digital and the personal in your marketing and sales initiatives, consider PMA’s Manufacturing Sales & Marketing Summit, September 26-27 in Milwaukee, WI. Attend both events and receive a discounted rate. More information is available here.

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