Showing posts from 2018

Wall Street Journal Article Features the Impact of Tariffs on PMA Member

It’s been nearly nine months since the Trump Administration announced tariffs on steel and aluminum, and U.S. manufacturers are still struggling to remain competitive in a global market. In a  Wall Street Journal article titled “Trump Tariffs Pit Auto Companies Against Each Other,” reporters Chester Dawson and Mike Colias spoke with PMA member Clips & Clamps Industries. The article states: This summer, Jeff Aznavorian, president of Clips & Clamps Industries, a small Detroit-area parts maker with about 57 employees, sent one-page letters to about 15 customers proposing a cost-sharing arrangement for future contracts. Clips & Clamps was on pace to turn a profit this year, but rising materials costs have wiped out its margin. Two customers agreed. A few politely declined. One buyer from Canada wrote back, expressing sympathy. “They basically said: ‘I’m sorry your government is doing this to you, but what do you expect me to do about it?’” Mr. Aznavorian said. The exp

New NAFTA Deal Signed but Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Continue

President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and outgoing Mexican President Pena Nieto signed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) at the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina this morning.  The USMCA is intended to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that has been in force since 1994.  Today’s signing is an important step towards adoption of the USMCA, but much work remains to be done by all three governments before it is fully adopted and implemented. Unfortunately, the USMCA did not resolve the issue of 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. In November, PMA joined a coalition of 34 business groups in urging US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to remove the steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico once the USMCA was signed.  In the letter , the groups stated: "[T]he continuation of these tariffs with respect to Mexico and Canada will create impediments to Congressional passage of the USMCA implementing bill given concerns

What is Natural Gas Storage?

Guest Blog Post Alex Paciga Communication Specialist APPI Energy In the energy industry, we talk about natural gas storage a lot. It’s a term that frequently comes up in articles, we include it every week in our APPI Energy Advisor, and power markets rise and fall based on the weekly report submitted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, we rarely discuss what natural gas storage actually entails, how it is measured, and who controls it. In this article, we’ll discuss what natural gas storage means, why it is important, and how APPI Energy utilizes that info to better serve our clients. The basic principle of natural gas storage is, at its core, the principle of supply and demand. We store natural gas during periods when demand is low (for example, when the weather is mild), to be withdrawn during periods of peak demand. However, these are not the only factors in play, when it comes to storage. Regulatory concerns, contractual obligations, emergency res

Quick Tip to Help Increase Your Sales

Guest Blogger: Chip Eichelberger, CSP, Founder, You have heard it said that everyone likes to buy but no one wants to be sold. Make it easier for people to buy and justify their purchase with this simple concept. Doing so will help you quickly increase your sales. Try to never let the price/investment be the first number that comes up in the conversation. In my business for example, it is common to get a request to see if I am available for a specific date and to inquire about my fee. I never reply with simply a yes/no and the price. I want to make sure to set up a call so I can ask questions to get information to properly frame the way they look at investing in me speaking at their event. I want to be a true partner and not just a “rental speaker.” I am not the low-cost provider in my industry. Some meeting planners are inexperienced and will get surprised when they hear how much a seasoned professional speaker costs. Framing the conversation is essential

Women of Note Discuss Obstacles & Motivations

Allison Grealis, president and founder of Women in Manufacturing Association , and vice president of association services of PMA , has been inducted into the 2018 class of Crain's Cleveland Business Women of Note. She joined a conversation on WCPN 90.3 on July 18 to discuss obstacles and motivations, and to give advice to the next generation. Allison was joined by fellow women of note, Dee Perry, retired broadcaster from WCPN; Simirit Sandhu, executive director of supply chain management with the Cleveland Clinic; Magda Gomez, director of diversity and inclusion from Cuyahoga Community College; and Karen Kasler, Statehouse New Bureau Chief (ISDN). Listen here: Crain's Cleveland Business Women of Note honors inspiring women who, due to the impact of their professional talents and unique perspectives, create positive change in Northeast Ohio. To view all 2018 honorees, visit: .

Sales Motivation

Guest Blogger: Chip Eichelberger, CSP, Founder, I don’t know about you but my business tends to run in cycles—the cycle of doing many events and the cycle of when the bookings for that new business comes in. The gap in between can be difficult to deal with, even for me. Sometimes the gap is impacted by people being on vacation and deferring decisions. Sometimes it can be related to current events such as 9-11 or the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) of 2008. Here are four strategies for when you have that GAP of new business coming in and you need momentum. Spend time on you, so you can be at your best! Get to bed a little earlier and read something inspiring before you shut it down. Get off your phone! Drink 12 oz. of water when you wake up. Get that morning workout in to start the day with energy. Use interval training to get your heart rate up and pumping. Get a fresh-green-based juice or make my Get Switched On Smoothie. Exercise and the right fuel will

Looking at the Skills Gap Through the Lens of the Changing Manufacturing Industry

The skills gap is a phenomenon that has frequently dominated conversations surrounding the manufacturing industry in recent years. As the most recent study from Deloitte suggests, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs are expected to open up over the next decade, and about 2 million of those jobs are projected to go unfilled. On July 8, Rachel Abbey McCafferty of Crain’s Cleveland Business published an article that looks at the choices manufacturing businesses could make to solve the problem. The article features the stories of small-to-medium manufacturing firms who are exploring new ways to holistically approach the skills gap and build their workforce. PMA President Roy Hardy is also quoted in the article about his views on the changing manufacturing industry. McCafferty notes the recently successful and better-known approaches to combating the skills gap, like  partnerships with community colleges and other preexisting training programs, as well as working to get students eng

PMA Congratulates Trans-Matic on 50 Years

Fifty years ago, Pat Thompson started a modest metal stamping business in Holland, Michigan.  The enterprise only had two production machines and was the first deep-draw metal stamping company in Western Michigan.  Today, PMA member company Trans-Matic is a global leader in metal stamping with more than 500 employees and facilities in not only Michigan, but Mesa, Arizona, Monterrey, Mexico, and Suzhou, China. Trans-Matic is headed by Pat’s son, P.J. Thompson. Both Pat and P.J. are past PMA chairmen of the board. The elder Thompson was recently interviewed by MLive for the company’s milestone anniversary.   When asked about the history of Trans-Matic, he said, “I'm amazed at how the business has grown.  It is far beyond my mission and far beyond my ambition.  We've just followed the opportunities wherever they led us, and we kept making investments in our people and in our machinery and equipment.” To commemorate 50 years, Trans-Matic hosted a celebration at their headquart

Summertime Provides Unique Ways to Bring Manufacturing to Students

School is out for summer and that means young students have three months ahead of them to spend at camps, day programs and other exciting activities. One community college in Elgin, Illinois, is taking this summer as an opportunity to launch the inaugural season of Manufacturing Camp, a three-day all day summer camp to learn skills like computer-aided design, welding and sheet metal cutting. The Chicago Tribune ran a story on this unique program and how it allows students to explore the manufacturing field during their summer break: Students will be introduced to the inner workings of manufacturing, [and will have the opportunity to] meet with industry professionals to learn more about the various jobs and career paths, and tour a local manufacturing facility.  "Manufacturing Camp is designed to introduce students to the world of manufacturing through a hands-on project made in real shop facilities," said Anne Hauca, dean of workforce development and continuing education

Washington Post Front Page Features the Impact of Tariffs on PMA Board Member Adler

Nearly three months after the President’s announcement of Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, American manufacturers are struggling to compete in a global market. This week, the front page of the Washington Post featured PMA Board Member Bill Adler, president and owner of Stripmatic Products in Cleveland, OH. In the story titled “This Ohio factory thought it could bring U.S. jobs back from China. Then Trump got involved,” David Lynch writes: As steel prices in the United States rise, Adler worries they will pinch his employees’ bonuses and profit-sharing checks. The 25 percent increase in Stripmatic’s sales that he anticipated from the sausage stuffer contract, the $1 million in new factory investment and the 10 new jobs it would have created have evaporated. “If it wasn’t for the increase that came on because of the threat of tariffs, then I honestly believe we’d be supplying these domestically,” Adler said of the machines that pack ground meat into sausage casings. “Thi

Trust Veterans and Service Members to Help Build Your Business

By Major General (ret) Garry Dean I’ve spent thousands of hours as an Air Force fighter pilot on missions supporting our nation and our allies across the globe.  Undeniably, it is exciting and a challenge to be flying at 40,000 feet defending the skies over our friendly forces and citizens on the ground, at times in some of the most heavily defended airspace we could encounter.  Yet, nearly every minute in the air, I was keenly aware that the difference between life and death, or the success of that day’s mission, was the competence, dedication, and teamwork of the men and women in our military supporting me whose expertise and adaptability during complex missions kept me safe and enabled our success. We have the most sophisticated military in the world because all the members of our team are highly trained in their primary roles and other supporting skills, just as I was in my role as an Air Dominance fighter pilot.  Everyone performed their jobs with excellence to keep me

Small Manufacturers Start to Feel the Impacts of President Trump’s Section 232 Steel Tariffs

On May 1 at 9:00 p.m. EDT, the day that country exemptions for the Administration’s Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs were set to expire, President Donald Trump announced an extension period for the exemptions of 30 days. Despite this action, the American manufacturing industry is still faced with higher steel and aluminum costs, extended lead times, and a sense of uncertainty. An article published by Reuters elaborates on the various situations manufacturers now find themselves facing because of these tariffs. Author Rajesh Kumar Singh writes: The steel and aluminum import tariffs imposed in March were designed to protect the American industries and its workers from global overcapacity and unfair trade practices. Trump justified the measure saying protecting the industries was important to the country’s national security. He argued that the tariffs would re-open closed mills, sustain a skilled workforce, and maintain or increase production. But the tariffs, which came into

PMA Recognizes its Volunteer Leaders

For any organization to not only survive 75 years, but to prosper while doing so is quite an achievement and is truly a testament to the commitment and dedication of its people.  In the case of a trade association, those people are the volunteers who have served in leadership, and PMA has been blessed to have so many step forward over the years to fulfill that need. Our 75-year anniversary is a perfect time to publicly recognize the efforts of all of our volunteer leaders. PMA commissioned artist Mark Brabant to create a work of art—“Forming Value”—that not only says thank you, but, also, in a picture tells the story of how volunteer leaders historically have brought value to the organization and will continue to do so into the future. The piece’s central theme is the “working hands,” representing all PMA members that have in the past and into the future continue to diligently work together to “add value” to the metal coil that ties our industry together. The hands are multi

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