June Shipments Down Seasonally But Positive Year over Year

July 23, 2014

The PMPA Business Trends Index for June 2014 declined 8 points to 120. This is the same pattern that we reported in May-June 2013.

We are not alarmed at this drop because the value of 120 for June 2014 is 3 points above the average for calendar year 2013 (117) and 5 points above the 115 value for June 2013.

Seasonal change remains up over 2013.

Seasonal change remains up over 2013.


  • The number of respondents for June is 83- back to our pre-online system migration levels.
  • Our industry continues to show solid sales in 2014.
  • Sentiment for all indicators turned positive in this month’s reporting.

We are especially pleased to see the expectations for Lead times swing from last month’s negative 10% to +10%- a 20 point increase for June 2014.

Note about participation: The number of respondents for June is 83- back to our pre-online system migration levels. 

Link to full report here

It Takes a Factory to Make a Manufacturer

July 16, 2014

How can you call yourself a manufacturer if you don’t manufacture anything?

If they don't really manufacture, why should we call them manufacturers?

If they don’t really manufacture, why should we call them manufacturers?

The Economic Classification Policy Committee (ECPC) of the Census Bureau is considering changing the definition of manufacturing to include “Factoryless Goods Producers” (FGP’s) as part of an update to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 2017.

They say “A factoryless Goods Producer (FGP) establishment outsources all of the transformation steps traditionally considered manufacturing (i.e., the actual physical chemical or mechanical transformation of inputs into new outputs), but undertakes all of the entrepreneurial steps and arranges for all required capital, labor, and material inputs required to make a good.” Factoryless Goods Producer Fact Sheet

Buying stuff from other manufacturers isn’t manufacturing, it’s wholesale trade.

If an establishment doesn’t actually manufacture something, why should it be classified as a manufacturer?

If a company doesn’t have a factory and means of transforming inputs into goods, why should that be classified as manufacturing?

If a firm doesn’t employ workers to transform inputs into finished goods, why is that manufacturing?

We submitted our comments on this issue.

You can too go to http://www.regulations.gov then

  • Type in “NAICS for 2017″ in quotes in the  search box labeled ‘Rules, Comments, Adjudications or Supporting Documents’
  • Click search;
  • Click the Comment Now!
  • Follow instructions for submitting your comments.

There are many reasons to oppose the creation of a type of manufactuirer called a Factoryless Goods producer. I put a bunch of them in my comments.

But you only have to ask one logical question, really- How can you call yourself a manufacturer if you don’t manufacture anything?

And how does that help create statistics we can use if manufacturer no longer means “company that manufactures?”

 Photo credit:

We’ve covered this before:




OSHA Temporary Citation Policy Electrical Power Standard

July 9, 2014

On June 20th, OSHA published a memorandum to Regional Administrators outlining its temporary enforcement policy for 29 CFR 1910.137(b) and 1910.269; and 29 CFR 1926.97(b) and Subpart V

29 CFR 1910.137(b) and 1910.269 are for general industry.

29 CFR 1926.97(b) and Subpart V are construction standards.

This subject of electrical protection is in keeping with all of the attention that Arc-Flash seems to have at OSHA these days.

OSHA Arc-Flash Interpretation


Here is the text of the OSHA Temporary Citation Policy memorandum:

June 20,2014

SUBJECT: Temporary citation policy for
29 CFR 1910.137(b) and 1910.269; and
29 CFR 1926.97 and Subpart V

The purpose of this memorandum is to establish a temporary enforcement policy for: 29 CFR 1910.137(b) and 1910.269; and 29 CFR 1926.97(b) and Subpart V. On April 11, 2014, OSHA promulgated a final rule revising the general industry and construction standards for work on electric power generation, transmission and distribution installations and for electrical protective equipment. The new standards become effective on July 10, 2014, although some provisions have compliance deadlines in 2015. For enforcement purposes, OSHA has determined that it will accept compliance with the prior version of 29 CFR 1910.269 (i.e., the version of that standard that was in effect on April 11, 2014) as compliance with revised 29 CFR 1910.269 and 29 CFR 1926, Subpart V until October 31, 2014. OSHA will also delay enforcement of paragraph (b) of revised 29 CFR 1910.137 and paragraph (b) of 29 CFR 1926.97 until October 31, 2014.

Therefore, beginning July 10, 2014, and continuing through October 31, 2014, the following policy applies:

  • no citations will be issued under 29 CFR 1910.269 or 1926, Subpart V to employers who are in compliance with the version of 29 CFR 1910.269 that was in effect on April 11, 2014, and
  • no citations will be issued under 29 CFR 1910.137(b) or 29 CFR 1926.97(b).

Paragraphs (a) and (c) of 29 CFR 1910.137 and 29 CFR 1926.97 become effective and enforceable on July 10, 2014 and are not affected by this policy. If, on or after July 10, 2014, an Area Director determines that an employer is not in compliance with the prior version of 29 CFR 1910.269, citations may be issued, as appropriate, for violations of any effective and applicable provision of revised 29 CFR 1910.269 and 29 CFR 1926, Subpart V. Any citation proposed to be issued under this temporary enforcement policy shall be forwarded to the Directorate of Enforcement Programs or the Directorate of Construction, as appropriate, through the Regional Office for clearance, which will include review by attorneys in the OSH Division of the Solicitor’s Office. Note that for purposes of this policy, employers engaged in construction work will be deemed in compliance with the prior version of 29 CFR 1910.269 only to the extent they are also in compliance with 29 CFR 1926, Subpart M requirements as they apply to fall protection in aerial lifts.

Please share this information with the State Plans and On-Site Consultation Projects in your region. If you have any questions regarding application of this memorandum in general industry, please contact Art Buchanan in DEP. And if you have questions related to application of this memorandum in construction, please contact Chuck Harvey in DOC.


Micron Manufacturing -Lean Demolition

July 8, 2014

Why I love manufacturing: we get to do cool stuff!

PMPA member company Micron Manufacturing is getting a new Mori Seiki.

The new machine will need some space- so they have to demolish a wall.

How do  Lean Business Expert / Shigeo Shingo Silver award-winning precision machinists demolish a wall?

With Lean Precision and Style of course!

Enjoy the time-lapse video:

Lean Lessons Learned:

  1. Mess is not mandatory for demolition work when you have a plan;
  2. The power of a plan is evident here.
  3. Lean demolition shall now be appended to your ISO scope.
  4. You can see the Culture of Lean in Micron’s work.



June ISM PMI Positive, Bodes Well for Precision Machining Industry

July 1, 2014

Update, The June SAAR for Auto sales is over 17 million: http://www.autonews.com/article/20140701/VIDEO/307019968/autonews-now-sales-hit-17-million-pace?cciid=email-autonews-annow&r=5668G6084245G8Y



“The June PMI® registered 55.3 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from May’s reading of 55.4 percent, indicating expansion in manufacturing for the 13th consecutive month. The New Orders Index registered 58.9 percent, an increase of 2 percentage points from the 56.9 percent reading in May, indicating growth in new orders for the 13th consecutive month. The Production Index registered 60 percent, 1 percentage point below the May reading of 61 percent. Employment grew for the 12th consecutive month, registering 52.8 percent, the same level of growth as reported in May. Inventories of raw materials remained at 53 percent, the same reading as reported in both May and April. The price of raw materials grew at a slower rate in June, registering 58 percent, down 2 percentage points from May.”

-Bradley J. Holcomb, ISM link

Graph courtesy Calculated Risk Blog

Graph courtesy Calculated Risk Blog

While the PMI dropped 0.1 from May, and production dropped 1.0% from May, New Orders increased by 2%. New orders that our industry wil lbe producing components for.

Why this is a positive sign for the economy:

“The June PMI® indicates growth for the 61st consecutive month in the overall economy, and indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 13th consecutive month. The past relationship between the PMI® and the overall economy indicates that the average PMI® for January through June (54.0 percent) corresponds to a 3.6 percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) on an annualized basis. In addition, if the PMI® for June (55.3 percent) is annualized, it corresponds to a 4.0 percent increase in real GDP annually.”

15 markets reported growth in June:  Furniture & Related Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Machinery; Fabricated Metal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Transportation Equipment; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Wood Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Petroleum & Coal Products; Primary Metals; and Paper Products. We have highlighted those served by precision machining industry in Boldface Type.

On a related note, we see that North American Auto sales rate has remained over 16 million for two months now.  Calculated Risk Blog

Automotive is one of the Precision Machining Industry’s most heavily served markets.

The June ISM PMI report bodes well indeed.

Time to Review the Precautions for Heat Stress

July 1, 2014

I was reminded of the possibility of heat stress  in our shops when I started the car the other day.

107 degrees copy

Early in my career in the blast furnace casthouse and on the ore docks staying safe from the effects of high heat was a daily event.

On top of the coke plant batteries it was a minute by minute struggle.

While we do not face these same levels of heat in our precision machining shops per se,  the summer can bring high, unaccustomed temperatures. Temps of over  100 degrees are easily attained in places with high solar gain and stagnant air.

Unloading trucks outside or doing external work on roofs or even landscaping can put even the most fit worker into some form of heat stress if precautions have not been taken.

Here is the OSHA pocket card for Heat Stress Awareness

Click here for link to the PDF



Industrial Press Engineers Precision Data Pocket Guide

June 30, 2014

I am a fan of Lean, but the amount of fundamental data that Industrial Press has packed into this shirt pocket guide amazed me and will amaze you too!

Buy this book!

Buy this book!

Not only the math, geometry and trig functions that you would expect, but also the  letter addresses used in Numerical control, G code addresses,  and M codes for miscellaneous functions.

  • Drawing standards for ASME and ISO.
  • Conversion factors. Inch to metric. Metric to English. Fractional to decimal. Hardness  Scales conversion
  • Surface texture produced by common production methods,
  • ISO fits and nomenclature  for holes and shafts.
  • Screw and screw thread data.
  • Sample Calculations for Milling, Drilling and Turning.

Bonus content as far as I’m concerned:

Two illustrated pages on sine bar and dovetail slide measurement and calculation.

At $19.95 a copy, this reference could solve 80% of your shop floor and engineering estimating reference needs- Wand avoid getting carpal tunnel from trying to ” one hand” your usual “reference.’

Well done Steve Heather and Industrial Press.

72 pages, illustrated, ISBN 978-0-8311-3496-9, $19.95

Link to purchase


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 82 other followers