Precision Industry March Sales- New Record

April 22, 2014

The PMPA Business Trends Report for March 2014 hit 129, a new high for the indicator of precision machining industry shipments in US and Canada.

67 companies provided data on shipments as well as first shift hours scheduled and sentiment for three months going forward for sales, profitability, lead times and employment.

129 is a new record for shipments.

129 is a new record for shipments.

“The March 2014 PMPA Business Trends Report shows that our precision machining industry has reached a record level of shipments, but sentiments softened across all areas that we measure. While we show positive levels of hours worked, shipments, overtime and profitability, each of these indicators has softened to a less bullish level than in January and February. Our indicators suggest perhaps moderation in demand for our products in the months ahead.”

Read the full report here

Workforce Training- Solving the Skills Shortage Problem

April 15, 2014

PMPA member  North Easton Machine Company Incorporated  is taking an active role in solving the skilled workforce issues it faces. Jon Holbrook announced last week that North Easton Machine will be receiving $41,500 to help train 25 employees and create job opportunities for 4 additional staff over the next two years. This project is funded by a Workforce Training Fund grant through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The grant program is administered by the Commonwealth Corporation.

Today's technologies require today's skills!

Today’s technologies require today’s skills!

North Easton Machine Company is receiving one of sixty-six training grants awarded by the State of Massachusetts. The grants cover  employers with training for a combined 4,631 employees and the creation of 453 jobs over the course of the next two years. About North Easton Machine Co. North Easton Machine Company, Inc. an ISO 9001 certified contract manufacturer providing precision screw machine, turned, and milled parts to engineers and purchasers from a wide variety of markets. Founded in 1964, by Donald Holbrook, in the garage of his family’s home, today the business is housed in a 15,000 square foot facility. North Easton Machine Company is a state of the art CNC turning and milling company. NEM IMG_7045 North Easton Machine utilizes the latest CNC Swiss, CNC Lathe, and CNC Milling machines for superior speed, precision, and versatility. North Easton Machine proudly serves the bio-medical, microwave, high-tech, musical and electronic industries, among others, with an emphasis on high quality products and exceptional customer service. PMPA members are actively engaging their communities to try to solve the skills gap. For info on skills training in your area,  check out the PMPA Comprehensive Job Training Database

Conflict Minerals Rule Violates Free Speech- D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

April 14, 2014

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the SEC Conflict minerals rule violates first amendment rights to free speech.

PMPA was an amicus party on the original filing.

Violates petitioner's first amendment rights.

Violates petitioner’s first amendment rights.









We will  keep you apprised as new developments emerge.



Manufacturing is Turning Grey- Aging Population of US Manufacturing

April 3, 2014

Guest post by Frances Brunelle, at Accelerated Buy Sell Blog

I was really impressed with her thinking- and the fact that she offers a solution.

machinist acceleratedLast week I attended the quarterly meeting of the NJTMA.  The new president of the association, Mr. Alan Haveson, asked the audience by a show of hands, how many were in need of skilled workers.  Almost every hand in the room went up.  As I looked around the room, I noticed that a majority of the business owners were sporting grey, salt & pepper or white hair.  Mr. Haveson went on to talk about the responsibility to transfer knowledge to the next generation before it’s too late.  That night I enjoyed catching up with some of my long time customers.   They all talked about how hard it is to find good qualified machinists.  For a few seconds I wondered how the industry got itself into this position.  I answered my own question in my head because I’ve read enough books, authored enough articles and been entrenched in the industry long enough to know.

This didn’t happen over night.   It was slow and steady.  It happened one student at a time, being told that manufacturing was not a worthy profession.  It happened in almost every high school across the country, as guidance counselors encouraged other types of careers.

We, as a society, allowed the image of US manufacturing to be tarnished.

We didn’t speak up.  We didn’t allow our voices to be heard.   We allowed our collective paradigm to shift away from the idea that making things here at home is a good and worthy profession.  When did graduating college with a mountain of debt and a degree for something for which one can’t find a job become the norm?

The whole situation reminds me of the story of how DeBeers altered the way many nations looked at diamond engagement rings over skilled workersthe course of a generation.  In 1967 only about 5% of Japanese women sported a diamond engagement ring.  In 1981 the figure rose to about 60%.  How did DeBeers accomplish this?  The same way they did in every other country, through advertising.  Through relentless advertising over multiple media, the rare became the norm and a new paradigm was created for the furtherance of the company’s bottom line. 

Are you asking what diamonds have to do with a generation of US students rejecting manufacturing as a viable career?   Was this rejection the paradigm of generations past?  Of course not!  It was slow and steady encouragement and “advertising,” by an industry that would make more money based on student’s choices.   Before I inspire a bunch of hate mail, I am NOT saying that traditional four-year colleges are bad.  What I’m saying is that we all must keep in mind that the secondary education system is a business that seeks its own perpetuation.   Colleges are a business just like DeBeers that have a vested interest in an entire population viewing what they provide as an absolute must.  I think that it’s smart to question the “norms” in society.  Don’t think so?   Where are the jobs today?  How many folks do you know have their adult children living with them, because they can’t find employment after college?  How fast would these kids find a job if they knew how to program a CNC machining center?

skilled workersSo how do we fix this?  We didn’t get here over night, and this won’t be fixed overnight.   But it can be a slow and steady storm.  An army of people who work in manufacturing and supporting industries speaking, writing, advertising and advocating for the industry.  It starts with people like Al Haveson challenging the membership of a State Manufacturing Association to do their part to pass the baton to the next generation.  It starts with folks like Anthony LaMastra, former president of the same association, working hard to get a regional manufacturing training center in our state.  It starts with apprenticeship programs around the country.  It starts with people like Gene Haas making generous donations of machining centers to manufacturing educational programs throughout the country. It starts with other machine tool builders following Mr. Haas’s lead.  It starts with people like you going to your son or daughters school to talk about how cool it is to MAKE things.

So many MILLIONS of great minds within the manufacturing community will retire in the next 10-20 years.  What can you do to give back after you retire?  Will you be a volunteer, a mentor or a writer?  How will you help champion the industry once you retire?  What would result if this conversation happens at EVERY state manufacturing association?  What if it happens at a national level?

What happens if we go “DeBeers” on an entire generation of young people to champion US manufacturing? 

We wouldn’t just save our industry; we’d save our economy and perhaps our nation.  I will do my part….will you?

Original post here

Accelerated Buy Sell Home Page


Safety First- Do as I Say Department

April 2, 2014

I really get annoyed when people tell me to do as they say, rather than as they do.

How about demonstrating leadership behaviors that show us that you are serious?

How many violations can you find in this gem?

How many violations can you find in this gem?

It is incumbent on all of us to commit to a safer workplace. That means leadership by example. If you wear your PPE out in the shop, your employees will get the message that  wearing PPE  is important for them too.

As for the safety culture at wherever this photo was taken, well, lets just say that “I’m glad my son or daughter do not work there.”

Please do not try to stage photos like this for fun. but if you have a favorite “Don’t do as I do” Safety Photo, I’d love to share it with our readers.



ISM PMI Increases Slightly in March 2014

April 1, 2014

The Institute for Supply Management’s report on PMI (Purchasing manager’s Index) for March 2014 shows the index increasing from 53.2 to 53.7.

ISMMar2014The index remains above 50, indicating a growing economy, and more growth in March than February. This is the tenth consecutive month of expansion in manufacturing according to the index.

However the PMI did not meet the 54.0 consensus forecast. This slower than expected growth in the PMI does not support the theory going around that it was “just the weather” suppressing  February activity.

The March report showed slowing labor demand- the ISM employment index dropped to 51.1 from 52.3 in February.  This is contrary to PMPA’s Monthly survey for employment which remains strongly positive for employment prospects in our shops.

PMPA’s February Business Trends Report showed that our precision machining industry is maintaining  strong sales (with expected monthly variability) and positive prospects going into calendar year 2014. Positive levels of hours worked, shipments, overtime and profitability are great omens for our industry in the quarter ahead. Our indicators show strong prospects for the balance of first quarter 2014.

ISM PMI release

Calculated Risk Chart

Latest PMPA Business Trends





Whatever Happened to “Thou Shalt Not Covet?” – Tax Reform Edition

March 31, 2014

Alan Beaulieu, President and Principal Economist at ITR, recently took a look at the Tax Overhaul Proposal authored by David Camp, Chairman of the House Ways and Means committee. What he reports is chilling for small manufacturers, prospects for employment, and the economy.

Confiscatory may be the "new normal" for small and medium sized businesses.

Confiscatory may be the “new normal” for small and medium sized businesses.


Headline Talking Points: A reduction in the corporate tax rate to 25% and a decrease in the number of personal income tax brackets are what you will hear about.

Those pesky details:

  • This plan would cause significant tax increases to those currently in the 39% bracket.
  • The loss of deductions and a phasing out of the benefit of the lower tax brackets would raise the effective rate to 42% on many higher-income earners.
  • The Brookings Institute states that a slice of America would be taxed at up to 60%.

Is your company a pass through tax entity (ie, not a C-Corp)?

Rep. Camp’s plan would place firms like yours at a significant disadvantage in that it would reach into the business income of these enterprises (income after the deduction for owner’s salaries) and make 70% of that business income subject to payroll taxes.

Does your company have a foreign subsidiary or operations? Double taxation may be in your future. Mr. Camp, and others, wants to reach overseas and claim a piece for Washington, and they not only want to tax income but also brick and motor investments.

What ever happened to “Thou shalt not covet?”

Do the folks in Washington really think that confiscatory taxation of the small to medium sized businesses that are the backbone of US employment and engines for growth will encourage hiring and growth after this plan increases their taxable income by 70%? (These businesses employ one out of every four workers here in the U.S.)

I can’t think of a single way that this so called “reform” will encourage growth here in the US. Maybe the recession of 2007-2009 was just a practice round…

Alan’s ITR Blog 

Confiscatory Taxes and Photo Credit

PMPA has a contract arrangement with ITR Economics for Business Cycle analysis and reporting for our members.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 80 other followers