Quality Quote

October 10, 2018

No spec, no quality. Know Spec, know quality.

Quality means compliance with all terms of the specification.

Know the specification!

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August Precision Machining Sales Reclaims Record!

September 26, 2018

PMPA Business Trends Report reclaims all-time record high of 143 in August. March 2018 was the first time that our sales index recorded such strong sales.

Precision machining Industry Sales and shipments back up to March 2018’s record levels!

Eighty percent (80%) of  our respondents reported sales increases,  51 percent of shops reporting reported sales increases in the double digits.

Sentiment indicators remain strong.

Very positive look forward next three months.

 

Our markets and businesses have changed- have we as managers kept up?

If this was a control chart, you would say the process has shifted upwards…

How are you managing differently for success rather than survival?


August ISM PMI- Highest Reading Since January 2004

September 5, 2018

The ISM PMI was reported at 61.3, the highest reading since January 2004, when it was 60.8.

Prior to that the ISM PMI has not been at this level since 1984, when it was 61.3 in February,  in 1987 it made it to 61.0 in December.

It has been a long time since the ISM PMI was at today’s levels!

Here is the ISM’s Announcement:

“The August PMI® registered 61.3 percent, an increase of 3.2 percentage points from the July reading of 58.1 percent. The New Orders Index registered 65.1 percent, an increase of 4.9 percentage points from the July reading of 60.2 percent. The Production Index registered 63.3 percent, a 4.8-percentage point increase compared to the July reading of 58.5 percent. The Employment Index registered 58.5 percent, an increase of 2 percentage points from the July reading of 56.5 percent. The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 64.5 percent, a 2.4-percentage point increase from the July reading of 62.1 percent. The Inventories Index registered 55.4 percent, an increase of 2.1 percentage points from the July reading of 53.3 percent. The Prices Index registered 72.1 percent in August, a 1.1-percentage point decrease from the July reading of 73.2 percent, indicating higher raw materials prices for the 30th consecutive month.” ISM Timothy R. Fiore Press Release

Positive Takeaways:

  1. Manufacturing continues to expand. the 3.2 point jump from July to August was a substantial increase.
  2. The overall economy continues to expand- 112 consecutive months of economic expansion.
  3. The increases from July to August were especially robust for New Orders (up 4.9%); and Production (up 4.8%).
  4. Other indicators for employment, inventories, supplier deliveries  increased on the order of 2% or more.
  5. The Prices Index fell 1.1 percent in August from July, but still showed increasing costs for raw materials, for the 30th consecutive month.

Thoughts to consider: while past performance is no assurance of future performance, we note that the current level of the PMI has been of prior high water marks,  rather than sustainable levels. While “this time it’s different,” is a possible comment, our look at the graph above suggests that we may be nearing the top. Although the values for the 1964-1966 do provide another possible interpretation.

Bottom line: Manufacturing and the broad economy showed remarkable strength in August 2018. Prospects remain positive for sales and employment in manufacturing. The current strong level of performance convinces me that we must be thoughtfully reconsidering all aspects of our business at this time. This trend might have legs- it might also be nearing a top. PMPA’s Latest Business Trend Report was optimistic on Outlook for the next three months.

ISM August 2018

Graph courtesy Calculated Risk


New REACH Status for Lead- PMPA Members Know How to Respond

August 29, 2018

 

On June 21, 2018, the ECHA added Lead to the Candidate List for Substances of Very High Concern under REACH.

Not banned in every application…

While this regulation arguably covers only manufacturers and importers in the EU, the fact of the matter is that  our shops here in North America are producing components (articles) which are incorporated into products in the EU.

Our customers, who specify the use of leaded materials because of the economics of product provision (Leaded materials machine at much higher efficiency rates, lower costs , and seldom need post fabrication operations) are now asking their suppliers for a statement of compliance for the materials that THEY specify us to make THEIR components from. Leaded Steels, Brasses and Aluminums.

Our shops find themselves placed right in the center of a paradox-  how can they certify that the material that their customer told them to use is compliant with this new REACH development?

PMPA has analyzed this and provided our members with a guidance document that

  • Recites the applicable facts and regulatory obligations
  • Describes where and where not the REACH and other EU regulations apply / might not aply;
  • Analyzes the duties to our customers
  • Describes ways to meet our obligations
  • Provides references for understanding this new development

The world of Precision Machining is characterized by Volatility (this regulation just Arrived), Uncertainty (does this apply to me, I’m an North American, not European manufacturer?) Complexity ( So I need to read the ECHA announcement, The ECHA Substance Support Document, the Annex that covers Lead,  and then two more annexes that tell me what I need to do) before I can figure out what I need to do, and Ambiguity (Actually the annexes do not expressly state what the exact deliverable  required is).

This VUCA world is made manageable by  PMPA regulatory sensemaking  to help our shops  first recognize, then intelligently understand and manage their risk.

  • Who is helping you and your team recognize new regulatory risks?
  • Who is helping you to understand those risks?
  • Who is providing answers so that you can concentrate on making those critical parts that the world needs, instead of spending three or four man-Days trying to figure it out? (Presuming that you know the issue even exists!)

PMPA members know who.

PMPA!

PMPA Members Only Guidance Document


Precision Machining Shops in High Gear in June 2018

July 25, 2018

“With 84 companies responding, the PMPA Business Trends Index for June 2018 held steady at 138, highest June on
record and tied with May 2018. The calendar year average remains 136. The 2018 June index of 138 is 2.2% higher
than June 2017’s 135 value. This is our Index’s highest value recorded for June, and is our second highest value ever
recorded (March 2018’s 143 was the highest ever).”- PMPA Business Trends Report- June 2018

2018 continues to set a blistering pace for the performance and sentiment indicators that we
track. June 2018 is now our second highest sales Index ever- tied with May 2018- while March 2018 was our all-time
high. Our forward- looking indicators remain strongly positive even as they reflect some softening from our current record
levels of performance. Our industry continues to outperform 5-year averages by a wide margin- ~10.4% for June!

See the full report here: https://www.pmpa.org/news/latest-news/2018/07/24/pmpa-business-trends-june-2018

 

Employment prospects are 98% positive In precision machining shops!

P.S- Employment Sentiment: Prospects for employment are positive and strengthening with ninety-eight percent (98%)
expecting level or increased opportunities for employment!

photo credit: Life of Dad blog

 


United States Department of Commerce Section 232 Exclusion Requests Tracking

July 11, 2018

In case you were wondering how well the US Department of Commerce is taking care of the exclusion requests by American Metalworking companies, here’s some data.

 

0ver 98.9% of all requests for exclusions remain unprocessed!

Requests for exclusions for both steel and aluminum have less than a half of a percent chance of being approved- 0.35% for steel and 0.47% for aluminum.

Where else but government is this level of performance tolerated?

We will update this from time to time.

 


PMPA Business Trends Index for MAY 2018- Second Highest Value EVER!

June 28, 2018

PMPA Business Trends Sales Index for May climbed to its second highest value ever as forward looking indicators for Sales, Lead Time, Employment and Profitability softened but remained positive.

Second only to the value for March 2018!

Our year to date average is 136, up 11 points or 8.8% over 2017’s year-end average of 125.

We are at 106% of where we were a year ago in May.

The FED reported that Industrial Production (IP) Industrial Production edged down 0.1 percent in May after rising
0.9 percent in April. Manufacturing production fell 0.7 percent in May, largely because truck assemblies were disrupted by
a major fire at a parts supplier. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, factory output moved down 0.2 percent.”

Our industry is clearly outperforming IP- they cannot make it until we produce the precision components needed.

The sentiment indicators while lower, still remain in positive territory, and are likely based on the realization that the summer is typically less demanding than the first quarter.

Full report available HERE