When Did Manufacturing Become a Dirty Word?

November 28, 2012

When Did Manufacturing Become a Dirty Word?

Guest post by Pamela Kan, President of Bishop Wisecarver

The word manufacturing has such negative connotations that it is avoided in marketing educational programs.
What has happened in our country to make our next generation so turned off by the word manufacturing?

  1. Its Dirty.Too many kids and their parents still see manufacturing as a “dirty” job.  This is far from true, especially in the state of California. Environmental, health and safety laws have created clean and safe work environments. Our facilities lead the world.  The rise of lean and continuous improvement cultures have made many manufacturing facilities almost clean enough to eat off the floor (I say this with the five-second rule in mind).
  2. It’s Dumb.Wrong! Manufacturing drives the majority of innovation and R&D investment in our country. Manufactures are leading the way in new technologies and the design and development of products that improve our daily lives and the welfare of people around the world. If you want to be on the cutting edge, then you want a job in manufacturing.
  3. It’s Boring. Images of the Henry Ford assembly line still exist in many minds. We have come a long way, baby! In fact, manufacturers like myselfnow have trouble finding the skilled workforce needed to run the type of state-of-the-art technology machines we now have on our production floors. Making chips fly takes brains and skill.
  4. It’s Cheap.Wrong again! Manufacturing jobs on average pay 20k higher than service sector jobs. Manufacturing jobs are the back bone of a strong middle class.
  5. It’s Dead. Excuse me? When is the world going to stop consuming? Why do we think manufacturing is a thing of the past when we as a nation are the largest consumer of goods in the world? The face of manufacturing may be changing in the US but it is far from dead. Just look at the DYI craze and the rise of the Maker Faire phenomena. Just thinking about the impact that additive manufacturing will have over the next decade is mind blowing.

I am happy to see that both presidential candidates are at least uttering the “M” word. But in my book, neither has really given manufacturing the credit it deserves for the role it plays in a strong US economy.

PMPA certainly agrees that manufacturing is a great career opportunity and shares the concern about not enough people entering the precision machining field. Thanks to Pamela Kan at Bishop Wisecarver for the share.
You can see Pamela’s Original Post here

Industrial Production Index July 2012 Shows Manufacturing in Positive Light

August 16, 2012

Industrial Production (IP) increased 0.6 percent in July after having risen 0.1 percent in both May and June.

This explains manufacturing’s contribution to the U.S. Economy too.

In July, manufacturing output increased 0.5 percent and was 5.0 percent above its year-earlier level. The factory operating rate moved up 0.2 percentage point in July to 77.8 percent, a level 1.0 percentage point below its long-run average.

Capacity utilization for total industry moved up 0.4 percentage point to 79.3 percent, a rate 1.0 percentage point below its long-run (1972–2011) average.

Revisions to the rates of change for recent months left the level of the IP  index in June little changed from its previous estimate. Manufacturing output rose 0.5 percent in July, the same rate of increase as was recorded for June.

At 98.0 percent of its 2007 average, total industrial production in July was 4.4 percent above its year-earlier level.

The production index for durable goods increased 0.8 percent in July.

Gains of more than 1 percent were recorded in

  • Primary metals,
  • Computer and electronic products,
  • Motor vehicles and parts,
  • Aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment,
  • Miscellaneous manufacturing.

Manufacturing  is up 5 % from July 2011 to July 2012. 

Manufacturing continues to be a strength of the U.S. Economy. The U.S. manufactures more than Brazil, Russia, India, and China combined. If U.S. Manufacturing was a country, it would be the sixth largest in the world.

Fred Graph

IP release


What is Manufacturing?

July 31, 2012

There seems to be a lot of confusion these days about manufacturing. As a guy who has worked his entire life in manufacturing, I’d like to eliminate this confusion.

The word “Manufacture” is made up from two Latin Roots “manu” and “factura.”

To make with hands.

Manu” means “by hand”

Factura” is a derivative of “facere” which meant “to perform” or “to do.” Factura means ” a working.”

Those Junior High Latin Classes sure made understanding big words pretty clear.

This was the nurtury of my English vocabulary.

While the linguistic origins of ‘manufacturing’ were “a working, by hand,”  the essence was the creation of something by work into something else. In modern terms, it is  “the conversion of raw materials into finished goods by labor.”

Today, with our abundance of machines, and non-human provided energy,  we define manufacturing as “the use of machines, tools and labor to convert raw materials into finished goods.”

In North America, (for now) Manufacturing is denoted officially by NAICS codes numbering from 31-33 according to BLS.

So what is the confusion about manufacturing?

There is a move afoot to count the foreign production of Factoryless Goods Producers (FGP’s) as ” U.S. Manufacturing.”

Federal Register see part VI

If you don’t actually make something, you aren’t really a manufacturer.

If you don’t make it here, how can you count it here?

-You may be a great designer. Great engineer. Great logistics company. Great sales company.

But if you don’t make what ever it is that you designed, engineer, or sell- it ain’t manufacturing.

So when someone tries to tell you that they are a “factoryless goods producer,” don’t flinch, don’t blink, don’t bat an eye.

And what ever you do don’t call them a liar. (It’s rude to call people liars, even when they are lying.)

Remember her?

Just tell them that they are mistaken, they are an outsourcer, not a manufacturer.

Manufacturers actually make things and often export their products.

Factoryless goods producers don’t make anything themselves.

In some cases however outsourcers EXPORT OUR JOBS.

Tomorrow: What Uncle Sam means when he says Factoryless Goods Producer.


Manufacturing- Good Economic News

November 16, 2011

When I grew up I learned Economics from Uncle Bob.

Uncle Bob had the family farm, and worked as a foreman in the steel mill.

This is the mill Uncle Bob worked in.

Uncle Bob taught me that wealth is created by either growing it , manufacturing it, or mining it. And since he had a working oil/gas well on the farm, he knew of what he spoke.

He grew food and raised livestock on the farm, he manufactured steel in the mill, and he sold the oil from the well and burned the gas for heat.

Then I got to college and saw that the folks with money weren’t working in mills or mines or farms. There was this burgeoning service economy.

Today, I just prepared PMPA’s Business Trends Report for October 2011. It aggregates sales and sentiment data from a little over 80 PMPA members in the U.S..

The Business Trends Indicator flattened a bit- a decline from  a value of 114 last month to 111 this month.

Woe is me- NOT!

The fact of the matter is that the Business Trends Sales Data is up 15% for the year to date. Our average is 115. in 2010 it was 99.

Precision Manufacturing- according to PMPA’s respondents are up 15 percent over last year.

So how does that 15% stack up against the interest rates that those service economy bankers are paying you on your savings, checking and Certificates of deposit? How does 15% compare to how the rest of your investments- real estate, stocks, bonds- are doing?

According to our data, Uncle Bob seems to be right. There are many worse places to be in today’s economy than precision manufacturing.

Congratulations on your great career choice!

Photocredit: Riverrat


Time Lapse Legos- Ford Explorer

October 7, 2011

We’re a fan of manufacturing. Automotive. Legos. Time Lapse.

Cool!

See it being built.

Here’s your Link: Time Lapse Ford Explorer

Photo credit and more.


More Reasons to be Bullish about Manufacturing

August 24, 2011

Forbes Blog nails this one folks!

No questions from me.

According to John Bruner:” In 2010, American manufacturers added value of $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy, up 6.6% over the previous year after accounting for inflation. By the same measure, the rest of the economy grew by 2.2%.

You might not know it from public commentary, but the United States manufactures more than any other country (including China), and U.S. factories are within reach of their all-time greatest output.”

In 2007, the last year for which we were able to find Census Data, 3,296 companies in NAICS 332721, Precision Machining, produced over $15,054,173,000 in shipments.

PMPA’s Business Trends Index for July (historically a seasonally slow month) is 111, justone point off from the average for 2007 our peak year before the recession.

So when you hear all that steamy doom and gloom on those TV shows, well

Instead of listening to the guy behind all that steam and smoke

Just take a look at the data!

 For the full Forbes Blog click here

 

OZ picture


Robots Bring Students Understanding Of Manufacturing

May 5, 2011

Northeastern Ohio’s  Lakeland Community College held a double elimination battlebot competition Saturday, April 31.

PMPA Members  Criterion Tool, Fischer Special Tooling, and Technical Equipment  Company were PMPA member companies sponsoring at the event.

News Herald photo captures the excitement of making things!

Ten  Northeast Ohio high schools fielded teams that built, (REPAIRED!) and battled their robots in the competition.

Twenty-four percent (24%) of employment in Lake County is related to manufacturing.

Competitions like this one help students  develop skills and understanding that will serve them well in all areas of life. Planning, designing, making, solving problems, fixing, redesigning…

While most parents today think of manufacturing  like it was in the  smokestack days of their parents, the students at Saturday’s competition learned that it’s not about punching a time clock or shirking work- its about being part of a team that comes together to design create, and operate real things. We’re pleased that PMPA members are helping a new generation find the joys of manufacturing. Of how it feels to be one of the People Who Make Things

Manufacturing is a vital part of the economy in Lake County and the state of Ohio.

And for 10 teams of high schoolers, its a vital part of understanding a bright future  for themselves.

Thanks to Criterion Tool, Fischer Special Tooling,  Technical Equipment Company, Lakeland College, and all the other sponsors that came together to give these high school students a chance to feel for themselves the joys of manufacturing- building a product, and watching it perform.

Congratulations to the team from Lake Catholic who won the Championship.

See a video on the News Herald site here.