Rare Earths – Continued

If your supply chain includes items involving rare earths, a recent executive order signed by president Trump would be worthy of your attention. According to a Washington Post article from December 20, 2017, “President Trump signed an executive order….instructing his deputies to devise a strategy to reduce the nation’s reliance on critical minerals that are largely imported and used to produce everything from smartphones to weaponry”.  If this means the government is going to take… Read More

Energy — A Ginormous and Vital Political Football

The US is the world’s #2 energy consumer, so it’s important to keep track of energy policy (or the lack thereof) as the new administration takes charge.  Cheap and abundant energy is important for manufacturing’s health, and we look forward to a new positive policy direction. As we contemplate the end of 2017, and wish all of you a very Merry Christmas season and Happy New Year, we find the information on energy both complicated… Read More

Happy With Your Suppliers? If Not, Then What?

There are approximately 25,000 machine shops in the US. When combined with all the other metalworking job shops, there must be on the order of 50,000 such businesses available.  This is the most common type of outsourced manufacturing we work on, so you may be one of those who’s looked for a machine shop, fabricator, spring/wire former, or extruder source in the past 5-10 years.  If so, how’s your decision working out for you?   How… Read More

Supplier Evaluations? A 2-Way Situation

Supplier evaluation is a frequent LinkedIn group discussion.  Since Proficient Sourcing’s business is to help identify appropriate and excellent manufacturing suppliers, these discussions are of particular interest. Our work typically involves generating candidates for new supplier situations.  Evaluation criteria are focused on price and delivery, with an assumption of appropriate quality.  As time moves on, other factors come into play. These other factors include meeting promised dates (all things besides shipments), effective communications, how problems… Read More

Manufacturing: Jobs, Output and % of the US Economy

Every now and then we hear some news report of the decline of manufacturing, loss of jobs, and other related depressing headlines.  Anyone interested in manufacturing is aware this is no longer the 1950’s and manufacturing jobs aren’t as plentiful as they were then—at least in the Rust Belt and other areas of the US.  We found an article that puts all this into some perspective. In the main, there’s a great deal of confusion… Read More

Powdered Metal: Motion Control and Pneumatic Cylinders

We feature several diverse companies that make parts for these applications. Recently we’ve added a new (actually quite experienced one) company to supply powdered metal (P/M) parts. Core competency is sintered bronze impregnated bearings.  These can be impregnated or infiltrated with oil, wax, resin or metal.  The oil will always reside in the bearing and does not require replenishment.  When the shaft spins, the heat generated draws a thin film of oil from within the… Read More

Jobs and the Skills Gap—What To Do?

There’s been a great deal of news about jobs, jobs, jobs lately.   “In June, the Business Roundtable reported half of its members were having difficulty finding applicants with employability skills, like math, the ability to read technical manuals, and complex problem-solving”. Are you concerned about this skills gap?   If so, what to do? “In an article in the Harvard Business Review, Andy Smarick discussed the disruption of computers in numerous industries over the last two… Read More

Clamshell Packaging for Sensitive Goods

If your products require secure packaging for any of several reasons, clamshell packaging could be a good answer.  Proficient Sourcing’s network of manufacturing companies includes at least one that also does packaging.  They specialize in clamshell packaging to protect sensitive products such as food, electronics, and others.  Perhaps your business involves such items—and perhaps clamshell packaging would help you. Why clamshell packaging? It’s secure.  No contamination during processing, shipping and handling and protection against environmental… Read More

Versatile, Creative Metalworking Shop

Perhaps you have some machining or general metalworking project that’s small, poorly defined, and perhaps apparently difficult.  Or you have some on-site machining needed.  Maybe you just want a no-nonsense source for some machining. You are in luck.  We have just the shop for such things. This company is the complete solution for design, machining, welding, painting, finishing and assembly.  Engineers, machinists, and welders are available 24/7 and can be scheduled at your location. Another… Read More

Evaluation of a Potential Supplier: 1.0

A number of procurement consultants’ websites and discussion groups deal with factors that define a good potential supplier and also what are important evaluation factors.  Several things are mentioned most often in addition to price.  This is particularly relevant to Proficient Sourcing, as we are in the business of providing supplier candidates to OEM buyers, and are acutely aware of the need for excellent performance. We posted the question of criteria for selecting new suppliers… Read More