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

Next-shoring: Your Manufacturing Future?

The rapid pace of change in a few key areas has reshaped manufacturing strategy.  New developments have led to “next-shoring”, which means locating suppliers and manufacturing facilities near to locations where both customers are as well as sources for innovation.  Innovation, according to most sources, occurs most easily when manufacturing is nearby.  And this became one shortcoming of offshoring. In the recent past, locating manufacturing in low labor cost countries was a high priority.  Recently,… Read More

US Manufacturing Jobs (and more)—Then and Now

There’s a lot of political noise lately about jobs and especially manufacturing jobs.  So what’s realistic and what’s the story with all this?  We found a couple of articles that provide clues (links at the end). Most of us involved in manufacturing know of the good old days when the US was king of the world, manufacturing jobs were plentiful and paid well with generous benefits.  All that was due in large part to the… Read More

Complex Sourcing Project (in process)

For over 10 years we have been interested in obtaining government contracts for manufactured parts or even products. After all, given we have a large and varied network of custom manufacturers, we should be a desireable connection for contracts.   Now we are in the midst of a significant government contract for a multi-year and multi-million dollar project. This work is a good example of the sort of thing we do. Perhaps it would fit… Read More

iPhones made in the US? Maybe so!

The new administration seems focused on bringing manufacturing back to the US and keeping companies from moving offshore. The keys for manufacturing success in the US are, above all, a prosperous buying population. We also have a good transportation system, abundant and cheap energy, and a very productive work force (if we can continue to find good workers!). There are lots of things that can be done to improve these factors, not to mention tax… Read More

Reshoring: An update

The 2016 presidential campaigning contained a great deal of commentary about bringing jobs back to the US; manufacturing jobs in particular. Harry Moser, the president of the Reshoring Initiative wrote a lengthy article in late October, “Reshoring: The Trend from Globalization To…” which gives an excellent update on the United States’ reshoring situation. This is a summary of that article: “One of the hottest topics in the election campaign has been the offshoring of jobs and whether… Read More

3D Metal Printing-A Primer

3D printing continues to advance as a viable manufacturing option.  From SLA to laser sintering/melting techniques, it is now possible to create a working part from a very wide variety of materials.  3D printed metal parts/products is growing rapidly, particularly in those industries where products are very complex and have limited quantities. If you foresee 3D printing of metal parts, this article is intended as only a very brief introduction to a complicated subject.  If… Read More