News

What’s a Good Deal in International Trade?

We claim no expertise in international trade, but found an interesting view on the subject in the July, 2015 Modern Metals worth re-issuing.  The author made several points about recent trade deals, and concludes, “the [Obama] administration’s claims about he pure benefits of TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) should be viewed with a great deal of skepticism. With Trump on the trade warpath, and especially concerning trade deficits, we were interested to hear some conservative note that… Read More


2018 — Good Economic News

Industry Week’s January 29, 2018 edition featured an article “State of the Economy: January 2018”. The article uses big picture macro economic statistics, which show optimistic news. It begins with this: “We are off to a positive, yet demure start to 2018. Leading economies are exhibiting slower, but stable growth and the U.S. has followed a similar trend with many manufacturing companies excited for growth due to new tax laws.   The cyclical upswing that is… Read More


Technological Changes Influencing Today’s Supply Chains

“Five technology trends are shaping a future where mobility, integration, complexity, and competition will be the defining characteristics of successful supply chain strategy”. So begins the thought-provoking lead article from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professional’s (CSCMP) Supply Chain Quarterly. This article remains as valid today as when it was published. The Council’s research, supported by Penn State’s Small College of Business’s Center for Supply Chain Research, “identified 5 game-changing technologies and related emerging… Read More


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


Gender Pay Equality — An Update

Workplace gender pay equality (or the lack thereof) is often in the news, so we look for (hopefully) reliable new information. Last December we found something about C-suite equality (http://www.proficientsourcing.com/gender-equality-boardroom-not-much/) and just this week we found another. Our guess is many of you have had experience with salary negotiations during job interviews, so this one may be of particular interest. We hope so. The September 5, 2017, article in the Harvard Business Review, “Why Banning… Read More


Rare Earth Update

We’ve found frequent news about rare earth metals.  Last year there was considerable strategic concern, and we are relieved to learn this is not the only opinion. From the May 05, 2015 tech blog Gizmodo comes this:  “Rare earth elements are hard-to-find metals that we need for batteries, solar cells and electronics. These days, they’re mostly mined and processed in China. But it wasn’t always so. The history of rare earth elements is surprising, and some… Read More