Energy: A Manufacturing Foundation

Cheap, reliable, handy, and abundant energy has provided a robust competitive advantage for US manufacturing. Over the past couple of years, Congress and the administration now seem driven to promote an emissions free plan. Are initiatives like the Green New Deal helpful overall? We think it’s clear that manufacturing is a highly desirable feature of our country and should be encouraged. As a result, all of us interested in a good manufacturing future in the… Read More

Stuck in a Time Warp?

  In 2014—nearly 8 years ago—we wrote the article below.  It appears the cited article’s website origin is something different now, but overall it seems nothing has really changed.  Do our leaders understand how to help manufacturing? The Manufacturing Institute continues to promote the workforce, and there’s even an Iowa workshop in February to examine how to increase women in manufacturing:  “Join us for a free, in-person STEP Forward networking event focused on how we… Read More

Labor Shortages – Does Anyone Know Why?

Lots of articles and interviews have addressed the subject of US labor shortages, and many causes have been put forward.  But we wonder if any of these make any sense to those of us interested in manufacturing. For the past year or more the shops we know have complained about finding qualified workers, despite paying pretty good wages and benefits.  Since they’re small shops (usually less than $20M annual sales) they don’t compete with the… Read More

Reshoring Your Steel Castings!

With all the obvious supply chain issues at present, and container costs rising by the day, perhaps you should consider reshoring steel castings. We feature a domestic foundry source that’s a specialist supplier of heavy-sectioned, finished steel castings.   This includes mild and alloyed castings ranging from 1000 to 70,000 pounds.  If your interest is tool and/or stainless-steel castings from 500-30,000 pounds, this is the domestic source for your consideration. In addition, this source also features… Read More

Single Sourcing vs Multiple Sources for Custom Manufacturing

Both sides of this issue have emerged in our efforts to help buyers with suitable candidates for manufactured items. We’ve worked both sides—insistence on a sole source as well as finding competitors for a multiple source situation. So we have thoughts on the subject and hope you will offer additional ones in the comments below. First, a single source success story: we were asked to find a sole source for an automotive project. The project… Read More

Tolerances: Anyone Paying Attention?

Here’s a problem we see rarely; never is when we’d prefer to see it.  One contact requested a quote for machined plates that fit together.  The finished item was a machine base, so the parts needed to match up on the edges and various cut-outs needed to match up as well.  Some burnout activity was indicated. Our source, very experienced with fabricating machine bases, noted the specified tolerances would require water jet cuts, as plasma… Read More

RFQ Response Issues

Here at Proficient Sourcing we work very hard to provide buyers seeking new custom manufacturing suppliers with appropriate candidates.  In the development of this potential new relationship, there are many pitfalls which amount to nightmares for both sides.  When a request for quote is issued, several things can happen, and some are problematic, especially when a new supplier candidate is involved.            After all, the buyer seeks a new company with all the attendant… Read More

Plans to Stimulate Manufacturing

There’s a great deal of political talk about manufacturing. “Make in America”, bring manufacturing back, and similar talking points prevail these days. Do politicians of either political party have useful ideas? What seems to make political leaders’ to-do lists are protectionist or just noise to satisfy some special interest group. Some believe our leaders either don’t know what’s going on in manufacturing these days or are stuck in the past, where China’s plants of several… Read More

Trade with China—Time to Change Strategy?

It’s obvious that trade with China is essential to the US economy.  The trade imbalance, tariffs, intellectual property rights, investments in one country by the other, or required partnerships are all cited one way or another as major barriers to commercial peace, fairness, and justification for sanctions.  Does all this make sense?   A September 16, 2021 commentary article in the Carnagie Endowmant for International Peace argues that all these factors are not necessarily etched in stone and can… Read More

Proficient Sourcing Provides Supplier Recommendations

Why call Proficient Sourcing?  Because you need a new supplier for some metal or plastic part or assembly.  You would like a fast answer, and don’t want to deal with new costs. We specialize in providing supplier recommendations.  Usually within a day or two, and sometimes we can offer multiple candidates with excellent credentials. The good news is you pay nothing until you deal directly with the supplier, as we will make that connection as… Read More