Several years ago a Business Leader Post article recommended visiting suppliers as often as feasibly possible. The main reasons appear to be relationship building and the opportunity to discuss cost/scrap/quality and other production details that may be problematic. Proficient Sourcing’s business is finding excellent sources for your manufacturing needs (mostly metal and plastic machining/fab work). To fully appreciate what a supplier can contribute to your business, a visit to the facility making your items can be… Read More
Energy Policy Affects US Manufacturing Competitiveness
Cheap and abundant energy is one factor that has helped the US manufacturing competitive position relative to global alternatives. Reshoring has been enhanced by that very factor. Over the past year we have all seen a number of factors influencing that position. It’s not clear who’s gaining or losing, other than apparently Russia’s oil and gas revenue has not changed much. Or perhaps that’s not true. It’s difficult to sort out the wheat from the… Read More
Data Presentations: Beware Of What You See
Many years ago we found a 1954 publication, How to Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff. There were a number of useful thoughts in this book, which was an introductory presentation of how to use, and abuse, statistical data. This ssubject is important enough to warrant another article. All of us are subject to statistical presentations that may tell a distorted story. Beware! If you are at all attentive to graphs, charts, and related presentations you are… Read More
Supply Chain Problems: Just the Beginning?
The past year has witnessed all manner of economic disruptions due to supply chain problems. We have seen how these problems have interrupted and delayed manufacturing supply systems, and possibly given reshoring efforts an unexpected boost. Manufacturing over the past 50 years or so has required ever more sophisticated and complex use of new minerals to produce defense systems, computers and other electronic devices, exotic superalloys are now needed for many specialized purposes. Among others,… Read More
Labor Shortage Solutions – Out of the Box!
Just about every day we hear news of labor shortages in this business or that business, and seemingly everywhere. Is there a retail business or fast food restaurant, or any restaurant for that matter, that’s not seeking employees? There are some unorthodox steps available to some businesses, and many of these are things we have direct experience in times past. Some were quite successful! When we attended a retirement party at a very large corporation,… Read More
Chips for United States
Big current news stories summarize nicely the economic effect caused by semiconductor chip shortages. The big stories were car prices skyrocket and Intel, once the world’s #1 chip producer, is building an enormous chip factory near Columbus, OH. Here’s the Reuters story on that: Jan 21 (Reuters) – “Intel Corp said on Friday it would invest up to $100 billion to build potentially the world’s largest chip-making complex in Ohio, looking to boost capacity as… Read More
Inclusive Economic Growth via Manufacturing?
A McKinsey & Company article of Jan 12, 2022 is labeled as part of the Davos Agenda. This alone gives us pause. Do you trust the Davos crowd for sound advice? Please let us know your view on this subject. In any case, among other things, this McKinsey author bemoans the decline of US manufacturing, as it’s driven inequality and hurt its global competitiveness. Further, revitalizing manufacturing could add lots of well-paying jobs with digitization… Read More
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