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

Work for a big company—big advantage…or not?

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when people sought employment with big firms and stayed with those firms for a career. Then it was believed, and probably rightly so, that salaries and benefits were a big advantage for employment with major companies. It appears that this belief has been relegated to the dustbin of history, probably forever in our view, according to an article from the Wharton School of Business from… Read More

Big Company Profit Growth? Why?

Recently we found a report of profit growth for companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 of nearly 14% in the first quarter of 2017. Given the poor overall economic growth (GDP growth was 0.7% in the first quarter—a 3 year low!), there’s the obvious question of what’s going on here? This report from USA Today (link at the bottom) article says that stronger demand for US goods by foreigners is the reason. What follows… Read More

Minimum Wage: Good Deal…for whom?

Raising the minimum wage appears on the political agenda every now and again.  There are some who believe a major increase in the minimum wage is an important weapon in the inequality battle.   It’s clear the minimum wage, if changed significantly, will have many effects, so what’s the real story? Let’s start with this July 2016 report from Journalist’s Resource: “A 2013 paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, “Revisiting the Minimum Wage-Employment Debate: Throwing… Read More

Trade Agreements – Election Year Fodder

Trade agreements have become a frequently heard subject this election season. Recently, Gov. Kasich (R-OH) appeared in Obama’s White House to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which contradicts the position of his party’s presidential candidate. That’s an unusual move in politics, so just what’s going on here? According to a helpful BBC article from July, 2016, the TPP involves 12 countries: the US, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and… Read More

Truth or… Consequences?

It would seem truth is a very devalued currency these days. We have been struck by the media’s lengthy attention to the apparently stupid antics of Ryan Lochte and his 3 teammates in Rio. For those of you not paying attention to the Olympics and associated events, Lochte, a highly decorated world-class swimmer and 3 teammates were involved what appears to be a late night, perhaps drunken, event involving public urination, damaging a gas station… Read More

Brexit: Who Cares?

Well, maybe you do. In that case, no doubt you’ve been bombarded by news reports covering the gamut from outright economic Armageddon to no big deal. The question here is what does it mean for your procurement situation? Apparently the markets continue to roil, and today (July 8) when I was writing this we saw another news item from Reuters, which in part said “Worries have only intensified since the [Brexit] vote and Fed Governor… 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

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

Economic forecast for Manufacturers

The Cincinnati CPA firm Barnes Dennig has a special emphasis on manufacturing. Occasionally they sponsor presentations, roundtables, and speakers that deal with many manufacturing related subjects. This one below, which we have found particularly good, is free. Next Thursday, November 12, Barnes Dennig and a few other local companies will sponsor a wonderful presentation that features nationally known speaker Alan Beaulieu, who gives a terrific presentation with a very valuable message. Mr. Beaulieu’s company is… Read More