News

Climate Change? Global Warming? We Have Questions

If you are confused by all the projections and claims from the climate changers, welcome to the club.  We read a few things recently, and so here’s a newsletter far from the beaten path of manufacturing OEM suppliers. For more than 20 years we’ve been bombarded with alarming predictions from all manner of famous and not-so-famous people, including prominent politicians from Al Gore to AOC.  The basic message has something to do with elevated greenhouse… Read More


Rare Earths: Once Again With Feeling!

”Chinese state media is now suggesting that rare earth (17 elements that serve as key components in devices ranging from defense weapons, lasers, hi-tech smartphones and cameras to flat-screen televisions and computers) exports to the US could be cut in retaliation for American measures sparking fear among manufacturers.  If Beijing chooses to make good on these threats, the impact on US manufacturers could be disastrous”. Rare earths are present and critical in such vital items… Read More


Durable Goods and the US Economy

Last newsletter we wrote about the general state of the economy, which noted overall positive factors, but weakness in durable goods.  Since durable goods manufacturing is the area of our greatest interest, we thought we would probe further. Durable goods orders and the Institute for Supply Management’s PMI seemed like two appropriate measures for something as complex and inscrutable as economic forecasts.  We seek something useful that’s understandable by normal people. Since we’re looking at durable… Read More


Economic forecast for Manufacturers: Free Presentation

The Cincinnati CPA firm Barnes Dennig has a special emphasis on manufacturing.   On November 7, 2018, 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.  It’s free, too! Mr. Beaulieu’s company is ITR Economics which claims to be the oldest, privately-held, continuously operating economic research and consulting firm in the United States.  Their value proposition is… Read More


Immigration — Is there any sane opinion?

After reading yet another rant on this subject, we think some commentary might be appropriate.  We’ll take a break from supplier-buyer issues this edition. Over the past year or two, we’ve all been subjected to noisy comments on sanctuary cities, refugees, amnesty, path to citizenship, family separation, DACA, border walls, chain migration, open borders, and who knows how many other subjects related to immigration.  It appears we are expected to consider each of these subjects… Read More


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 the… 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