Hot Off the Press
Business Outlook Bleak, PMA Report Claims
Tuesday, September 03, 2002
The economic forecast for coming months is bleak, reports the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) August 2002 Business Conditions Report. Conducted monthly, the Business Conditions Report is an economic indicator for the manufacturing industry, sampling 191 manufacturing companies. When asked to predict the trend of general economic activity for the next three months, only 27 percent of respondents expected an increase in activity, down one percent from July, and 31 percent from the peak of optimism in March of this year. Respondents felt that the economic slump would continue, as 62 percent predicted no change in current economic conditions, up 13 percent from last month. Eleven percent predicted a further downward turn, a 12-percent decrease from July. These figures indicate that manufacturers expect the economic hardship to remain static over the next three months, but the majority do not predict a further rise or fall in conditions in the near future. A year ago to date, 26 percent felt activity would improve, 55 percent thought it would stay the same and 19 percent foresaw a further dip in economic activity.
While the overall economic forecast remains dismal, optimism about expected incoming orders saw an upswing this month. Forty percent of respondents expected to see an increase in incoming orders during the next three months, up nine percent from July. Forty-six percent projected no change in orders, up one percent from July, and only 14 percent predicted a further decrease over the next three months, a 10-percent decrease from July. A year ago to date, 37 percent expected an increase in orders while 41 percent expected no change and 22 percent expected orders to decrease.
The percentage of companies with workforce on short time or layoff continues to conservatively decline. Only 26 percent of participants reported plant workforce on short time or layoff for the month of August, down three percent from July. This figure compares to 40 percent on short time or layoff one year ago to date.
Eagle Stainless Gains Upgraded ISO Certification
Friday, August 30, 2002
Of the 252 U.S. producers of stainless-steel products with ISO 9000-series certification, only 12 have chosen to upgrade to the optional 9001:2000—Eagle Stainless Tube & Fabrication Inc., Franklin, MA, is one of them. The upgrade to 9001:2000 sets progressive standards that focus on customer satisfaction and continuous improvement, in addition to rigorous quality assurance. To meet certification requirements, companies must evaluate customer satisfaction and demonstrate superior response to customer requests and concerns.
Along with its ISO 9001:2000 certification, Eagle Stainless holds AS 9000 aerospace-industry certification. It’s online at www.eagletube.com
Olson to Expand Mexican Stamping Operations
Friday, August 30, 2002
Olson International Ltd., Lombard, IL, has announced the planned expansion of its progressive-die tool construction and design capabilities in Matamoros, Mexico. Olson International S.A. de C.V., which began operation in 1988, currently operates in a 90,000-sq.-ft. plant providing stamping and assembly capabilities as well as tool construction and maintenance. Ground breaking will soon take place to add another 10,000 sq. ft. of tool-shop space; project completion is slated for first-quarter 2003. The firm is online at www.metalstamper.com