Welcome to the newest monthly newsletter offering from MetalForming magazine and PMA. We hope you find it useful and interesting; please feel free to share your thoughts with us.
This regular column from MetalForming magazine provides an inside look at the management styles and techniques of metal forming and fabricating company executives. We’ll share some of their philosophies, their daily challenges and how they face them, and offer additional insights. We hope that you find these interviews useful and can take away some ideas to use at your own company.
Want to be interviewed for this column? E-mail editorial director Brad Kuvin.
“Based on the work coming in I need to hire another 30 people at all levels in 2021,” Aaron Wiegel, Wiegel Tool Works president, tells MetalForming… “We’re also at the stage where it will be more important to find higher-skilled automation operators. We’ve got 21 robots and will have 30 by the end of the year… It’s clear to me that we need to continue to reduce our manufacturing costs and transfer those savings to help attract, and train, highly skilled people.”
Words of wisdom, and experience, as Wiegel deals with a perfect storm,
if you will, of rapid expansion combined with a severe talent shortage.
“We will double our sales in the next 2 years, and triple in 4 years,” he says. “I can’t manage that growth without having a team in place that I can lean on. So, I am completely hands-off when it comes to our managers running their departments. It took me a long time to step away like this.”
Frustrated over a lack of profitable growth? Before cleaning house by throwing out your salespeople, take a look at Laurie Harbour’s four common symptoms that can lead to poor sales performance, even with stellar salespeople. Here are three:
Galaxy-sized targets, where those preparing quotes are wasting time working on jobs that cannot be won.
Perpendicular perspective, where customers ask for a particularly
challenging product or service that may provide greater profit
potential, but that production may not want to provide.
Misaligned model, where a company’s business model does not allow it to capture those opportunities that provide high growth potential but at an initially low level of demand.
This article is part of a series of monthly articles produced by Harbour Results for the MetalForming Business Edge e-newsletter. View the complete collection.
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Many U.S. manufacturers have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic on solid footing, with research showing that more than half of manufacturing shifts lost in the spring of 2020 have been recovered. However, the skilled-labor shortages prevalent pre-pandemic have only gotten worse. According to a new study commissioned by The Workforce Institute at UKG, Lowell, MA, manufacturers surveyed note that employee lateness (61 percent), short-staffed shifts (58 percent) and last-minute call-offs (55 percent) were common—if not frequent—and the pandemic only made matters worse.
Among survey findings:
Nearly three in five manufacturers (59 percent) experienced “higher-than-average” turnover during the first year of the pandemic—a notable jump from 44 percent the year before.
More manufacturers are empowering employees with mobile technology
at work, allowing employees to use a mobile device to clock into/out of a
shift (38 percent); view and manage timecards, pay statements and
benefits (36 percent); report COVID-19 exposure or quarantine needs to a
manager (34 percent); and automatically swap a shift with a coworker
More than half (54 percent) predict increased investment in
technologies and practices that will help augment the workforce,
including automation, analytics, reskilling and upskilling.
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The Reshoring Initiative’s 2020 Data Report contains data on U.S. reshoring and foreign direct investment (FDI) by companies that have shifted production or sourcing from offshore to the United States. Top takeaways:
In 2020, U.S. reshoring set a record of 109,000 jobs and outpaced
FDI for the first time since 2013. COVID-19 uncertainty has resulted in
companies emphasizing operations in their home countries.
In order to make the United States less vulnerable, there now are
national initiatives to shorten and close supply chain gaps for
essential products. Among the following industries most likely to
benefit: PPE, medical, tech and defense.
The Reshoring Initiative anticipates 2021 reshoring + FDI job announcements to approach 200,000, up by at least 25 percent.
chip-supply constraints likely to persist until third quarter 2021, IHS
Markit has analyzed the short and long-term implications for the
automotive industry, and prepared a white paper titled,Managing the 2021 Automotive Chip Famine.
The semiconductor shortage has highlighted the need for adjustments in
capacity and sourcing patterns between automakers, Tier One suppliers,
semiconductor suppliers and their foundries, say HIS Markit analysts. In
the short term, only industry-wide collaboration can help reduce the
Commenting specifically on the impact the crisis has had in the Americas, Christiane Stein, associate director, global heavy truck research at IHS Markit, writes: “In North America, there are several plant stoppages, reduced line rates and production of unfinished trucks due to the chip shortage. Affected are Daimler (rolling downtime in two medium-duty plants), Volvo Group and PACCAR. Overall, the constraints are less than in the light vehicles business. …The shortage was made worse by special events in March (cold wave in Texas and fire at the Renesas plant in Japan) and will continue throughout the fourth quarter of 2021 in the light vehicle sector. For medium and heavy commercial vehicles, we assume that the OEMs have the potential to recover part of the lost volume in the second half of 2021.”
Metal forming business owners and managers should "know their numbers," but many may not fully understand what to look for, say the folks at BusinessWatch Network, and most importantly, they don’t always know how to act based on their financial results. This webinar, scheduled for June 10 at 1:00 pm EDT, promises to “demystify finance by explaining clearly what the key financial statements mean and how they work and relate to each other.”
Among the topics covered:
The three basic financial statements and how they interact—income statement (profit and loss), balance sheet and cash-flow statement
Understanding cost of goods sold vs. general expenses
Cash vs. accrual
Operational cash flow/forecasting.
MetalForming magazine is the official publication of Precision Metalforming Association.
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