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Manufacturing forecast: Sunny days ahead

April 12, 2013

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Is current economic news making you unenthusiastic about the rest of this year and 2014? The editors at The Kiplinger Letter say not to fret. Manufacturing's future in the U.S. appears to be pretty good in the near term. In the early April newsletter, editors suggested that, even though...

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Backbone of America deserves a round of beer

April 10, 2013

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As content manager for thefabricator.com, one of my job duties is to moderate comments left for articles on the site. This is an interesting task. Some comments are blatant promotions, complete with links, for companies that want to use this opportunity to hawk their products. While you have to...

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Dysfunction junction

April 5, 2013

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How could the U.S. Congress screw up funding job training programs? Manufacturers need specialized workers, and the unemployed need training for those unfilled positions in manufacturing. Sounds simple, right? Nothing is simple nowadays. In mid-March Republicans in the House of Representatives...

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Hands off the merchandise!

April 4, 2013

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In early March, my colleague Vicki Bell wrote a blog about a common and highly dreaded problem these days: Metal theft. I am sure the main target is copper, which typically fetches more than $3.00 per pound (spot price), and it probably started with stealing plumbing pipe from abandoned buildings....

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A race to the bottom

April 4, 2013

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“Wal Mart is the death knell for small business everywhere they open shop. Wal-Mart is good for small business in the same way amputation is a successful weight-loss program. Wal-Mart is killing America, and if you shopped there this week, here’s hoping the American job you just shipped...

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College basketball and cross-training

March 22, 2013

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'Tis the time of year when people might be secretly paying more attention to NCAA basketball tournament games than work and, in some cases, actually leaving work early to watch the afternoon first-round games. Even though March Madness might sap worker productivity, it still might hold meaning for...

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A decade later, cautious optimism still applies

March 21, 2013

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ManpowerGroup has released its latest Employment Outlook Survey findings, which suggest that employers worldwide are seeking signs of a robust global economy before labor markets are likely to achieve sustainable traction. Despite the recent stock market gains, thought by some to be a barometer...

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American business success: Optimism peppered with pragmatism

March 19, 2013

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So said Don McNeeley, president and COO, Chicago Tube & Iron Co., and professor at Northwestern University, speaking Feb. 27 at The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit in Palm Harbor, Fla. After conversations with various fabricators since then, most tend to agree with him. Business is OK, not...

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Sequestration and job training

March 14, 2013

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You think the skilled worker shortage is bad now? It could get worse. We’re almost two weeks into sequestration, and queued on the chopping block is federal funding for training programs. Last month, the National Skills Coalition released a report: “Disinvesting in the Skills of America’s...

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Time to start planning for additional capacity

March 14, 2013

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Can you expand capacity to the point where you can keep up with OEM customers? If not, you better start pulling together a formal plan. OEM customers aren't going to wait around. "It's getting to the point where we can't work with companies that don't have long-term capacity plans," said Warren...

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Metal fabrication, a people business

March 12, 2013

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In an upcoming print edition of The FABRICATOR, columnist Dick Kallage, principal at KDC & Associates, Barrington, Ill., asks this fundamental question: Why do customers buy from you? As Kallage explains, “the answer often revolves around soft, generalized terms, such as quality, precision,...

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News you can use

March 8, 2013

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Last week more than 100 metal fabricators gathered for The FABRICATOR's Leadership Summit in Palm Harbor, Fla. The conference attendees seemed optimistic as most are in the midst of coping with expanding business opportunities. But with such pressures come concerns. Everyone apparently is looking...

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Not OK to take the metal

March 7, 2013

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I confess. The first thing I read in the free local newspaper that’s tossed in my driveway each Wednesday is the Public Safety section that lists the DUIs, drug arrests, and crime in my community. Fortunately, the latter usually consists of shoplifting and an occasional burglary. Imagine my...

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Fabricators march on despite dysfunction in Washington

March 4, 2013

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What happens when you get more than 150 fabricators from across the country in one room? Ideas start flowing. Unlike three years ago, attendees at The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit this year spoke of expansion and capacity challenges. During a roundtable discussion, one operations manager spoke...

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Americans weigh in on job market and economy

February 27, 2013

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How do you feel about the job market and the economy these days? Positive, negative, mixed? According to a Harris Poll conducted in February, Americans have mixed feelings about the job market and economy, and the majority of us are concerned about covering our expenses this year—all...

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