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New product idea-Quirky or not?

July 14, 2010

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When I woke up the other day, I had this idea for a product. Seriously, the perfect name for it came to me immediately. I’m not going to tell you what it is, because I want to do some research and see if it already exists — and also because you might laugh, or steal my idea. And if it doesn’t...

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Who you callin' a protectionist?

July 9, 2010

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If you haven't read this opinion piece by Andy Grove, co-founder of Intel, you should probably check it out. In the editorial, Grove makes the point that the U.S. has outsourced not only tons of jobs to Asia, but also the ability to innovate. He thinks that manufacturing companies that grew and...

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'Now hiring?'

July 8, 2010

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The data continues to pile up, yet the result is inconclusive. Judging by GDP, the broadest measure of an economy’s output, the U.S. economy has been growing since the middle of 2009. The PMI, a manufacturing-related gauge developed by the Institute for Supply Management, has been greater than...

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The thinking worker in manufacturing

July 8, 2010

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The country continues to fret about unemployment. Millions want jobs, and millions of business owners want those people to have jobs so that they’ll buy products. Most business owners, though, don’t want to be the ones hiring. That’s where the government has stepped in. Of course, government...

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Don't worry about the double-dip, worry about the new 'norm'

July 2, 2010

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The talk about the ol' double-dip recession continues. I don't buy it. I think it's just  the Unremarkable Recovery. I don't think that name will stick, but it's probably for the better. It doesn't do much for raising the morale of society. The simple fact remains that consumers aren't spending....

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If you do what you love, you’ll love what you do

July 1, 2010

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Most people would agree that working is an essential part of life, and the U.S. is a country whose citizens live to work. A 2004 study titled "Overworked in America" conducted by the Families and Work Institute found that one-third of U.S. employees were chronically overworked. In the book The...

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Is this the best we can do?

June 30, 2010

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Smartass, Big Ass, dumbass ... Let me begin by saying that the opinion expressed here is solely mine and not to be interpreted as that of my employer and my co-workers or the editorial position of the publications we produce. It's my take on the caliber of some of the elected officials in our...

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Metal fabricators are true knowledge workers

June 28, 2010

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Last week DeWys Mfg., a metal fabricator based in west Michigan, launched a new Web site, and the content of that Web site is worth noting. The contract fabricator is touting its “circle of companies” concept, which is another way to describe the fact that DeWys is a one-stop shop for metal...

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Chinese current events and U.S. manufacturing

June 25, 2010

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My co-worker Tim Heston stole a little of my thunder for this week's blog post with his coverage of China's decision to adopt a more flexible approach to how it values its currency. U.S. manufacturers have been clamoring for years for some shift away from China's currency manipulation, but to no...

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What's old is valuable

June 22, 2010

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On the road again, goin' places that I've already been. Seeing things (and people) that I hope to see again. I'm just glad to be on this road again. This week I'm in Rockford, Ill., home of my employer, the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl.®, the organization behind The...

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Chinese currency and U.S. manufacturing

June 21, 2010

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An international economic chess game just got more interesting, and metal fabricators may one day see the benefits. Today the Chinese currency rose against the dollar 0.42 percent in Asia—not much, but that’s the biggest one-day gain in five years. This came after Chinese officials announced...

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Understanding the cost of ownership

June 17, 2010

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There is a reason that I work for someone else: I don't have that desire to strike out on my own to build a business. The entrepreneurial gene can't be found in my DNA. So when I'm chatting with business owners, I'm doing so with a lot of respect for their accomplishments. If the shoe were on my...

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What do fabricators think of Obama's factory visits?

June 16, 2010

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Much of the media, including The Fabricator Blog and "Stamping News Brief," have covered President Obama's visits to factories in recent months. The June issue of "Stamping News Brief" asked subscribers whether they think the visits are strictly PR, fact-finding missions, or both. Here's what some...

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Knowing the grammar of metal fabrication

June 15, 2010

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John McPhee is a hero of mine. As one of the best nonfiction writers out there, the Princeton professor and contributor to The New Yorker magazine can turn any subject into a pleasurable read. He’s written about geology, the merchant marines, physics—heck, even an entire book on oranges....

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So the government shows up and says, 'I'm here to help'

June 11, 2010

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Ask any metal fabricating business owner or manager what the government can do to help them out, and the response is pretty typical: "Stop trying to help." The last attempt that comes to mind is President Barack Obama's offer of a tax incentive to hire people. Business owners found it laughable....

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