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Equipment investment and hanging fruit

October 5, 2010

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Several weeks ago I visited Ometek Inc., a contract manufacturer near the Columbus, Ohio, airport. After reading the manufacturing news this week, I started thinking about the company’s bending department. Here’s why. This week the business world learned what it pretty much already knew. The...

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The fabricator's apprentice

September 29, 2010

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Yesterday I ran across an item about a U.K. company, Ladbrook Engineering, that has taken on its first apprentice in 20 years. In an article published on cambridgenetwork.co.uk, Ladbrook's Manufacturing Director Paul Goodman is quoted as saying, "Capable and experienced engineers are very difficult...

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Shifting, not reducing, the tax burden

September 27, 2010

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The more rhetoric I hear this election season, the more I’m reminded just how little the government can do to fix the economy in the short term. It can pour money into shovel-ready projects, but those don’t seem to be long-term fixes, and they won’t right the ship in time for the midterm...

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Rethinking the education-to-employment system

September 24, 2010

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I learned a bit of news that raised my spirits this week: This country's inability to educate its children is not a recent phenomenon. Apparently, the U.S. has been screwing up for years. That sounds awful, I know. However, when you constantly hear about the failure of the U.S. educational system,...

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Waiting for the first shoe to drop

September 23, 2010

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I looked at my colleagues’ blog posts (or rants as Tim calls them) and noticed that employment is a hot topic, so I figured I’d throw out my two cents’ worth on the topic. I think it’s fair to say that nearly everyone—not just people in manufacturing, but everyone—is wondering when the...

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Do fabricators care if SAIC invests in GM?

September 22, 2010

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Yesterday's "Tube Talk" e-newsletter discussed the possibility of General Motors' Chinese partner, SAIC, investing in GM's initial public offering of stock. The two companies have produced cars together in China for a decade and announced plans in December to sell low-cost vehicles in India....

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Jobs are here, but qualified people aren’t

September 21, 2010

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Everyone says the U.S. government should foster an environment of job creation. I can’t argue with that. Thing is, some jobs are being created.  Employers just can’t find anybody to fill them. According to a recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek article, Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the...

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Manufacturing jobs available for 'the right candidates'

September 16, 2010

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The lead item in the Sept. 15 "Fabricating Update" e-newsletter discussed the recently released "Public Viewpoint on Manufacturing" survey. This survey also was the topic of a blog posted last week by my colleague, Dan Davis. In his post, Davis wrote about survey findings that indicated the image...

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Much ado about nothing

September 15, 2010

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China’s currency is in the news again. It made big news back in the summer of 2005 when the Chinese government unlocked the currency from the fixed exchange rate of 8.2765 yuan per dollar. Change came slowly; a year later it had appreciated just 3 percent, to 7.6055 yuan per dollar. The rate of...

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Fabricating focuses on the now

September 14, 2010

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Have you tried Google Instant? It’s an eye-opener. You visit the site, start typing and Google immediately spits back results based just on what you typed. Type “the” and I get listings for a thesaurus. Type “The Fab,” and you get results for The Fabulous Fox Theatres in Atlanta, St....

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Manufacturing: Not the dirty ol' job we thought

September 10, 2010

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People may have a much higher opinion of manufacturing jobs than previously thought. I received the second annual "Public Viewpoint on Manufacturing" survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute in my e-mail inbox last week, and the results were enlightening. In a survey of 1,055...

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Buyer, beware!

September 9, 2010

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A colleague recently sent around some photos of the Skydeck at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago. If you saw these photos too, you probably recall seeing the glass-bottomed ledge. If you’d like an unobstructed view of Chicago from 1,353 feet up, this is for you.  The photos...

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Big money

September 8, 2010

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Last night I had dinner at Outback with my daughter, who often tells me that if she could do it over again — to which I always reply: Why can't you? — she would choose another college major instead of the one she chose the first time around. She's thinking about making a career change when the...

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The new rules of inventory

September 3, 2010

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Dr. Chris Kuehl, the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association's economist, had this nugget of wisdom in his "Business Intelligence Brief" for Sept. 2: "The role of the manufacturing sector in this recession and subsequent recovery is going to be studied for a long time. Thus far the rules of...

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Future planning starts at FABTECH

September 1, 2010

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Thom Shelow and wife Teresa Beach-Shelow of Superior Joining Technologies Inc. (SJTI), Machesney Park, Ill., had a plan, and come hell or high water, they were going to move forward. Wanting to diversify their business (read their story, "How can laser work for you?"), they decided to act by...

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