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A U.S. national buffoon's European vacation

August 15, 2008

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I just came back from a 10-day vacation. My wife and I visited England and Ireland for four days each. The trip was fun, but it"s hard to just put your life on hold for an extended period nowadays.As we slept in our tiny hotel room built for none on the fourth day, I tried not to think about work,...

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Desk rage on the rise

August 13, 2008

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One of my co-workers always ends her e-mails with a profound one-liner. Her current gem is: Events are less important than our response to them.My immediate reaction to these words of wisdom was also a one-liner: Truer words were never spoken.Life is a continual learning process. A lesson that we...

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Looking down the tiers for change

August 12, 2008

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This week the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) holds its Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich. After reading event news trickling onto the Internet, news that includes automotive execs opining away about industry troubles, I"ve come to a conclusion. They should listen to...

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What's hot—What's not

August 7, 2008

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This post isn't about the dog days of summer, nor is it a list of Paris Hilton's "that's hot" endorsements. Rather it's a glimpse of one metal bending company that has a $7.4 billion backlog of projects—now that's hot.It also is about the hottest manufacturing sectors...

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The Japanese supply stream

August 5, 2008

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Hidetsugu Masuda revels as a tour guide.The president of KantoSeiko Co., Ltd. Group, in Fuji-Gun, Shizuoka Prefecture, isn"t your typical Japanese shop manager. The shop"s main meeting room is lined with photos of customers and other shop managers from Japan and, indeed, around the world who have...

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The credit crunch

July 31, 2008

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If you missed the headlines last week, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. stepped in and closed the First National Bank of Nevada and First Heritage Bank N.A. last Friday. That comes just about two weeks after the same folks closed the doors on IndyMac bank.Of course, that led to Treasury prices...

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Picking up the torch

July 30, 2008

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Confession time. At last year's FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show in Chicago, I had the opportunity, along with several of my co-workers, to try welding. Sue from ESAB graciously invited us to the company's Solutions Tour Truck Booth to suit up and weld under the guidance of a...

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Waiting for metal prices to fall

July 25, 2008

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When I say everyone is worried about rising material prices, it"s not that far of a stretch.A summer survey of 72 senior-level manufacturing company owners and managers revealed that 93 percent of them consider rising material prices to be the No. 1 cost pressure facing the industry. That"s up from...

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Design to fabrication: All in a weekend's work

July 24, 2008

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Two-tenths of a second is all it took.In fact, that was more than enough time savings to trigger the 240 employees at Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) into action. The high-profile NASCAR® racing team, based in Cornelius, N.C., just north of Charlotte, works fast. Earlier this month they found that...

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Which direction this election?

July 17, 2008

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Jim Zawacki, chairman of metal stamping manufacturer GR Spring & Stamping in Grand Rapids, Mich., finds himself in an awkward position this election. He"s donated $1,000 to the campaign of John McCain and plans to vote for the Republican candidate for president, but he"s not a big fan of his stance...

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This InBev's for you

July 14, 2008

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Two recent news items give a great juxtaposition, at least in my mind. One shows the price of globalization; the other shows the benefits.First, the price. The board of Anheuser-Busch Cos., a St. Louis institutionand a large employer of welders and other metal fabricators working in its breweries...

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A different perspective on U.S. manufacturing

July 11, 2008

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Never let it be said that I don"t read most of what comes across my desk.I was perusing the 2007 annual report for Fraunhofer USA, the Plymouth, Mich.-based arm of the German research organization, and I came across the farewell address from Dennis Tsichritzis. He was leaving the Fraunhofer family...

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Bionic boomers

July 9, 2008

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Last week I met with my orthopedic surgeon to discuss my upcoming hip replacement procedure. I'm one of the growing numbers, particularly those in the 45 to 64 age group (baby boomers), who are having joint replacement surgery.I'm not a newbie when it comes to this surgery. My left hip...

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The economy and the power of hindsight

July 8, 2008

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Reading the campaign news this week, I was reminded of a West Wing episode years back when the president"s personal aide, Charlie Young, asks what President Bartlet was doing. The president replied, I"m doing basically what the president does: Asking people for things, and then thanking them.He...

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Commemorating history—Creating a legacy

July 2, 2008

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It's July, and here in the U.S., we're planning our Independence Day, celebrations. July 4 is an important day in our nation's history. On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence and set the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign...

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