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Cheap labor never stays cheap

April 14, 2008

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Labor costs continue to rise. Companies feel the pinch of surging raw material prices. Margins are declining. Companies can"t find the labor they need, and manufacturers strive to cut costs and keep work on their shores. This sounds like the problems manufacturers face stateside, but it"s not.It"s...

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Don't be bearish; attack your problem

April 11, 2008

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Let it not be said that I wasn"t paying attention in church on Sunday. Check out this golden piece of wisdom from Rev. Victor A. Scantlebury, assistant bishop of the Diocese of Chicago: A guy skipped church one Sunday to go hunting. He was out and about on a beautiful day when he turned a...

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Relo or no?

April 9, 2008

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Last week's Welding Wire e-newsletter addressed the skilled welder shortage and asked subscribers to e-mail us any welding programs they were aware of in their areas. Thefabricator.com is interested in compiling a list of programs that can be used by both those interested in welding careers...

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METALFORM report: Stampers add value, not labor

April 8, 2008

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My brother-in-law and fellow blogger, Chris Walker, is having trouble with his Internet provider, something not too unusual until you consider his locale and his problem. He"s spending a year in Mumbai, India, as part of a fellowship program that helps for-profit humanitarian enterprises find...

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Listen for the key to conflict resolution

April 4, 2008

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I was going to write about the economy, but something I was watching on TV last night really stuck with me. My wife grabbed the remote control from me and sat down to watch Larry King's interview with Jenny McCarthy, who is the mother of an autistic son and has just written a book about the...

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What makes Grand Rapids so grand?

March 31, 2008

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Last week three researchers walked the streets of Grand Rapids, Mich., to answer a curious question: Why has the city"s manufacturing job market fared so well, relative to the rest of the state?The team from George Washington University"s Institute of Public Policy visited the city to see what was...

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Some things just don't pan out

March 28, 2008

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My wife and kids are on a spring break trip with the in-laws in Florida. I stayed behind to get some work done and save up some vacation time for trips this summer.(As I write this, it"s snowing yet again in Rockford, Ill. This comes after we got 7 inches of snow on the first day of spring last...

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What is Tata thinking?

March 26, 2008

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Scanning a major news site this morning, I faced a difficult decision—which story would I read first? Vying for my attention were the compelling headlines about the escalated fighting in Iraq, the floods in Arkansas, and American Airlines grounding its MD-80 jets and the not-so-compelling...

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Marmon, Warren Buffett, and the "d" word

March 25, 2008

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Warren Buffett must be among the world"s richest individuals for a reason. When Forbes measured asset values for its annual list on Feb. 11, Buffett sat on top, edging out software pioneer Bill Gates, Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, and Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.Evidently,...

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Things on my mind besides hair

March 20, 2008

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I"ve got plenty of thoughts this week, but they are all over the board. Here are a few of them that don"t deal with the NCAA college basketball championship tournament. 1. I talked with my high school buddy and college roommate on Sunday evening. He"s about to break off and start his own...

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A solution to the skilled-labor shortage?

March 19, 2008

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Among my job responsibilities is compiling and sending out monthly e-newsletters—Fabricating Update, Stamping News Brief, Tube Talk, and Welding Wire. These newsletters deliver industry-specific information to subscribers. They also are what I like best about my job. Why? Because subscribers...

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The skilled person and the entrepreneur

March 19, 2008

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A Sunday profile in the Detroit Free Press sparked some reader emotion, judging by the 200 comments the story received within a day. It"s about a welder, Detroit resident George Dreher, his family, and the Michigan economy. "He hates asking for helpwhether it"s the government or...

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U.S. Air Force makes a "fuelish" decision

March 13, 2008

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I"m not a believer that the U.S. government can save manufacturing. In fact, I"ve written about that issue before in this blog, and my Editor"s Corner in the April 2008 The FABRICATOR will address it again.While it may not be able to save manufacturing, the federal government surely can stop...

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Saving pennies

March 12, 2008

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My husband traveled to Houston on Monday to visit a client. Before boarding his plane, he called from the airport to ask me to take my vehicle to our local wholesale club and fill up the gas tank, which was close enough to empty to make me wonder if I could make it that far. Watching the news on a...

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Too busy for Godot

March 11, 2008

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"Godot has arrived," said Wall Street analyst Edward Yardeni in a New York Times report. Yardeni's Godot is a recession, something even the upbeat forecaster said had indeed arrived, particularly after Friday's unemployment report from the Labor Department, which said the nation lost about 63,000...

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