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The Edge Factor Show and Champion Now Join Forces To Inspire New Generations of Manufacturers

Michael Reader

Across North America, manufacturers’ voices lament the shrinking of their workforce while working at all levels to reverse the trend.

Initiatives to inspire young people to enter the manufacturing field are sprouting everywhere, with coalitions being made between schools, local governments and manufacturers to create educational programs that will make a difference.

One project in particular, the Edge Factor Show, led by producer Jeremy Bout, stands out from the rest. Jeremy is an accomplished tool and design engineer…and movie producer.  He understands the journey between concept to production and, through his films, presents it in a way that is also understood by the new generations. The Edge Factor Show tells the stories of the people behind successes in manufacturing.

The third in a series of manufacturing films is entitled “Metal and Flesh.”  The teaser above shows how manufacturing makes a difference in a war-casualty amputee’s life. It’s both exhilarating and inspiring. According to Jeremy Bout, “Edge Factor is taking a stand for manufacturing.  This film is a critical component in our initiative to inspire the next generation of skilled manufacturers.”

However, this project will only come to complete fruition with the support of manufacturers.  To help make this happen, Terry Iverson, a business owner serving the manufacturing community, has founded Champion Now, which, in Terry’s words,  “exists to change the image of manufacturing…to one that is filled with extreme technology, advanced innovations and exhilarating and good paying careers for the next generation.”  Terry’s mission is to create a circle of manufacturing Champions that will support the Edge Factor’s film productions and other educational initiatives to change the perception of manufacturing.

The Edge Factor Show has produced two episodes in their manufacturing series:  Chilean Mine Rescue,  a story about the challenges and innovations that delivered a successful outcome, and Gnarly Metal, a story about a slopestyle rider competition inspired by “the insatiable need to go faster, further, harder and higher.”

Precision Plus supports educational initiatives such as the ones led by the Edge Factor and Champion Now.

 

HollenWolff’s Bearing-Lock Cuff Links, Made in Wisconsin

Michael Reader

From an article by Mary Louise Schumacher of The Journal Sentinel about HollenWolff’s bearing-lock cuff links

“Dressed to the nines for a big fundraiser, two friends chatted about the cuff links clasped at one man’s wrist. They talked about their grandfathers and the bygone elegance of certain masculine accoutrements.

One of the two owned a ball-bearing manufacturing company. The other was a clothing stylist.”

In a precise moment, a new idea was born and a new direction was forged.  HollenWolff has designed a new kind of bearing-lock cuff link that is unlike anything ever made. International patents are pending.

Precision Plus is honored to be a part of the project.

Precision Manufacturers Address Shortage of Skilled Personnel on Many Levels

Michael Reader

Shortage of skilled precision manufacturing craftsmen is rapidly approaching the danger zone.   As Baby Boomers retire from their positions at a rate of 10,000 per day, we are confronted with vacancies which are unable to be filled due to the lack of availability of qualified and trained men and women.

As manufacturers, Precision Plus and many others are undertaking a targeted  bulls-eye campaign, to address this issue from all possible points:

  • BY WORKING WITH OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
    In March of 2012, a group representing PMPA (Precision Machined Products Association ) flew into Washington, DC to engage in conversation with government officials regarding this impending issue. The Franklin Partnership arranged 75 congressional visits for members of PMPA , while Second Vice President Darlene Miller of Permac Industries, arranged meetings and a tour with White House Officials.  Many important issues relevant to preserving manufacturing in the U.S. were discussed, with an emphasis in tax reform and job training. A second Fly-In is scheduled for early October.  By then, according to PMPA, “Attendees will have a chance to tell their elected officials directly about the importance of manufacturing as they campaign. It will also better position PMPA as we head into the lame duck session having recently briefed members of Congress about our priorities on tax reform and other issues.”
  • BY WORKING WITH OUR LOCAL STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
    Precision manufacturers have vowed to bring awareness to local elected officials by inviting them to tour our facilities and sitting down for frank discussions on how to improve the future of manufacturing.
  • BY ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING AND SUPPORTING TRADE ORGANIZATIONS, SUCH AS PMPA
    We are many, but collectively, we are a force and we have one voice.  Nothing comes without acute dedication to our beliefs, in that our country deserves to once again soar in the manufacturing world.
  • BY CONTINUING TO OFFER EDUCATION AND ADVANCEMENT OPPORTUNITIES TO OUR CURRENT EMPLOYEES
    Precision manufacturers understand that time does not stand still and that in every person exists  the goal is to better themselves.We promote and provide further education to solidify their skills and knowledge.  By being involved in formulating high-caliber continuing technical education curricula, such as that provided during the PMPA’s Annual Technical Conference, we ensure that our employees are at the forefront of industry and technology know-how.
  • BY WORKING WITH LOCAL TECHNICAL SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES TO DEVELOP COURSES AND TRAINING TO PROMOTE THE RESURGENCE OF MANUFACTURING IN THE U.S.
    Precision manufacturers are actively working with local colleges and technical institutes to establish courses and training that will result in the opportunity to provide high-school graduates with a valuable option of going into a trade.   Specialized technical curricula will ensure graduates comprehend and can fulfill the responsibilities of a craftsman-type job.
  • BY WORKING WITH ORGANIZATIONS THAT PROMOTE TECHNICAL KNOW-HOW TO HIGH-SCHOOL STUDENTS
    We are committed to bringing technical studies back to the high-school level.  As such, we will support organizations who are actively engaged in the promotion and advancement of technology training at the high-school level.

The precision manufacturing community commits to pursue a targeted bulls-eye campaign to address the deficit in skilled manufacturing labor force that exists in the United States today.


Walworth County, WI and Gateway Technical College: Light Years Ahead in Addressing Impending U.S. Manufacturing Needs

Michael Reader

Recently, we received this invitation from Debbie Davidson, Vice President, Workforce & Economic Development Division at Gateway College:

“Dear Walworth County Manufacturer,

Due to the increased need for skilled manufacturing employees, Gateway Technical College, Walworth County Job Center and the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance (WCEDA), invite you to attend a planning meeting on July 26th at Gateway’s Elkhorn Campus (400 County Road H, Elkhorn, WI, South Building, Room 112) from 7:30am to 9:00am.

At this meeting we will discuss a variety of options to provide you with skilled technicians including:

  • Developing curriculum to meet your needs;
  • Offering  training at the Elkhorn Campus and/or at your facility;
  • Modifying and/or developing   boot camps in manufacturing-related skills;
  • Implementing an “Earn-and-Learn” model which would allow students to work for you while attending classes providing an opportunity for on-the-job  skill application;
  • Scheduling classes such as, Applied Math, Blueprint Reading, Safety, Gauging and Inspection, Measurement, Communication, Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt and more;
  • Identifying funding models to support new and unique training models.

Please join us and be part of the conversation. The meeting is free. However, we ask that you make a reservation for our planning purposes. Please contact Debbie Davidson at 262-564-3422 or email davidsond@gtc.edu no later than July 20, 2012 to reserve your spot. We look forward to working with you to meet your hiring needs.  If you are unable to attend, please consider sending a designee from your company. Feel free to share this invite with others throughout Walworth County.

Debbie Davidson
Vice President, Workforce & Economic Development Division

Gateway Technical College

3520-30th Avenue
Kenosha, WI  53144
Office: 262-564-3422
Cell: 262-914-0154
Email: davidsond@gtc.edu

We’re planning to be there.  Are you?

The Blue Oval is Back

Michael Reader

On May 22, 2012,  Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Ford’s credit rating to investment status.  This milestone is to be congratulated because of the time, effort and commitment it took to regain this rating.  According to Bill Ford, great grandson of Henry Ford, “At great emotional cost, the company used its Blue Oval logo as part of the collateral for a $23.5 billion loan it obtained in 2006.”  The loan enabled Ford to do a major restructuring allowing the automotive manufacturer to avoid the crisis that led GM and Chevrolet to obtain a Federal bailout.  Part of the loan requirements was the regaining of the investment status by two of the credit rating agencies.  Fitch Ratings upgraded Ford’s credit rating last month.

In looking over the recovery that has occurred within the Ford Motor Company, several steps have been noted:

  • In 2006 the company raised $23.5 billion in liquid assets through the combination of secured and unsecured loans.  The Blue Oval logo along with a substantial part of it domestic assets secured the loan.
  • In 2007 Ford negotiated a labor agreement with the UAW that allowed for a lower wage structure for new employees as well as a new set of flexible work rules.
  • In March 2009 it reached another major agreement with the UAW that brought in the ability for the company to reach equality with transplant automakers.  This resulted in annual savings and efficiencies on an incremental basis.
  • In October 2009 Ford reported its first quarterly pre-tax operating profit since the first quarter of 2008.
  • At end-of-year 2009 Ford achieved its first full-year of operating profit.  It also had a net income of $2.7 billion, which was an improvement of $17.5 billion over its losses in 2008.
  • At  end-of-year 2011 Ford reported the third year in a row of improved annual operating profits.  It also reduced its debt by more than $20 billion compared with year-end 2009.
  • In September of 2011 Ford was able to completely pay back its loan.
  • In March of 2012 Ford was able to make its first dividend payment.

The day after Moody’s Investors Service announced its decision, Ford’s accomplishment was being touted in the National News Services.  Michael Reader, President of Precision Plus Inc., added , “My personal congratulations to the Ford Team, this is an impressive accomplishment as the only domestic auto group to do it on their own.”

Midwest’s Rockford, Illinois: A Shining Star In The Aerospace Industry

Michael Reader

The Rockford, Illinois region is located in the middle of North America, equidistant between Milwaukee and Chicago and part of the third largest economic corridor in the U.S. According to the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, “The region offers abundant land for development at a low cost per acre, much of it within Foreign Trade Zone #176. This strategic location provides excellent direct access to markets via four interstates (I-90, I-88, I-39 and I-43); Global III, Union Pacific Railroad’s intermodal hub; and Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD), the 18th largest air cargo airport in the United States and home to the second largest UPS hub in the nation (parcel and heavy freight).”

The Greater Rockford Area is also a hub for the U.S. aerospace industry, hosting over 170 aerospace suppliers and employing over 6,000 people.  The Rockford region is home to five major tier one aerospace supply companies: Hamilton Sundstrand, Woodward, B/E Aerospace, Mag Aerospace Industries, Inc. and Supplycore. Additionally, local universities strive to bring science to the area. Rockford’s nearby Northern Illinois University (NIU) awards over 400 engineering degrees each year and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University – a world leader in aviation and aerospace education – which established a campus at the Chicago/Rockford International Airport in 2008 and offers a number of aeronautical degrees, including masters in aeronautical science.

Jeff Kaney, an entrepreneur who has founded two aerospace companies in Rockford, and who is chairman of RAAN (The Rockford Area Aerospace Network)  says companies in the Rockford cluster constitute all elements of the aerospace supply chain, including assembly, inspection, testing, repair and software.

Kerry Frank, president of Comply 365 Solutions, a software firm that develops software for the Kindle Fire, iPads and other portable devices used by pilots and flight attendants, says the cluster has brought a great awareness regarding aerospace to the Midwest.

Local news  reported that the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) reported a strong start to 2012 with a 14 percent increase in first quarter passenger traffic year-over-year. Each month in the quarter saw strong passenger growth with March being the busiest month in RFD’s history. During its record-breaking month of March, 32,473 passengers came through RFD. March also had the largest increase in year-over-year traffic for the quarter, posting a nearly 18 percent jump. The previous busiest month at RFD was in March 2008 with 29,361 passengers.  Punta Cana and Denver destinations have really helped drive passenger growth with their strong bookings,” said Mike Dunn, RFD Director of Economic Development and Government Relations.

Precision Plus is a proud supplier to the aerospace industry, supplying mission-crucial components that are used from single-engine aircraft to the Space Shuttle.

PMPA National Technical Conference to Take Place in Wheeling, Illinois – April 21-24, 2012

Michael Reader

PMPA (Precision Machined Products Association) will be holding its annual national technical conference at the Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel in Wheeling, Illinois.

According to the organizers, “The precision machining industry relies on the best and the brightest people in manufacturing to produce safety critical parts for numerous applications.  There is not a trade that has more advanced tools, machinery, or people.  PMPA’s 2012 National Technical Conference has been designed to further develop the technical, quality and managerial talents of the people in shops.”

There will be a number of conference sessions ranging from new technology, shop safety, the quoting process, to critical thinking and many more.  The keynote speaker for the conference will be Krish Dhanam whose “Top Performance” keynote will be sure to inspire those who hear it.

The program will include certification workshops in “Critical Process Thinking in the Quality Profession,” and “Leadership Gold.”  There will also be track sessions targeted to three groups of personnel: technical, quality, and management.  Both the certification programs and the track sessions are geared to the continuous improvement of precision machinists.

Photo courtesy of PMPA

Seventy exhibitors will also be showcasing the latest in technology and will be on hand to discuss with attendees.

Both members and non-members of PMPA are welcomed to attend this conference.  PMPA members are encouraged to sponsor a prospective member or a student.

Precision Plus’  Bill Wells, serves as a senior advisor to the PMPA’s National Technical Conference.  We believe the conference delivers a strong message to the importance of U.S. manufacturing.

For more information about attending this conference, please contact Monte Guitar at 440-526-0300, visit the PMPA’s National Technical Conference website, or scan the QR code below.

‘RIGHT SKILLS NOW‘ PROGRAM BRINGS HOPE TO U.S. MANUFACTURING

Michael Reader

Call it a conundrum of sorts…in a down economy, when jobs are scarce while unemployment soars, the manufacturing sector struggles to find qualified candidates to fill available jobs.

Some refer to this void as the “perfect storm:” manufacturing being outsourced abroad, Baby Boomers in manufacturing approaching retirement age, and Gen-Exers and Milleniums pursuing broader-ranged careers.

In October of 2011, and in response to the lack of available talent to fill manufacturing positions, The Manufacturing Institute launched a fast-track education and training program called “RIGHT SKILLS NOW.”  Based on the National Association of Manufacturers’ Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System, the program is designed to provide accelerated, intense training and education to  potential workers, who upon completion of the 16 to 22-week program are able to meet the demands expected in precision machining jobs in manufacturing.

RIGHT SKILLS NOW is a grass root movement backed by some formidable partners:  The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, The Manufacturing Institute, ACT, Inc.,  and The National Institute for Metalworking Skills.  The scope of the program involves aspects from professionalism in the workplace, integrity, communication, problem solving, and CNC milling and turning.

Several schools around the U.S., including Minnesota and Nevada, have already set up and implemented curricula for  “RIGHT SKILLS NOW” programs.  The first graduates are expected to receive their certificates in mid 2012.

Click now to see employment opportunities at Precision Plus

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