Cultivating Front-Line Leaders—Your Linchpins to Innovation and Transformation

March 1, 2021

Federated Insurance
Executive Insights
Colin Cosgrove
Laurie Harbour
APPI Image
Sean Hart
Benchmark Prices for Hot-Rolled Band—Tight Supply Remains in Play
The bi-monthly SteelBenchmarker Report from World Steel Dynamics, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, issued on February 24, reveals that the average price per net ton of hot roll band (HRB) climbed by $76 compared to two weeks prior. The increase keeps a streak going, as it represents the 13th consecutive increase measured by the report.  The HRB price in China ticked up $30 during the same period, and climbed by $26 in Western Europe.

The report also provides price increases (on a percentage basis) for cold-rolled coil, rebar, plate and scrap.
Scorecards and Metric Tracking—A Better Way
When devising a balanced scorecard to help track metrics and measure success, many focus on four key areas: financial, customer relationships, internal business processes and growth.  But what to measure? Do you look at leading indicators, or lagging?

In this blog post, management consultant Jeff Meade explains how leading indicators will provide business leaders with ideas of what can be adjusted for positive change in the future.  One tip from Meade: Shift from a monthly to a weekly mindset, to better spot patterns and problems early and proactively push the needle on your goals. “Go weekly and the months will take care of themselves,” he says.
EV Sales Hit Record Levels in December 2020
December 2020 represented the highest monthly share for new registrations of electric vehicles (EVs), according to analysts at IHS Markit, representing 2.5 percent of all vehicle registrations.

“In fact, from a retail perspective, EVs accounted for 2.8 percent of new vehicle registrations in December,” notes a press release, “more than tripling the EV retail share from three years ago. This rising EV acceptance coincides with recent OEM announcements of substantial investments in electrification.”

The press release also provides EV market share by U.S. geographic region.
From CAR: President Biden’s Policies Impacting the Auto Industry
Kristen Dziczek, vice president of research at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), reviews here several actions taken by the Biden Administration that have direct impact on the automotive industry, in particular the industry’s transformation to a low-carbon future.  Up for discussion: rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement; the review of the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule; and the establishment of the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon.

Dziczek includes links in the article to several referenced documents, and pledges in future articles to review how the administration’s policies on labor, trade and infrastructure may impact the automotive industry.
APSC Spring Forecast Webinars
Join the Precision Metalforming Association on Thursday, April 29, for a pair of webinars providing a snapshot of the automotive industry, and a look ahead.  The webinars, part of the PMA Automotive Parts Suppliers Conference (APSC), which has been rescheduled to October 20-21, 2021, in Detroit, MI, are free for APSC registrants.   On the agenda for the online Spring Forecast meeting:

Providing an automotive outlook is Jeff Schuster, president, Americas Operations and Global Vehicle Forecasts at LMC Automotive.  Schuster will discuss the recovery path forward for the automotive industry and describe the risks and opportunities that exist. Offering a longer-term perspective, he’ll also discuss the transition to electrification and autonomous vehicles.

Joining Schuster on the agenda is Daron Gifford, a partner with Plante & Moran, where he leads the strategy and automotive industry consulting practices.
From ITR Economics: A Multitude of Signals Suggest Cause for Optimism
Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) membership offers access to quarterly economic trend reports from ITR Economics, which provide economic intelligence to reduce risk and drive practical and profitable business decisions. The ITR reports deliver critical information to make informed business decisions.

With the onset of the new year, according to the January 2021 ITR report, there are a multitude of signals suggesting cause for optimism moving forward. Recovery in the U.S. industrial production sector already has begun, and our dashboard of leading indicators suggests that the annual production trend will transition to Phase A, recovery, in the coming months.

One cause for optimism, according to the trend report, stems from U.S. Nondefense Capital Goods New Orders (excluding aircraft): quarterly new orders already are up 12.7 percent compared to the same period in 2019.
The PMA Business Conditions Report Shows Growing Concern Regarding Lead Times
Metalforming companies expect business conditions to remain steady during the next three months, according to the February 2021 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Among its findings: 37 percent of metal forming companies forecast an improvement in economic activity in the next three months (compared to 39 percent in January), while only 7 percent anticipate a decline (the same percentage reported in January).

The report also indicates that lead times continue to increase. When asked about lead times compared to the previous three months, 54 percent say that they have increased, up from 43 percent in January.

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