Executive Interview: Ernst Metal Implements 16-Tier Skills-Based Compensation Plan

April 4, 2022

MF Business Edge
Executive Insights
Jim Burt
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Laurie Harbour
Principal Financial Group
Prevent Injury with a Focus on Ergonomics
All too common in metal forming and fabricating facilities: the onset of musculoskeletal disorders, which can develop either suddenly or over time, causing debilitating pain and resulting in lost time and wages at work. The most common pains come from strains in the neck, lower back, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands and eyes, due to one or more of four primary risk factors described in this MetalForming magazine article.

One of the key factors: proper lifting.

“When lifting,” the article notes, “first take a good look at the load. If it is too awkward, big or heavy, ask for help. Often, workers lift items too big for them simply because they are unwilling to ask for help, resulting in unnecessary pain and lost wages. Success at your job means asking for assistance when necessary.”

And, don’t forget office workers sitting in chairs and staring at computer screens all day. The article offers advice here as well.
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Webinar Addresses The State of Smart Manufacturing: Respond to Market Adversity with Agility, Improved Processes and Technology Adaptation
Participants in a recent global survey of manufacturers communicated the need for agility, technology adoption and improved processes to respond to market adversity. In this free webinar, presented by MetalForming magazine and scheduled for Wednesday, April 20, Plex Systems, a Rockwell Automation company, in collaboration with Hanover Research, will uncover the current state of smart manufacturing, the challenges manufacturers are facing and expectations for the future of the industry.

Speakers: Michael Hart, director of product strategy-manufacturing and industrial IoT, Plex Systems; and Jeff Karan, director of enterprise technologies at custom metal fabricator and metal stamper G&W Products. 
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Ukraine and the Business Cycle: A Reminder
“For nearly two years, ITR Economics has expected that the peak growth rate for the US Industrial Production Index would come during 1Q22. Our list of benchmark leading indicators nearly unanimously point to this timing for a peak in the business cycle.”

So notes a recent ITR Economics blog post from economist Lauren Saidel-Baker, who positions her commentary in the spotlight of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the uncertainty it has created and the downside risks to expected economic growth. 

“The conflict (however) has not reached the intensity necessary to prompt a global economic contraction. Instead, consider the leading economic indicators. Trend reversals in the leading indicators have been occurring since mid-2021, providing ample warning for businesses.”
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OESA Q1 Automotive Supplier Barometer: “Marginally Optimistic”
The Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) has issued its Q1 2022 Automotive Supplier Barometer, finding that North American production is expected to exceed break-even levels following the second consecutive year of falling short. However, although 2022 production volumes are expected to return to profitable territory, there’s a veil of uncertainty, according to the barometer’s executive summary. OESA expects North American production to reach 15.0 million units, 1.25 million units above median break-even.

Amongst the report’s numerous datapoints: 38 percent of suppliers responding to the survey describe the outlook for their business as “somewhat more optimistic,” up from 16 percent during Q4 2021.  And, only 27 percent are either “somewhat more pessimistic” or “significantly more pessimistic,” down significantly from 66 percent the previous quarter.
Supply-Chain Disruption: You’d Better Learn About, and Practice, Second Sourcing
A recent Manufacturing Innovation Blog from NIST and its Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) focuses on disruptions in the global supply chain and the need for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) to be more strategic about reshoring and “second sourcing”—"which adds redundancies such as a second source of a supply to minimize risk while increasing options,” writes Gary Steinberg, a supply chain advisor for California Manufacturing Technology Consulting, part of the MEP National Network.

Steinberg takes a deep dive into three elements that contribute to a more holistic view of sourcing:
  • Cost objectives
  • Growing a relationship
  • Innovation and responsiveness.
Industry-Related Terms: E-Mail, Forming, Lines, Point, Run, Ties
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms



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