Welcome to the newest monthly newsletter offering from MetalForming magazine and PMA. We hope you find it useful and interesting; please feel free to share your thoughts with us.
This regular column from MetalForming magazine provides an inside look at the management philosophies of metal forming and fabricating company executives. We’ll share some of their management philosophies, their daily challenges and how they face them, and offer additional insights. We hope that you find these interviews useful and can take away some ideas to use at your own company.
Want to be interviewed for this column? E-mail editorial director Brad Kuvin.
In the midst of executing an aggressive growth plan, Lake Air Products CEO Mike Kemper details in our recent Q & A session how he and his management team are defining the company’s customer and market focus; establishing its culture and ensuring that employees remain aligned to the company’s strategies; and maintaining a prosperous position for stability and growth.
“I’ve been preaching to the management team to understand the commitment to stewardship—ensure that when we’re making commitments to our customers, we’re doing it with a good understanding of what’s needed for our own business stability and growth,” he says. “My motto during this last year was, ‘It’s game day. You guys are play-calling.’ That allowed the team members to come to understand why we’re doing what we’re doing, staying focused on the A customers and building and following weekly, monthly and quarterly objectives.”
Kemper also details how a COVID-19-related project―fast-tracking the production of 12 different ventilator parts at a volume of 40,000/part over 10 weeks—while stressful to the company’s operations, added 25 percent to its 2020 revenue.
The inaugural survey from PMA’s new industry intelligence tool―Metalforming Insights, powered by Harbour Results and Plante and Moran―is complete, and here Laurie Harbour shares some results, surveying business leaders from 92 facilities. “Overall, the industry is optimistic for the year ahead,” she says, “as sentiment (general outlook) rebounds from a low of 36 percent during the peak of the COVID pandemic to 64 percent in Q1 2021. Although not back to peak levels in 2016/2017, it does show marked improvement.
“Additionally, utilization continues to rise from an industry low of 39 percent in Q2 2020,” Harbour continues, “to 57 percent in Q1 2021 with a forecast of 60 percent by the end of the year.”
Read more, including a preview of an upcoming webinar that will offer a detailed overview of the survey results.
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“When you try to manage a company, how you and others feel matters. But much of management still relies on what you can quantify. To offer direction and rationale for what you’re doing and to keep everybody grounded toward the same goals, you need performance statistics to serve as a foundation.”
So goes this Entrepreneur article, which emphasizes the need for managers to gather performance statistics for every employee—including themselves—and home in on results. Then, leverage that data “as a tool to change what people do or think,” the article stresses.
In addition, “employees should be able to use the performance statistics to self-manage. Done well, this approach will give you the happy, productive team you need and want.”
If you missed our webinar on March 23 on smart manufacturing, presented by Plex Systems and hosted by MetalForming magazine and the Precision Metalforming Association, or if you attended and want to watch it again, you can view it on our website—no charge!
Plex Systems, in collaboration with Hanover Research, recently released its 6th Annual State of Smart Manufacturing Report. This webinar focuses on this study, which explores how manufacturers can use technology to address today’s challenges and take advantage of long-term opportunities. Plex Systems executive Michael Hart reviews the data, which reveals a clear need for smart-manufacturing technology to address current challenges, especially those created or heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joining Hart throughout he program is Tareq Falah, vice president,
information technology/information systems at Creative Foam Corp. Falah
shares the strategy that his company has used to implement
smart-manufacturing initiatives, and the positive results it has
the last several weeks, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center
(MMTC) has been publishing a regular series of blog posts on Industry
4.0 technologies, covering such topics as Internet of Things, cloud
computing, robotics and automation, additive manufacturing, and
simulation. In its latest offering, published on March 24, the MMTC
wraps up the series with a blog on cybersecurity.
Give it a read to learn how establishing a cybersecurity policy and leveraging current technology can help ensure that your company’s Industry 4.0 investments, and the critical data being conveyed, remain secure.
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
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