MetalForming Executive Insights: Executive Points Out Need for Heavy Sales/Management Involvement

January 4, 2021

Laurie Harbour
BlueWater Partners Predicts M&A Market to Rebound
Middle-market investment-banking and consulting firm BlueWater Partners has published its Middle Market M&A Review 4th Quarter 2020, noting a rally during Q3 that saw deal value and volume rebound sharply. Yet, total deal value through the first 9 months of the year was the lowest since 2013. Other key findings: U.S. companies continued to fortify balance sheets in Q2 2020 as cash levels hit a new record; while most economic indicators heading into 2021 are encouraging, consumer confidence declined in November as COVID lingered and threatened a quick, sustained recovery; and the bounce back in M&A activity is expected to continue in 2021.

The 10-page report is loaded with useful data.
Can You Force Employees to Get the Vaccine?
“Experts say the law is clear,” states this Healthline article: “COVID-19 vaccination can be required as a condition of employment, with certain caveats… U.S. law provides certain conditions when you can refuse vaccination and keep your job.”

Noting that some 40 percent of Americans say they likely will take a “wait and see approach” and choose to not get the COVID-19 vaccine, “for the most part, employers can mandate that employees be vaccinated,” University of Michigan law professor Kate Andrias told Healthline. “However, there are some exceptions.”

Andrias goes on to discuss the finer details of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and their impact on this important conversation.
More than One-Third of Metal Formers Expect Business Conditions to Improve
Metal forming companies anticipate little change in business conditions during the next three months, according to the December 2020 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. The report shows that 34 percent of metal forming companies expect an improvement in economic activity during the next three months, up from 30 percent in November, while 49 percent forecast no change, compared to 19 percent in November.

“Metal forming manufacturers are showing resiliency during the COVID-19 pandemic, but finding workers continues to be a challenge despite the high unemployment rate,” says PMA President David Klotz. “In addition, members are experiencing supply-chain problems that are causing low steel inventories as supply tightens.”

Access the full December report here.
An Encouraging ITR Economics Quarterly Forecast
“We expect U.S. industrial production and total retail sales to reach business-cycle lows in the first half of 2021, with the ensuing business cycle rising trends extending into the first half of 2022,” notes the latest economic brief from ITR Economics, provided to the Precision Metalforming Association. “We expect that annual retail sales will break above the pre-pandemic level around mid-2021, assisted by the massive and timely fiscal and monetary stimulus. Annual U.S. industrial production will be about 1.1 percent below the pre-pandemic level by the end of 2022 as protracted recoveries in markets tied to oil, gas, and aerospace hinder industrial production’s potential to bounce back more readily.”

The report’s executive brief offers more insight.
Start the New Year by Coordinating a Response Plan for a Cybersecurity Breach
This timely blog post from insurance company Oswald, a Cleveland, OH-based independent insurance-brokerage and risk-management firm, offers nine solid tips for easing the claims process following a cybersecurity breach from ransomware or a compromised email event—assuming you have a cyber policy in place. Among them: 
  • Refrain from using business email accounts.
  • Contact the local FBI or file an IC3 report (link provided in the blog).
  • Refrain from attempting immediate data restoration to allow for a forensic investigation.
There’s much more here, including a warning for employers to beware of fraudulent unemployment claims.
Beginning the Process of “Going Digital”
While larger manufacturers have begun to widely adopt digital applications, “for smaller manufacturers, the process of making this switch can be daunting,” says author Michael Taylor, a project manager at NIST MEP. “Initial expenses, as well as the cost of training employees, is enough to stop the process altogether.”

You can’t stop progress, and we know that digital applications are changing manufacturing—now and forever.  Give Taylor’s recent blog post a read, where he describes five digital applications that deserve your attention—digital performance management; predictive maintenance; yield, energy and throughput optimization; automation and robotics; and digital quality management.
Industry-Related Terms: Die, Edge, Forming
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms



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