The indicator itself.

Percent change of the indicator.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – Demand for U.S.-made durable goods rose a seasonally adjusted 0.5% to $178.1 billion in February, the third straight increase in a key forward-looking indicator, according to Commerce Department data released Wednesday. New orders for machinery and civilian aircraft were strong in February, while new orders for autos, defense goods and electronics declined. The 0.5% increase in durable goods orders was weaker than the 1.7% gain expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. However, January’s orders were revised higher, from a 2.6% gain to 3.9%. December’s orders were also revised higher.
Analysis from Dr. Mark J. Perry, Professor of Economics and Finance at University of Michigan, Flint:
MP: New orders for durable manufactured goods in February reached the highest level ($178.1 billion) since November 2008 (see top chart above). The 12-month percentage change in February of 10.9% followed an 11.9% increase in January, which was the highest annual increase in new orders for durable goods and equipment from U.S. manufacturers since September 2006, more than three years ago (see bottom chart). The last time there were two consecutive double-digit monthly increases in durable goods orders was four years ago in the spring of 2006.
Add this to the growing list of V-shaped signs of economic recovery, especially in the U.S. manufacturing sector.
Reblog from Carpe diem

Time for that hiring interview. Congratulations. Whether you are speaking with a Recruiter, an Human Resources pro tasked with hiring, or directly with the Manager that you could be working for, here are 10 Tips To Speak ‘Successful Interview. ‘ 
1)  Be meticulously truthful and absolutely do not exaggerate; Putting in tool offsets is not “programming.” 

You need to be more than just another blurry face...

2)  Quantify whenever possible.  Only in Washington D.C. do numbers not have any legitimate meaning. ‘Hold operations to 0.0005″  on machine ABC,’ at least lets them know you have some idea about tolerances and what you have achieved on one machine. 
3)  Give examples with specifics that clarify, not obfuscate. “Operated  automatic multi spindle machine” is vague – it could be a state of the art Tornos Deco  or Index Machine, or you could mean an older cam-type Acme or New Britain automatic. The recruiter may chomp at the bit to find a guy who he thinks knows cam machines, only to have employer annoyed that he found another CNC kind of guy. Be specific, not vague. 
4)  Tell your story. Why you like to make things. How you are proud to know that people are safer, more comfortable, or shooting tighter groups because you held the precision needed on some critical part. 
5)  Be prepared to honestly explain your expected career trajectory. The reality is, every body has to serve their “time” whether its called ‘apprenticeship’ or  something else. Unless the hiring manager changed your diapers at an early age, its unlikely you’ll get to be a VP of Operations in two years. So figure this out before the decisionmaker discovers it when you spill it  on yourself in their office. 
6)  Be candid, tell them what you haven’t done. Knowing that upfront allows the recruiter and the hiring manager to intelligently manage risk, not just do damage control. 
7)  Be yourself. Nobody can fake sincerity, although if you last name is Madoff, you might do better than most. Don’t tell them what you think they might want to hear, tell them what you think. It always comes out anyways. Why be fake? 
8).  Be positive. Noone is going to hire Eeyore. 
9)  Back to that career trajectory- have at least an outline of a plan. “Once I am fully capable on set up and programming, I think I’d like to take some courses on _____ ” is  much better than a  blank stare like a deer before the truck hits. You will be asked, so work on it now. 
10)  Under promise and over deliver. This is the sustainable way to make a life, not just a living.
Final thought, look at the risk in the hiring process. In the case of a bad hire:

  •  The candidate emerges from a bad placement with some pay and another employer of record on their resume and some learning at someone elses expense.  
  • The recruiter looks like he can’t figure out the difference between a frog and a prince, and might lose the account. 
  • The employer loses the most- Time spent to train and get new employee working, fees to agency, and any damages that may occurr if the person doesn’t work out- including lost business or quality reputation damaged at customer etc.

Given these realities, it is in everyone’s best interest if you provide truthful information that helps all of you intelligently manage the  risk of this important decision.
 Photo credit.

Today is National Tradesmen’s Day.To show our appreciation for the skilled tradespeople that produce, maintain and install in our industry, we’re celebrating National Tradesmen’s Day. We want to honor the folks who work with their hands and apply their minds to our Industry’s challenges. 
Our skilled machinists make the world a safer place with the products that they produce.
When we drive our cars, fly in planes, have medical procedures performed, we are truly placing our lives in their good hands.
The electricians that help us install our equipment and assure that no one is exposed to live electrical current are responsible for the delivery of the energy that drives our quality of life.
I  am a college graduate and I love what I do. 
 But I can do it  only because tradesmen like  our precision machinists made the stuff in the world that makes what I do possible.

Thanks for making it right!

Thanks for sharing your talents.
Thanks for making a difference.
Thanks for “working with precision.”
Please join us in thanking these professionals who make our wonderful quality of life possible with the high precision products that they produce.

I received an email from a trusted colleague that had a letter attached describing the writers frustration with outsourcing.
Here at pmpaspeakingofprecision. com, we are all about people making things to make our world safer and our lives better. So when we read this letter describing one engineers frustration when trying to do exactly that, well, we asked for permission to share it with you.

Keeping the dock from opening up the oil tanker like a can opener.

The writer, a maritime design engineer, is trying to source wheel fenders so that hulls of  “80,000 DWT” oil tankers don’t rupture when contacting a fixed surface of the dock. It really matters, when “The potential impact of failure is 2000 years” if the hull tears. This post takes some highlight’s from that letter.
Guest post by Vitaly Feygin
My name is Vitaly Feygin. I am a Structural Engineer, not a writer, but I urge you to read this post.
Like many immigrants I came to this great country 20 years ago.
Twenty years ago we all were shocked to discover the prosperity of this country and how much this country achieved using competition of small and medium size businesses.
Great career for twenty years as an engineer.

Today, I want to ask you: “Where is that competition? Where are professionals and skilled craftsmen who made this country?”
Instead of professionals who are doing and managing their work and are proud of what they were doing, we developed a gang of MBA (Masters of Business Administration) who mastered bureaucracy, who have not created anything but hurdles for those who could work. What these MBA have done to us- they sold us out.
Doing nothing, their only significant task was to sell our work to countries like China or India. That is the “real” Business Administration. Here is an example.
I am a Maritime Structural Engineer. In our business we are quite frequently use special rubber fenders that protect ships from destruction during dock operations.
Five years ago there were 5 companies producing these fenders in US. Today there is only one company, and after that company swallowed all her competitors they moved manufacturing facilities to where? You are right, to China.
We became a nation that sells to each other Chinese products- products that are produced in Communist China at a time when millions of US workers are without work and with no means to support themselves.
Go to any store and try to find any merchandise that is produced in this country.
You will find none.
We are discussing Health Reform with whom?
With destroyed small and medium size businesses who cannot compete with subsidized Chinese labor.


More than half of the 763,000 jobs lost in the first two quarters of 2008 were lost in small firms, and unincorporated self-employment fell from an average of 10.4 million in 2007 to an average of 10.1 million in 2008—9.6 million by November and December.

You probably heard that China artificially keeps her currency undervalued.

We send to them our jobs and now they peg their currency to keep us at a disadvantage.
 China has growth.
We have enduring unemployment



The  Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system is supposed to tell employers if an applicant is authorized to work in the United States.
An independent study shows the system has more misses than hits when it comes to fake IDs.

This is what could happen when E-Verify doesn't work.

The Department of Homeland Security commissioned Westat to do the study to determine where the holes are in the system.
According to Westat:  the program often couldn’t confirm whether information workers were presenting was their own.
 “Many unauthorized workers obtain employment by committing identity fraud that cannot be detected by E-Verify.”
They put the inaccuracy rate at 54%:
Westat estimates that, primarily due to identity fraud, approximately half (54 percent with a plausible range of 37 to 64 percent) of unauthorized workers run through E-Verify receive an inaccurate finding of being work authorized.
This  means the system didn’t correctly assess the ID info of illegal workers 54% of the time.
In the Precision Machined Products Industry, our customers demand, and we deliver 100%  On Time and Zero PPM Defects.
Homeland Security’s critical E-Verify program gets a pass on a 54% error rate?
I guess it works great, unless someone gives them false data.
What you can expect: Audits of I-9 forms at employers. How do we know?
Among the improvements DHS plans  is “… funding a special unit to investigate identity fraud.”
Westat report here.
WSJ story here.
Photo Credit


Meet Deena!

Deena Ebbert is Propellergirl, a passionate champion for personal and organizational performance. She will be the keynote speaker at PMPA’s National Technical Conference April 25, 2010 in Pittsburgh. Link here.  For more of her empowering positive energy come see her at NTC.
Miles Free is Director of Industry Research and Technology, and is blessed to have permission to work to his strengths by collaborating with great people like Deena- and blogging for great people like you!

Microscope to Binoculars
She said:
“Sometimes it’s the little things that make the big difference.  Being a little bit off in the short run can make things a lot wrong when you look at it long-term.”
He said:
“Specifically, discrete measurements.  They’re more important than most of us realize.  You know, we see it in bar straightness in our shops. The bars that we put into our machines need to run straight and true. The deviation of a bar of say, 0.0006 inches in one foot works out to 1/16th of an inch in 10 feet, and over 1/8th of an inch in fifteen. Its geometry.“
She said:
“Straight and true.  I like that concept.  Okay then, Captain Geometry, point zero zero zero zero six of an inch.  Precisely how big is that?”
He said:
“Approximately one fifth of the thickness of a sheet of paper. A sheet of paper is about 0.003”.
She said:
“So it is about Geometry- in other words a little shift, like that point zero zero zero zero six of an inch, can become really significant across distance.  I’ll bet that 1/8th of an inch off can mess things right up.”
He said:
“Yep. We call it  bar camber. Cosine error. Or gage stack up. That’s why it’s important to use the right scale or lens to calibrate. If you fail to use the microscope on the small details, you’ll need to use the binoculars in the long term.”
This microscope belonged to Charles Darwin.

She said:
“Binoculars.  Because you messed up on the measurement and missed the mark?”
He said:
“Precisely, Propellergirl.”
She said:
“You know, it’s not just the parts.  That same concept applies to the people in the shop too.”
He said:
“How do you mean?”
She said:
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you known for saying people should be working at their ” highest and best use?””
He said:
“I know, I know.  Yes, I’m known for saying that. And I believe it.”
She said:
“Me too. Another way of putting it is “play to our strengths.” When we are doing what we are good at, when we make an impact and a contribution, then there’s less risk of fractional deviation in the near distance…”
He said:
Human geometry.  I like this calculation.  When someone is playing full on, bringing all their strengths and skills to the shop, they are pinpoint engaged.  I’m beginning to see what you are saying. If someone is not fully utilizing the scope of their talents, they might drift off focus as they follow their strengths.”
She said:
“Yep, and that drift is where organizations spend lots of management attention, trying to get people back on track.  Like your steel bar that wanders an eighth of an inch from only the tiniest deviation in that first single foot.”
He said:
“So how do we help our folks play to their strengths?”
She said:
“You let people know that they are both valuable and valued.”
He said:
“What’s the difference? Valued, valuable? It’s practically the same word. What’s the big deal?”
She said:
“It’s a discrete difference in the short term, and a big deal over the long haul.  People need to feel valued. Of course what they do is valuable. That’s why they get a paycheck. They get that. But PEOPLE want to know that YOU VALUE THEM. For who they are.  For their strengths. For their gifts. For the fact that they bring it, they have it, they do it, and that they get it done.”
He said:
“Well I did a blog a while back about 25 different ways to say “good job.” Link here.

She said:
”Right on, that an important part of it. Praising people is important. But in our organizations, we also need to ask ourselves, “Do we make a place for our people to do what they are good at? To do more than just what the work instructions say to do. To contribute?”
He said:
“I get it.  You’re not just talking basic compliance, but the freedom to do more than just what they are expected to do. To bring more to the playing field.”
She said:
“Totally.  It’s the difference between doing a “duty” and being “delighted” to give the best you’ve got.  It’s the bringing the beauty of our individual contribution to bear on the organization. The difference in your bar straightness was that incredibly tiny number- 0.0006”. For people, the difference between grudging compliance and joyful contribution is about that much when you measure it in terms of permission to contribute.”
He said:
“I guess we better use the microscope to see the permission we give our folks to play to their strengths.”
She said:
”Yep, if we don’t want to have to get out our binoculars to find where it is that their natural strengths and abilities and talents have taken them…”
Microscope photo credit.
U.S.Navy binoculars photo credit.
Binoculars for the further out effects.


Our industry doesn’t use “mechanical power presses” per se, but the OSHA Mechanical Power Press Standard, 29 CFR 1910.127 is often cited as governing our automatic cycling equipment.
Point of operation hazards are not just limited to power Presses, and may be found in our industry’s equipment as well.
The most common type of injury associated with mechanical power presses is amputation. Shouldn't have one of these showing up at your shop.
To reduce the frequency of occurrence of amputation injuries, OSHA has just published a new Safety and Health Information Bulletin on Hazards Associated with the “Unintended (Double) Cycling” of Mechanical Power Presses.
The references and bibliography may be of more than passing interest, especially if you have a power press somewhere in your operation as an ancillary operation.
If you have a number of these presses, YOU NEED THIS BULLETIN.
Even if you do not have “Mechanical Presses” in your shop, the OSHA etool found here will help you with safety in your shop.


The Millennials  are the latest Generation to enter the workplace. millennials were born between 1977 and 1988 and represent about 29% of our workforce and the foundation of our corporate future., according to Diane Thielfoldt, of The Learning Cafe.
Millennials are packed with potential.
Packed with power, this is the first generation of “Technology Natives” a generation that grew up naturally with the technology the rest of us had to adapt to.
If you want to harness the power and potential that these confident, capable people can bring to your business, you need to think about what makes Generation Y-Not? different from the rest of us.

A sneak peek at NTC content!

Here’s a sneak peek from Diane Thielfoldt’s  Meet the Millennials Program that will be part of the PMPA’s National Technical Conference presentation Tuesday April 27,  2010 to be held twice at 8:30 AM and again at 9:45 AM.
Leadership Lesson #1 for Managing Millennials: Technology Rules
Millennials have grown up with technology and are completely comfortable with it. Cell phones, text messages, the Internet, instant messaging, and email are how millennials communicate. It’s how they get information. It’s how they get work done.
As consumers, for their families their opinions were sought out when computers DVD’s cellular phones and digital cameras were purchased.
They are technology experts. Listen to their ideas. Acknowledge their expertise.
Millennials know more about technology than most of us non-Millennials can learn.
To reach millennials, podcasting, IM-ing, and personal webpages are the next generation of corporate communication tools.
Are you using technology to recruit and hire Millennials?
Leadership Lesson #4 for Managing Millennials: Managing is More than a Palm Pilot
Millennials expect structure. Their entire lives have been scheduled around planned activities. They understand calendars, deadlines, time management, and multi-tasking. Millennials want lots of challenge and varied assignments- but they also expect structur. Providing structure can include clear objectives, frequent project debriefing, a project mentor, a specific reporting structure,  a well understood timeline.
Share your vision, creating a clearer picture of your expectations, goals, results and rewards.
Want more info before the April NTC? Check out more about Diane Thielfoldt and her work with Millennials  at  The Learning Cafe.

1) Do we have to inspect forklifts and other industrial powered trucks each day?

Industrial trucks shall be examined before being placed in service, and shall not be placed in service if the examination shows any condition adversely affecting the safety of the vehicle. Such examination shall be made at least daily.
Where industrial trucks are used on a round-the-clock basis, they shall be examined after each shift. Defects when found shall be immediately reported and corrected.”
Thats what  OSHA says in 1910.178(q)(7)
Photo credit.
2) So what does OSHA say to inspect? That is not so clear.
Industrial trucks shall be kept in a clean condition, free of lint, excess oil, and grease. Noncombustible agents should be used for cleaning trucks.Low flash point (below 100°F.) solvents shall not be used. High flash point (at or above 100°F.) solvents may be used. Precautions regarding toxicity, ventilation, and fire hazard shall be consonant with the agent or solvent used.” 1910.178(q)(10)
“[i]f at any time a powered industrial truck is found to be in need of repair, defective, or in any way unsafe,” it needs to be removed from service per 29 CFR 1910.178(p)(1)” Link to Overby interpetation letter.”
I would look for seat belt and condition per the compliance directive CPL 02-01-028 IX. C.


More helpful than the standard!

Art Credit:
3) Do you need to have a written record?
Although the standard requires that the examination be conducted, there is no OSHA requirement that the examination be recorded in writing on a checklist such as the one you provided. However, as an employer it is well within your rights to implement additional safety practices that go beyond OSHA’s requirements such as the completion of your written checklist.” Freed letter of interpretation
4) Where can I find the best information on this complicated topic?
5) Where can I get some training materials to use in my program?
Here is a free downloadable powerpoint program .
Stan’s Safety Posters:

Obama’s policies not enough.
Guest post  by Peter Morici

 The Labor Department reported the economy shed 36,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate held 9.7 percent. Counting workers compelled to work part time for lack of full time opportunities and discouraged workers that have quit looking, the unemployment rate rose to 16.8 percent.Continuing job losses indicate President Obama’s stimulus spending and support for the banks have failed to turn the economy around. In an economic recovery, jobs are a  lagging indicator, not a never indicator.Eight months into the much touted recovery, the economy should be adding jobs not losing jobs at a slower pace. No study of economic history could yield a conclusion other than that the U.S. economy walls along the precipice of a double dip recession.To add jobs, businesses need customers and capital. Businesses lack customers because of the yawning trade deficit with China, and capital because the Bush-Obama bank bailout enriched Wall Street financiers without fixing the problems of the 8,000 regional banks that do the tough lending.
Nearly all the sustainable GDP growth accomplished in the second half of 2009-GDP growth less adjustments for inventory changes–went into the pockets of Wall Street bankers as bonuses.
When dollars leave the United States to purchase imports and do not return to purchase exports, Americans cannot sell all they make-be it manufacturers, software makers, movie producers, or clean shirts from the corner laundry. 
From 2005 to 2008, by consuming more than they produced and earned, through excessive foreign borrowing, Americans sustained a false prosperity with a trade deficit in excess of 5 percent of GDP.  That line of credit has run out, and either Americans balance their trade accounts or reconcile to slow growth, no jobs and economic decline.
Stimulus spending and subsidies for Wall Street financiers are palliatives-more accurately, an ice pack for the hangover from the Bush years of heavy borrowing, and shabby financial practices that began with Enron and continue at Goldman Sachs today, through shameful tactics such financial engineering to cover up Greece’s financial blight to selling of mortgage backed securities to investors while it shorts the market.
Regional banks have not benefited from the TARP, which was intended to create an elaborate analog to the Savings and Loan Crisis Resolution Trust Corporation. Instead, the 8,000 regional banks lack money to lend businesses.
No customers, no capital, no jobs
Failing to address root causes of economic malaise invites decline.
President Obama and speaker Nancy Pelosi obsess about income redistribution in every piece of legislation, ranging from health care reforms to road construction.
A just distribution of wealth is a noble goal, but there must be wealth to distribute.
The American economy is at sea. Without rudder or compass, America navigates an iceberg field while the ships’ captain and pilot focus on a well stocked bar, lest the passengers become aware of their imminent peril.
Peter Morici is a professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, and former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission.