I am a fan of Lean, but the amount of fundamental data that Industrial Press has packed into this shirt pocket guide amazed me and will amaze you too!

Buy this book!
Buy this book!

Not only the math, geometry and trig functions that you would expect, but also the  letter addresses used in Numerical control, G code addresses,  and M codes for miscellaneous functions.

  • Drawing standards for ASME and ISO.
  • Conversion factors. Inch to metric. Metric to English. Fractional to decimal. Hardness  Scales conversion
  • Surface texture produced by common production methods,
  • ISO fits and nomenclature  for holes and shafts.
  • Screw and screw thread data.
  • Sample Calculations for Milling, Drilling and Turning.

Bonus content as far as I’m concerned:
Two illustrated pages on sine bar and dovetail slide measurement and calculation.
At $19.95 a copy, this reference could solve 80% of your shop floor and engineering estimating reference needs- Wand avoid getting carpal tunnel from trying to ” one hand” your usual “reference.’
Well done Steve Heather and Industrial Press.
72 pages, illustrated, ISBN 978-0-8311-3496-9, $19.95
Link to purchase

Effective Associating- PMPA and other groups challenged the “recess” appointment of three nominees to the NLRB without a confirmation vote.
The Supreme today unanimously ruled  the appointment sto be unconstitutional. 

The work being done inside is way more important than the work that we see going on outside!
The work being done inside is way more important than the work that we see going on outside!

The President has the right under the Constitution to bypass Congress when then Senate is in “recess” or “adjourned”, however, Republicans procedurally blocked the Senate from going into recess to avoid the President installing controversial appointees. Through our membership in the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), along with our co-plaintiffs, we became the first groups to legally challenge President Obama’s unlawful recess appointments of Richard Griffin, Sharon Block and Terry Flynn to the NLRB.
In a unanimous decision, the court sided with our coalition and Senate Republicans to limit the power of a president to make recess appointments.
The decision also calls into question hundreds of decisions made while the three appointments were part of the labor board in 2012 and half of 2013. 
The new five member board will have to revisit those decisions.
Here is a copy of the decision NLRB v. Noel Canning
PMPA ‘s mission is to “Provide information, resources, advocacy, and networking opportunities that advance and sustain our members.”
This unanimous decision by the high court demonstrates the effectiveness of our advocacy on behalf of our members.

PMPA member company Precision Plus President Mike Reader posted two great videos on his blog last week.
Mike-Reader2Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, we thought we’d “flatter” Mike for his awesome taste in videos:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-LFAYwc9oI&w=420&h=315]
That was a view of precision manufacturing back then.
And here is a view of what is new in precision manufacturing these days:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9IdZ2pI5dA&w=560&h=315]
It’s still about the craftsmanship.
It’s just that our technology today moves our “craft” to the right a few decimal places.
Do take a moment to visit the Precision Plus Blog

“Upside-down” programs allow students to transfer accredited technical training, work experience, military training, or community college coursework as credit toward a bachelor’s degree. Expansion of such programs, with emphasis on manufacturing-related fields, will reduce barriers between skills training and degree attainment, and enhance the quality of the manufacturing workforce.”- Milstein Symposium Building a Nation of Makers
Upside Down Degree
Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have traditionally succeeded by combining practical production knowledge with technical expertise and business acumen. The blend of practical, technical and managerial  that typifies these firms is not the result of a 4 year college program.  While technical and managerial knowledge can be obtained in college coursework, obtaining practical production type skills are gained in another path.
According to the Milstein Symposium report, “More troubling is that students are given little incentive to connect these two tracks. Colleges and universities frequently do not offer transfer credit for technical skills acquired either on the job, in community colleges, in the military, or through training.”

To overcome this disconnect, they propose an expansion of upside-down degrees.

An  “upside-down”  program essentially inverts the traditional four-year college model. Upside-down students start with the focused technical training and then take the broader coursework to both expand their knowledge base and enhance their critical thinking (see diagram above).

An “upside down’ program would entail academic credit / recognition for varying combinations of:

  • Technical training,
  • Military training,
  • Associate’s degrees,
  • Job experience

These could  be counted as up to two years of college credit.

Students then need only complete the remaining coursework to earn a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution.

Upside- down degrees can provide an  excellent means of integrating the skills needed by employees at todays advanced manufacturing SMEs- technical, practical, and managerial/academic.

We think that this idea is worth considering. We know that it works- as many of our PMPA member companies provide support for continuing education of both technical and college subjects.

Upside- down degrees

For more details on upside-down degrees see idea #2 (page 16 of the PDF) at the Milstein Report on PMPA’s homepage.


The PMPA Business Trends Index for May 2014 increased 5 points over both April 2014 and May 2013. Our industry continues to show solid sales in 2014.

May 2014's 128 value is just one point shy of our highest ever value of 129.
May 2014’s 128 value is just one point shy of our highest ever value of 129.

The May 2014 PMPA Business Trends Report shows strong levels of sales and increase in hours scheduled. Forward looking sentiments for Lead Times, Profitability, and Employment do not show the same level of strength.
Weakening Lead Time sentiment in particular is an issue to keep in mind.
While we show positive levels of hours worked, shipments, overtime and profitability, each of these indicators has softened to a less bullish level than in the first quarter.
Our indicators suggest perhaps moderation in demand for our products in the months ahead.

See the full report here.

“Government-backed talent investment loans will give SMEs the capital to hire the workers necessary to expand their businesses, as well as to up-skill these and current employees. These loans will include incentives to encourage economic and social goods, such as worker retention, attainment of certified skills, and hiring from target populations.” Building A Nation of Makers
Nation of makers
We were not at all surprised to find that the first idea of the symposium addressed a quality workforce.
Our advanced manufacturing technologies require skilled workers to operate.
Prospects looking to build factories number one concern is does a location have a quality workforce.
In the US, we have it backwards- we pay far more to have workers idle on unemployment than we spend to retrain them.
According to CNN.com, in 2012 the US spent over $520 Billion on unemployment benefits.
According to NY Times in April 2012, the US government was spending no more than $1.2 Billion on workforce training annually.
Our worker training budget is just  0.23% of our unemployment spend. Less than a quarter of a percent to actually address the root cause of our unemployment problem, people lacking skills.
According to the report:

  • Having the right talent is essential to SMEs.
  • SMEs can grow rapidly beyond capability of existing staff to keep pace.
  • SMEs know the talent they need but lack the funds to invest in new workers.

Creating Talent Investment Loans can help SMEs to create skilled middle class jobs

  • Providing capital up front;
  • Low interest rate- Federal guarantee;
  • Terms can be adjusted to achieve value criteria- employee retention, targeted hiring from population in need, enabling new and existing workers to earn an industry credential.

Ultimate goal of these loans is to increase workforce skills and participation- to provide greater opportunities for hiring and retention over the long run- of high skilled and high demand talent.
An important step toward Rebuilding the  American Middle Class in the process. Restoring the American Dream.
Photo credit

“By almost any measure the American Dream is in Peril. The  robust middle class growth of the 1950’s and 1960’s began to fade in the 1970’s and the core elements of the American Dream- homeownership, (job security*), secure retirement, and building a better life for your children- steadily eroded in the decades that followed.”-Milstein Symposium report, Building a Nation of Makers, June 13, 2014, Washington D.C.
The report indicates that Manufacturing remains a vital pathway to Middle Class, and achieving the American Dream.
american dream
Here are the 6 fresh, actionable ideas to expand the opportunities for middle class manufacturing jobs, restoring the American Dream developed by the Millstein commission:

  • Talent Investment loans to Expand Human Capital
  • Upside-Down Degrees to Connect Classroom Learning with On-the-Job Learning
  • A Skills Census to Build a more Efficient Skilled Labor Force
  • A National Supply Chain Initiative  o Fully Map America’s Manufacturing
  • Up-Skilling High School Students with Expanded Technology and Engineering Certification Programs
  • A “Big Trends- Small Firms initiative to Diffuse the Latest Technologies to Manufacturing SME’s

Together these recommendations wield tremendous transformative potential.
These ideas are actually able to be done. They address remediable issues in the manufacturing ecosystem- outside of politics, which appear to be in perpetual gridlock.
These ideas are implementable. In future posts, I hope to show how in fact these are actually part of the existing work product of PMPA, and how the identification of these by the Commission validates our work and strategic plan.
These ideas add value. PMPA has been involved in skilled workforce in manufacturing actively since the President first convened the Presidents Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (PCJC),  and ongoing through our work with other organizations including MFG Day and Business Leaders United, various community colleges and others. Yet, there are ideas in the Symposium’s report that are new and worth trying.
Next post: Talent Investment Loans to Expand Human Capital
 * I added job security- MKF

PMPA member Aaron Bagshaw of W.H. Bagshaw  Co. Inc. served on the commission. We reported on this in our blog post here.
At that time, Aaron told us “It’s no longer about recognizing that we have a problem- it’s about finding ways to scale what works.”

Milstein Commission on New Manufacturing
Milstein Commission on New Manufacturing

We will be attending the release of this important report aimed at creating “actionable, non -partisan ways to create middle class manufacturing jobs.”
We are looking forward to finding out about the ways the commission has identified  to scale what works.
 Creating awareness of industry and promoting career opportunities  is one of PMPA’s four current strategic goals.
The report is also focused on “how to accelerate the innovative capacity of American manufacturing’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).”
We’ll be reporting from the Washington Release of this report.
With the Workforce Participation Rate at or near it historical low- “Now is the time!”

The majority of the demand for skilled workforce in industry is in this area  of engineering and production technology requiring some post high school  education or credential, but less than 4-year bachelors degree education.
University of Toledo Engineering Department has a great graphic that shows where various jobs fit on the “knowledge worker” spectrum based on need for mathematical skills. We have added some additional thinking about “where the jobs are- and what they demand.”
Technical Workers copy
The  occupations on the right side of the diagram demand less mathematics in daily work. Distribution and sales would require counts and arithmetic to balance quantities and sales orders and payment.

  • Operations, Service and Maintenance positions  would typically use numbers to look up and specify parts, measurements for fits, and evaluate process inputs and outputs.
  • Production positions would use gages and hand held measuring instruments as well as data from sensors to determine conformance to tolerances and to plot statistical control charts.
  • Senior manufacturing positions would take this a step further to determine offsets and “true positions.”
  • Testing and evaluation and quality control works almost exclusively with numeric data and uses Coordinate measuring machines, Optical comparators, and gage blocks to determine conformance to print and capability of process.

The far right of dark blue portion of the diagram corresponds to high school math including algebra; more to the left the positions demand ability to use geometry and trigonometry. The production and manufacturing portions are typically best fit for persons with a one year credential such as a CNC operator certificate, various NIMS credentials, or 2-year associate degrees in various technology fields.
The  left most portion of  the light blue portion is the realm of 4 year degree engineers and technologists and specialists ((Mechanical Engineers, Metallurgists, Tooling Engineers, Chemists)
The white area on the left typically are positions filled by Master’s and Ph.D level grads.
The majority of job openings in advanced manufacturing today require some post high school skilled training, but do not require a 4 year degree.
Technical workers are knowledge workers.
And they are in high demand.
University of Toledo Engineering