I am always pleased when I encounter a quote that neatly communicates an Idea that I firmly believe, but is expressed more clearly than I could.
Imagine my delight when I received a placard containing one of my favorite industry quotes today!

So happy to get this visual reminder of the importance of precision machining, and the tools that we use!

Read the Card!”
“Read the card!”
“What’s it say?
As precision machinist’s, we’re the people that make things.
Things that make a difference in everyone’s quality of life.
And who is is it that makes the tools that help us make that difference?
Why, precision toolmakers, of course.
A big thank you to Horn USA for sharing the placard with my favorite quote.
See you all at IMTS!

On June 21, 2018, the ECHA added Lead to the Candidate List for Substances of Very High Concern under REACH.

Not banned in every application…

While this regulation arguably covers only manufacturers and importers in the EU, the fact of the matter is that  our shops here in North America are producing components (articles) which are incorporated into products in the EU.
Our customers, who specify the use of leaded materials because of the economics of product provision (Leaded materials machine at much higher efficiency rates, lower costs , and seldom need post fabrication operations) are now asking their suppliers for a statement of compliance for the materials that THEY specify us to make THEIR components from. Leaded Steels, Brasses and Aluminums.
Our shops find themselves placed right in the center of a paradox-  how can they certify that the material that their customer told them to use is compliant with this new REACH development?
PMPA has analyzed this and provided our members with a guidance document that

  • Recites the applicable facts and regulatory obligations
  • Describes where and where not the REACH and other EU regulations apply / might not aply;
  • Analyzes the duties to our customers
  • Describes ways to meet our obligations
  • Provides references for understanding this new development

The world of Precision Machining is characterized by Volatility (this regulation just Arrived), Uncertainty (does this apply to me, I’m an North American, not European manufacturer?) Complexity ( So I need to read the ECHA announcement, The ECHA Substance Support Document, the Annex that covers Lead,  and then two more annexes that tell me what I need to do) before I can figure out what I need to do, and Ambiguity (Actually the annexes do not expressly state what the exact deliverable  required is).
This VUCA world is made manageable by  PMPA regulatory sensemaking  to help our shops  first recognize, then intelligently understand and manage their risk.

  • Who is helping you and your team recognize new regulatory risks?
  • Who is helping you to understand those risks?
  • Who is providing answers so that you can concentrate on making those critical parts that the world needs, instead of spending three or four man-Days trying to figure it out? (Presuming that you know the issue even exists!)

PMPA members know who.
PMPA Members Only Guidance Document

First the good news:
The 2018 July index of 128 is 14.3% higher than July 2017’s 112 value.   Our year to date average is 135, up 10 points or 8.0% over 2017’s year-end average of 125. We are at 107% year to date.

Jul;y 2018 Business Trends Index- Highest July EVER!

And the not so good news?
Well actually it is just that  to get to that record high Sales for July, the Index actually dropped 10 points or about 7.3%. from 138 in May & June to 128 in July.
I’m calling it a breather from the feverish year we’ve had so far.
Hours of first shift scheduled dropped by half an hour, a welcome break for the folks in the shop.
Why we’re not concerned about the decline of Sales in July:
The forward looking sentiment for Sales for the next three months actually climbed in July. while all other indicators remained steady.
We’re just taking a bit of a breather.
A much needed break for our shops.

Photocredit: Skynews

ITR Economic Report – August 2018



The Institute for Trend Research (ITR) quarterly reports focus on major areas of economic growth and decline in key market segments for the Precision Machined Products Industry. They are provided to PMPA members as part of the association’s overall business intelligence program and are used as a management tool to help PMPA members plan for what lies ahead and which markets they should focus on in a complex manufacturing environment. 




PMPA Business Trends August 2018


“August Sales Index Recovers to All Time High.”


With 88 companies responding, the PMPA Business Trends Index for August 2018 recovered to its all-time high of 143 from March earlier this year. This 16-point surge (~13%) increase over July –the highest July on record- is solid testimony that we are in strong market for our high precision-machined components. The 2018 August index of 143 is about 9.2% higher than August 2017’s 131 value. Demand remains strong for our precision machined products Our year to date average is 136, up 11 points or 8.8% over 2017’s year-end average of 125. We are at 107% year to date.