Had a great discussion with a colleague about “Hope.” He defined  hope as being “earnest expectations”-  as opposed to all the nebulous, touchy-feeley stuff that most people seem to think it is.

This is NOT what hope looks like in my book!
This is NOT what hope looks like in my book!

I considered what he said, and offerred, that to me,  hope is more than just earnest expectations.

Hope is Positive Earnest Expectations!

Here are my 5 Positive Earnest Expectations for 2013:

Automotive market will continue to strengthen. 


When I worked at a steel barmill, it was certain knowledge that automotive was the most important driver of bar steel sales. “No one would build a bar mill for steel if it wasn’t for automotive.” Said Everyone. To. The New Guy. (Me.) We see estimates of a 15 million auto sales for 2013. That may be a little high, but if housing continues to strengthen too, well, tradesmen will need pickup trucks and vans. And THAT could be a boost to auto sales.

Housing market  will continue to strengthen.

It merely has to revert to the mean. We continue to see a number of positive indicators  and comments from people who follow housing. But it’s pretty simple, really- houses are currently cheap; there is a lot of cash around in the hands of people and their parents who have jobs. People who have not spent the last 99 weeks on unemployment are seriously starting to think about picking up a bargain in real estate. Not to flip, but for the long run.

If you want to get a well paying job- consider precision machining.

Brandon 2 Handout copy

Our industry recognizes its need for talent and skilled workers. 66 percent of our companies reporting in December expect employment opportunities to remain the same. (Most every shop I know has at least an opening or two for a skilled operator even in today’s market.)  An additional 10 percent expect them to increase. While the balance, 24 percent feel that employment opportunities will decline, the fact is that demographics, politics of the past few years, and the fact that several of our markets are recovering tell me that if you can do the math, and are interested in technical work, you could get a well paying job in precision machining. Career link.

Technology will continue to improve in our industry.

Robotic Manufacturing Cell

Just saw a breathlessly optimistic  special report on robotics by Kiplinger Reports. I continue to see robots being deployed in the shops I visit, and integrated into machines for chucking as well as for removing finished parts. The people that we hire today aren’t going to be hired because they can move parts. They will be hired because they can think. solve problems, and create value. We’ll leave the mindless moving from point A to point B to the robots as we continue to face increased employment and regulatory costs.(Tip, learning about robotics and their controls is a great career strategy as I see it…) Kiplinger Robots Slide Show

PMPA National Meetings will be ‘Hugely Successful’ this year.

Our Management Update Meeting in February is loaded with critical intelligence insights to help you intelligently manage risk. (More than enough risk being faced every day.) Regulatory risk, hiring risk, healthcare risk, organizational risk. And sessions covering leadership, high performance collaborative work, and organizational improvement. (It’s not enough to manage risk, you also must continuously improve!)  Our National Technical Conference and PMTS in April will feature programs that will enable your attendees to immediately apply new knowledge to problems they face daily in your shop. Understanding materials. Understanding GDT. Better use of macros. And about another 24 or 25 other hands- on topics of interest to operators, leadmen, engineers, quality and management personnel.

Positive Earnest Expectations. That is what I think hope looks like.

Stronger markets for cars, trucks, and housing. Employment opportunities for people looking for a career that puts them at their highest and best use – and growing daily.

And a successful year for your association, as we continue to deliver what you need to stay competitive, sustainable, and off the regulatory systems radar.

What are your Positive Earnest Expectations for 2013?

Rainbows and Unicorns

Calculated Risk