Monday, January 30, 2012

In the Media Spotlight


"World’s Greatest" could be an excellent description of manufacturing here in the Midwest. But, in this case, Worlds Greatest is the TV series seen on the ION network. On it, they cover ‘the best of the best’ in business, so we have to tip our hat to Waukesha Metal Products in Sussex, WI, featured on the show last month.

Waukesha Metal Products' incredible, 330-ton servo stamping press was highlighted, demonstrating the differences between servo technology and traditional stamping methods, including lower energy consumption. Its something to brag about, for sure.

Click the frame above to watch it for yourself

Manufacturers are Optimistic

We know that a lot of companies have tightened their belts and have taken extrordinary measures to make it through the downturn, so we don’t want to just talk ‘good news’ while ignoring the negative. But there is a lot of that ‘good news’ and, while its effects will vary, these reports aren’t just for the ‘big guys’ or chosen few. They impact all of us. A good example is the just-released National Economic Trends Survey from MRA-the Management Association.

With respect to Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois manufacturers, findings include:

92% see the economy as the same, or better than 2011

77% expect sales increases

66% plan on making new hires

We all know that short-term stats and one-time bumps aren’t very meaningful. But this survey is based on longer-term projections.

You can read more about it in BizTimes Milwaukee

The Backbone (and Future) of Wisconsin’s Economy

Is manufacturing “dumb, dirty and dangerous” or is it “smart, safe, sustainable and surging?”

In this month’s “Wisconsin In Business,” Buckley Brinkman, Executive Director and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership, comments on the industry’s old image, the new opportunities, and solutions that are already in the works, like our Wisconsin Working initiative. He cites exports (where Wisconsin has been especially strong) as an indicator of a strong future.

You can check out the complete interview here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012



A while back, we wrote about John Ratzenberger’s “Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs,” a foundation that actively works with today’s youth to prepare and inspire them for futures in manufacturing.

Now, Wisconsin’s own Marcia Arndt, dean of manufacturing technology at Moraine Park Technical College in West Bend, has been elected secretary/treasurer of NBT.

Of course, NBT shouldn’t just be thought of as ‘that Cliff Claven project.’ John Ratzenberger, who found fame as the talkative postman on the TV series “Cheers” was the brainchild of this terrific foundation, but some of industries most creative and progressive minds are heavily involved. It’s great to see Ms. Arndt is now among them.

Check out Nuts Bolts and Thingamajigs here


Most indicators of steel price fluctuations come from the markets. But indicators also come from the street.

Case in point: scrap.

Recent increases in scrap metals prices, particularly in metals like copper, have resulted in higher prices. And, in some cases, a rise in theft. Thieves have been targeting old and vacant buildings for their copper wiring and pipes. With scrap prices on the rise, they’ve been hot targets.

Here’s an article with examples and details.

As always, we stay on top of all indicators to make sure you can always buy competitively.