Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Strong Manufacturing Production Predicted for 2015, 2016

From: Industry Week

A combination of strong growth in jobs plus replacement demand for equipment from businesses will provide a stable base for overall economic growth, according to a new report released by The MAPI Foundation, the research affiliate of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation.

The group released its quarterly economic forecast, predicting that inflation-adjusted gross domestic product will expand 2.8% in 2015 and 3.0% in 2016. Both are declines from the August report-of 3.0% and 3.3%, respectively.

Manufacturing production is expected to outpace GDP, with anticipated growth of 3.5% in 2015 (a decrease from 4.0% in the previous forecast) and 3.9% in 2016 (an increase from 3.6% in the August report).

The November 2014 report forecasts a five-year horizon in which GDP is expected to average 2.8% and manufacturing production to average 3.26% growth.

"We will have full employment in 18 months and manufacturing is already there," said MAPI Foundation Chief Economist Daniel J. Meckstroth.

With the unemployment rate continuing to fall, the pain and suffering from the recession is dissipating. Why are businesses spending? Because consumers are spending. Also, the drop in energy prices is essentially a tax cut for us. Lower prices are a positive development.

Production in non-high-tech manufacturing is expected to increase 3.8% in 2015 and 3.7% in 2016. High-tech manufacturing production, which accounts for approximately 5% of all manufacturing, is anticipated to grow 8.2% in 2015 and 10.0% in 2016.

The forecast for inflation-adjusted investment in equipment is for growth of 6.9% in 2015 and 7.3% in 2016. Capital equipment spending in high-tech sectors will also rise. Inflation-adjusted expenditures for information processing equipment are anticipated to increase by double digits in each of the next two years-12.1% in 2015 and 12.3% in 2016.

The MAPI Foundation expects industrial equipment expenditures to advance 7.6% in 2015 and 3.6% in 2016. Conversely, the outlook for spending on transportation equipment is for decreases of 0.8% in 2015 and 0.4% in 2016.

Inflation-adjusted exports are anticipated to increase 3.3% in 2015 and 3.9% in 2016. Imports are expected to grow 3.6% in 2015 and 6.6% in 2016. The MAPI Foundation forecasts overall unemployment to average 5.6% in 2015 and 5.3% in 2016.

The outlook is for an increase of 202,000 manufacturing jobs in 2015, a decrease from 315,000 in the August report. Meckstroth envisions 16,000 manufacturing jobs to be added in 2016, down from 86,000 in the previous forecast.

Over the five-year period from 2015 to 2019, the MAPI Foundation forecasts an average annual increase of 66,800 manufacturing jobs.

The refiners’ acquisition cost per barrel of imported crude oil is expected to average $80.00 in 2015 and $80.60 in 2016.

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The Importance of Goals & Direction for Growth & Profitability

"Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to" said the cat.

"I don’t much care where" said Alice.

"Then it doesn’t matter which way you go" said the cat.

Lewis Carroll

Are you like Alice or do you care about the future and the direction you want to take?

2014 is winding down already and it’s time to prepare for 2015.

If you don’t take the time to define your future,
someone else will.

AM&T has helped hundreds of Southern Tier manufacturers develop and implement meaningful Strategic Plans.

Give us a call and let’s discuss how we can help you:
• Examine your current state
• Define your desired future
• Develop a road map and actions for growth & profitability
• Develop the right metrics to monitor progress

Contact Jim Cunningham at 607-725-1225 or

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The Entrepreneur’s Simple Guide to Business Concepts

By: Jim Joseph

Positioning is one of the hardest marketing concepts to not only understand, but to do right. It’s very conceptual, highly theoretical, and mostly emotional. Not everyone does well with that combination.

It’s also very confusing, especially when it’s not well crafted and when coordinated with other parts of defining your business and managing and marketing it.

Many people continue to get positioning mixed up with other business concepts, so here is the entrepreneur’s guide to business concepts, with simple definitions of common elements of a business plan -- quick phrases to help clarify and solidify terms that many get confused.


The space you want to occupy in your customer’s mind when they think of your brand. While your positioning should remain consistent over time, it should also evolve with your business and the marketplace.


Your core purpose -- why you started the business.


A lofty ideal of what your organization does. It’s not the "why" of a mission but more a "what" you do to accomplish that mission.


The principles by which you run your business. If you have business values, and you should, you also need to communicate them to your customers.


How you represent your business and how you talk to your customers. It’s one thing to have a voice, but it’s even more important to consistently apply it in all that you do.


What you are seeking to accomplish in a given year. You are likely to have multiple objectives that change frequently over time.


How you plan to accomplish your objectives. You are likely to have multiple strategies for multiple objectives.


Specific programs you put in place to fulfill your strategies to accomplish your objectives. Tactics should be constantly changing to keep up with what you have to get done for your business.

Oh, and one last one.


The backbone of American business and economic growth. ‘Nuff said.

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Four Ideas to Improve Next Year’s Results

By: Mike Brown
Creating Strategic Impact
Even if an organization is well into strategic planning for next year, what steps will help ensure it’s having greater success in creating strategic impact?
Here are four ideas:
  1. Broaden the range of employees invited to offer insights and ideas into the strategic plan. At a minimum, expand participation by at least one level in the organization.
  2. Exploit how smart structure can create flexibility. While it sounds contradictory, selecting the right strategic planning structure can help employees more successfully contribute to creating strategic impact. And that’s true for both veteran and new planning participants.
  3. Don’t ask the same old strategic planning questions. When knowledgeable people are invited to address strategic opportunities from questions that provide "strategic detours," an organization will uncover exciting new paths to growth. Additionally, through expanding participation within the organization, answering these questions becomes part of the daily strategic conversations taking place in the organization.
  4. Simplify your strategic language. If nothing else, use simple, understandable, and actionable language to describe your strategies and plans. Don’t use corporate jargon and confusing words so that what you’re trying to accomplish becomes clear to everyone in the organization.

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Upcoming Workshop

Lean Thinking & Value Stream Mapping
A powerful combination to improve your company’s performance
Introduction to Lean provides participants with the basic Lean concepts and principles. These concepts and principles will be described and put in context to explain how they can be applied within the Manufacturing environment.

Common Lean improvement tools and techniques will be identified and the class will discuss how best to apply these techniques from a Lean system perspective. The common mistake organizations make by focusing on "Point" improvements versus "System" improvement will be studied. Point improvements create ‘exciting chaos’ while "System" improvement creates dramatic sustainable bottom line benefits.

This second half of the day is designed to provide participants with an introduction to Value Stream Mapping.

Enterprise Value Stream Mapping is a critical Lean technique that provides an end-to-end "Systems" perspective for analysis and coordinated improvement. Value Stream Mapping creates an overall road map and shared vision, plus an actionable plan.

A value stream is the set of all activities, from order to delivery, used to provide a product or service to clients. Understanding and improving processes as integrated end-to-end systems is fundamental to real and sustainable improvement.

These interactive sessions are specifically designed for personnel at all levels of a manufacturing organization who would like to enhance their working knowledge of Lean and Value Stream Mapping. This training is especially valuable to those who are involved in process management, continuous improvement, or process redesign. The workshop will also act as a springboard and prerequisite for an upcoming series of Lean workshops that will continually take the participants’ knowledge and ability to the next level of capability and confidence.

Enable you to discover how Lean Thinking and Value Stream Mapping can get you started on your Lean Journey that will, in turn, enable your company to:
• Streamline processes
• Reduce costs
• Improve quality
• Improve profitability
• Prepare for growth

Date:  February 19, 2015
Time: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
           7:30 am sign-in, continental breakfast, lunch provided
Location: Owego Treadway, Owego, NY
Cost: $250 ($200 for AM&T Associates)
                      or contact Kathy Peacock at 607-774-0022 x308

Don’t Miss this Workshop - Register Early

Meet your Instructor: Carol Miller has over 25 years of experience in the manufacturing and service sectors. She has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the State University of New York, College at Buffalo, and an M.S. in Management of Technology from Polytechnic University. She is a member of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) and the Project Management Institute (PMI), is a NIST-certified trainer and implementer of Lean Manufacturing techniques, and has received certification as a Lean/Six Sigma Black Belt from Villanova University. Carol leads AM&T’s Lean effort.

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Leadership: How to Get From Good to Great

By: Peter Economy

Focus on a few core components of leadership and you can take your company to new heights.

Company leaders always want to motivate, inspire, and support their people to the absolute fullest. But most go to bed at night suspecting that they’re coming up a little short. Maybe more than a little. Take heart: You can become a truly great leader. All it takes is:

• Perspiration

Great leadership requires effort--lots of effort. And much of that effort revolves around learning: about your people, your operations, your industry, and yourself. Be relentless in your pursuit of knowledge about everything -- and everyone--in your business ecosystem.

• Vision

Develop a clear vision for what your business is all about, and don’t lose faith in it. Know in your heart that you and your team can accomplish anything you set out to accomplish if you work together and believe in one another. You will undoubtedly encounter setbacks, but don’t be deterred. Learn from failure and remain confident.

• Communication

Great leaders communicate sincerely, often, and in many different ways to everyone in their organizations. They inform, provide feedback, and motivate -- intelligently and honestly. Connect with all your people and cultivate multiple channels for two-way. When you hear your own words and messages repeated back to you from your employees, or when your employees talk among themselves using your words to describe your vision and goals, then you know you’re making an impact.

• Collaboration

Form teams and groups that are constituted for maximum effectiveness. Recognize that in order to do their very best work most employees need consistent support and input from co-workers, peers, and managers. When you create this kind of environment, you’ll see an immediate impact on productivity and effectiveness--as well as morale.

• Decisiveness

Highly effective leaders are decisive when called upon to make tough calls quickly and confidently. Take a moment to assess a difficult situation and then calmly and rationally consider your options. As soon as you have the information you need to make an informed decision, make it. Don’t let fear of being wrong prevent you from making what you know is the right call.

• Integrity

Study after study finds that the No. 1 quality that employees want leaders to possess is integrity. Always be candid, forthright, honest, and fair. Treat your people as you want to be treated. Your employees will respect you and respond in kind.

• Inspiration

When times are tough, be the person that people look to for inspiration. Don’t just talk, act. Reassure your employees and help them overcome their own doubts and anxieties. Model the kind of positive behavior you want to see in them.

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Wishing you Happy Holidays and a New Year filled with prosperity and success!

  • Jim Cunningham
  • Bob Edwards
  • Ed Gaetano
  • Lloyd Johnson
  • Bob Mann
  • Michael Meador
  • Carol Miller
  • Kathy Peacock

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