AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF GRADUAL PROGRESS, THE ECONOMIC STARS ARE ALIGNING IN FAVOR OF A MORE ROBUST COMMERCIAL ENVIRONMENT.
(The economy is booming, be sure you focus on the markets that are growing. Take Donald Trump’s advice, “Don’t get into an industry in decline.” Or don’t make the mistake we did, getting into Green Building Marketing right at the downturn. No problem, now we’re prepared. Chuck Lohre)
“WE EXPECT 2016 WILL BE A GOOD YEAR, WITH INCREASED consumer spending driving economic growth,” said Sophia Koropeckyj, managing director of industry economics at the research firm Moody’s Analytics. Why the sunny outlook? Economists point to a number of conditions favoring businesses: Higher employment, lower consumer debt, greater credit availability, and trimmed gasoline prices all lead to a more robust American economy. All should do their part to help en – courage stronger growth over the coming 12 months.
Performance in the retail sector is a critical driver for the American economy in general—and one in which economists see an improving picture in 2016. “We expect core retail sales to grow 5.5% in 2016,” said Scott Hoyt, senior director of consumer economics for Moody’s Analytics. That growth rate is notably faster than the 4.2% rate anticipated when 2015 sales are finally tallied. The 2015 experience was slightly better than the 3.9% growth of 2014. If Moody’s Analytics is accurate in its forecast, businesses can rejoice, as the anticipated rate is not that far off the roughly 6% increases retailers commonly enjoyed during the robust decade of the 1990s—as well as the period they fondly remember just prior to the Great Recession. What will drive the anticipated retail sales increase? Primarily higher wages, fueled by the growing number of people gainfully employed.
Businesses depend on a healthy economy to support strong sales. And one of the most important drivers of that is a robust housing construction sector that employs more people and generates more disposable income. “The ever-tightening market for new homes will likely spur stronger construction activity in 2016,” said Sophia Koropeckyj, managing director of industry economics at Moody’s Analytics. Indeed, housing starts are expected to rise 29.5% for the year, a considerable improvement over the 14.5% figure expected for 2015 when final numbers are tallied. (The rate for 2014 was 5.8%.) Why the spike in construction? According to Koropeckyj, the nation’s inventory of new homes has been falling steadily to the point where builders are now expected to perceive solid economic benefits in gearing up into higher production. The decline in inventory over the past year came about as builders held back from constructing new homes, concerned that consumer demand had not met expectations. That demand, in turn, was soft because, said Koropeckyj, “many young families saddled with mountains of student debt were opting to continue renting.” Granted, some conditions will have to be met before the housing rebound occurs. “The tightening housing market by itself does not guarantee a resumption of singlefamily construction,” noted Koropeckyj. “Household debt burdens will still have to fall significantly before buyers of new homes start to return to the market in strength. Even so, the U.S. recovery, with some outside help from low gasoline prices and consequently low inflation, is pulling that date forward.” The expected housing rebound should have a related effect: Home prices are expected to increase by only 2.9% in 2016, a deceleration of the 6.3% expected for 2015.
Of special importance to all businesses is the performance by one subset of the larger corporate world: manufacturers. Any growth in that sector has a dramatic effect on employment—and therefore on the economy in general—because manufacturing is heavily dependent on a skilled labor force. It seems that manufacturers are looking ahead to a 2016 that will match or exceed what has been a reasonably good 2015. “Conditions are positive but not robust or booming,” said Tom Palisin, executive director of the Manufacturers’ Association (mascpa.org). “Manufacturers are doing slightly better than they were a year ago. They are reporting low to moderate growth, solid orders, and a good backlog.” Low energy prices are favorable for the sector. Looking to 2016, Palisin said, “Members are cautiously optimistic.” A telling indicator of that optimism is a new initiative to bolster the workforce. “One significant change is a move by many companies to invest more in their training budgets,” said Palisin, adding that manufacturers are doing so in response to a number of conditions: an improving economy, several years of cost cutting that has led to a lean workforce, and a lack of available skilled talent combined with low unemployment. “Employers now seem more eager to retain the employees they have by investing in training of their existing workforce,” Palisin added. That will translate into higher salaries and still more disposable income in consumers’ wallets. Manufacturers will be helped by a growing availability of credit, which has loosened considerably since the tight years of the Great Recession. “Rates are low and banks are willing to invest,” said Palisin. “However, there has not been much demand for commercial loans because many companies have sufficient cash on hand to finance their growth needs.” Others, he said, have delayed capital investment due to economic uncertainty and a tough regulatory environment.
The most important contributing factor to a more robust marketplace, said Koropeckyj, is the growing health of the labor force. “Wage gains are now materializing across a number of industries and regions,” she said, noting that consumers will have more disposable cash to spend. Moody’s reported that unemployment fell to 5.1% in late 2015, a full percentage point decline over the level 12 months previous and a rate nearly identical to the 5% economists believe represents a condition of “full employment.” “While there is still slack in the labor market, it is declining quickly,” said Scott Hoyt, senior director of consumer economics for Moody’s Analytics. “At some point in 2016 the labor market should become tight, which should translate into faster growth in wages and consumer spending.” Indeed, Moody’s expects the nation to reach full employment by mid-2016 and the average unemployment rate during the fourth quarter of that year to be 4.8%. Gains in employment nationwide have helped create a population more confident of the future – and therefore more prone to spend. “Consumers have been feeling reasonably well,” said Walter Simson, principal of Ventor Consulting. Economists expect consumer confidence to continue to rise over the coming 12 months in response to a brighter employment picture.
A STRONGER ECONOMY
So just how good is “good” for 2016? That depends on how much consumers and businesses spend nationwide on goods and services. The faster the rise in that figure—the GDP—the healthier the economy. For 2016, Moody’s expects GDP to grow 3.25%. That’s considerably higher than the expected 2015 rate of 2.5%. The 2015 results, to be confirmed when the year’s sales numbers are tallied, were just slightly higher than 2014’s 2.43% growth rate. One big driver of the rise in GDP is expected to be an improving performance by large employers. Businesses of all sizes benefit when major corporations rack up healthy profits. Good earnings stimulate business expansion and an attendant investment in buildings and equipment. That generates still more business for suppliers, along with more employment and disposable income for consumers. In this area, again, the future looks rosy. “Corporate profit growth is expected to accelerate some 9.2% through 2016,” said Koropeckyj. That’s a considerable improvement over the results for 2015, when profits actually declined slightly as a result of the strong dollar (which weakened exports) and a decrease in energy revenues following a drop in commodity prices. Why the rebound? Moody’s is looking to a recovery in global economies, along with a diminished drag from the dollar, to help turn things around. Several factors, though, could cause a delay. “Our narrative rests on the assumption that wages and productivity will rise in lockstep,” said Koropeckyj. “But this may not hold. Productivity growth has been weak, allowing even modest wage gains to push unit labor costs higher.” Wage growth is likely to grow faster than productivity, she added, noting, “This would further compress margins and lower the outlook for corporate profits.”
Challenges remain. Businesses should keep an eye out for further developments in lingering issues such as the softening of European and Chinese economies, a volatile American stock market, and political gridlock in Washington. “Businesses prefer stability and consistency,” said Tom Palisin, executive director of the Manufacturers’ Association (mascpa.org). “Right now, we have anything but that.” Even so, signs point to continuing marketplace strength. “We think the economy should weather the current uncertainties,” said Hoyt. “A lot of our optimism centers on the strength in the labor markets.” A healthy jobs picture, then, should make all the difference in 2016. “Early in the year businesses should watch what is happening with wages,” said Hoyt. “If the labor market tightens as expected, that will lead to higher wages and more consumer spending.”
Perry is a business journalist based in New York City and a three-time winner of the “Value to the Reader” award from the American Bar Association. Reach him at [email protected].
Process Equipment Marketing is more like high level consulting rather than selling a simple industrial product like a fork lift or truck. The cost is usually higher and an ongoing partnership between the customer and the manufacturer needs to be part of the relationship.
One of the challenges I often hear from companies is this: “We know what new business activities we should be doing. We just don’t do them consistently.” Many times a company that knows it’s ideal customer doesn’t have the resources to make the cold calls needed to get through to the manufacturing engineer. This is where the internet can go to work. The internet can be your 24/7 technical sales person.
And that makes a lot of sense. New business involves lots of unglamorous and, frankly, unenjoyable activities. Stuff like: sales meetings, staying in touch with prospects, and applying just the right “nudge” to prospects who are making a buying decision.
In addition to being not a lot of fun, many new business programs are pretty disorganized: leads falling through the cracks, missed hand offs between sales team members and details from prior conversations lost or incomplete. But even if you did have it, trying to touch base exactly when needed (when the chief engineer goes back to researching esoteric keyword phrases to find a solution to a value added problem).
So if new business is unenjoyable and disorganized, is it any surprise that companies aren’t executing their plans consistently?
This post lays out a few ways that companies can build a process for new sales that’s organized and consistent. We can promise that this will make new business your favorite thing to do, it will help you execute and get better results. And that’s pretty fun.
1. Create a Plan
First things first: you need an overarching plan for new business. Before you invest in tactics, content, technology or anything else, create a plan. New business strategy and planning is a blog post all its own and there are lots of great resources out there to help you on this front, so I’m not going to dig into the details on this topic. Typically a plan is, “We need customers we can partner with, ones we can add value to the equation. We don’t want to compete on price.”
When you work with your customers, you help them build a manufacturing strategy and a plan before you start going into system plan and equipment. Your marketing plan is very similar.
In the internet world you need to do new business activities each week, several times per week. The purpose of this is to consciously choose your highest priority leads, opportunities and activities for the week and execute those.
2. Get a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system (and Use It)
Leads: In an average month you probably come across a handful of new potential prospects. For instance, you come across an interesting company when reading an article, or a colleague at a networking event mentions a thought leader who you should get in touch with, or you discover a promising organization while doing a Google search. You need a place to park these leads while you research or reach out to them. Your CRM process should have a central place where you can store new leads while you’re in process of qualifying them.
Contacts: Once you’ve qualified a lead as a good prospect or partner, you need an organized way to keep in touch with them. That may involve “one-to-many” communication like newsletters or nurture campaigns, or “one-to-one” communication like personalized emails or phone calls. For each contact that you’ve qualified it’s important to have them categorized (or “segmented”) based on criteria like their industry, and their quality/potential. You probably have hundreds or thousands of contacts in your database: to create a personalized outreach plan for each is impossible. So we identify a few segments and then create an outreach plan for each. This allows for efficiency and organization.
Opportunities: Opportunities are the active deals that you’re working on. An Opportunity involves a specific piece of work: a project or a concept, and generally goes through a standard set of steps (for instance: initial meeting, proposal, negotiation, and close). A CRM can give you an overview of all the potential business on the table to ensure you’re proactively moving all of them towards wins, and to find trends in process after the fact.
Clients: Do you have a plan for keeping in touch with existing and former customers, and cultivating new business opportunities? Remember, new business doesn’t just mean new customers. A good start for your wear or replacement parts business list but those influencers in the company might not be the new process systems engineer.
Activities: Your CRM should provide you a dashboard of all your current activities. All your new business TODO’s in a single place.
Before you worry about automation, advanced metrics or new technology, get the fundamentals right: a simple system for managing your leads, contacts, opportunities, clients and new business activities.
3. Translate Your Goals Into Simple Metrics
What’s your primary goal for the year?
When you create your new business plan, you’ll of course spend time defining or refining your goals. Another smart technique is to define some simple business metrics to make sure your new business activities are on track to reach those goals.
For example, let’s say your goal is to grow revenue by 5% this year and start working with new OEMs.
The next step would be to answer these questions: How many new customers would you need to increase revenue by 5%? And how many well-qualified prospects do you need to land a new customer?
Let’s say the answer to those two questions are 2 and 10, respectively. Assuming you don’t lose any existing customers, you’ll need about 20 new well-qualified leads to reach your goal. Obviously this isn’t an exact science, but it’s extremely valuable to give you a general benchmark for the number of new prospects (or leads, or opportunities, or whatever) that your new business activities need to be generating.
If your analysis says you need 20 qualified leads to hit your goal, but you’re currently only generating 1 or 2 a year, you’ll need to adjust your new business efforts to achieve your objectives.
4. There’s marketing and there’s customer relationships
There are a few truths about new business: relationships are king, timing is everything, consistency is important, deals don’t close themselves/selling is required. Another key point about new business is this: You can’t keep in touch with everyone.
Sure, you can add as many resources as you like to media, trade shows and internet marketing, but when it comes to the One-to-One high-touch, personalized communications that are critical for new business, there’s a limited number of prospects you can keep in touch with.
Every company should have their “Top-20″ (or Top-12, 15, 18, whatever) list of ideal prospects that they proactively keep in touch with on a monthly (or more frequent) basis. We want to stress the importance of breaking down your overarching priorities into weekly priorities. If your goal is to keep in touch with everyone your Top-20 list once a month, that’s about 5 personalized contacts per week (or one per day). When you build that into your weekly or daily game plan that’s how you develop consistency.
5. Let the odds work in your favor
This decade is about marketing automation.
The purpose of marketing automation is to take work off the plate of the leadership so they can do the new business work that only they can do: building relationships and closing business. It’s a big topic that deserves more space than we can provide here, but there are a few questions you could ask to start thinking about the sales enablement process that you need:
What Is the Work That only I Can Do?: What are the new business activities that only I – the owner – can do effectively? What other new business activities am I doing that marketing automation could do (e.g. assigning tasks, integrating systems, recording notes/ entering data, searching through Sent mail, sending boilerplate emails, etc.)?
What Can I Delegate?: Who else in the company (or outside of the company) could take over the non-required tasks listed above? Is there someone in the company who can be responsible for marketing automation (i.e. a single person who is responsible for making sure the systems work, the data is up to date, the activities are getting done, the process is being followed)? This doesn’t need to be someone’s full time job, and it doesn’t need to be a senior person in the company. For instance, there could a junior sales person who has an interest and aptitude for process/systems work who would be great for the role of managing the CRM and sales enablement.
What Are The Handoffs Between Me and My Team?: Once you know the roles and responsibilities, it’s important to define the process for how people will execute their tasks and communicate. How will lead/prospect/opportunity ownership be assigned among the team? How will tasks be passed between team members? What are the criteria for qualifying a lead? What happens when the lead is qualified? What are the stages of your sales process and how are opportunities moved from one stage to the next? An effective new business process doesn’t just get the company more new business, it also takes work off the company executive’s plate.
New business efforts often fall short because of lack of consistency. It’s the classic story: Company A diligently keeps in touch with a Prospect for a few months, Company A loses track of Prospect for 6 months, Company A gets back in touch with Prospect only to find that Prospect just hired Company B. That’s no fun.
The companies that are able execute their new business program consistently over time have built processes to ensure that activities are planned out, prioritized, organized, delegated and measured. The process doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be clear and followed by everyone at the company. 2016 is just around the corner. Make it the year that you achieve the new business results you know you can.
Here are some pointers for preparing a Food Engineering Field Report by Debra Schug—also known as an application story, success story or an application brief for our Dry Processing Technology section. (Application articles are the foundation of any food process equipment marketing campaign. Chuck Lohre)
A Dry Processing Technology Field Report describes a problem and its solution. It may involve any product used in the food processing industry; for example, feeders, screening equipment, size reduction equipment, mixing/blending, bulk bag filling & discharging, mechanical conveying, pneumatic conveying, dust control, weighing systems, storage systems, micro and macro ingredient handling systems, thermal processing equipment (ovens, dryers) packaging equipment, metal detection/magnetic separation, process control system hardware and software, and so on. If you’re not sure whether your product, application or service applies, please call and we’ll brainstorm it. See sample Dry Processing Technology Field Reports attached.
Absolute requirements for publication
A submittal must contain the following or it will not be used.
Body copy of 500 to 700 words
At least two end user (food processor) quotes: perhaps one describing the problem and one suggesting that he/she is pleased with the solution, which should be quantifiable. That is, for example, it saved xx amount of time, reduced energy costs by xx percent, or the process improvements increased OEE by xx percent.
If you are unable to get end user (food processor) quotes, we may still have interest in the application story. We use this version online and in our bi-monthly eNewsletter. Think of these stories coming from a well know cereal manufacture or leading snack producer perspective. We require the same information, without the processor quotes or references.
Name of user company and name and title of person being quoted at the user Company
Quotes from supplier companies will not be used, and will be turned into straight text when appropriate.
Photograph of product, service, software at the food processor’s site—not a straight
product shot! Photograph must be print quality; that is high resolution jpg at 300 pixels per inch (ppi). Recommended physical size is at least 5×7 inches. Do not send Web quality. Don’t forget a suggested caption and photo credit. You may send more than one photo. Do not savescreen dumps as jpg files! Use a non-destructive format (tif). Call for instructions!
Real name of a person, phone number and email at the supplier for more information
Please advise as to where this story may have already been published. If it has been used on a
competing publication’s website or in a printed magazine, we won’t be able to use it. If it’s been
published on a supplier’s website, we can use it as long as it’s not more than a year old. Obviously, if exclusive rights to use the story have already been given to someone else, please don’t send it to us. Please make sure of this first. Also, be sure you have cleared the story with the processor.
Please note: These stories are used on a FIFO basis (first in, first out). Publishing dates cannot be guaranteed, but complete submissions, of course, will be published before incomplete submissions.
Contact Debra Schug for more information: Debra Schug, Features Editor, Food Engineering,
By Kevin Cronin, Editor-in-Chief, Powder Build Solids, 973-786-6401, [email protected]
(This just in from Kevin, we’ve just started a PR campaign for our client Roto-Disc. You’ll see Kevin’s placement of our product release at Powder Bulk Solids Online.
All editorial submissions are considered for inclusion on our website at www.powderbulksolids.com, as well as for our e-newsletters, and our print edition, and are free of charge. Call with any questions.
– Roughly 150 words; preferably a Word document
– High-resolution jpg that is 300 dpi/ppi at 3 inches wide or larger
– Consideration for front cover/Editor’s Choice page
Case Studies/Application Stories
– Exclusivity: not previously published or offered elsewhere
– Roughly 1,000 to 2,000 words
– Few high-resolution images (jpg, 300 dpi/ppi, 3 inches wide) with short captions
Technical Articles/“How To” Articles
– Exclusivity: not previously published/offered elsewhere
– Educational/objective, non-promotional
– Up to 2500 words
– Few high-resolution images (jpg, 300 dpi/ppi, 3 inches wide) with short captions
Guest Column (“Industry Insight”)
– Appears on page 6 of every issue
– Topic coincides with the editorial focus of the issue (see editorial calendar)
– Educational/objective, non-promotional
– 700 words and a short bio on the author and head shot of author
– Mergers, acquisitions, expansions, partnerships, promotions, new hires, new reps, etc.
– Includes a link to your/your client’s website
– Notification from me when it is live
For more information on how to write an application story go to the page in our Marketing Handbook.
Make your website Content Management System (CMS) work with your customer and prospect relationship management system (CRM). Trying to maintain your site, blog, social media and smart phone apps in four different places is impossible. There are many applications that can integrate them. Some recommended applications that help pull all of these pieces of your marketing mix together: Wordpress, Hubspot and Marketo.
Hi Metalworking Equipment Marketer, Allow me to share a recent example of editorial work for our client Feintool.
I wanted to forward it because every marketer I know has been at a loss — at least once in a career — trying to get critical marketing materials written and produced.
For this piece, we attended Feintool’s symposium in Nashville and reported the results. Lohre handled the total editorial assignment from information gathering to writing, photography, printing and mailing of the publication.
Bottom line? Working with the Feintool team, Lohre was proud to bring great value to our client’s customers and employees by providing an educational and relevant story worthy of a read.
We’d be honored by the opportunity to collaborate with you and your team. Here’s the article and some of the photos:
Forming for the Future: Feintool 2014 North American Symposium
Feintool hosted a two-day symposium to showcases its latest systems parts technology on September 30 and October 1, 2014. Speakers included Feintool’s North American management as well as invited guests representing thought leaders from the global automotive industry. Feintool hosted dozens of engineers and purchasing agents representing America’s largest automakers – 33 in all. The symposium covered critical issues facing the industry including a forecast of future trends, challenges and opportunities. Educational sessions, networking and a plant tour completed this unique gathering at Feintool’s Nashville, Tennessee, facility.
The focus of the educational sessions – faster speeds, more capabilities, lower costs and less risk — highlighted not only Feintool’s current abilities but served to plant the seed of future possibilities fineblanking and forming technology might have for those who attended. As one attendee suggested: One day they may have the perfect part for Feintool’s new capabilities.
A recap of the symposium.
Christoph Trachsler, CEO of Feintool North America, reviewed Feintool’s milestones by noting the company has completed a gradual sale of companies outside of the forming industry. Feintool refocused its core competence by reinvesting in forming and Feinblanking in the Nashville and Cincinnati locations. Feintool’s goal is to introduce a new innovation every two years making the company ready for the future. The audience learned of Tennessee’s mid-state region’s importance to fueling the automotive industry, but Christoph also took time to introduce the creative side of Nashville, Tennessee, best known for its pivotal role in the development of rock’n roll, blues and the Grand Ole Opry, which gave rise to Nashville’s musical dominance.
Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Feintool North America, Lars Reich’s theme was “Forming for the Future.” His presentation was subtitled, “Advanced drivetrain solutions for the toughest requirements – high part quality, low unit cost.” Reich noted the Feintool Tennessee plant and Center of Excellence was expanded recently to accommodate the $14-million USD customized 1,600-ton direct servo press that started operating there in March. With the new Fineblanking & Forming System™ (FFS) 18-ft-long working bed press, Feintool succeeded in marrying conventional forming with fineblanking, giving them new capabilities in the market, plus the best of both worlds. A typical formed and fineblanked part is a 4.5 mm high strength steel component featuring feinblanked teeth produced in the ninth of twelve stations. The flexibility of the FFS process allows Feintool U.S. to form and finish disc carriers, pistons, gear spiders, and driveplates, among other parts, in a single transfer-press run. That’s what makes this machine so powerful and a North American first.
David Petrovski, principal analyst at IHS Automotive, a leading provider of global market and economic information, presented a forecast of the North American auto industry. The auto production industry, he noted, is about to reach a new milestone not seen since the record year of 2006. He predicts by 2015, 17.4 million vehicles — a doubling of 2009 – will be sold. By 2021, that number will rise to 19 million cars. To meet that need automakers will be onshoring production to North America. Petrovski said the greatest potential for business will come from the global platform consolidation. In 2021, he noted, three quarters will be global platforms with the rest being US-centric, large pick-up trucks and SUVs. The mid-size and large segment growth will be flat or declining with all the growth in the other vehicle segments. By 2020 more than 2 million units will be exported from North America, Petrovski predicted. These forecasts are critical when aligning capital investments with the right business partners. With part life cycles getting shorter, drivetrains that used to be manufactured for 15 years now are looking at only a five- to eight-year lifecycle, Petrovski added.
Petrovski posed a series of thought-provoking questions for the engineers and purchasing agents in the room. Will consumers accept the new technologies required for efficiency that have a different driving experience? Also, many manufacturers have plans to deploy new technology but over time these keep getting pushed back because the existing technology is so much cheaper. Petrovski asked, “When you’re quoting new business with various engine and transmission manufacturers, think: ‘Is this a short five-year bandage or an eight-to 10-year, long-term direction this OEM is going in?’” There will be a huge jump in automatics with torque converter transmissions with 8 speeds or greater, from 2013 to 2021, he noted. CVTs are also showing some growth. “Asians have been very true to their CVT technology and now we’re seeing some of the Detroit 3 reconsidering the CVT especially for front wheel drive.” Petrovski concluded,
“Dual Clutch Transmissions remain relatively flat due to the poor consumer driving experience. Improved mpg legislation is the most significant driver of change so keep an eye on the efficiency reports; in the end that is what will really drive production, automakers will take drivetrains off the table if technologies don’t prove to be efficient enough.”
Engineer Willi Grimm, the owner of numerous patents and with Feintool since 1974, brought everyone up to speed with the technology in his session. One of his most important patents is the intool coining deburring technology deploying worldwide. It’s an evolution in process integration, boosting the output rate.
The entire world makes brake parts with feinblanking, one new example is a brake pad with a thickening process applied to a stress point. The material thickness is increased from 5.5 mm to practically 10.5 mm in the stressed area. The requirement comes from higher torque requirements, which broke the brake pad in this area. Instead of increasing the whole part material thickness, Feintool blanks the material larger than the final geometry and then pushes that material into the final geometry, increasing its thickness. Deburring coining was is also included in the tooling. It once was thought that heat treating could compromise the intool deburring, but Feintool has never found this to be the case, Grimm noted.
With its new out-of-strip processes, Feintool offers up to four additional processes that are balanced around the tool for a 100-percent balanced process. This system can eliminate one of the big disadvantages of a progressive tool, “the design is never able to balance the forces of a progressive process,” Grimm continued. The lifetime of balanced out-of-strip tooling is much better because there is no problem of table tilting.
Final examples were of dramatic increases in die cavities. Silent chain links from 1.7 to 2.7 thicknesses evolved from two cavities to twelve cavities. The cycle time to regrind the dies is no different with this many cavities, between 1 to 4mm material thickness. For door lock parts, Feintool’s new HFAspeed has achieved 100 strokes per minute at a four wide arrangement. CVT chain links have achieved ten times more output by increasing die cavities.
The high level of quality and accountability required in the vehicle manufacturing industry today was brought into focus by Daniel N. Sharkey, an attorney specializing in automotive recalls and warranties. About 80 percent of the big magnitude problems are warrantee issues. OEMs have set aside 2 percent of revenues for warrantee liability. OEMs have become more aggressive moving down the supply chain to implicate responsibility and obtain dollars from suppliers. Many OEMs rolled out new warranty agreements in the last three years. They acknowledge that both parties can be at fault, but in the gray areas the OEMs want a 50/50 split of the liability. “It’s not really a great deal when you step back and think about it,” Daniel said. He thinks the companies that will survive are smart, have the technology and are doing all the things Feintool is doing but they also have a little bit of backbone to stand up to the OEMs. At a very basic level, he said, what an OEM must decide is, “Is this a safety related issue? Recently, there have been seating cases where one would think it wasn’t safety-related but the OEM decided to recall anyway.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has some requirements suppliers might not be aware of. If there is a fatality in a foreign country, from the same or substantially identical part you supplied and you know about it and your other customers don’t know about it, you have an independent regulatory duty to inform NHTSA.
And finally, because of the complexity of these examples it’s important that engineering knows something about the contract documents and the contract documents have to be informed of the technical issues. The stakes get really high really fast if you don’t define the population of parts and fight back against debted payables.
Larry White, one of Feintool’s process consultants, discussed the new plant design, which has been optimized for maximum versatility, speed, future growth and innovation. The Nashville plant just doubled its capacity, which required new raw material, production, staging and shipping areas. Ever focused on the future, the plant is also designed with the capability to again increase capacity. One look at the huge empty machine base for another Fineblanking & Forming System™ press communicates that.
Feintool constantly evaluates how it can protect its customers by understanding the world-class manufacturing process of OEMs. Intelligent diagnostics technology, in tools, presses and parts manufacturing will be a way of life. For that reason, Feintool maintains its own apprentice program. By training its people and developing core skills, Feintool remains future focused. That future led White to discuss Feintool’s Center of Excellence, which is always looking for the next advanced process capability invention.
The Nashville plant has 12 core processes set up to limit material moves in the plant. In fact, Feintool’s vision includes what its manufacturing plant should look like five years from now. They’ll accomplish that through maintenance elements, material elements and quality elements. Advanced Product Quality Planning, Process Failure Mode Effects Analysis and Control Plans if done correctly, maintained and with the correct feedback gives Feintool a firm standing. The European OEMs are getting really critical on having regional capability to evaluate parts and Feintool’s regional in-house labs meet that need.
A plant tour rounded out the two-day event. A highlight was seeing many of the presses in full production. The original Kasier was making clutch plates; the new 880 Plus was at full bore also on clutch plates and the new 1600-ton Fineblanking & Forming System™ was busy making clutch pack containers. Other typical parts produced at each of the machines were on display and illustrated the range of in tool and post-production capabilities such as assembly welding and turning. Quality was top of mind and attendees were able to see several stations where 100-percent inspection was being performed for the entire run and at other stations for the first 90 days. In the tool room visitors could see the press schedule on the wall, nearly all marked “Ready,” indicating the tooling was staged for the next production. Materials up to 12 mm thick, stroke rates of up to 200 strokes/minute and a die clearance of as little as 0.01 mm put a lot of demand on the tooling. Feintool’s new shop is up to the challenge.
Residential Green Building / Green Living Member Circle, OTR Condo, Green Home Tour
November 1 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
November 1, 2015, 1 pm till 3 pm, Over-The-Rhine Condo transformed into LEED Platinum. Meet Architect Martha Schickel Dorff and resident Chuck Lohre who did the LEED renovations and documentation. Features include a renewable energy pellet stove, 91% Energy Star plug loads, 31% water savings and 100% sustainable sites credits. Contact Chuck Lohre to register [email protected], 513-260-9025. Learn more.
There is another USGBC tiny space tour on November 14 in Covington:
For 2015 the Southwest Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, Green Living Member Circle is producing nine Green Home Tours. Contact Chair Chuck Lohre to join, receive newsletter or register for any of the tours, [email protected], 513-260-9025. Chapter members get preference for the tours and can bring a friend. Attendance is limited to 20, the address will be provided after you register. There is no charge for the tours just your help in promoting them is asked. Learn more.
The 2015 tours are sponsored by The Sustainable Partnership of Cincinnati, a group of businesses offering sustainable products and services to create sustainable homes and offices. Learn more.
Some industry watchers say Google is a modern day “Emperor’s New Clothes” story. Everyone is so worried they will look stupid; they don’t see the hypocrisy of AdWords. Here are ten reasons why. We’re forced to use AdWords because our clients want to come up on top of a Google search no matter what. We try to encourage improving the page content, but that’s more difficult than just paying for AdWords. That’s even what American Express says in its book, “When Everything Clicks: Your Guide to Pay-Per-Click Advertising.”
Lohre & Associates, Inc. is an Industrial Marketing Company, serving local companies and in business since 1934. We know industrial businesses, and we offer quality in-person service for Cincinnati-area industrial businesses.
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