Blogs

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2020 has been quite the year for in-person meetings, with almost all being cancelled nationwide since April. Every association has had to adjust, innovate, and create an alternative learning and networking experience for their industry. The Metal Treating Institute’s marquee event, Furnaces North America, scheduled for September 30 - October 2, has had to take the same path. After much analysis, feedback from past attendees and exhibitors, and the uncertainty of COVID-19, the MTI Board of Trustees has approved for the Furnaces North America Trade Show and Conference to transition to a virtual format. MTI and FNA leadership are very excited about the virtual ...
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MONDAY ECONOMIC REPORT

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MONDAY ECONOMIC REPORT The Economy Bounces Back Strongly, but a Full Recovery Could Take Time With the beginning of the second half of 2020, the data last week continued to show a bounce back in economic activity in May and June after sharp declines in the spring months due to COVID-19 and the global recession. These data represent an encouraging sign, and yet, we must also note ...
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While the outlook for the logistics industry is brighter than for other sectors of the domestic economy, much still remains unknown, according to that report.   This year’s annual   “State of Logistics Report,”   released today by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), comes at a time when many businesses are reevaluating their logistics and supply chain strategies in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and its related economic effects. As such, the report seeks to pause and provide a big picture view of the past year, as well as some perspective on the path forward. Now in its 31st year, the “State of Logistics Report” is researched ...
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As Human Resource professionals, we have a lot on our plates right now...I get it. Some have moved employees back to the office, at least part-time; others never left. Then there are those to whom it may seem like the return to the office will never arrive. In any case, COVID-19 appears to be your biggest concern, and it is.   But so is payroll, the FFCRA, benefits, the eventual open enrollment looming 90 days from now, filling open positions, missed pay increases, performance management, employee relations, FLSA compliance… The list could go on and on.  However, one thing we sometimes forget is employee engagement.   It’s like the age-old ...
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If growing up in the 1980s taught me anything, it’s that right now we should be either be living in a  post-apocalyptic hellscape  or a wondrous time with  flying cars . While we seem to be on track for the latter, what few predicted, outside of  George Orwell , was that thanks to technology, we’d be the most data-mined and tracked species since the dawn of time. At the moment, we stand at a crossroads. Do we, as a planet, continue to enjoy the relative freedom we have online, which includes the ability to express ourselves freely, even if it’s in opposition to our leadership; or will we once again succumb to censorship and authoritarianism, which has caused ...
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Monday Economic Report

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As COVID-19 Worries Linger, Economy Tries to Charge Forward As the nation continues to grapple with lingering COVID-19 worries, the data last week reflected bounce backs in activity, suggesting that the economy is trying to charge forward. These “green shoots” provide some encouragement that the U.S. economy will rebound in the second half of this year, even as it is also clear that activity remains well below pre-recessionary levels. New orders for durable goods  jumped 15.8% in May, beginning the process of rebounding after plummeting 16.7% and 18.1% in March and April, respectively. Excluding transportation equipment, new orders rose 4% in May, with ...
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Training, technology, and process are all key to successful LOTO at your facility.   Lockout tagout (LOTO) is a procedure which helps to safeguard employees from the sudden and unexpected start-up of machinery in the workplace, which can be dangerous and potential cause of serious or fatal injuries. The LOTO program within a workplace ensures that dangerous machines are completely shut off, tested for residual energy, and are not able to start up again unexpectedly during times such as maintenance and repair work, or when the machine is left unattended. Many companies within the industrial sector could improve their internal LOTO program to keep safety ...
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Using an online presence to create a digital strategy that works 24/7 in the manufacturing industry.   For many small business owners,  having  a sales force is critical, but  managing  one is an unending hassle. It also represents a dichotomy: The sales force investment can be substantial, but few business owners think that they get the maximum return on that investment - that’s usually why they’ve called me for assistance. While I strongly believe that a physical sales presence is necessary for revenue growth, the industry trend toward automation is playing a larger role in the advertising department as well. I don’t have to tell you that the universal ...
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Full disclosure: I’m actually excited for 5G and all of the advancements it will bring. Think about it for a moment here…we have already seen  remote surgeries performed across 5G networks  and  more than enough bandwidth  to ensure that our continual internet of things (IoT) growth is sustainable. Smart cities and buildings could soon interconnect with the help of smart building companies to give management a complete overview of every aspect of their operation -- not to mention that it could offer its citizens and tenants blazingly fast internet that doesn’t require wiring. The one thing, though, that many people miss as they prepare for this future is that ...
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MTI has many people deserving of recognition, as nearly 100 MTI-member volunteers serve annually on the Board, various committees, task force groups, and affiliated groups like Nadcap, AMEC, and CQI-9.   The Metal Treating Institute is pleased to announce nominations are now open for the available Board of Trustee seats, Leadership & Service Awards, and the Commercial Heat Treater of the Year Award.   The 2020 Nomination and Award Committees would appreciate you taking a moment to look through each of the nomination processes below, and visit our website at www.HeatTreat.net to nominate an individual or company that you feel is qualified and deserving. ...
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U.S. manufacturing rebounded in May, but recouped only a fraction of the prior month’s record decline, suggesting some stabilization in the sector after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains and hurt demand.  The Federal Reserve said recently that manufacturing production increased 3.8% last month. Data for April was revised down to show output at factories plunging 15.5%, which was the biggest drop in the series’ history, instead of 13.7%.  Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing output rebounding 4.6% in April. Overall industrial production increased 1.4% after declining 12.5% in April, which was the largest drop in the series’ ...
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"How we face death is at least as important as how we face life." As we progress through the year, I can't help but recall these words from  Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan  -- one of my favorite movies. In recent years it seems like every aspect of the human experience has been affected by cybersecurity and privacy concerns. It’s time to establish a universal language and understanding of those foundational facts that govern our data-security lives. Here are my five laws of cybersecurity, and while there could easily be more, these five will forever be the immutable universal constants that govern this topic and our existence in relation to it. Law No. ...
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General Motors' Warren Transmission was a defunct factory until the Coronavirus pandemic gave it new life this spring — for the production of medical face masks. The plant is humming, having churned out and donated more than 2.7 million masks since late March. It is now producing more than 3 million masks a month or 750,000 a week. But the factory's long-term fate remains as nebulous now as when GM targeted it for closure in November 2018. "Mask production (is) continuing, and there’s no projected end-date at this point in time," said GM Spokesman, David Caldwell in an email to the Free Press. Indeed, a rotating workforce of 150 at Warren ...
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During these difficult times, it’s more important than ever to highlight and share accurate, relevant messages. Here are some tips to help fight the chaos.   The threat from disinformation is greater now than ever. From the civil unrest triggered by the death of George Floyd to the Coronavirus pandemic, public health and safety officials at all levels are quick to identify mis- and disinformation as legitimate threats to public health and safety, with several utilizing the term “infodemic” to illustrate how the spread of false information was akin to the spread of an actual virus. Given the media landscape and our hyper-connectivity via social, digital, ...
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As the manufacturing industry rebounds from the coronavirus, it will have to overcome skill gaps, retirements, and an image problem.   Before the Coronavirus upended the global economy, U.S. manufacturers were facing a shortage of workers. In fact, Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute estimated in a 2018   study ,   that as many as 2.4 million factory jobs could remain unfilled through 2028 because of a tight labor market and a lack of people with the needed skills. Now, the economic expansion in the U.S. has been reversed in sudden and dramatic fashion and the labor market has been upended. As the pandemic wreaked havoc on public health and the ...
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NAM survey showed that “manufacturers have proven that with our grit, determination, and patriotic spirit, we can overcome any challenge facing the nation.”   As an industry that has dealt with adversity many times, manufacturers are facing the current pandemic with the same determination. A new study,  Manufacturers' Outlook Survey , released on May 28 th reviewing the second quarter of 2020, found that despite a historic drop in optimism to nearly 34%, and challenging business conditions, the vast majority of manufacturers (98.7%) have continued or only temporarily halted operations.  The survey also shows that manufacturers are innovating to find ...
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You wouldn’t have wished for this ridiculous, unprecedented disruption, but if you’re like many leaders I talk with, this stressful period has also been surprisingly energizing…until it wasn’t. You’re proud of your team; they’ve been working round the clock on a   fast pivot.   Maybe you’ve done more in the last sixty days than you could have ever imagined. It’s weird, right? That positive adrenaline rush from the fast call-to-action in a crisis that is bigger than your biggest “that will never happen” contingency planning scenario. I’m hearing about this phenomenon from so many of our clients—across a wide range of industries and circumstances. We’ve ...
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Solving problems during a crisis demands speeding up innovation by repurposing the knowledge, resources, and technology you already have at hand. The Coronavirus pandemic is one of the most difficult collective challenges facing humanity since the last world war. In the midst of the turmoil, national health authorities, pharmaceutical companies, universities, and research institutes are racing to find therapies to save lives and contain the grave social and economic consequences of the pandemic. As organizations and experts scramble to innovate therapies, they are also redefining innovation.   The conventional approach to innovation in the pharmaceutical ...
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One of the most valuable benefits of your MTI membership is access to an Industry Support Team who are there for your every need. There are moments in business when daily challenges arise, and you just need some guidance or insight to know how to proceed. MTI has a full team of 11 partners who can help guide you through the challenge or issue you are dealing with.  MTI’s Board of Trustees recently approved two new Industry Support Team members in the areas or HR-Labor and cybersecurity. Both are huge issues now with COVID-19 and remote workers becoming a consistent area of concern for members.  Working with any of MTI’s 11 Industry Support Team partners ...
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Start your meeting off on the right foot, and you'll be much more productive. "How can I get my team to engage? I'm doing everything right, but they're still just sitting there." I was talking with a frustrated leader at a healthcare facility. Her team meetings had always been lackluster, so she'd decided to fix them. She'd scoured the internet for best practices, then worked hard to get organized. For the past month, she'd sent an agenda in advance of every meeting. She started precisely on time. She'd taken notes and ended on time, too. And yet, after she talked through the agenda and they'd heard their first report, her requests for comments were ...
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