U. S. Postal Service Sets the Example

I like the U.S.Postal Service Postmaster General’s approach to declining postal volume: “We are no different than any other business out there,” he says in the video. “You have to have revenue. If you don’t have revenue, you got to get the cost down. It’s that simple. There’s nobody that’s going to come in here with a bucketload of money to make up that difference”. Now, why can’t these same principals apply to the Congress and President’s approach to the debt limit and budgets? Read more about their closing of postal...

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U.S. Loses $1.3 Bil. on Chrysler Investment

The U.S government has sold its shares in Chrysler LLC at a likely loss of $1.3 billion in taxpayer money, the Treasury Department said Thursday, announcing the end of a controversial investment that resurrected the troubled auto company. The good news; Chrysler has survived as a viable US auto manufacturing company, including the Belvidere facility. The bad news; another US company going into the hands of a foreign company. Well, at least it’s a European...

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Buying All Planes from Boeing Would Have Been Better!

American Airlines, in ordering a record 460 new airplanes, split their order between Boeing and European manufacturer Airbus. I’m sure there was technology as well as pricing involved in making this decision, but think of the economic impact if American placed all the orders with Boeing?  Maybe delivery and capacity entered into the decision. It would have been a bigger shot in the arm for US and local Rockford manufacturers.  Credit to those who sell their parts and services to both companies, that would really be covering your bets! See the story in the Chicago...

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Rockford Manufacturer Moving To Indiana

This is not the kind of news that we like to see.  This was reported in Monday’s Chicago Tribune.  Not sure of the reasons, but it looks like money talks! I wonder if we had a proposal to keep them here? ELKHART, Ind. — The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says a producer of high-performance engineering alloys is moving its operations from Illinois to Indiana, creating up to 100 new jobs by 2014. THE IEDC said Saturday that Special Metals Corp. will move its A-1 Wire division from Rockford, Ill., to a 50,000-square-foot plant in Elkhart starting in September. The division makes stainless steel and nickel alloy wire. Special Metals currently employs 25 people in Elkhart. THE IEDC says it is offering the company up to $550,000 in performance-based tax credits and up to $150,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. Elkhart County also has granted property tax abatement.More than 10 companies have announced plans to move all or part of their operations from Illinois to Indiana this...

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FMA Releases National Manufacturing Survey

In their monthly update,FMA discussed the results of a nation wide survey of their members regarding several manufacturing issues.  Here is the text from that update; there may be some similarities with Rockford manufacturers: “In last month’s newsletter, we shared some reader comments about a possible manufacturing renaissance, including those from a reader who said, “It is great that the companies are making increased profits, but with the trade agreements, are they doing it by suppressing wages? We have companies here in Michigan that use the threat of moving work to Mexico to gain wage concessions!” We then asked if you are seeing wages suppressed as companies seek to increase profits. Several readers shared their experiences. One from Colorado said, “I have consulted on projects that move U.S. manufacturing firms to Mexico and China. It is against my grain, but reality is that wages and regulation have everything to do with industry leaving. Now, I believe that the recession and the troubles in Mexico could influence the return of manufacturing to the U.S. — if we will adjust to a lower wage scale. I may be naïve, and this is a hard choice given the rise in fuel costs, manufacturing costs, and our consumer reality.” Another reader said, “The company I work for would do the same thing [move to Mexico] if they could. The FAA has a say in where our work goes, and when you overhaul turbine engines, it can’t be done in Mexico with cheap labor. If this was the case, planes would be dropping out of the skies like flies. I have worked for this company for 28 years as a welder of aircraft engine parts. I have to take 12 welding tests a year to keep my job. You can’t find that in Mexico for $5 or $6 an hour.” Several shared what’s happening with wages at their companies. One said, “We have not cut wages, but we are not giving wage increases and may not give vacation pay in 2012. The workers have already earned vacation for 2011. We have just enough work to maintain the number of employees that we currently have.” A reader from Pennsylvania said, “We, including owners, managers, and employees have not seen a raise in three years. After taxes and health benefits, there is little left over. It is difficult to raise prices, because when you do, customers go elsewhere (like India or China).” Both of these last two readers placed much of the blame for their continued business concerns on the government and its regulations. Do these observations reflect wage conditions where you work? As always, you are welcome to share your thoughts”. Courtesy of: Vicki Bell, Web Content Manager...

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