FABTECH 2012 in Las Vegas is only 4 days away!
P.J. is one of the manufacturing CEOs featured in FABTECH's CEO roundtable: State of the Industry: Manufacturers’ Executive Outlook. The roundtable will take place on Monday, November 12th at 12:30 p.m at the North FABTECH theatre. Read more about the roundtable here.
Holland, Michigan-based Trans-Matic supplies deep drawn components and assemblies for the automotive, builders' hardware, appliance, plumbing, power tool, HVAC and other markets.
P.J. is also chairman of the Precision Metalforming Association, a FABTECH sponsor. As Chairman, P.J. has focused on mid-level managers working in the industry to provide them with the training and experiences that will empower them to lead metalforming companies to new competitive heights on the global stage.
Q: You are speaking on “the State of the Industry” at FABTECH on November 12. Can you give us a sneak preview of your remarks? How do you think the manufacturing sector is doing right now?
P.J.: I think that manufacturing is doing well right now. There continues to be a good durable goods recovery (although still cyclical). Many of our companies are continuing to differentiate themselves from global competitors. Many of our companies are applying their "cumulative capabilities" to new markets.
Q: What are the major challenges the industry is facing right now?
P.J.: We still service markets that are cyclical and prone to downturns/recessions. Many of the new market opportunities pose real supply needs but lack a critical mass of demand. We have an unfortunate situation of many OEM companies pushing commercially unreasonable terms and conditions of the supply base. There are some weaker suppliers accommodating terms and conditions that are inappropriate (e.g., payment terms, product liability, others). Finally, we have a federal government that does not sufficiently understand commerce or manufacturing.
Q: How about opportunities for the industry?
P.J.: There are many. The outlook for existing markets (predominately durable goods) is good. The global expansion of a middle class presents huge opportunities everywhere. New market opportunities in the areas of energy, security and medical are promising (although challenging).
Q: Tell us about the biggest change you've seen in manufacturing over the past decade.
P.J.: We truly have seen manufacturing move "up the value chain". We are making components for products of far greater sophistication in terms of complexity, capability and overall quality. This creates opportunity for capable well run companies.
Q: If you could give U.S. elected officials one piece of advice about manufacturing, what would it be?
P.J.: Most elected officials have become aware that manufacturing continues to vital to a country's economy. Many of them have "rediscovered" this or have had their existing thinking changed to this reality. Very few elected officials agree or even understand what truly benefits manufacturing. What benefits manufacturing most is a stable, fiscally sustainable economic environment. Few if any, long term gains in manufacturing are made from "one-off", incentives.
Rather, it is an overall base system which includes prudent, sustainable government spending and investment coupled with a broad, efficient revenue function of taxation. There are few if any, successful manufacturing companies that would not be willing to pay a substantial, fair, amount of taxes to their governments in return for government services necessary for our nation and economy to securely participate and compete globally.
Q: Have you attended FABTECH in the past?
P.J. Yes, I have.
Q: Why do you attend?
P.J.: Fabtech allows me and my company to gain access to an array of current metalforming/manufacturing technology and practices in at one time and at one place!
Q: What are some of the highlights of the show for you?
P.J.: Well, most visible is the latest technology of our equipment suppliers. But also the array of service capabilities on display is very impressive. Getting to network with my peers in the metalforming industry is also huge!
Q: Do you have a recommendation for first-time FABTECH attendees about how best to maximize their experience at the show?
P.J.: Yes, make a good review of your own company. Define what your company needs/desires pertaining to metalforming technology and services. Actively seek these out at Fabtech. Also, allow yourself to be "awed" by some of the technology and capabilities on display!
Q: Final question – favorite restaurant in Las Vegas?
P.J.: Very tough question, there are too many great ones to choose from!
For additional information on FABTECH 2012, including a schedule of educational sessions, pricing information and registration visit www.fabtechexpo.com.