A New Chapter for Pentaflex, Inc.

The entire Pentaflex team is excited to announce that as of October 1, 2020, Ross McGregor will be succeeding David Arndt as President.

Leaving a Legacy

Mr. Arndt has served Pentaflex well since 2012, and will be moving onto a new chapter in his retirement. With over fifty-two years in the metal forming industry, we are thankful for his guidance and leadership over the past eight years. During his career, Mr. Arndt served as the Chairman of the Precision Metal forming Association (PMA) and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Heavy Duty Manufactures Association (HDMA). 

“Having announced my retirement, I am happy to support the management change installing Ross McGregor, son of the Pentaflex founder, to the President position.”  Mr. Arndt said, “It has been my honor and privilege to serve Pentaflex, our shareholders, and customers for the past 8 years.”

A New Chapter

Over the past thirty three years, Ross McGregor has worked in a variety of management positions at Pentaflex including purchasing, sales and production management. His most recent position at Pentaflex was as Vice President of Operations.  

He also serves as a member of the Company’ Board of Directors. In addition to his duties at Pentaflex, McGregor is active in numerous state and local organizations, charities and initiatives.

Mr. McGregor was also a State legislator in the Ohio House of Representatives for five terms before being term limited. 

Mr. McGregor stated, “I am excited to be named the next President of Pentaflex, Inc. and want to thank the Board for the confidence they have placed in me to lead the company.”

Additionally McGregor states, “The entire Pentaflex family would like to thank Dave for his capable leadership of the company over these past eight years.  Dave has represented Pentaflex exceptionally well with our customers, suppliers and our Industry.”

Vision for the Future

We sat down with Mr. McGregor and asked a few questions about his plans for Pentaflex as we move into a new era.

Q: What are you most excited about for Pentaflex’s future in 2021 and beyond?

As we adjust to the “new normal” as dictated by the pandemic, I am looking forward to leading our dynamic team of people as we continue to provide exceptional service to our long standing customers and pursue exciting new opportunities for our company. While the heavy truck market continues to be our primary industry, we are excited to branch out into emerging markets such as electric vehicles and solar power generation as new industries to serve.

Q: What do you believe are the most important qualities in a leader in the modern world?

I believe the qualities of good leadership are timeless. In my mind an effective leader needs to be present in time and place, while also being aware of their surrounding and future environments.  An effective leader should have a complete stock of their personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of their team, and utilize those strengths accordingly.  An effective leader needs to listen more than talk, but be decisive when called upon.

Q: How do you see manufacturing in the US shifting in the current economic climate?

I believe that automation will continue to play a greater role in manufacturing as the challenge to find dedicated employees continues.  Continuing education and training throughout the organization will be essential to compete in the modern industrial world.

As always, Pentaflex will continue to be a reliable partner for our customers, or employees, and our community. If you would like to contact Pentaflex about your next project, please call us at 937-325-5551.

pentaflex-affilations-strengthen-companies

Affiliations Strengthen a Company

The organizations a company chooses to affiliate with says a lot about the leadership, vision, and direction of the organization. At Pentaflex, we have strategically grown our partnerships with various organizations across the country to connect with other manufacturers, stay up to date on the latest in our industry, and create the most opportunities for our team members to provide the highest level of service to our customers. 

Through the past few unpredictable months, the associations listed below have been invaluable to Pentaflex and other member companies in navigating our work environments and how we move forward in these unprecedented times. It is times like these that truly show the measure of an organization, and each of these have proven themselves to be solid and sustainable resources for Pentaflex and other member companies.

Learn more about our affiliations below:

 

Precision Metalforming Association

Website: https://www.pma.org/home/

Mission: Our mission is to shape the environment of the metalforming industry, leading innovative member companies toward superior competitiveness and profitability.

About the Organization: PMA was founded in 1913 when a handful of metal stamping companies saw the need to combine their efforts and work together for the betterment of the industry as a whole. Today, members of the PMA help one another by offering education, networking, and other opportunities for companies to plan and save accordingly.

 

By visiting their website, you can see the many different educational opportunities that PMA offers to their members and non-members. They are also a thought leader in advocating for manufacturers at the state and federal level.

 

National Association of Manufacturers

Website: https://www.nam.org/

Mission: Our work is centered around four values that make our industry strong and America exceptional: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.

About the Organization: NAM was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1895 to support the men and women of America working in manufacturing. Since that time, NAM has continued their efforts in combining forces with companies across the states to create efficient and stable opportunities and policies. According to their website, “Today, the NAM is still innovating and disrupting an ever-changing national landscape in order to build our industry, create progress and advance the values that make our nation exceptional: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.”

 

The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association

Website: https://www.ohiomfg.com/

Mission: To protect and grow Ohio manufacturing.

About the Organization: The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association exists to help connect manufacturers in our state, share opportunities, and protect our manufacturing jobs and resources. Through receiving their funding directly from the companies that are a part of the organization, the organization ensures that our voices are heard. They are also a fantastic resource for Ohio manufacturers to stay up to date on all the latest procedures and policies.

 

Dayton Regional Manufacturers Association

Website: https://www.daytonrma.org/

Mission: Dayton Regional Manufacturers Association (DRMA) is the voice of manufacturing in the Greater Dayton Region.  We promote business success through peer-to-peer connectivity, career awareness, advocacy, education, economic development, and sharing best practices.

About the Organization: DRMA comprises nearly 200 manufacturers and 150 suppliers in Dayton, Ohio and the surrounding areas. Through connecting these manufacturers, we are able to join conversations about innovation, policies, and procedures that take Ohio manufacturing to the next level for our customers. By bringing together a diverse group of industries and company sizes, we are able to brainstorm and collaborate for the betterment of our companies and our communities.

 

Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

Website: https://www.greaterspringfield.com/

Mission: The mission of The Chamber of Greater Springfield is to advance important economic and workforce development opportunities, to promote ideas that will make our region more progressive, and to help our members grow by connecting them with each other and the broader community.

About the Organization: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce does an excellent job connecting and collaborating with the companies, organizations, and communities that make up our city. Through various events, initiatives, and dedication to see our city grow and thrive, our chamber will do whatever it takes to create a strong and innovative future for Springfield. 

 

Heavy Duty Manufacturing Association

Website: https://www.hdma.org/

Mission: Heavy Duty Manufacturing Association (HDMA)’s mission is to advance the commercial vehicle supplier industry and the business interests of our members.

About the Organization: Through bringing a diverse range of suppliers and manufacturers together into the same room, HDMA is able to foster innovative conversations to move our industries forward into the future of manufacturing. According to their website, “HDMA serves its 220+ commercial vehicle component-supplier members through government and industry advocacy, timely news and information, market research and analysis, promotion of the North American manufacturer/supplier industry and facilitating industry networking through a range of events, peer councils and services.”

Pentaflex-blog-truckingindustry-june-2020

The State of the Industry: Trucking in 2020 and 2021

While the North American heavy trucking industry was already due for a slight dip in 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the situation. In this post, we will cover what was expected for 2020, what we can anticipate moving forward, and what Pentaflex is doing about it.

The Industry Trends

Like every industry, trucking goes through economic cycles that last on average about 4 years per cycle with a typical recession lasting about 10 months.

What does this mean?

COVID-19 is not the first time this industry has experienced unprecedented turmoil. While this awful pandemic has seemed to impact health care, job security, and basic livelihood, the trucking industry experiences large setbacks like this regularly. What

Was Expected in 2020?

The trucking industry as a whole saw a huge boom in the numbers starting in 2017 and lasting through 2019, which statistically would mean we were already preparing for a drawback in 2020.

Experts were predicting a gradual dip from Q1 through Q3, and then the trend would slowly creep back up as we moved into 2021.

Even though 2020 was anticipated to be a soft year in the industry, it has only been exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What Can We Anticipate Now?

As 2020 began, we saw the expected downward trend in the industry. But, as COVID-19 took its full force effect moving into April, we saw a more than shocking dip in the market. However, as always with economic trends, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

CoyoteCurve_Revised_Forecast.5ecfb0318ab82

According to the Coyote report for 2020-2023, we have already experienced the market floor at the beginning of May. While the industry will not recover overnight, we will still see the normal trends as expected, just nine to twelve months later than expected.

What Does This Mean?

While there is no need to panic, it is time to go into a defensive state, protecting cash flow and implementing leaner and more efficient processes and supply chains. As with any recession, you will most likely see some businesses either have to decrease their production abilities or shut their doors altogether.

This is also the time to diversify your suppliers. If you were on the fence about a certain process or agreement, now is the time to get your ducks in a row before the rest of 2020 and 2021 play out.

Basically, everyone in the chain needs to be very nimble to get through the already expected downturn and be able to react quickly to customer needs as their demand increases.

Keep in mind that these numbers are based on the assumption that the economy will not be hit with another COVID-19 wave this fall and our country and world would be put on pause again. However, that possibility only strengthens the need for double-checking your processes, checking in on your team, and clearly articulating your abilities to your customers and your needs to your suppliers.

What About Pentaflex?

We are still here. Through years of listening to our customers and our team, streamlining processes, and preparing for the future, we are still able to provide the highest quality in metal components. We will continue to keep an eye on the trends and will always communicate clearly with our customers, our employees, and our community. And we look forward to providing for the trucking industry at full force when we see the end of this recession in the near future.

Questions? Call Pentaflex directly at 937-325-5551 or contact us by filling out this form.

Sources

How to Stay Motivated in November and December

Make the Most Out of ‘No Motivation November’ and ‘Distracted December’

During the holidays, it can be very easy for productivity to falter and burnout to set in, leaving you even more stressed and behind schedule on January 1. We at Pentaflex strive to always provide the most value to our customers so that they may, in turn, provide the most value to their customers.

Below, we have compiled some tips and tricks to compartmentalize, prioritize, and dominate in a healthy way during November and December:

Separate work and home as much as possible

During the holiday season, it can be easy for these two areas of our lives to bleed over a little more than usual – coordinating schedules, buying last-minute presents, checking email constantly to see if a client actually responded to your email, and more. 

A lot of this crossover happens because of our smartphones. To combat the tiny computer in our pockets, at work and at home, we recommend leaving it on silent or in the other room as much as possible. 

This can be a task that seems almost impossible at first, but we promise with little steps, you can achieve this goal. 

  1. Start with giving yourself half-hour increments of checking your smartphone.
  2.  Put the phone on silent and place it in a drawer or pocket while at your desk. 
  3. Set an alarm for the next time you can check it. 
  4. Every week, increase the time by ten minutes until you get to a full hour of not checking your phone. 

You will be amazed at the amount of work you complete when you are not constantly interrupted! 

Schedule out your week

Not just your work week, but your time at home as well. If you take the time on Friday afternoon or Sunday night to plan out the next seven days of your life, you’ll never feel like you are wasting time. 

But how detailed should you get? Here’s what we recommend: at work, schedule down to the 15-minute mark. At home, schedule down to the 30-minute mark. 

For example, at work, you may start your day with 45 minutes dedicated to checking in with your team and answering any questions they have for the day. Then, you transition to 15 minutes for email, 30 minutes to work on a progress report, 15 minutes to check up on a customer or two, etc.

At home, start with scheduling out full-family events such as dinner, practice, recitals, doctors appointments, etc. From there, actually schedule out the time to make your gift shopping list, baking that pie for the neighborhood party, and setting up decorations. 

The most important part of your schedule: BUFFER TIME. Try to allot 3-4 blocks of time throughout your day to account for running behind schedule or just giving yourself a break. 

Which leads to our final tip…

Take a Break

Now, we know we might be getting some eye-rolls at this point. Between holiday breaks, year-end reports, planning for 2020, and still managing day-to-day, how, when and why would you take a break?

Because humans are not designed to experience prolonged stress over a long period of time. It actually causes more problems in the long-run with your efficiency, motivation, and even your decision-making ability. 

The good news is that you don’t have to take a two-week vacation to some resort to restore your mental health. Instead, try one or a combination of these tricks to help you stay alert, focused, and determined:

  1. For every thirty minutes that you stare at a computer screen, take a two-minute break and either close your eyes or stare off into the distance to give your eyes a break before resuming. 
  2. For every hour you are sitting, take a five-minute break to either walk around or stretch. This will increase blood circulation to your whole body – including your brain!
  3. Grab a glass of water. For most working adults, the first instinct is to grab coffee or an energy drink. But sometimes, when we are feeling fatigued, all we need is some hydration. You can try this tip by starting your day with a full glass of water before you drink your coffee. 

Finish Strong

While these last two months normally seem to fly right past us, we want to be sure we make the most of 2019 by compartmentalizing, prioritizing, and motivating ourselves, our team, and our customers. 

If you’d like to speak with a Pentaflex associate about how we continually stay at the top of our game, submit the form on our contact us page or give us a call at 937-325-5551.

 

 

Resources

Energy Audit: http://research.theenergyproject.com/s3/brao?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=burnout_assessment

How Work Breaks Help your Brain: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/changepower/201704/how-do-work-breaks-help-your-brain-5-surprising-answers

8 Effective Ways to Stay Ahead of the Holiday Sales Slump: https://pagely.com/blog/stay-ahead-holiday-sales-slump/

How Do you Stand Out?

At Pentaflex, we regularly ask ourselves what makes us stand out from other manufacturers. In a competitive and ever-changing world, it is of the utmost importance to have regular reflection and improvement. Below, we have outlined five different key areas that we believe keep our team and our products at the top of our game. We hope that by sharing these areas with you, it will encourage and motivate your team to reflect and improve where necessary.

Value Your Employees

One of the key components to success in the Pentaflex culture is our cultivation of our team’s growth over time. We believe all humans have the need to grow, learn, and change in their careers. When a new associate joins our team, they sometimes have very limited experience with our industry. Our seasoned team members take the time to share the necessary skills and expertise with newer members to cultivate a culture of learning.

We have also found implementing and maintaining a formal structure of increased compensation in tandem with demonstration of increased knowledge and skills is just one way to show our employees we value and appreciate their desire to work and learn with Pentaflex.

This system also aids in our conversation with employees about the importance of their jobs. Unfortunately, sometimes the world’s view of manufacturing can be somewhat skewed. What we are constantly trying to share with our clients, our community, and our team is that the world of manufacturing is an industry where every little step matters.

Walk the Talk

Pentaflex is a family owned business where we recognize and encourage that our greatest asset is our employees. Just one of the ways we “walk the talk” is through open communication. This is why we our team participates in weekly meetings with the entire company. These meetings allow us to share our successes and our challenges with the entire team and engage in problem solving and discussion.

Because of our industry, safety is our first concern every day at Pentaflex. We have a cross functional safety committee that meets monthly to review any potential safety concerns and to immediately review any accident that might occur.

We also have several Six Sigma Black belts on staff. Quality and process issues and improvements are conducted utilizing the six sigma approach and involves a cross functional team for each event.

Always Be Learning

We recently had a situation where a part had to be removed from a press without damaging the edge of the part. We had engaged the services of an outside vendor who quoted us an expensive piece of equipment to perform this task. Our maintenance department looked at the issues and developed a system that was built in house at less than a tenth of the cost of what was quoted to us.

Through creative problem solving like this, we are always able to deliver the highest quality products for our customers.

Invest in Your Community

Pentaflex believes there is a great need for businesses to invest and give back to their local community. For example, several members of our team volunteer for organizations such as the YMCA, Leadership Clark County, The Springfield Museum of Art and the Springfield Rotary Club.

Pentaflex has a long history of supporting civic endeavors to better our community for our employees and their families. Additionally, Pentaflex works closely with the Clark County Reentry coalition to help returning citizens find meaningful employment opportunities.

Show Why You Are Always the Best Choice

Our unique capabilities combined with our deep knowledge and years of experience draw our best customers. Many times we will take on a job that we did not initially win, but rather our customers realize the importance of the right investment for their products and their customers.

Connect with Similar Values

Would you like to talk more about the culture, leadership, and learning at Pentaflex? Give us a call at 937-325-2620 or submit this short form.

manufacturing jobs

The Future of the Manufacturing Workforce

State of the Workforce

A never-ending conversation in the manufacturing world over the past few years has been the demand for quality employees in the rapidly changing world of the fourth industrial revolution. Almost every single manufacturer in various specialties is starving for employees, but can’t seem to fill the positions. 

In fact, in a study performed by Deloitte in 2018, they predict that our industry is facing a potential shortage of 2.4 million workers in the next decade. 

But why is this? It’s not as if the US population is declining (or plans to decline) anytime soon. 

The Forecast

The Deloitte report points to three different reasons behind why they believe this trend will occur in the next decade:

  1. Shifting skill sets due to new technology
  2. Misperceptions of manufacturing jobs
  3. Retirement of baby boomers

While these three reasons do pose a threat to the current status quo, there are ways for us manufacturers to address all three with just a little bit of brainstorming and collaboration.

Shifting Skill Sets Due to New Technology

As we continue to research and evolve, new technology and machinery will continue to make its way onto the shop floor. This means that our team will be left with less repetitive jobs, and more positions that require problem solving, collaboration, and innovation. 

But this shift cannot happen overnight. In order to stay loyal to our teams who have stayed loyal to us, it is our job to find pathways to efficiency that include their abilities and currently underutilized skill sets. 

Instead of seeing new technology as “replacements,” view this tech as “enhancements” to your workforce. Identify team members that show an interest in the new technology and how it can improve their position. 

You will find yourself being able to realign your team to sit in the right seats, instead of just throwing in the towel and feeling like you have to start from scratch with a new row of candidates.

Misperceptions of Manufacturing Jobs

As manufacturing leadership, this is an area we have complete control over the narrative we choose to tell. We need to be out in our communities, in our schools, and in our government sharing that manufacturing is no longer the position of the 1900’s. 

Through teamwork, innovation, and encouragement, a position in manufacturing is a place to grow. And, it is a place to stretch your knowledge and influence our world for a better tomorrow.

If you don’t currently have a dedicated partner to help you share your story, find a local marketing or PR firm to help you spread the word about the real opportunities with your company.

Attend the local high school’s career fairs – take a few team members from the floor and have them share their real experiences about why they chose you.

Get involved in the local technical school. Sit on their boards, volunteer in their classrooms, hire their students as interns for the summer, and ask what they need to better prepare your employees of tomorrow. 

Volunteer in your community through various nonprofits and government entities. Share with your community the opportunities, jobs, and livelihoods that your organization’s presence provide to the area. 

It won’t be easy, but you will need to start somewhere. Sit down with your leadership and determine where the highest priorities lie – and just start there. Create a detailed plan with numerical measurables and a realistic timelines. 

Retirement of Baby Boomers

Now, this is one we can’t really directly influence. Unfortunately, our legacy employees will eventually have to leave us. But, if we are adamant in our influence of the first two trends, this will not be a hindrance in the productivity and ability of our facilities.

We’re Ready…Are You?

We encourage you to start planning today for the manufacturing world of tomorrow. And this isn’t something we’re just preaching about – we are actively living it! One way we have found to help change perceptions about a career in manufacturing is by participating in National Manufacturing Day every October by inviting middle schoolers to the shop to see the possibilities for themselves. 

Curious about how else Pentaflex is preparing for continued shifts in our industry for our customers and our team? 

Give us a call at 937-325-5551 or email us at sales@pentaflex.com to talk more.

 

Sources

https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES3000000001

https://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/manufacturers-skills-in-demand/

https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/industry/manufacturing/manufacturing-skills-gap-study.html

https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=kf7tgg1uo9ude_&met_y=population&idim=country:US&hl=en&dl=en

the fourth industrial revolution cover image

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

At Pentaflex, we consider it a top priority to be at the forefront of all industry shifts for the sake of our clients, our team, our community, and our industry. In this post, we will explain Industry 4.0, the influence on manufacturing, and what you can do to stay at the top of your game.

A Little History Lesson

Industry 4.0 is the Fourth (but not the last) Industrial Revolution. The first revolution was the introduction of steam and water into the manufacturing world. Next came electricity and assembly lines. These first two industrial revolutions did in fact change history as we know it. But both of these revolutions also took a considerable amount of time for everyone to grasp and implement fully into their processes. That is why you will see almost one hundred years between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd revolutions.

Industry timeline

We saw Industry 3.0 hit center stage at the tail end of the 60’s. This is where computers start to impact machinery and processes in everyday manufacturing. Manufacturers saw the benefit and continued to improve the software. This resulted in speeding up assemblies, cutting back on overall costs, and creating a safer working environment for manufacturing teams.

One of the biggest positive consequences of the third revolution was speed. Everything could be done faster. This also meant we found problems faster, fixed them faster, and improved them faster. Because of this, we saw the fourth revolution hit almost half as fast as its predecessors.  

What is Industry 4.0?

As we move into 2019, we are now rapidly seeing the full adaptation of Industry 4.0 – only 50 years after the third industrial revolution. Essentially, this revolution is the more advanced & sophisticated version of 3.0. This revolution we are seeing computers have the ability to receive more data, interpret said data, implement their findings into their current processes, and then share that data with other computers. Regular terms for this time include cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and cognitive computing1. We will discuss all these topics and more in later blog posts.

The modern world originally coined the term “Industry 4.0” back in 2015, but has been in regular use since early 2018. This is by far the most exciting adaptation to manufacturing for companies and consumers alike – and is also the fastest.

How ‘Smart’ Are You?

In the coming months and years, we will gradually see the demand for ‘smart’ facilities increase. Supply chains will continually search for the most advanced and fullproof systems.

What will really set apart manufacturing teams will be the ones that have learned to harvest the data, interpret, and improve their processes for the betterment of their teams, their customers, and the end-users.

What Can You Do?

The first step we recommend is learning more about Industry 4.0 and how it will directly influence your industry. Learn which components the team is already modifying in your processes and which ones are being overlooked. By staying up to date on where your industry is at, you ensure that you are always at the top of the conversation and ready to contribute to the next big shift.

We have linked a few sources at the bottom of this blog post to continue your education.

The second step is to ask the leadership in your company how they are embracing this new shift in manufacturing. How is the team preparing to update systems, streamline processes, and keep customers in the loop about these progressive changes?

Be sure to ask more than once as plans and processes will continually improve as the technology does. Ask if there are ways for you to get involved and to help further the implementations along.

The third step is to contact your current manufacturers in your supply chain. Ask them what they are doing to embrace the fourth Industrial Revolution. Every organization should be able to give you a straightforward, honest and excited answer.

Have You Called Pentaflex?

Our team is ready and excited to discuss these changes to our industry for our customers and our team. Give us a call at 937-325-5551, fill out our short contact form, or email us at sales@pentaflex.com to hear how we are staying at the cutting edge for you.

 

Sources

1http://info.microsoft.com/rs/157-GQE-382/images/EN-US-CNTNT-Report-2019-Manufacturing-Trends.pdf

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/is-your-business-model-fit-for-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/

https://www.oliverwyman.com/our-expertise/insights/2018/feb/agriculture-4-0–the-future-of-farming-technology.html

tractor_farming_technology

Technology & the Agriculture Industry in 2019

Summary: Share the upcoming trends for technology in agriculture in the coming year and how it will influence the industry.

Agtech

In the past decade, we have seen a trend between various industries and their rejection or acceptance of technology. Where industries like marketing, supply chain, and retail were the first ones to jump on the train, we are now seeing the last passengers board for departure.

A prominent industry in this situation is agriculture. One of the oldest industries in our world, they have made leaps and bounds in the past few years to move up to speed. One of the main reasons for this are a new generational dominance over the industry. While others are the demands of the population, and the sustainability needs of the planet.

Here are three areas of Agtech (Agriculture Technology) that you should be aware of in 2019…

Self-Propelling Farm Machinery

The idea of self-propelling farm machinery completely taking over the agriculture industry is still a long way off. However, we are starting to see the trend move this way for various machinery such as sprayers and smaller mechanisms.

For a great overview of the agriculture machinery manufacturers, check out this article titled Manufacturer Consolation Reshaping the Farm Equipment Marketplace. This article gives an in-depth side-by-side comparison of the various industry leaders since the early 1900’s. If you study the trends of these manufacturers, you will see how they have reacted and implemented new products based off the needs of the farmers of that time period.

By understanding what the farming community of tomorrow will need to do their jobs in the most efficient and effective way possible, manufacturers must continually push the envelope when it comes to perfecting the technology behind self-propelled farm machinery.

Take Action: Assess your organization’s direction for the current and upcoming years. Are you in tune with the needs of your customers for them to be successful in the years to follow?

Farm Maintenance via Smart Devices

Along with smarter machinery, we are also seeing smart devices and applications make their way into the mainstream. These help the farming community better monitor and manage their crops.

For example, in 2018 there were multiple softwares unveiled to help farmers streamline their productivity and efficiency. On top of smarter and more efficient software, we are also seeing a large increase in mobile applications that allows the agriculture community to manage their entire operation with a few taps on their screen.

But why in 2019? Smart devices have been ruling our world for almost two decades now.

We are attributing this shift to the rise of the millennial decision making farmer. Millennials have been in the workforce for quite some time now (the age range is 23-38). But we are now starting to see some of the older GenYers move into prominent decision making roles.

With them comes updated thinking, efficiency, and ease of process for the sake of the organization and the population. This point leads us to the third and final most important trend to look for in agriculture in the coming years.

Take Action: Review your current processes and see where there are gaps that could be filled by a smart device or software.

The Industry is no longer Resisting

The agriculture industry has been around as long as humans have needed to eat food. But it still had a difficult time moving into the technology-filled world of today. Why?

Because without agriculture, the entire human ecosystem collapses. So, the practical thought was, “why fix something that isn’t broken?”

And this thinking worked for quite awhile. That is until the industry started to realize that their current way of doing things would no longer meet the demands of the planet in various ways.

Now, no matter the generation, the agriculture industry sees the need and is accepting technology with open arms. They are on a quest to streamline processes, utilize efficient machinery, and ensure our sustained future.

How does this Relate to Pentaflex?

You might be reading this and be thinking “What does any of this have to do with a metal stamping company?”

Here at Pentaflex, we believe in the power of investing time in listening to our clients and understanding the industry they are in. Only by grasping the full picture of the industry can we ensure that our processes, machinery, products, and service are meeting the needs of that industry.

Take Action: Call Pentaflex today to hear more about how we are staying up to date on the changes in the agtech world.

 

Learn More from our Sources:

AgTech Trends in 2019: Synthetic Biology, Precision Agriculture, and Millennial Farmers https://learn.g2crowd.com/2019-agtech-trends

Agriculture software: https://www.g2crowd.com/categories/agriculture

Average farm size by acreage: https://www.statista.com/statistics/196106/average-size-of-farms-in-the-us-since-2000/

Agriculture 4.0 https://www.oliverwyman.com/our-expertise/insights/2018/feb/agriculture-4-0–the-future-of-farming-technology.html

Farming Equipment Tools: https://agamerica.com/top-farming-equipment-tools-embrace-2019/

Agriculture software: https://www.g2crowd.com/categories/agriculture

2018 Farming Progress Show: https://www.farmprogressshow.com/en/home.html

Impacts of the New United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement on Automotive Manufacturers

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico, and Canada was officially renegotiated at the end of September, and became what is now the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. With the ability for U.S. companies to operate in Canada and Mexico free of tariffs preserved for now, the new agreement updates 24-year-old terms to include a heavy focus on the automotive industry, as well as agriculture, the digital economy, and labor unions.

The updated trade agreement terms have the potential to highly impact the automotive industry. New stipulations require a higher percentage of an automobile’s content to be produced in NAFTA regions and a minimum of $16 per hour paid to workers. The deal’s sunset clause details that the agreement will be in place for 16 years and is to be reviewed every six years.

In this post, we will describe some of the agreement’s terms and what they will mean for automotive manufacturers if the measure receives Congressional approval and goes into effect.

What’s Included in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement?

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement includes new terms affecting how much of an automobile is to be produced in NAFTA regions. Original NAFTA terms required 62.5 percent of an automobile’s components to be produced in relevant regions for manufacturers to gain the zero-tariff benefit. New terms in the trade deal increase that requirement: 75 percent of an automobile’s composition is to be fabricated in NAFTA regions.

Canada’s participation in this trade deal was in question until September 30th, when the United States’ northern neighbor finally reached an agreement with the terms. There had been threats previously that Canada would be excluded from the new deal, which would have presented a negative impact for automotive manufacturers relying on Canadian-made components and materials.

What the Terms Mean for U.S. Automotive Manufacturers

With new terms requiring 75 percent of an automobile’s contents to be produced in the U.S., Mexico, or Canada, NAFTA regions will receive an influx of manufacturing work for automobile components. This increased production could bring new jobs to the automotive manufacturing industry.

Using local materials, including aluminum and steel, benefits labor unions and protects many high-paying jobs currently located in the U.S. Additionally, the United States would have the ability to impose tariffs if the 75 percent threshold is not reached.

It’s also good for the automotive sector that Canada has maintained its partnership within the agreement. Given that numerous automotive companies in the United States rely on Canadian materials and components for automobile production, higher prices would have been an undesirable consequence as foreign automakers may have benefited from American companies’ decreased competitive advantage.

Stay Tuned

While the terms of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement affect businesses in a variety of industries, the automotive sector will experience one of the largest impacts. As the deal moves closer to approval and implementation, Pentaflex is committed to providing the information you need to stay up-to-date.

We consider ourselves a direct stakeholder in this deal due to our close involvement with clients in the automotive supply base— many of those based in Mexico. As a leader in the U.S. metal forming industry, Pentaflex will continue to track trade deal deliberations surrounding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

To learn more about what the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement means for your business or to learn about our products and services, contact us today.

What the Steel Tariffs Mean for U.S. Metal Forming Businesses

In recent weeks, the United States implemented new tariffs on steel and aluminum to promote a policy of “America First.” The theory is that increasing import taxes on foreign steel and aluminum encourages U.S. companies to use U.S.-supplied steel and aluminum boosting production capacity toward a goal of 80% capacity utilization.   Increased usage of American steel should drive more jobs for US steel and aluminum manufacturers and less business for competing suppliers in other markets, such as Europe and China.

What the Tariffs Mean for U.S. Industry and Consumers

While these steel tariffs were put in place to put American suppliers at an advantage, many drawbacks are now occurring that are affecting manufacturers and consumers alike.  The Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users has said that companies that make products using steel and aluminum employ more than 6.5 million workers across the country compared to 80,000 workers at steel plants.  Any company that uses the materials will be faced with higher production costs. A report published in June shows that US steel is at the highest point in 16 years at $982 per ton and the widest price differential compared to $644 in Western Europe and $566 in China.

When manufacturers face increased steel costs, they must offset the added expenses incurred in other ways, which has the following effects:

  1. U.S. consumers will pay an increased cost for products containing steel, such as cars and appliances.
  1. U.S. manufacturers cannot pass on the increased cost to their customers. Higher tariffs lead to smaller profits, unless manufacturers are able to obtain steel from domestic suppliers at pre-tariff costs.
  1. With domestic steel at a premium, American steel suppliers may continue to increase their prices, though they will likely keep it just below the combined cost of foreign steel and its tariffs.

In typical supply-and-demand fashion, the limited supply of steel within the U.S. has already caused the price to go up. Since April of 2018, the price of steel has increased almost 26%.

This makes U.S. manufacturers that rely on steel far less competitive, and leaves some worrying for the future of their businesses. Rather than face intense profit losses on U.S. soil due to the increased material costs, some manufacturers are already outsourcing some operations to China instead, where they can use cheap Chinese steel tariff-free.

Learn More

The effects of the new U.S. steel tariffs are widespread, touching aspects of the entire economy. But nothing has been more impacted by it than the manufacturing sector. Even if the results from the tariffs are good for domestic suppliers of steel, many other businesses that use the steel are feeling the pressure as they are negatively affected by the rising prices.

As a U.S.-based metal stamping company and a metal forming leader, Pentaflex continues to be on alert and up-to-date with information regarding this rapidly changing situation.

For more information about the recent tariffs, or to learn about our products and services, please contact us.