Turning a Page

Don Kline reviews Production Machining's contributions to the precision machined parts manufacturing industry and discusses his new role as publisher of the magazine.

This magazine was proposed as an idea in the fall of 2000. It was an interesting time for our parent company, Gardner Publications, given that we were all in the midst of the “bust” part of the Internet “boom.” The general economy was not bad, but there was uncertainty in the air.

Along with help from the PMPA, Chris Koepfer and Travis Egan recognized a need in the market for a process-focused publication that addressed the ongoing changes in precision machined parts manufacturing. With conviction, they poured time and energy into turning Production Machining, the concept, into Production Machining, the magazine.

In the years since, PM has grown into a brand that includes the magazine you are reading, a Web site and the sponsorship of a trade show called PMTS (Gardner Publications produces PMTS in conjunction with the PMPA). This was no small task, and the staff has done an outstanding job.

A few months ago, Travis asked me if I would consider taking over for him as publisher because he was being tasked with another project inside Gardner. I gladly accepted. My publishing career started in the metalworking industry, and I look forward to my new role with Production Machining. PM is owned by Gardner Publications, a fourth generation family business with magazines that are almost entirely in the world of manufacturing. Our company believes strongly that American manufacturers can do more than just survive, but can thrive with the right business practices and technology.

Manufacturing in the U.S. is under pressure, and that will not change. Our global economy has reinforced this reality; outside forces have been affecting our domestic manufacturing economy for decades. To survive, our manufacturing base has continuously adjusted how and what we manufacture and who we manufacture for.

The strength of Production Machining lies in our ability to focus on what is vital to your business. We feel that the most important thing we can give you is information you can apply to your business. We do not write about the past or about ourselves; we write about technology and its potential impact on successful manufacturing.

When one inherits a successful product with a very competent staff, the first rule of thumb is, “do no harm.” But what fun would that be? As a reader you will notice in the coming months some slight changes to the magazine. We are in the process of redesigning PM’s look and feel, but not its content. This change is slight, but will enhance the magazine’s usefulness for you. Our goal is to have this finished during the first quarter of 2009. The fundamentals of PM will not change; we will continue to deliver content that is technology driven and process focused.

I would be remiss not to mention one important outside influence happening right now. As I write this column, the presidential race is tightening and both candidates are talking about the economy and job creation.

Recent decades have not been kind to the idea of a manufacturing economy. Our secondary schools have been set up to send kids to college, not prepare them for careers outside of an office. Manufacturing has suffered a steady decline in both perceived societal importance and actual percent of GDP. It has taken a while, but Washington (for the good or the bad) has started to notice. It probably has to do with the high unemployment numbers in key electoral states, but nonetheless, they are starting to talk about the importance of manufacturing.

We all know this attention is most likely short lived. However, we can hope that maybe they will listen, even in small part, to their own rhetoric. It will take years to undo bad policy, and for those of us in the precision turned parts market, it would be a fatal mistake to rely on Washington to do anything substantial. The key to your success lies with you and how you adapt to change. Production Machining is here to give you the information you need about product and process so you can innovate and stay ahead of your competition, no matter where it comes from.

Feel free to e-mail me with any comments, questions or ideas at dkline2@gardnerweb.com.