The Outlook Remains Positive

The timing of our Buyer’s Guide is by plan. The beginning of the year is a great time to reevaluate business strategies and consider further investment to promote company growth. If you’re in need of new equipment, tooling, accessories, software or materials, this is a great place to start.


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The most reliable way to forecast the future is to try to understand the present.
— John Naisbitt


As with any new year, going into 2019 we wonder what lies ahead, looking forward to the good times and preparing for any challenges we may face. We know things will be different; we just don’t yet know how. Most changes will happen gradually; some will be thrust upon us. All we can do is apply our knowledge gained from experience and make the most of the hand we’re dealt.

As I take over the role of editor-in-chief of Production Machining, I find myself, in some ways, in a familiar place, but in other ways with some trepidation. For a few years starting in 2009, on top of my duties with PM, I also handled the lead editorial duties for another of the Gardner Business Media brands. I learned a lot from that experience, as well as from following closely in the footsteps of Chris Koepfer, PM’s departing (and original) editor-in-chief, that should set me up well to be prepared for the key decisions facing me in delivering the content our readers will be looking for in the coming years. But I don’t really know for sure how things will play out. I’ll do my best to help maintain PM’s reputation as the leading source for information about the precision machined parts market, and I’ll rely on my resources to connect me with the latest technological developments. The key is to be prepared as possible.

Now we face a new year—a new season—and it’s a good time to consider, again, building for the future. While the stock market has been pretty volatile the last few months, the economy still seems strong, and shops and equipment suppliers alike are mostly reporting a strong close to 2018. Of course, we all hope to keep the momentum going, which will take some effort.

According to the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute (USCTI) and AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, by the end of Q3 2018, U.S. cutting tool consumption was up 12.8 percent from 2017. While growth is slowing, this year still projects to be more encouraging than what was predicted a few years back for this year.

Other numbers reported by the Precision Machine Products Association (PMPA) indicate that the previous 12 months have shown record high industrial production levels, with growth up almost 4 percent over the same time last year. It seems we should continue to see a good business environment in the near term. But how do we take advantage of this fortuity?

It takes money to make money; there’s a lot of truth to that statement. Making money in the stock market requires an initial investment. Most new businesses require at least some up-front money for supplies or to build inventory. So, existing companies should not be surprised that they need to invest further to increase profitability. And that’s a good strategy for manufacturers to continue to work toward making 2019 another successful year.

For those shops that can, now is a good time to reinvest in the business by bringing in new equipment, engaging additional opportunities and considering additional personnel. According to Michael Guckes, chief economist at Gardner Intelligence (the market intelligence division of PM’s parent company, Gardner Business Media), manufacturers should be thinking strategically about the types of new business they should seek and make customer diversification a significant part of their growth strategy. As a shop grows, it needs a resource for finding the best suppliers for its needs, whether they be machine tools, software, automation systems or other equipment that can extend their capabilities.

This month’s issue of PM is our annual Buyer’s Guide. It serves as a resource that can be referenced throughout the year to find suppliers for the products our industry needs most. It also ties in with our online Supplier Directory, which is even more in-depth, also connecting shops with periphery equipment, software and services—pretty much anything a precision machined products shop could need to run an effective manufacturing operation.

The timing of our Buyer’s Guide is by plan. The beginning of the year is a great time to reevaluate business strategies and consider further investment to promote company growth. If you’re in need of new stuff, this is a great place to start.