Higher prices may begin to ruffle budgets soon
While the Federal Reserve Bank ruminates about inflation and interest rates, plant engineers may already be feeling an inflationary breeze.
While the Federal Reserve Bank ruminates about inflation and interest rates, plant engineers may already be feeling an inflationary breeze. In the 3-mo ending July 1999, average prices charged by suppliers of factory operating materials and supplies rose 0.3%. More ominously, the cost to manufacture these supplies jumped 1.9% over the same period. Higher costs usually precede an inflationary boost, so factory managers may want to start planning some increases in their budgets during the final quarter of 1999.
Looking at price/cost trends over a 12-mo period, we suggest that plant managers should watch their budgets for wood pallets and skids, surface active agents, adhesives and sealants, lubricating oils and greases, steel wire, and nonferrous wire drawing and insulating. In particular, budgets may be strained by rising prices for copper wire and tubing. Here, the cost of manufacturing is rising fast. Margins in the industries that produce these products, however, remain fairly healthy.
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey