Improved margins for supplies

Margins improved for nine industries that make factory operating materials and supplies and held steady for seven others. But plant engineers still face a challenging environment for buying supplies. Sporting a margin grade of F (see table, opposite), the surface active agents (SIC 2843) industry spends $57.


Margins improved for nine industries that make factory operating materials and supplies and held steady for seven others. But plant engineers still face a challenging environment for buying supplies.

Sporting a margin grade of F (see table, opposite), the surface active agents (SIC 2843) industry spends $57.42 on direct manufacturing for $100 worth of product, which is $2.37 above average. Producers will close half the profitability gap by the end of the 2003. The supplier's best argument may be that a chemicals-driven cost increase of 8.3% between February '02 and May '03 was not redressed and led to a near-record low level of manufacturing-related margins.

The fabricated plate work industry also has an F grade. An analysis of margins suggests that suppliers have the cost justification for increasing prices by 1.4%. U.S. demand for metal plate work will see a dramatic improvement in 2004 as end-markets growth hits a year-over-year rate of 6.1% in 2004:Q3. Stronger end-markets won't translate into stronger price hikes. Over the last few years, we've seen a disconnect between demand and prices thanks to competition from foreign suppliers. Tags for fabricated plate work will edge ahead 0.8% in 2004.

Ball and roller bearings manufacturers have done a better job stemming margin losses, as evidenced by their average C margin grade. In July 2003, the cost of making a unit of output in SIC 3562 fell 0.6% with the bulk of the decline due to a 1.5% drop in wage rates paid to factory workers. Producers generated additional savings from U.S.-made steel inputs. Cost savings did not translate into lower output prices in July. Indeed, buyers won't see any price relief ahead. A battle between prices and costs will rage in the U.S. bearings industry. From 2003:Q4 to 2004:Q4 industry tags will rise 1.7% while costs will grow 1.3%.

Price/cost/demand roundup

Average Product Prices Direct Mfg. Costs Growth in U.S. End Markets
NC means data could not be computed.

the average producer in an industry. Grades of A to A+ mean plant engineers may be able to strike a better bargain with suppliers and better control plant costs.

All data prepared and presented by Thinking Cap Solutions, Inc., Port Angeles, WA (telephone: 360-452-6159; e-mail:
IndustrySICApril 03July 03Costs are...GradeApril 03July 03
Wood Pallets and Skids2448-0.970.48risingF--0.25-0.31
Polishes and Sanitation Goods2842-0.230.15stableF0.340.28
Surface Active Agents2843-1.05-0.26stableF0.640.23
Adhesives and Sealants28910.020.08fallingF2.231.34
Lubricating Oils and Greases29920.931.59stableA0.270.18
Rubber and Plastics Hose and Belting30520.831.66stableD1.831.46
Abrasive Products32910.060.40stableD3.153.43
Steel Wire and Related Products33151.211.45stableD-1.85-1.03
Copper Rolling and Drawing3351-2.23-2.28risingF-2.04-1.81
Nonferrous Wire Drawing and Insulating3357-3.48-2.17stableF5.015.68
Heating Equipment, except Electric34330.811.07stableC-1.62-0.82
Fabricated Plate Work, Boiler Shops34431.130.99stableF-3.15-2.05
Bolts, Nuts, Rivets and Washers34520.140.11stableF5.666.10
Industrial Valves34911.311.38stableA-2.07-1.59
Fluid Power Valves and Hose Fittings34921.081.16stableB-2.07-1.59
Other Valves and Pipe Fittings34940.761.71stableC-2.07-1.59
Miscellaneous Fabricated Wire Products3496-0.17-0.24stableF-0.29-0.09
Fabricated Pipe and Fittings34980.380.87stableD-2.07-1.59
Ball and Roller Bearings35620.871.07fallingC0.410.48

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
February 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
March 2018
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
Jan/Feb 2018
Welding ergonomics, 2017 Salary Survey, and surge protection
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards
December 2017
PID controllers, Solar-powered SCADA, Using 80 GHz radar sensors

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

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Industrial Analytics
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
IIoT: Operations & IT
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me