NASF Launches Supplier Business Barometer

Thank you to all the suppliers who took time from their busy schedules to respond to our Business Barometer survey. NASF through the efforts of its Supplier Committee will be sending out the survey each quarter and look forward to your continued participation.

The survey received responses from a range of suppliers in both product type and size. The majority of the respondents felt that business in North America is either satisfactory (42.3%) or good (38.4%). Respondents said that compared with six months ago, sales in their businesses were growing (46.1%) and no change (38.4%) while 15.3% said that their sales were declining. 61.5% of respondents expect business conditions to be the same six months from now while 38.4% felt they will be better.

Overall, most programs sponsored by NASF ranked well with respect to perceived value to supplier companies. The association has more plans ahead for 2016, including tailoring key programs to the supplier community needs.

We welcome feedback from our finishing supplier community. If someone else in your company should receive these emails, please contact Cheryl Clark (cclark@nasf.org) with the correct contact information.

NASF appreciates our Supplier Committee’s volunteer leadership!

Mike Goralski    Mike.Goralski@Macdermid.com
Molly Kellogg     mkellogg@hubbardhall.com
Curtis Goad       curtis@goadco.com
Jody Richards    jrichards@process-technology.com
Blair Vandivier  bvandivier@asterionstc.com

Posted in Business, NASF National | Tagged ,

NASF Management Conference Moves to “Leadership Conference” in 2016

The annual NASF Management Conference has brought industry leaders together for years to share and learn from the experience, challenges and successes of others. Starting in 2016, the event will take on a new name – the “NASF Leadership Conference.” The new name better aligns with what attendees themselves say they attend for and reflects the commitment of the NASF’s leadership to deliver timely, relevant and meaningful topics to the program.

“We’ve been pleased by the success of the event and want to ensure we look for ways to upgrade the quality and utility of our program – we also want to welcome an even broader audience of industry leaders in the future, said Erik Weyls, NASF President.

The Leadership Conference will be held February 28 – March 3, 2016 at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Keynote speakers include Volvo’s Tim Woods, Global Technology Specialist for Group Purchasing, and Ben Porritt of Outside Eyes, a crisis management consulting firm.

“Our new name is appropriate for the times,” said Tripp Walen, Chair of the 2016 event. “It’s truly a venue for those in the finishing community who think about how the industry is likely to evolve, how their colleagues and competitors are solving problems, how they can innovate successfully and shape their businesses to excel in the future.”

We’re excited too, and look forward to seeing you in February.

For more information on registration or accommodations, click here or contact Cheryl Clark at cclark@nasf.org.

Posted in Events, NASF National | Tagged

New Studies on Regulations No Surprise: Impact on U.S. Manufacturing and Job Growth is a Problem

It’s no secret that federal regulations cost money. The latest trove of studies say that lately they’ve been costing the U.S. economy more than 2 trillion dollars a year.  The total cost of environmental health and safety regulations is estimated to be over 420 billion dollars. Over the last decade alone, more than 37,000 federal regulations have been imposed on American citizens and their businesses.  The federal government’s Fall 2015 semiannual Regulatory Agenda released November 20th indicates that the pace of federal regulations has not slowed.

A report just released by the National Association for Manufacturers (NAM), of which NASF is a member, indicates that an average U.S.-based manufacturer pays regulatory costs of approximately $20,000 every year for each employee. Small manufacturers with less than 50 employees paid nearly $35,000 per year per employee just to comply with federal regulations.  Because the finishing industry is one of the most heavily regulated small business sectors, the cost per employee to comply with federal regulations can go even higher.  These issues were highlighted in a recent Presidential debate, but whether the topic will reemerge for the 2016 elections remains to be seen.

Regulation Affects Jobs

The continuous accumulation of rules over the last several decades has not only slowed economic growth but has also reduced employment opportunities.  A recent study by the Mercatus Center summarized how the rapid growth in the number of federal rules has likely hindered the struggling labor market, spotlighting several challenges:

  • Cost Burdens – Regulation adds to costs, increasing prices for regulated goods and services and reducing the final amount bought and sold. As production declines, so does the demand for workers engaged in production.
  • Downstream Impacts – This shrinkage in the size of the market can decrease employment not only in these regulated industries but also in industries downstream that use the now more expensive goods and services.
  • Production to Compliance – More regulation also leads to a shift of workers from production to regulatory compliance jobs, which reduces overall economic efficiency.
  • Losses in Earnings – Even if displaced workers eventually find new employment, they often face permanent losses in lifetime earnings, which can be as high as almost three years of the previous annual income. This is largely due to skill mismatches between the jobs lost and the new jobs created in the economy.

Good Intentions, Cumulative Impacts

Federal regulators often have good intentions when proposing new rules, such as increasing worker safety or protecting the environment, and industry often agrees that a corporate commitment to safety and the environment can go hand in hand with profitability.

Although manufacturers view regulatory compliance as a top business challenge, according to a recent study federal employees believe that manufacturing and environmental regulations spur job increases and economic growth.  Some of this is attributed to projections of growth in the “green economy” and the jobs for consulting services and capital equipment to comply with federal environmental regulations. Unfortunately, federal regulators tend to view each regulation individually, ignoring the rapid buildup of rules and how that regulatory accumulation can harm economic growth

The Mercatus findings also show that some regulation can facilitate innovation in manufacturing processes and can be critical in protecting worker safety, public health and the environment. Nonetheless, U.S. business leaders believe that the current regulatory system is in need of reform and improvement and that manufacturing needs smarter regulations that minimize unnecessary burdens, better balance benefits and costs, and eliminate redundancies wherever possible.  The total costs that manufacturers spend on compliance per year could instead go toward efforts like increasing employee hiring, investing in research and development and reducing prices, all of which would help boost economic competitiveness and support job growth.

The conclusion of these studies shows what the industry has understood for some time now – that policy makers need to understand the tradeoff between the additional benefits of regulation and its potential negative effect on business creation and economic growth. Before promulgating new federal regulations, regulators must carefully consider their consequences.

Posted in Business, Economy, Law & Regulation

Automotive Industry Developing Global “Regulatory Radar”: Goal is to Evaluate Regs Earlier

The automotive industry is working to develop a monitoring system that tracks and collects information on emerging global regulations. Its aim is to inform automotive companies about future chemicals requirements before regulations are finalized.

Before it’s Too Late

The new Global Regulatory Monitoring System of Substances (GRMS) – or “regulatory radar” – was highlighted at a regulatory summit hosted by trade publication Chemical Watch, and is aimed at evaluating upcoming decisions before they’re taken in order to react before it’s too late. Hyundai is currently leading the initiative. Timo Unger, Hyundai’s environmental affairs manager, told the industry audience that the auto sector doesn’t “have a reliable overview of global chemical regulation and we are failing to collect all the information we need at an early stage, to find out whether we might be impacted by proposed legislation.”

The project would keep a database of information and regulations, issue findings and produce brief reports on specific chemicals and the pending decisions covering them. Because more industries and countries are challenged by the complexities of regulations that impact global supply chains across so many jurisdictions, the new tracking system may in the future be transferred to a global intergovernmental body like the United Nations or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

NASF Global Surface Technology Roundtable

Other industries have agreed they face similar challenges and NASF itself has launched the Global Surface Technology Roundtable to bring finishing trade associations together from across the world to exchange views and information on regulatory trends and upcoming policy decisions that can affect finishers across supply chains and national jurisdictions.

Leaders of the regulatory radar project argue that small and medium-sized businesses in the supply chain across the globe, particularly in developing countries, would benefit by a better understanding of regulations if they wish to sell parts and services in other parts of the world. They also note what NASF has observed for some time – that companies, and countries, outside of strict regulatory jurisdictions may consider restricting certain chemicals due to new or emerging requirements or bans elsewhere. Watch for further news on the new radar early in 2016.

NASF Regulatory Risk Tracker for Members

In the meantime, NASF has developed its on “Regulatory Risk Tracker” with Fact Sheets on individual issues in order to assist its members in monitoring emerging policies and regulations likely to impact the surface treatment industry. If you would like more information on the NASF’s Regulatory Risk Tracker, please reach Jeff Hannapel (jhannapel@thepolicygroup.com) or Christian Richter (crichter@thepolicygroup.com).

Posted in Government Relations, Law & Regulation

OSHA Fines for Workplace Violations to Increase in 2016

The budget deal passed by Congress and signed into law by the President on November 2 contained provisions to raise spending caps and the debt limit as well as delay major budget battles until after the presidential election.  NASF members should know that the package also contained an essentially unnoticed provision that allows OSHA to increase fines starting August 1, 2016 for workplace safety violations.

OSHA Process for Increased Fines

The provision, which caught both business and labor by surprise, outlines a process that permits the agency to increase penalties for the first time in 25 years. First, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) must issue guidance to implement the new law’s provision by January 31, 2016.

Second, OSHA will be allowed to increase fines to “catch up” with inflation since 1990 by issuing by next July 1, 2016, an “interim final rule,” which is typically a rulemaking process that does not require an agency to invite public comment before a final decision is made. The rule would become effective by August 1.

Third, starting in 2017, OSHA will be allowed to increase fines to keep up with inflation. The bill, importantly, does allow OSHA to select a lower fine increase if it chooses and the White House agrees. Whether this will occur, of course, remains to be seen.

The new law doesn’t say anything about the 28 states that run their own safety and health programs, and it’s early enough in the process that OSHA has not begun developing any guidance for the states. However, it’s anticipated that the new federal fine structure will be required by states so they will be at least as stringent in their own programs.

Fine Amounts Could Jump by 80 Percent

If OSHA implements the maximum increase allowed, which is the inflation rate from 1990 to 2015 as measured by the Consumer Price Index, then the penalty for violations would jump by over 80 percent. What that would mean is that fines for serious violations could increase from $7,000 to about $12,000.

The highest penalty amount – for repeat and willful violations – could increase from $70,000 to about $125,000. In the bigger picture, if this maximum increase were applied to OSHA fines for all US violations in fiscal year 2014, then this past year’s total OSHA nationwide penalties of $143.6 million would have increased to $261.4 million instead.

It’s useful to point out that OSHA is not required by the new provision to raise its penalties to the maximum, however, and the agency may use its discretion on amounts for individual citations.

Labor & Industry Views

While OSHA has been reviewing the changes, prominent labor advocates note that the agency’s new penalty adjustment authority means progress, although simply linking penalty increases to inflation won’t raise fines nearly as high as earlier legislative attempts by congressional Democrats to dramatically boost penalties for worker fatalities. They point out that the average 2014 employer fine for a worker fatality was $7,000, which was ultimately reduced on average to $5,050 upon settlement.

Some industry leaders have noted that that increased fines will undoubtedly have a serious impact on business, particularly smaller operations, and will plan to oppose OSHA efforts next year. Other workplace safety legal experts argue that boosting fines for OSHA still keeps them extremely low compared to other agencies, like EPA, which imposes such maximum penalties of $270,000 for violating the Clean Air Act and $1 million for tampering with a public water system.

Some business advocates – including NASF Washington Forum speaker Baruch Fellner of Gibson Dunn’s Washington, DC office – also argue that increasing fines on a per citation basis may be beneficial, as OSHA inspectors may be relieved from having to combine a number of “nitpicky citations” in order to reach higher penalties for employers.

Outlook

NASF will be closely monitoring OSHA’s activity moving into next year and will keep members abreast of rulemaking and related developments. At this point, it’s likely that getting even a Republican-controlled Congress to block or reverse OSHA’s action next fall will be challenging, as Congress approved the language with this month’s approval of the budget bill. Stay tuned for future NASF updates.

Posted in Government Relations, Law & Regulation | Tagged

MAMF Annual Awards Dinner

The MAMF held their annual awards dinner at the Chart House in Weehawken, New Jersey. Over 60 attendees enjoyed the celebration on a beautiful night overlooking the Hudson. Past Presidents Awards were awarded to Phil Fusco and Marc Aleksinas. Special Awards of Merit were given to Bryan Murphy, Jason Potts, Steve Rudy and Dan France for their outstanding work in assisting with the MAMF Plating School. Awards were given by JR Candiloro, Vice President, MAMF and Joe Tilton, President.

 

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Posted in Events, NASF Chapters

Michigan Chapter 2015 Midwest Seminar

September 24th-26th brought beautiful weather and a crowd from the metal finishing industry to Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs, Michigan. The 3-day event included a golf outing, networking opportunities, and many informative speakers. An update was given from the NASF, as well as updates on the state of the U.S. and Michigan economies, the Affordable Care Act, and Advocacy. Additional discussion topics included Electroless Nickel, Global Surface Treatment Directions, Regional Economic Development, a Decorative Trim Corrosion Workgroup Update, and Passing on Family-Owned Businesses to the Next Generation.

The evenings were filled with socializing, cocktails, and dinner. Thursday’s keynote speaker was Ruth Holmes from Pentec, Inc. Ms. Holmes is a renowned handwriting specialist who entertained the group with stories of her unique career and high-level court cases. Attendees at the event also received a personal handwriting analysis.

Friday’s keynote speaker was Tom Walsh from the Detroit Free Press. Tom delivered an entertaining presentation filled with hi-lights from his career as a newspaper reporter, including his story about former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Thank you to all the presenters and attendees, and to our Sponsors, American Plating Power, Atotech International LLC, Columbia Chemical, Coventya, Dynapower, Enthone, Haviland, KCH Engineered Systems, KC Jones Plating, Palm Commodities, Pavco, Univertical, Wagner Enterprise, and Walgren, who made the 2015 Midwest Seminar a complete success. Plans are being made for the 2016 Midwest Seminar – the date will be announced soon.

Visit MINASF.org for updates.

Posted in Events, NASF Chapters

MINASF North American International Auto Show Meeting

The Michigan Chapter of NASF (MINASF) will be hosting their annual auto show meeting during Industry Preview Week of the North American International Auto Show on January 13th, 2016. The meeting will take place at the Butzel Long Office in Detroit, Michigan and will include a presentation by Mike Wall, Director of Automotive Analysis at IHS Automotive.

Don’t miss this event! Details and registration information will be available soon at MINASF.org.

Posted in Events, NASF Chapters

Foundation Electroplating Course SOLD OUT

The Electroplating and Surface Finishing course taking place in Detroit on November 16-20, 2015 has sold out. For wait list information, please contact Matt Martz, NASF Education Director at mmartz@nasf.org.

The home study version of this course is always available, and delivers the same high-quality educational experience straight to your home or office.

Posted in Education

California Chapters Legislative Updates

The Metal Finishers Association of Southern California (MFASC) and Metal Finishers Association of Northern California (MFANC) will each be conducting Chapter Legislative Updates in November. Chapter members are encouraged to register for a meeting in your area today. These important meetings will feature guest speakers Jerry Desmond, Jr., from the law firm of Desmond & Desmond, MFASC and MFANC Legislative Advocate in Sacramento, along with Jeff Hannapel, Executive Vice President of The Policy Group and the NASF Government Relations Office in Washington, D.C. Each will present upcoming legislation and other government action that could impact your business.

The MFASC, MFANC, and NASF continue to maintain a strong presence in the region, in Sacramento, and in Washington, D.C. as we influence the legislative process.

MFASC
November 18th
6pm
Stevens Steak House
Commerce, CA
Register Here

MFANC
November 19th
Spin-A-Yarn Restaurant
Fremont, CA
Register Here

Posted in Events, Government Relations, Law & Regulation, NASF Chapters