US steel prices still trending down

Posted: March 2nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Commodities, Metals, Steel, USA | Tags: , , | No Comments »

US steel prices still trending downUS flat-rolled steel prices crept down last week as mills continued to battle for market share against a backdrop of increasingly aggressive import offerings. Domestic steelmakers in the U.S. slashed prices in February to cope with a flood of imports juiced by the strong dollar, a move that will pressure their profit margins and reduce costs for buyers of steel, including auto makers.

Imports rose 33% in January compared with the year before, according to figures released Wednesday by the American Iron and Steel Institute, reaching 3.85 million tons, compared with 2.9 million tons a year earlier. The jump in imports comes as oil and gas drillers cancel orders for steel pipe, underscoring the resilience of overall U.S. demand compared with other markets.

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7 key factors for US reshoring

Posted: February 28th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Gem, Labor, What's Happening in Our Profession | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Reshoring USAAfter making the case for reshoring in a previous article, PwC identified 7 key factors influencing potential US manufacturing resurgence. Obviously, labor cost is one of those factors but not the only one.

“Industrial manufacturers may increasingly rethink their U.S. strategies, including the merits of continuing to separate production and R&D and producing abroad and importing back to U.S. buyers. Depending on the industry, there may be considerable benefits to establishing regionalized supply chains and R&D facilities in the U.S.,” said Bob McCutcheon, PwC’s U.S. Industrial Products leader.

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Greendex: Survey of Sustainable Consumption

Posted: February 23rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Best practices, Economic Indicators, Gem | Tags: | No Comments »

GreendexIf your business is expanding into new or facing competition in existing markets, can you benefit from enhancing your green credentials to meet consumer preferences?

Greening your supply chain could provide a competitive edge in markets where consumers are increasing concerned with environmental issues and making spending decisons based on those concerns.

Find what you can learn from the Greendex Survey.


Rack Up Savings

Posted: February 18th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Best practices, Gem, Negotiating with Suppliers, What's Happening in Our Profession | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Savings
Stan Hankowski, a seasoned Buyer with a major American retailer tells an intriguing story that shows how Purchasers can help themselves by helping their suppliers.

He went to market last year to buy steel racking. He expected higher prices because he’d been tracking steel costs and knew they had gone up sharply.

via Negotiating Nugget on Propurchaser.


Purchasers’ turn to shine

Posted: February 17th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Gem, What's Happening in Our Profession | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

LeadershipIt’s still quite scary out there: recession clouds are still lurking. Sales volumes are struggling to rise; unfortunately, costs are struggling less, as suppliers pile on price increases, citing higher raw material costs as the reason.

Call to action

What can Purchasers do?……plenty, by taking a leadership role in pushing back costs. Makes sense when you think about it. Your role is critical, since purchases typically represent the largest single source of cost savings for most organizations. Try this 3-step approach.

via Purchasers’ Turn to Shine on Propurchaser.


US Productivity falls in Q4 2014

Posted: February 9th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Labor, USA | Tags: , , | No Comments »

US Productivity falls in Q4 2014US Productivity fell at a 1.8% rate in the fourth quarter because output rose at a 3.2% pace but hours worked increased at a 5.1% rate, the largest jump in hours since the fourth quarter of 1998, after a revised 3.7% gain in the prior three months that was larger than previously estimated. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected productivity would be flat in October through December.

Easy productivity gains are more or less gone at this point,” said Sam Coffin, an economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, whose projection for a 1.7% drop was the closest in the Bloomberg survey. “We’ll probably need to see capital expenditures at some point if we’re going to see much faster output growth.”

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Fishing with Suppliers

Posted: February 8th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Best practices, Gem, Negotiating with Suppliers, What's Happening in Our Profession | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Big fishI once had a very smart boss whose favorite expression was “Fish where the big fish are!”
So where do the “big fish” lurk for reducing costs for the products and services we purchase – in better pricing, in longer terms, in faster order processing, in speedier delivery? All important yes, but in my experience they are not the trophy-fish.

The best cost-savings opportunities are to be found in your suppliers’ organizations: knowledge and ideas inside the heads of their managers, engineers, operations and planning staff.

via Negotiating Nugget on Propurchaser.


The index which mapped the 2008 financial crisis at lowest level since 1986

Posted: February 5th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: China, Economic Indicators | Tags: | No Comments »

The index which mapped the 2008 financial crisis at lowest level since 1986The Baltic Dry Index, which gauges the cost of shipping commodities including iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertilizer, was down 2.20% at 577 points, the lowest since August 1986. Because dry bulk primarily consists of materials that function as raw material inputs to the production of intermediate or finished goods, the index is also seen as an efficient economic indicator of future economic growth and production.

It plunged by more than 90% in just a few months in 2008 as the global crisis unrolled. Then, it was an impressive bellwether for the global situation. Shipping costs were previously very expensive because demand was strong and massive new ships can’t be built overnight. As the demand disappeared, the Baltic Dry dived. It’s now dropped by more than 60% in less than three months.

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Shale gas blasts open world energy market

Posted: February 3rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Energy, Gem, Natural Gas | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Shale gas drillingUnconventional treasure: Shale gas is trapped deep inside rock formations.

Shale gas is a new and abundant source of natural gas, trapped in rock formations. Oil companies have known about it for decades but always dismissed it because it was too expensive and difficult to extract.

In the past few years new technologies that pump water underground to fracture the rock and free the gas have been perfected. The breakthrough has opened a new frontier for the energy industry and turned long-held assumptions about the world’s dwindling supplies on their head.
via Shale gas blasts open world energy market on Propurchaser


Chinese PMI contracts for second month

Posted: February 3rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: China, PMI | Tags: , | No Comments »

Chinese PMI contracts for second monthThe final HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for January came in at 49.7 on a seasonally adjusted basis, just below the 50.0 level that separates growth from contraction. The number was slightly lower than a preliminary “flash” reading of 49.8 but higher than the final 49.6 in December.

The dour data mirrored two official reports released by the government on Sunday which showed weakness in China‘s manufacturing and services sectors last month. Hurt by a sagging property market, unsteady exports and cooling domestic demand and investment, analysts expect China’s economic growth may slow to 7 percent this year.

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