Now for Something Completely Different (Part III)
By J.D. Neeson, President
There was a report out of Marl, Germany, on March 31 about a plant that suffered a tremendous explosion that closed the plant and killed two workers. This plant, owned by Evonik Industries, is apparently the major producer of a chemical called CDT, which is used in the production of a plastic resin called Nylon 12 (PA-12). What is interesting about this is that Nylon 12 is used to manufacture fuel and brake lines, and because U.S. manufacturers have embraced the just-in-time and “single quality supplier” concept, it is likely that auto manufacturers will have to cut production.
When I was a buyer for a large Midwestern company back in the 1980s, we all jumped on the same bandwagon and established very close relationships with mostly single suppliers. It made it very easy and cost effective. It also allowed us to actually control our vendors (some of them used to mutter about being captive suppliers), but I remember one of the old buyers being horrified about being so dependent. He would roam around the office quoting, “For want of a nail the shoe was lost.” I don’t know what happened to him, but I bet he is chuckling about this!
I came across a blog the other day (www.govtrack.us/blog) by Josh Tauberer that had a nifty chart showing how many bills were introduced to congress and how many became law. From 1999 through 2008, the average number of bills introduced was around 8,500, with about 5 percent of the bills becoming laws. (I have read elsewhere that about 25 percent of all enacted bills involve naming buildings and the like). Since the start of the new congressional session beginning in 2009, the average has dropped to 3 percent and the 112th Congress, so far this year, has passed only .5 percent. So it can be pretty fairly stated that it is a do-nothing congress, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Talking about bills being made into law, a new law that is likely to pass this year will eliminate the annual 7 percent per country green card limit. Approximately 140,000 work-based green cards are issued each year allowing foreign workers to come to the United States to work. In the past there was a limit of about 10,000 cards issued per country. The new law eliminates this requirement so conceptually all 140,000 employees could come from one country.
This is not likely to happen, but it is likely that the number of highly technical people from India and China will rise substantially at the expense of lesser trained people from other countries. The industries that rely on these unskilled workers will be under strain and are likely to begin to compete with the temporary work permit industries that are already under pressure from changes in other laws dealing with temporary workers. And I wonder if this increase in the number of available skilled employees brought in doesn’t discourage U.S. companies from supporting education and training. A goal both political parties claim to support, but then buckle when pressured by the technology companies.
A company called Lytro makes a really cool type of camera. The camera (which I bet isn’t cheap) captures all the light rays in a scene and then allows the picture to be focused later and in different ways depending upon wavelength. It eliminates the need to focus at the time of the picture being taken and reduces the amount of ambient light required. The thought is that there will be all sorts of applications for this process, ranging from medical internal imaging to allowing pictures being taken from moving vehicles (or pilot-less drones).
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May 1, 2012 / JD Neeson / 0
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Margaret Graham Neeeson
Margaret Graham Neeson
Marine Parts Express