The Industry Wins

Almost every year, the May issue of Modern Casting ranks as one of my favorites. By showcasing the winners of the annual AFS Casting Competition plus coverage of the Metalcasting Congress, this issue highlights industry achievement.

This year’s winner of the Casting Competition is Aristo-Cast Inc. (Almont, Michigan) for a unique lattice-designed seat frame for aerospace applications. The investment caster used its established best practices to bring to life a new way of looking at part design, and the result is encouraging for future applications.

Competition is close every year, and this was no exception. It’s not surprising because the diversity of the metalcasting industry means designers have a lot of different ways of achieving their goals in fantastic ways. This year, the best-in-class and honorable mention winners are prime examples of reducing weight (sometimes even by switching from aluminum to iron), simplifying logistics, improving quality, cutting cost, and turning customer’s dreams and wish lists into reality.  

The Casting of the Year winners were on display on the exhibit show floor at Metalcasting Congress in Milwaukee last month. It’s the perfect spot to recognize the achievement—in the middle of the rest of the supply chain showcasing their own best capabilities and products and in tandem with many other top industry awards that are presented, most of which we share on in our post-show coverage starting on page 40.

When achievement and awards are brought up, the misconception can be that the award is the achievement. On the contrary—awards recognize achievement. We should strive for the achievement, not the awards.

So, what has the industry achieved in the last year?
•    Advances in additive manufacturing and rapid manufacturing.
•    Significant plant safety milestones.
•    Advocacy to the next generation of metalcasters and customers.
•    Advocacy to our city, state and national leaders.
•    Alloy developments in magnesium, copper, aluminum, iron and steel.
•    Molding process developments, from wax and lost foam patterns to sand mold filling.
•    Improved simulation and prediction tools.
•    New tools for employee training and education.

This list doesn’t even start to touch everything. What the individuals of the industry accomplish together when they are working toward the same goals is something to be proud of, and these achievements should be recognized. They elevate the entire industry. Congratulations not just to this year’s winners, but also to all the other members of this industry who have collaborated toward a goal and met it this year.

Click here to see this story as it appears in the May 2017 issue of Modern Casting

In 60 Seconds...

The narrative of The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson is that a young and apparently eager person has been searching the globe for a progressive and effective supervisor. Then once the unnamed protagonist finds said leader, he’d soak up all the lessons and wisdom and move forward.

The protagonist finds that boss and gets face-to-face meetings with him and three of his workers. That’s when the protagonist hears the three secrets to being a One Minute Manager:
- One Minute Goals
- One Minute Praisings
- One Minute Re-Directs

Before we get into the meat of the book and whether it has value, I must provide a word of warning. If you’re looking for an involved and detailed read, this isn’t it. The edition I have is a flimsy 93 pages with large type. Some pages aren’t completely filled and others are just sayings. I didn’t officially time myself, but I’d be shocked if it took me more than 90 minutes to read. In fact, I probably could have gotten away with grabbing it off the shelf at my local bookstore, buying a coffee and scone and reading it on a comfy couch at said store, then returning the book to the shelf and leaving.

Alas, I didn’t do that.

Anyway, for a quick and breezy read, the book will be a valuable addition to my library. It made me think about the supervisors I’ve had and the tricks and tactics they’ve used to get the most out of me. Of the three “secrets,” the one that got my mind going the most was the One Minute Re-Direct. This is basically what happens when an employee messes up and speaks to their boss. The tactic written about in the book feels surprisingly natural and obvious, and seems like one a lot of younger employees could respond to.

The book itself is an adaptation of The One Minute Manager. Published in 1982, the original had many of the same thoughts and ideas. One key difference is that the new version’s One Minute Re-Directs is a revision of the original’s One Minute Reprimands. As the authors wrote, this was an update to keep up with the times, knowing that what worked in the early 1980s wouldn’t necessarily work now. And they’re right. Personally, I would much rather go through a Re-Direct with one of my supervisors than a Reprimand.

In general, The New One Minute Manager lives up to what it promises. The solutions seem easy to execute and feel obvious and intuitive at the same time. The characters in the book are relatable, and the writing style is easy and accessible.

And you won’t need much time to read it.    

Click here to see this story as it appears in the May 2017 issue of Modern Casting

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