How CNC Machining Companies are Surviving a Global Pandemic

How CNC Machining Companies are Surviving a Global Pandemic

To call the pandemic a disruption would be an understatement. Supply chains have been placed under unprecedented stress, social distancing has forced workers to isolate themselves from their colleagues, and demands for some products have skyrocketed while others have plummeted. 

All of this has created a new environment in which companies offering CNC machining services are required to function, forcing them to find new ways to succeed. The following strategies have helped them cope with the changes — and may make them more resilient in the future. 

Product Flexibility 

The pandemic has compelled customers to shift their spending habits drastically, and that means manufacturers will have to adapt, too. As companies find that demand for old products has dried up, they will have to pivot to make higher-demand goods. 

For example, leading automotive manufacturers like Ford and GM helped ease ventilator shortages during the height of the pandemic. While the move was made more out of necessity than a desire to shift production, it shows the value of assembly line flexibility. 

To improve their flexibility, manufacturers must start by re-envisioning their factory floors. One way to do this is by implementing flexible manufacturing cells (FMC) which group devices according to their use for the most efficient reconfiguration possible. Companies offering CNC machining services can arrange similar tools (milling, drilling, washing, turning, etc.) into the same space, even employing automation to reconfigure their machines for different jobs. 

The pandemic has changed which products customers need, and by making their manufacturing facilities more flexible, suppliers can pivot accordingly.  

Machine Makeovers

No manufacturing site can become flexible enough to keep pace with changing demands if they don’t have tools that can adapt to their new space. Versatile machines make for more flexible manufacturing, so upgrading your equipment now may be a smart investment. Some possible machine upgrades include:

  • 5 and 6-Axis CNC machining tools, which pivot around two or three axes in addition to their translational motion.
  • Cooperative robots (or cobots), which work in tandem with human laborers — and are especially useful when social distancing makes close quarters impossible.
  • Remote support, which helps operators upload their G-code offsite and enables suppliers to guide physically present workers through any complications they may find.

The financial blow that the pandemic has dealt to some manufacturers may make investments in machine upgrades seem impractical, but now may be the best time to level up. Companies that don’t improve their equipment may find that their facilities can no longer keep up with new norms, and will find themselves wishing they had invested in smarter technology before it was too late. 

(Re)Training Your Workforce

Machines aren’t the only part of your workforce that may need an upgrade. Many workers lack critical training or certification on new technologies commonly used today, and potential demand downturns may be the perfect time to help your employees improve their skills, too. Invest in your employees now by teaching them new skills, and prepare them for a modern manufacturing world. 

CNC Machining: Rising to the Challenge

Adaptation is essential for survival, and few industries have done it better than manufacturing over the years. Whether they offer 3D printing in San Francisco or CNC machining in Pittsburgh, today’s facilities will need to be more creative than ever as they pivot to new market conditions. Smarter technology and better trained workers can help them not only survive under such extremes — they may even help them thrive in the future.

5 Effective Sales Discovery Questions to Help You Close More Deals

5 Effective Sales Discovery Questions to Help You Close More Deals

Discovery makes and breaks sales revenue. This crucial part of the process is where compelling reasons to buy are revealed, where your product or service shows its value, and where opportunity strike. With discovery calls carrying roughly 90% of sales, this is a vital pillar of closing deals.

The weight of discovery is matched with its dire nature. There’s limited time to ask key questions required to close those deals. Rapport and value propositions help displace this, but each question needs to be expertly targeted. Check out these 5 effective sales discovery questions guaranteed to help you close more deals.

1. Tell Me More About That

This simple question is a chance to dig deeper, revealing a pain or opportunity that has yet to emerge. Once revealed, this question can expose causation, cost, extent, and repercussions. It’s an ace in the hole that all too many ignore.

This question also beats out more direct ones, which can easily be too specific or assumptive. Asking someone to tell you more about a tidbit of information allows them to feel as though they are taking the reigns, that you care to learn about them and are here to help instead of simply make a sale.

2. Why is That Important to You?

An open-ended discovery question, these key words help identify why your solution could be important to a prospect. It helps them reach the conclusion of how solving a problem or unlocking an opportunity affects them personally.

3. What Happens If Nothing Changes?

This question forces the person to think about the status quo. If they don’t solve the issue or take the opportunity, what would the consequence be? You’ll be able to open up into how important your solution is to the individual. Now you’re managing value, which is key to closing the deal.

4. Can I Ask You a Difficult Question?

Now is your time to ask the tough question, the uncomfortable yet crucial piece of revealing value. Before doing so, ask. This prepares the prospect so they won’t get upset and shows respect by seeking permission.

It’s also your chance to explain why you want to ask a difficult question. That usually looks like, “in order to help suggest a solution,” or something along those lines. The real benefit here is taking away the edge of what comes next, softening the blow before your reveal.

5. Is (The Current Solution) Working?

You know the existing problems, the issues and concerns, by now. So, what is the prospect’s current solution for that and is it working? Based on their response, you might have to opportunity to add value or solve the scenario altogether.

While this question is immediate, it doesn’t come across as abrasive. You’re asking a straightforward question out of interest and concern. More importantly, you’ll be able to pivot straight into the reveal of why your product or service poses a better solution. Use these as you see fit or combine them into one pitch. Either way, you’ll be making the most of your discovery calls. 

What Is Universal Life Insurance and How Does It Work?

What Is Universal Life Insurance and How Does It Work?

Life insurance comes in many different varieties, but one that you may be particularly interested in is universal life insurance. They’re known as a flexible kind of policy with plenty of advantages for those who know how to best maximize their potential.

Universal life insurance provides you with lifelong coverage, along with options for how the cash value of your policy should be invested. That cash value even has the potential to grow, in certain circumstances. If you’re interested in learning more about what these policies are and how they work, read ahead as we dive into some of the details.

Universal Life Insurance Basics

In a nutshell, universal life insurance is a kind of permanent life insurance policy, meaning it lasts from the time you purchase the policy all the way up until the time of your death (as long as you keep paying those premiums) and provides a death benefit and cash value (which you might think of as a kind of savings to access).

Something that distinguishes universal life, though, is the fact that it doesn’t have a set premium. As the policy holder, you have the option of paying whatever they choose, as long as it falls within the minimum and maximum limits set by the policy’s provisions. These minimums and maximums are variable, depending on the individual, and take factors such as age, sex, medical history, and coverage amounts into consideration.

The Components of Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance policies may have variance between them, but all will consist of the following three components:

  • The Premium: This is the money you pay into the policy. It covers the cost of insurance, and any amount you pay above your minimum goes into your cash value.
  • Cash Value: This is your savings and investment component. It can be credited with interest or gains earned from investments.
  • A Death Benefit: As with other policies, the death benefit is what goes to your beneficiaries if you are to pass away.

Keep in mind that your cash value will grow according to a minimum annual interest rate, but is also susceptible to changes in growth rate depending on how your insurer’s investments go. This means that when you’re shopping for universal life policies, you should stay aware of the differences between the minimum returns that policy will see and the projected performance that your insurer expects.

These and other factors are ones you should surely consider, but it may be the case that universal life is a solid choice for your circumstances. Be sure to do your research, compare what’s available, and weigh your options before making that final decision.

Ways to Reconnect With Your Child After Divorce

Ways to Reconnect With Your Child After Divorce

By its very definition, a divorce will bring huge changes to your family dynamic. You and your spouse, obviously, won’t be as close, and in some cases, the relationship with your children will hit a stumbling block as well. 

There’s a chance that custody decisions won’t work out in your favor, says OK divorce attorneys Strange Law Firm. In such cases, it’s possible that you’ll become something of a secondary parent, and the connection you once had with your children may fade, particularly during and directly after your divorce.

Thankfully, though, there are some ways to stay in your childrens’ lives and rekindle your parental relationship down the line. Here are a few things to keep in mind about reconnecting with your children, even though you are no longer married to your ex.

Start By Making an Effort

In some cases where the connection between parent and child is lost, it’s because that parent didn’t make enough of a push to keep said connection alive. To avoid this, you should do everything that you can to stay active and engaged in your child’s life.

Ask about how they are doing in school, get to know their favorite shows and music, find out what activities they like to participate in for enjoyment, and learn about what else is going on in their everyday life that you can support them in — as a good parent should.

Beyond that, though, you should make an effort to learn about any emotional stress that your divorce may have wrought upon your child. It’s easy for an event like that to cause some trauma, so you’ll want to find out about any potential stress and do what you can to alleviate it by talking and explaining things.

Connect Through Hobbies

Sometimes, the simple things are the best things to bond over. Your child has hobbies, naturally, and you can use some of these hobbies as a chance to grow closer. 

Certainly, there are some hobbies that your child will want to indulge in alone, but through conversation you can suggest some “team” activities you can try, and schedule some time that the both of you can agree upon.

Remember to Exercise Kindness

Your divorce may have been a traumatizing experience for you as well, and there’s a good chance you might still have bitter feelings toward your ex. For the sake of your relationship with your child, though, it’s best not to act out negatively because of those feelings. Be forgiving, and stay cordial in your interactions with your ex for the good of your child.

Top 5 Worst Polluting Cars

Top 5 Worst Polluting Cars

There’s a large push for environmentally friendly automobiles in and outside of the industry these days. Well, not from everyone, but enough that it’s created an impact. That doesn’t stop some companies from pumping out environmentally unfriendly monsters, though. These are the top 5 worst polluting cars on the market. 

5. Subaru WRX STI

Sports cars and clean emissions rarely go hand in hand. As a rally car and performance model, with fantastic performance metrics, the same is true of the WRX STI. It boasts 300 horsepower, 290 lb-ft torque, and a 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four engine. 

That performance comes at the price of emitting 1.01 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile driven. Not to mention the 17 mpg EPA rating. While it will remain a popular racecar, it’s certainly not an environmentalist’s first pick. 

4. Dodge Viper ACR

Another performance model, the Dodge Viper ACR looks car-centric movie worthy. It is technically a racecar, but one that’s legal to drive on the road. You might want these Orange County car accident attorneys on speed dial if you choose to buy one. 

It boasts 645 horsepower with a V10 engine, yet somehow gets 4 more mpg than the WRX STI. Regardless, it pumps out 1.30 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile driven, making it a lean, mean, polluting machine. 

3. Aston Martin Vanquish

Stunningly gorgeous, a superb performer, and as high-end as high-end comes, the Vanquish from Aston Martin is certainly on top of many car enthusiast’s dream lists. It features V12 engine and a seemingly endless list of bells and whistles that make for a luxe ride.

It also eats up a gallon of gas every 21 miles on the highway, where it performs at its best, and dumps 1.28 pounds of carbon dioxide along the way. That’s poor performance for the EPA and the environmentally conscious consumer. 

2. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Who doesn’t love the way a Camaro looks? Even Corvette lovers have to admit their arch-nemesis looks fantastic. The ZL1 boasts 640 horsepower as well as lb-ft of torque while offering a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine. 

At the same time, all of that power comes at the price of emissions. You’ll only get 18 mpg on a good day, or 12 in the city, and you’ll be spewing out 1.37 pounds of carbon dioxide with each of those miles. While it is a powerful car, it’s also filthy for local air quality. 

1. Lamborghini Aventador SV

It should come as no surprise that a Lambo tops this list. Raw power simply equals massive polluter, that’s all there is to it. The SV is a gorgeous looker packed with a V12 engine that pumps out a whopping 740 horsepower. Add that to the all-wheel drive, which comes standard, too. 

Now onto the downsides. You’ll be lucky to hit 18 mpg with this model as well, but city ratings drop to a lousy 11 mpg. Each mile driven spews 1.46 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. making it the top polluting car on the market today. So, the question becomes: sweet and powerful ride or caring about the air everyone breathes? 

Signs It’s Time To Quit Your Job

Signs It’s Time To Quit Your Job

They say it’s best to love your work, and while we all expect to have a bad day or two at the office or in the field, few expect to completely loathe their workplace. In spite of that, there are times where you might be contemplating whether or not the moment is right to call it quits. If you’re searching for answers, look for these surefire signs that indicate your job has run its course.

You Don’t Like Going To Work

About as clear a sign as there could be is if you loathe waking up and have to drag yourself to the office to start your day. While there are always going to be days where you’re a bit nervous about a project or feeling a bit off, consistent dread about going to work means the work isn’t for you.

Alternatively, if you’re managing to make it into the office but find your work so unengaging that you have to force yourself to do it, you might be nearing the end of your wits in regard to your current position. A bit of procrastination is normal, but constant procrastination is a bad sign.

You’re Experiencing Harassment

It should go without saying, but harassment in the workplace is not normal, say experts like harassment attorney Jeremy Pasternak. If you are experiencing constant harassment while you’re on the job, that means your workplace is toxic and it’s time for you to pack it up and find a better place of employment.

Depending on the individual circumstances, that negative workplace environment might be interpreted as your job forcing you to leave through discrimination and harassment. In these cases, there may be grounds for legal action, according to The Law Office of Omid Nosrati, wrongful termination attorneys in LA.

Your Job Is A Dead End

Imagine being stuck in a job that offers no opportunities for growth and basically cripples your career development. If you don’t have a chance to get ahead at your current job, you might want to look for a new one before you hamstring your prospects for any career advancement.

At the same time, if you’ve got other companies out there courting you regularly and they seem to be a match, you might also want to consider moving on from your current position. After all, if you’ve got ample opportunities elsewhere that will respect your talents and let you grow, you owe it to yourself to take them.

Tips for Cycling After Injury or Illness

Tips for Cycling After Injury or Illness

Whether you’re the occasional bike rider or an avid cyclist, one thing you’ll probably go through is the occasional injury or illness that keeps you from riding. Depending on the severity, you might be off your riding game for a few days or even several years. 

While hiring an attorney for bicycle accidents is an ideal solution for seeking compensation, helping with any medical bills or money lost from time off work, there are also a few helpful tips for cycling after an injury or illness that you’ll want to know.

Tip 1: Accept the Situation

Even though you don’t want to admit that you need to take a break from your favorite activity, if you’re hurt or injured the worst thing you can do is aggravate the situation. No amount of stubbornness, anger, or refusal to accept what’s happening is going to make it go away. Pushing yourself will only prolong the injury. Take a step back and give yourself proper time to heal.

Tip 2: Be Smart and Listen to the Experts

Although you’re tempted to get back on your bike, an important step to a quicker recovery is to listen to your doctor. If your doctor recommends that you stay off your bike for a certain period of time, follow their directions. If your doctor says take it slow, then take it slow.In contrast, listen to your body and be sure you’re feeling 100% before you give it a go.

Tip 3: Take Proper Care of Yourself

Just because you’re not feeling well, don’t use the time off to completely destroy your diet. It might be tempting to eat a bunch of junk food or skip your vitamins, but that’s one of the worst things you can do. While you’re healing, be sure to maintain your diet by eating plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, get plenty of lean protein, and stay hydrated for a faster recovery.

Tip 4: Take It Nice and Easy

As you’ve already learned, your doctor knows best. Don’t jump back into training until you get the green light to go, and even then take it slow. Your body has been using up its energy to heal your injury and it’s not working at its best after you start back from an injury. Typically, you’ll want to start back withless than a 20 minute ride, and even if you feel like it-Don’t push it.

Tip 5: Follow Your Rehab and Physical Therapy Schedule

After an injury, your body will naturally “favor” the muscles that weren’t affected. This can cause further damage due to muscle imbalances, or issues with strength and flexibility being off-kilter. Once your doctor clears you for physical therapy, you can get started on the path to a full recovery. Just remember, only do what your body allows and what your doctor prescribes.

Tip 6: Get Ready to Ride

Eventually, your doctor will clear you of all restrictions and you’ll be able to ride again. Whenever the time comes, remember to take it slow. Your body will need an adjustment period when your muscles and cardiovascular system regain their strength. As you get stronger, you can slowly increase your riding times and intensity. 

The Hardest Part

At first, it might seem like the worst part about getting injured was the pain you felt when you got hurt. As time passes, you’ll realize that even worse than that pain is the fact that you can’t ride everyday. Remember, when you’re injured you have a new goal-to fully recover and come back even stronger than when you started. 

Cars Prone To Transmission Problems

Cars Prone To Transmission Problems

Reliability is often a major factor for car buyers, and rightfully so. It’s no secret that cars, just like people, begin to experience more problems as they age. It’s an inevitable part of owning a vehicle, but keep in mind that not all models age alike. 

While modern cars can reach a 200,000-mile lifespan, there are several older and newer cars that will never hit this milestone. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle and are looking for longevity, then avoid these cars prone to transmission problems

Why Just Transmission? 

When it comes to long-term issues, there are three primary components most likely to cause problems. Those are the engine, the head gaskets, and the transmission. Every model will eventually experience failure in all three of these parts. 

Transmission, however, can lead to an overwhelming amount of issues. Slipping gears, getting stuck in one gear, and overheating are the most common. Left unchecked, your transmission can cause total failure and leave your car undriveable. 

At that point, you can’t simply replace the transmission. Instead, you would need to rebuild it. That’s an expensive task that requires plenty of know-how under the hood and a lot of time. Even catching a problem before failure can be expensive to fix, especially with a high frequency of issues. So, the longevity of your car’s transmission is one of the most vital factors to consider in reliability. 

2013 Nissan Sentra

Kicking off this list is the 2013 Nissan Sentra. This model was also produced in 2014, so don’t let an extra year fool you. Most owners found issues in their transmissions between 67,500 and 102,000 miles. The 2012 to 2015 Toyota Corolla, a very similar model, does not share this same problem. 

2014 Nissan Versa

You’re going to see Nissan pop up in this list often. Why? Their transmissions simply seem to run into more problems than others. The 2014 Versa Note is one such model, seeing issues occur between 55,500 and 64,500 miles. If you’re looking for a better alternative, try the 2015 Kia Soul. 

2008 GMC Acadia

Any Acadia model produced from 2008 to 2010 will experience issues down the road. Most owners saw transmission problems somewhere between 97,000 and 146,000 miles, which wouldn’t be so bad if this wasn’t an SUV. The Lexus RX, 2006 to 2010, is an excellent alternative. 

2014 Nissan Pathfinder

In comes Nissan again with the Pathfinder, produced from 2013 to 2015. You can expect problems to arise between 50,000 and 75,000 miles. A more reliable alternative would be the 2014 to 2015 Honda Pilot. 

2014 Ford Focus

Experiencing transmission issues as soon as 30,000 miles, this purchase turned out to be a lemon. Plenty of Californians turned to San Francisco law firm, Conn Law, for lemon law cases pertaining to the Ford Focus and other models. On the bright side, Toyota’s 2012-2015 Corolla is a similar and better alternative if you’re looking for a nice four-door sedan. So is the Kia Rio, 2011-2016 and later.  

Top 4 Best Truck Stops In The United States

Top 4 Best Truck Stops In The United States

If there’s one thing the country has plenty of, it’s truck stops. There are more than 500 Love’s Travel Stops in the USA — and that’s just one brand out of many, not even counting other franchises like Petro and The Flying J, or independent stops that are littered across the landscapes. The point being, truck stops are numerous, but only a few can hold the title of being among the very best. Now, there might be some debate over which are the cream of the crop (even trucking accident lawyers in Sacramento have their own opinions on the matter), but for our money, here are five worthy of your consideration.

Jubitz Travel Center

Located in Portland, the Jubitz Travel Center and Truck Stop has been in the game since 1952, offering up an essential spot for not only truck service and repair, but also a haven for truckers to rest up for the night and grab a hearty bite to eat. Their famous Jake Brake Deli is the place to go for delicious meats and quick bites you can take on the go. What’s more, they’ve got a long listing of amenities, which even includes a dog wash and access to Oregon’s thrilling lottery games.

Dysart’s Truck Stop

Bangor, Maine, isn’t just the setting for an abundance of popular Country & Western tunes. It’s also the home of Dysart’s Truck Stop, a virtual Mecca for truckers in the Northeastern US.What makes it such the attraction? The truck stop has all the essentials, including a service center, but the restaurant really is the icing on the proverbial cake, providing a wide variety of comfort food favorites in a setting that’s about as wholesome as they come.

Whiskey Pete’s

What might you expect from a truck stop just miles south of Las Vegas? If a quaint casino and relaxing hotel alongside a Flying J are about what you imagined, then you might be thinking of Whiskey Pete’s in Jean, Nevada. This stop pulls out all the stops when it comes to providing for truckers, so you won’t be disappointed.

Iowa 80

Hailed as the world’s largest truck stop, Iowa 80 in Walcott, Iowa, has everything a trucker could ask for, and a more than a few things they didn’t even know they wanted out of a truck stop. This is hailed as “Trucker’s Disneyland” for good reason — you’ll come here, and might feel tempted to never leave!

Tips On Finding A Reliable Used Car

Tips On Finding A Reliable Used Car

Buying a used car is trickier than you might think. Sure, you want to get a used car to save some money, but you’ll need to balance trying to find a low price against safety and reliability. Just jumping at the first deal you see may put you at risk of purchasing an unreliable vehicle that’s prone to accidents, say auto attorneys McLachlan Law, so how do you find a used car that’s solid while still saving plenty of money? The following tips should help you on your search.

Know What Kind Of Car You Want, But Stay Flexible

It helps to go in with a plan, and if you’re looking to save some money, you’ll benefit yourself by concentrating your search on cars that were already economically priced when they were new — between $10,000 and $20,000 if possible.

Seeing as most cars lose between 20 and 30 percent of their value by the end of the first year (and 15 to 18 percent per year beyond that), targeting cars that started off relatively affordable when they were new will net you a great value if you can find them used.

Be sure to stay flexible and add more than one model to your wish list, though. This will grant you a bit of latitude in your search, and prevent you from feeling “boxed in” on a choice if you can’t find the first model you’re looking for (or at the price you’re after).

Do Your Research

There are certain indicators you can use to gauge the reliability of a used car, and you’ll find some of these by going through the vehicle’s detailed history. If you know the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of the car you’re eyeing, you can use the NHTSA’s Vin Lookup Tool to search for safety recall information on the vehicle in question.

There are also companies like AutoCheck and Carfax that can help you get a vehicle history report, which will give you more information to chew on beyond the mileage and age of the car. You can use a vehicle history report to learn about whether the car has suffered any damage, what repairs and maintenance it has undergone, and other factors that will help you determine its safety and reliability.

Perform An Independent Inspection

As a final step, you might want to cover all your bases by hiring a mechanic to perform an independent inspection on the used car you’re looking at. This will help you identify any hidden issues that may not have been present on the auto history report. With that complete, be sure to take it for a test drive to see if you really like the car, and, if everything checks out, ride off into the sunset with your “new” vehicle.