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AFS Services: Management Division.

No foundry is immune to the impact of decisions made in Washington, D.C. That is why the primary purpose of the AFS Government Affairs Department is to protect the political environment in which foundries must operate. This responsibility has become ambient as the political environment continues to expand.

There are dozens of congressional committees, scores of subcommittees and numerous agencies that, at any given time, can be considering or preparing to consider bills or regulations of significance to the foundry industry. AFS must exert pressure in order to educate and encourage legislators and regulators to adopt technically and economically feasible mandates for metalcasters.

Pressure can be exerted in three ways-on occasion simultaneously:

* Direct lobbying is face-to-face contact with elected or paid staff relative to the effect a given piece of legislation has on the industry. Access to legislators is frequently gained through constituent relationships.

* Grassroots lobbying approach from the folks back home is a big influence. When properly informed in a timely manner, the grassroots lobbyist citing the local implications (cost and jobs) can be most effective. Strong grassroots should be an ongoing exercise undertaken by foundrymen willing to get involved in a professional relationship with legislators federal, state and local.

A rich resource in the industry's government affairs program-one that will be further-strengthened-is the society's vast regional chapter-structure combined with state foundry associations. These geographically spread units can furnish added muscle to the Society's overall grassroots effectiveness.

Coalition lobbying is where coalitions are composed of a few companies or of several hundred companies and trade associations with common interests. Coalitions can advance a legislative position to a large congressional audience more easily than a single organization. AFS is currently aligned with the Business Recycling coalition, the Tax Reform Coalition and the Committee to Support U.S. Trade Laws. Participation can be dropped at any time that the coalition's posture fails to reflect the industry's best interests. An effective parochial coalition with which AFS works is the Metal Casting Coalition, which pushed metalcasting research legislation to passage last year and which is pressing for additional funding in the coming fiscal year. To keep AFS members informed about legislation and regulations of consequence to foundries, the Society will shortly initiate a Washington Focus newsletter. This four-page report will offer the high lights and status of bills and proposals and will suggest how and when foundrymen can respond to them.

AFS will also continue the tradition of annually assembling foundrymen in Washington for the Government Affairs Conference, presenting a specialized focus on matters before the Congress and agencies.

The Harvard Business Review states that political activism must be a business priority. Ignoring Washington is a prescription for failure.' This declaration is all too true, as most foundry people now realize.

Tomorrow's work force will need and demand more training, improved communication skills and involvement in the management process. Successful organizations constantly strive to develop progressive, effective human resource programs.

The nature of labor relations and collective bargaining is evolving. No longer do progressive companies maintain an adversarial stance in dealing with unions. Instead, they recognize the need to pursue a win-win philosophy in negotiating and in day-to-day dealings with workers and their representatives.

The Human Resource Department of AFS provides a full spectrum of labor relations and human resource services to help its corporate members handle their responsibilities in employee and labor relations. Through its programs and services, members are kept abreast of the latest developments and trends in these important management areas.

The Human Resource Department is directed in its activities by a Human Resource Committee made up of foundry managers, human resource and labor relations managers. The committee reviews current programs on a regular basis, recommending changes as needed and suggesting new programs for the department to assist member companies in handling the ever-changing relations between management, labor and government.

Information on virtually any topic in the field of personnel, employee relations and human resource management are maintained. Members are supplied with data and information upon request on any of these topics or any other employee-related matters. Examples of information that can be supplied include:

job descriptions and evaluations,

gainsharing data,

employee involvement programs,

work rules, benefits plans,

employee handbooks,

and much more.

The AFS Human Resource Division is a complete resource for member companies to use to assure they are correctly managing their most important asset-their people. Some of the services provided to help do this are:

* Confidential Salary Survey, developed by annually surveying AFS member companies for salary information on 25 different positions. Also requested is information on plans for salary range and merit pay adjustments in the upcoming year. These data are then published and shared with our corporate members.

* Foundry Industry Benefit Costs Surve in which the cost of supplying benefits, from Social Security to vacations for production employees, are analyzed and compared. Survey of Wages and Benefits in the Foundry Industry is another annual survey of foundries in the U.S. and Canada, which report their wage rates for 28 job classifications from molders to laborers to patternmakers. The information contained in this survey is necessary for foundry administrators who set pay rates for their companies or who negotiate union contracts.

Human Resource Report is a monthly newsletter that provides information on industry labor agreement settlements and information used by member companies to assure they establish competitive pay structures, benefit programs and company policies. Labor Case Comments summarizes arbitration cases of interest to the industry in this monthly newsletter. Supervisory training is conducted upon request. These programs are custom-designed and cover such topics as basic principles of supervision, supervisory responsibilities, managing change, attendance control, safety, discipline, and complaint and grievance handling.

The AFS staff is also available to analyze contracts, suggest improvements and advise on bargaining strategy. Members are advised on grievance and arbitration issues, including case research, arbitrator selection and settlement options.

The Human Resource Department also works closely with the Environmental Affairs Department to offer assistance in areas of employee safety and health and to maintain statistics on accident rates, safety programs, safety rules and incentive safety plans.

Marketing Services

The goal of the AFS marketing program is to assist members to profitably market their products and services as well as to effectively and efficiently manage their operations.

Sweeping changes that have occurred in the North American economy and foundry industry are forcing changes in the way we compete. Today, the emphasis is on management and marketing savvy instead of just product quality.

The foundry industry has been restructured, both internally and externally, over the past 10 years. Most foundry managers recognize the obvious internal changes our industry has gone through-fewer foundries, tougher competition, little growth and persistent foreign competition.

What is less well known and undertood are the changes that have occurred externally-customer changes, selection requirements and global competition. it is important to recognize that foundry customers are different now from what they have traditionally been. This is due, in part, to a significant erosion of market share of the top three automakers by transplants, joint ventures and direct imports.

However, possibly more important than the change in who our customers are is the shift in their requirements and in supplier selection criteria. These new customers demand high-quality and low-price, products and services, certification today and even closer working relationships tomorrow.

Finally, we can no longer rely solely on the U.S. economy for our success. Our customers rely on exports for their growth, making the global marketplace of critical importance.

The AFS Marketing Department attempts to understand and forecast these and other changes in the industry. They also strive to provide members with a broad range of services and practical tools that supplement and improve their strategic planning efforts.

AFS staff is available to answer questions pertaining to all management and marketing issues as they relate to the foundry industry. Statistical data and other information are available to members by simply calling headquarters. Other services offered by the Marketing Department include:

* marketing audits,

* start-up assistance for new and expanding marketing

* departments,

* sales development assistance,

* customer market research and marketing consulting

* studies, and

* marketing and strategic business planning help.

In addition, the marketing department researches and publishes several reports and a newsletter.

* Annual Forecast of Casting Demand presents demand data for each metal and metal's end-user markets. This information is essential in developing meaningful plans, in understanding the limits and opportunities present in target markets, and in implementing profitable marketing strategies. The forecast features a macroeconomic outlook that projects the health of the North American economy for the year. The special analyses section offers three in-depth examinations of hot topics or markets.

* Foundry Industry Performance Study was designed to help foundry managers assess their strengths and weaknesses on topics including financial performance, capacity, production, scrap, productivity, quality, energy cost, environment and safety costs, as well as investment in marketing and management information systems. Benchmark data will also be included in future reports.

* Marketing News, a bimonthly newsletter, is designed to offer informative articles to help AFS members succeed in today's competitive environment.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:American Foundrymen's Society
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Previous Article:From the past comes the future.
Next Article:AFS Services: Technical Division.

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