CERTIFIED, INC. $20 MILLION FUNDING

CERTIFIED, INC. $20 MILLION FUNDING

Boca Raton, Florida – Nov. 21, 2016 – CERTIFIED, INC. has announced an agreement with Switzerland-based Galileo Asset Management SA (galileoam.com) to assist in the acquisition of $20 million of equity funding. Such funding will expedite CERTIFIED’s international distribution and usage of their breakthrough disruptive smartphone VERITY™ scanning app. Read more of this post

Stalling European factories and slowing China leave world economy looking to America

reuters

By Jonathan Cable and Koh Gui Qing | Reuters

European manufacturing appeared no closer to recovery last month while growth in Asia cooled, according to business surveys and trade data on Friday that pointed to ongoing weakness in global demand.

Purchasing managers’ reports from the United States due later, however, are expected to show growth picking up in the world’s largest economy, after a weak fourth quarter.

In China, factory growth slowed to multi-month lows. Sluggish domestic demand added pressure to already depressed foreign sales, two separate purchasing manager indexes (PMI) showed.

Worryingly for European Central Bank policymakers balancing the needs of 17 different economies, euro zone reports painted a picture of ongoing divergence, with a dire performance in France offsetting a return to growth in economic powerhouse Germany.

Markit’s Eurozone Manufacturing PMI was unchanged at January’s 47.9 last month, just pipping an earlier flash reading of 47.8, but holding below the 50 level that divides growth from contraction for the 19th month running.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, and Ireland (OTC BB: IRLD – news) were the only two countries in the 17-nation bloc to see growth. PMIs from Spain and Italy showed activity in their factory sectors deteriorated again with the situation worsening in Italy.

The euro zone output index, which feeds into the Composite PMI, a broader gauge of the economy due out on Tuesday, sank to 47.8 from January’s 48.7.

“Most of it is driven by Germany. Germany has outperformed the rest of the euro zone for quite a while now and that divergence is going to persist,” said Evelyn Herman at BNP Paribas (Milan:BNP.MI – news) .

In other upbeat news German retail sales grew at the fastest monthly rate in more than six years in January, rebounding from a deep fall in December, confirming signs it has turned the corner after a dismal end to 2012.

But unemployment in the currency union hit a new high in January of 11.9 percent, official data showed, and the PMI data pointed to factories reducing headcount for the thirteenth month.

Some 44 out of 55 economists polled by Reuters said the European Central Bank would have to step in and buy bonds from its struggling members.

Inflation among the countries using the euro fell to 1.8 percent last month, according to official data released on Friday, below the ECB’s two percent target ceiling and giving them room to ease policy.

That said, only a handful of the 76 economists polled by Reuters this week predict the ECB will reduce rates from their current record low of 0.75 percent.

British manufacturing shrank unexpectedly in February and new orders dwindled, making it likely the sector will put a drag on economic growth in the first quarter in a country at risk of sinking into a triple-dip recession.

Chances are rising that the Bank of England will rekindle its asset purchase programme next week and the PMI data coupled with figures showing mortgage approvals for home buyers dropped in January will only increase those odds.

FRAGILE CHINA

China’s official PMI from the National Bureau of Statistics eased to 50.1 after seasonal adjustments in February, the weakest reading in five months and just above the 50-point level separating growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

A second PMI issued by HSBC (LSE: HSBA.L – news) fell to a 4-month low of 50.4 after seasonal adjustments, off January’s 2-year high and in line with a flash, or preliminary, reading late last month.

But the bigger-than-expected retreat in the purchasing managers’ indexes does not signal China’s economy is slipping into another slowdown, analysts said. Instead, they show China’s growth recovery this year would be mild, as widely expected.

The Lunar New Year holiday, China’s biggest annual holiday and widely observed across much of East Asia, fell in February this year making it harder to draw firm conclusions, even though the data was seasonally adjusted.

“Today’s data point to a stabilisation of economic activities in coming months, not a strong recovery of growth,” said Jian Chang, a Barclays (LSE: BARC.L – news) analyst.

Tim Condon, head of Asian economic research at ING in Singapore, argued China’s economic data in January and February has “a lot of noise” due to the festive season. “When it settles down we expect the data will reveal that industrial production is growing around 10 percent,” he said.

In South Korea, trade data showed a sharp fall in exports, while a PMI report from last year’s emerging market investor favourite Indonesia showed a slight improvement in manufacturing overall, but a fall in new export orders.

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Google’s new Nexus Q: Made in the U.S.A.

(CNN) — Forget the applications like video and audio streaming, or the built-in speakers. The most noteworthy feature of Google’s new Nexus Q device may be this: It’s made in the United States.

When Google rolled out the device at its developers conference in San Jose, California, on Wednesday, reporters noticed the words “Designed and Manufactured in the U.S.A.” etched onto the bottom.

The gadget, about the size and shape of a Magic 8 Ball, is billed by Google as “the first social streaming player.” It can be connected to a TV, has its own speakers, and can stream music and video from the cloud as well as connect an Android tablet or phone with home electronics.

Google hasn’t played up its origin, even though the vast majority of electronics are manufactured in China or other countries where labor is cheaper than in the U.S. A Google spokeswoman did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment for this story.

But The New York Times reported Thursday that it had been given a brief tour of the plant, which it says is about 15 minutes from Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, and that “hundreds” of employees appear to work making the Nexus Q. The tour was given on condition that the Times not report the factory’s exact location.

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What Does the Future Hold for American Manufacturing?

The state of US manufacturing is likely to become a major campaign issue - Getty Images

The state of US manufacturing is likely to become a major campaign issue - Getty Images

Written by: BBC North America editor, Mark Mardell 

Drew Greenblatt is an enthusiast: proud of his company, Marlin Steel, and proud of the factory floor packed with state-of-the-art equipment.

I watch, fascinated, as a little white robot squeezes out a wire, putting kinks and bends in it as it emerges.

Then it hands it over to a slightly larger yellow robot, which holds it steady for a twist in the end before turning it over for another twist at the other end.

Oddly, I find this cutting-edge equipment rather cute and cartoonish.

The question is whether this endearing duo are merely the remnants of America’s industrial past or the sort of equipment that will make the USA world-beaters once again.

The factory floor space at Marlin Steel is being doubled and there is no doubt the company is doing well, prospering even, during the bad years. Read more of this post

How to Save U.S. Manufacturing Jobs

By Howard Wial @CNNMoney February 23, 2012: 5:34 AM ET

Howard Wial is a fellow for the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.

At first glance, manufacturing jobs would appear to be a dying breed.

The United States lost 6 million manufacturing jobs between early 2001 and late 2009. And despite small gains during the last two years, the trend in manufacturing employment for the last 30 years has been downward.

That has led some to argue that long-term job loss in the industry is inevitable. But our research shows otherwise.

There are two common versions of the “inevitability” argument. One holds that U.S. manufacturing wages are too high to be internationally competitive. The other maintains that manufacturing job losses are the result of productivity growth. Both arguments are wrong. Read more of this post

How To Invest For Jobs Coming Back To U.S.

Brian Sozzi, Contributor   2/16/2012

The grand theme I want to put on the table is the concept of onshoring, sometimes called reshoring, which is the bringing back of U.S. jobs from overseas supply chains.

U.S. businesses have started to realize that while workers in far away lands garner miniscule wages compared to their U.S. counterparts, having operations outside of the country can be a strategic disadvantage.  The speed and structure in which information is consumed has caused U.S. consumers to demand top quality products and to want to buy them whenever they please.

Having a manufacturing plant domestically aids in the quicker movement of goods from design table to sales floor.  Furniture maker Ethan Allen is great example of a manufacturer producing most of its products in the U.S. and doing customization for clients, setting itself apart from price-point focused competitors.

Corporate managers are simply getting over their infatuation with cheap international labor and analyzing the total costs of doing business in the U.S. compared to say, China or India.

There is a dollop of icing on the cake here as well.  The topic of focusing on onshoring to boost employment levels seems to be an area of agreement between bickering Republicans and Democrats.  Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, for example, wants to zero out the U.S. corporate tax for manufacturers.

Anytime the major political parties agree on anything, even the slight thing, it’s cause to sit up and take notice from an investment standpoint.  The Donkeys and Elephants may be a little apart on how to precisely shepherd along the corporate onshoring interest, but at least they are talking the same language.  It’s high time they do find common ground if the following is to be reversed:

  • Manufacturing employment has fallen by approximately 37% since 1980.
  • According to a survey done by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, some 600,000 manufacturing jobs are currently unfilled due to a mismatch between job requirements and experience.

I have read a fair number of columns bantering about onshoring.  Is it overhyped?  Do we really need more jobs in the service sector U.S. economy?  The debates are almost endless.  Unfortunately, though, I have failed to stumble upon investment strategies to profit from onshoring, which has already begun to a certain extent, and could likely gain steam in the years ahead.

Buy-and-hold investors, this should be right in your wheelhouse: a highly probable future event to build positions around in companies with durable competitive advantages.

A few names that come to mind:

  • Waste Management: Owns 260 plus landfills and is the largest waste management business in the U.S.  More manufacturing production means more waste to be piled into the company’s green bins.
  • ADP: Benefits in two manners.  First, workers are hired to run new domestic manufacturing plants (hopefully by people that used the downturn to attain new technological skills).  Second, there should be a trickle down effect in the overall employment sector via a ramp in higher paying manufacturing jobs.
  • Dunkin Brands: “America Runs on Dunkin” as the brand’s slogan goes.  The company’s moat is not as wide as an ADP or Waste Management, but more U.S. manufacturers should mean more egg sandwiches (which Starbucks does not do superbly) and coffee.  Store penetration is increasing in areas of the country that are manufacturing oriented.

This Column Was 100% Made in America

A Hyundai ad that ran during Super Bowl coverage showed workers from the company's plant in Montgomery, Ala.

A Hyundai ad that ran during Super Bowl coverage showed workers from the company's plant in Montgomery, Ala.

By   Published: February 15, 2012

BLUE-COLLAR workers in fields like manufacturing — particularly when they make products on American soil — are again becoming a favorite subject for white-collar workers on Madison Avenue.

The trend was born of the economic worries that followed the financial crisis in 2008. Recently, it is gaining steam — appropriate, since the ads often use blasts of steam to signal something is being built — with proposals in Washington to offer incentives to encourage the location or relocation of factories in the United States.

“We continue to see very heavy emotional response to anything that would leverage against the bad economy,” said Robert Passikoff, president at Brand Keys, a brand and customer-loyalty consulting company in New York. Read more of this post

Can Manufacturing Jobs Come Back? What We Should Learn From Apple and Foxconn

business
The Huffington Post

David Paul – President, Fiscal Strategies Group  –  Posted: 02/13/2012 8:30 am

Apple aficionados suffered a blow a couple of weeks ago. All of those beautiful products, it turns out, are the product of an industrial complex that is nothing if not one step removed from slave labor.

But of course there is nothing new here. Walmart has long prospered as a company that found ways to drive down the cost of stuff that Americans want. And China has long been the place where companies to go to drive down cost.

For several decades, dating back to the post World War II years, relatively unfettered access to the American consumer has been the means for pulling Asian workers out of deep poverty. Japan emerged as an industrial colossus under the tutelage of Edward Deming. The Asian tigers came next. Vietnam and Sri Lanka have nibbled around the edges, while China embraced the export-led economic development model under Deng Xiaoping.

While Apple users have been beating their breasts over the revelations of labor conditions and suicides that sullied their glass screens, the truth is that Foxconn is just the most recent incarnation of outsourced manufacturing plants — textiles and Nike shoes come to mind — where working conditions are below American standards. Read more of this post

Dumping China for American Job Shops

More U.S. small businesses are steering their orders to American factories, such as Tennessee-based Bristol Custom Solutions, as costs go up in China.

More U.S. small businesses are steering their orders to American factories, such as Tennessee-based Bristol Custom Solutions, as costs go up in China.

By Parija Kavilanz @CNNMoney  February 13, 2012: 11:51 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — U.S. small businesses that initially rushed to Chinese factories to get their products made are now dumping them for American manufacturers.

And the shift is gaining traction, said industry experts who match U.S. small companies with domestic firms.

Mitch Free, the founder and CEO of Atlanta-based MFG.com, said his company has seen a 15% uptick in inquiries since 2009 from U.S. firms looking for American factories to replace their Chinese suppliers.

MFG.com is one of the largest online directories used by businesses to find domestic manufacturers.

One reason behind the trend is that “Chinese manufacturing has become expensive,” Free explained.

Another is that the U.S. economy is still uncertain. Most small businesses are forced to order large quantities to justify costs when dealing with companies overseas, he said. And that’s a risky move if American consumers are not splurging yet.

Manufacturers closer to home allow small businesses to order smaller batches, which means less of their money is tied up if their inventory is unsold, he said.

Revive Made in USA? Easier said than done

WindStream Technologies opened a new manufacturing facility in North Vernon, Ind., last September to produce small wind turbines for home use.

WindStream Technologies opened a new manufacturing facility in North Vernon, Ind., last September to produce small wind turbines for home use.

WindStream Technologies knows well the value of manufacturing in the United States.

In December 2010, the startup selected a Chinese factory to make 35 prototypes of its wind turbines, because they wanted them “quickly and cheaply,” said David Dingman, Windstream’s lead mechanical engineer.

It was a disaster. “The prototypes that the Chinese manufacturer sent back to us were junk,” said Dingman. “There were parts that were put upside down. Other parts were poor quality. Some even fell off.”

WindStream decided not to have the final products made in China.

The company was able to snag U.S. manufacturers with the help of MFG.com.

And last month, it started mass producing its small wind turbines for home use at its new 45,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in North Vernon, Ind. The company employs 30 workers and is hoping to ramp up to 100, if it lands a deal to sell the turbines at a mass retailer, said Dingman.

WindStream now has its turbine covers made in Chicago, while some metal parts are produced in Ohio.

Some of the turbines parts are still made in China, simply because the raw materials to make them don’t exist in the United States, said Dingham. But “the Midwest proved to be terrific for us,” he said.

Indeed. WindStream produces its turbines at a 10% lower cost per unit compared to what the company would have paid in China, thanks to its American suppliers that provide competitive prices and the elimination of overseas shipping and travel costs.

Del Mar, Calif., entrepreneur and inventor Julie Zizka actually liked the way her tote bags looked after a Chinese manufacturer produced 5,000 of them for her in 2008.

But she still was not a fan of having her manufacturing done overseas. She had concerns about production delays and fretted about how the extensive amount of transportation used was hurting the environment. What’s more, she noticed that her customers were preferring products that were made in the United States.

By 2011, she was looking for a U.S. manufacturer to produce her “Tote Buddy,” a colorful tote for storing reusable plastic bags.

She came across one after searching online and seeing ads for Bristol Custom Solutions, which heavily advertises on MacRAE’s Blue Book.

MacRAE’s has seen a pickup in inquiries — just like Zizka’s — from companies wanting to replace Chinese suppliers with American ones, said Lori Meloche, MacRAE’s vice president of marketing.

The directory — first published in the United States in 1893 as a “blue-colored book” — has since evolved into a website with more than 1.2 million North American industrial manufacturers, which averages 1.5 million users monthly.

What small firms want from Obama’s manufacturing plan

Zizka connected with Bristol, a 26-year-old, Tennessee-based manufacturer, best-known for making secure locking bags used by banks and the federal government to transport cash and other valuables.

“People have been contacting us all the time lately, telling us they don’t want to produce their products in China,” said Brandon Cantrell, Bristol’s general manager.

When Zizka sent Bristol a sample of the tote, the company redesigned it and brought down some of her costs, said Cantrell.

Today, Bristol is making 1,000 new Tote Buddy bags for sale this spring. For Zizka, the unit price for one of her Tote Buddy bags made in Cantrell’s factory is still 170% higher than for one made in the Chinese factory, said Cantrell.

But that doesn’t bother Zizka.

“My customers want my bag made in the U.S.,” she said, “I’m willing to absorb that cost if I can control the quality, get them to my customers faster and help the environment as well.”

FOX23 Special Report: The Made in America Movement & Made in the U.S.A.

Reported by: Adam Paluka   Published: 2/06 8:03 pm

Buy American and you help the economy. That is an old adage that is getting new life thanks to a movement to build homes across the nation using more products with the “Made in the U.S.A.” label.

If you were to drive around Tulsa, chances are you’ll pass a home built by Bill Rhees. He’s been making blueprints a reality for almost 50 years with his son, and Partner, Phil Rhees.

Together they run BMI Construction. Right now, they’re working on a $5 million home near 111th and Yale in south Tulsa.

“This house we started about three and a half years ago,” Phil told FOX23.

2008 was a time when no one was thinking about a “Made in America Movement“. It never came up with buyers.

“Never, never. They just assumed, and I’ve been amazed myself how many of the products we put in these houses come from overseas,” Bill said.

It never came up when they discussed what lumber, stones, and drywall to buy.

“We don’t know exactly where every individual product came from,” Phil explained.

Phil said last month that is changing, “We really do want to make a effort to make this happen.”

The “Made in America Movement” is simple, encourage builders across the country to use just five percent more made in American products during construction. It’s not the brain child of the feds, a housing agency, or politician, rather it began as a dream by on builder in Montana.

If every builder in the country buys in, Paul Kane with the Tulsa Home Builders Association said, “They’re going to create anywhere to 220,000 to 250,000 jobs nationwide.”

Phil is up for the challenge.

“I believe that we could easily use five percent more,” he said.

Easy because it could take just a few phone calls to get everything with a Made in the U.S.A. sticker.

“You need to spend some time on the phone with the suppliers to find out where these products are coming from,” Phil said.

Often, its overseas, but if you were to look hard enough, the movement’s believers say you’ll not only find all elements of home construction made in the U.S.A., but some made right here in Oklahoma.
Products like York HVACs systems made in Norman.

“If there’s a buy Oklahoma or buy American movement that would be exciting to everyone in this building,” Vicki Davis, who works for York’s parent company Johnson Controls, said.

Their facility is a world of machines, robots, assembly lines, and hard working Oklahomans.
Around 750 people get a paycheck at the plant.

“We offer the higher quality, and that’s what we sell our products on. It’s not that we build the cheapest, but it’s that we build the highest quality,” Davis told FOX23.

Should the buy American dream become a reality Davis would be excited.

“If we pick up five or ten percent (new orders), then we’re going to add anywhere from 150 to 200 jobs here in the Norman plant.”

Cost could be a factor, if made in America means your wallet takes a beating this might not work.

“A lot of it has to do with price. We have to be price conscious for our clients,” Phil said,

If the price increase to buy American made is slight, BMI Construction is ready to get on board

“It is going to happen, once we start getting the word out. It’s going to happen, just watch it,” Bill Rhees said.

Now, it’s all about getting the word out.

“If we were unaware as builders, just think what the general public is going to be thinking. They’re going to say, ‘My gosh, I never realized this.’”

Supporters of the movement tell me the Americans build 1.4 million homes each year. They say if builders reallocate 5% of their construction spending to American made products, this would add roughly $10 billion to America’s Gross Domestic Product.

Join the Made in America Movement, sponsored in part by Made in USA Certified.

Copyright 2012 Newport Television LLC All rights reserved.

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