Manufacturers across the country are doing their part for the pandemic response—whether that means developing vaccines, producing vials and containers or creating personal protective equipment for frontline responders. They are also increasing the capacity and efficiency of vaccination operations by embedding their manufacturing methods and technologies—as Honeywell and several partner organizations did recently in North Carolina. Now, the group has published a guide to help others do the same.
What they did: Honeywell, Atrium Health, Tepper Sports & Entertainment and Charlotte Motor Speedway formed a unique public–private initiative with a bold goal of distributing 1 million doses of the vaccine by July 4. With support from the state of North Carolina and Gov. Roy Cooper, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and local governments, these organizations worked together to plan and execute efficient, safe and equitable mass vaccination events at Bank of America Stadium and Charlotte Motor Speedway in January and February.
- “These highly efficient mass events safely vaccinated a diverse group of more than 36,000 people with scalability at a rate of nearly 1,500 vaccinations per hour with average wait times of less than 30 minutes,” according to the guide. “These successes offer several best practices for locations around the world working to get ‘shots in arms’ quickly, efficiently and safely.”
Planning and structure: The guide encourages planners to offer doses by appointment only, to schedule the first and second doses concurrently and to ensure that the venue will have enough doses to serve all its guests without any waste. Meanwhile, it advises that a “task force” staff model be put in place with cross-functional teams and a clear decision-making structure.
Site selection: Planners should consider venues like stadiums, arenas, racetracks and convention centers as mass vaccination sites. But they should also consider whether these venues have:
- Sufficient space for social distancing;
- Free and available parking capacity if necessary; and
- Convenient access to public transportation.
Equity in distribution: Would-be vaccinators should take special account of underserved communities and populations, says the guide. Organizations seeking to create a mass vaccination site should engage in outreach, promote access and work to reduce vaccine hesitancy. That might require:
- Developing early partnerships with diverse faith-based, health care, business, educational, news and entertainment organizations;
- Working with the local government to create free transportation options; and
- Connecting with social influencers and community members who can help reduce vaccine hesitancy in targeted areas.
Process: This how-to guide lays out the processes an organization should be aware of and plan for—from pre-event scheduling to on-site check-in, screening, vaccination and observation. The organization should also plan to do post-event data entry, which ensures both their team and local governments can document doses correctly.
Why it matters: “Like any other successful endeavor, mass and community vaccination events require deep planning, strong leadership, committed partnerships and an army of support,” the guide says. “Missing even one of these critical elements can severely limit the effectiveness of an event, ultimately slowing down a community’s recovery… We hope these learnings will be helpful to government leaders who are building a strategy to get their community vaccinated.”
The last word: As NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas said, “Manufacturers like Honeywell and their partners in health care and government are leading us toward the end of the pandemic. It’s important that all of us play our parts to help them, as the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute’s ‘This Is Our Shot’ project emphasizes. Our industry has been protecting Americans from COVID-19 for a year now, and our job isn’t over yet.”
You can download the full guide here.
The NAM Board of Directors has reelected Trane Technologies Chairman and CEO Mike Lamach as its chairman and Dow Chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling as vice chair.
Lamach and Fitterling provided stalwart leadership during an extraordinarily difficult year. Under their guidance, the NAM achieved notable successes, ensuring that policymakers accounted for the industry’s needs and helping to make the production of masks, vaccines and other vital supplies possible.
And that’s not even the half of it. Here are some of the highlights from the NAM’s past year:
- COVID-19 response: Our “American Renewal Action Plan” shaped legislation and administrative action to get manufacturers the support they needed. The NAM team’s advocacy secured more than six dozen policy accomplishments.
- PPE production: Our Creators Respond initiative helped send millions of pieces of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to hospitals and health facilities—and after the election, the NAM worked with the Biden transition team to share insights on PPE production and distribution.
- Workforce development: The Manufacturing Institute’s initiatives, including Heroes MAKE America, the STEP Women’s Initiative and the FAME apprenticeship program, strengthened manufacturing’s workforce pipeline and helped close the skills gap.
- Legal victories: The NAM led the business community in court on issues like protecting vital immigration and standing up against regulatory overreach.
- Fight for opportunity: Through our Pledge for Action, the NAM has committed our sector to taking 50,000 tangible actions to increase equity and parity for underrepresented communities and creating 300,000 pathways to job opportunities for Black people and all people of color.
A look ahead: With Lamach and Fitterling at the helm and an exceptional team in place, the NAM is poised to expand on its successes over the past year and continue to strengthen manufacturing across the country. Already, the NAM is working closely with the new administration and Congress to make sure manufacturers’ voices are heard. To learn more about the breadth of the NAM’s policy agenda, read its newly updated blueprint “Competing to Win.”
Small and medium-sized manufacturers: Meanwhile, the current chair of the NAM’s small and medium-sized manufacturers’ group, BTE Technologies President Chuck Wetherington, will also serve another two years in his position. Ketchie President and Owner Courtney Ketchie Silver will replace retiring Protolabs President and CEO Vicki Holt as vice chair.
The last word: “Today more than ever, manufacturers are the arsenal of democracy. In our nation’s time of need, manufacturers have stepped up and manned the front lines to provide essential goods for the American people. With Mike and Jim’s sound guidance and experience, the NAM will continue to be a leading voice for the business community during these unprecedented times,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.
“Our board leaders will also help our industry lead America’s recovery and renewal—helping to strengthen and unify our nation during extraordinary times. And above all, we will advance the values that make America exceptional: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.”
As we wait to get our shots, many people still have questions. Does it matter which vaccine I get? What safety precautions should I continue to take? We talked to highly cited infectious disease expert Dr. Aaron Richterman of Penn Medicine to get some answers to these very real concerns.
Which vaccine? As Richterman tells us, the priority for vaccines is preventing bad outcomes—death and severe illness. And the good news? “The really, really good news is that all of these vaccines that have been tested so far—all of them—prevent severe outcomes.” That list includes vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax. (Only Pfizer and Moderna are approved in the U.S. so far, while the J&J vaccine is expected to be approved soon.)
- And the clincher? “When you put all the trials together [including the Russian vaccine trial], there are somewhere around 80,000 to 90,000 people total who have received the vaccine, and none of them have required hospitalization—and none have died,” says Richterman.
Let’s talk specifics: What about the different numbers we’ve been seeing? As Richterman points out, we’re all used to seeing different headline numbers—95% effective, or 72%, and so forth. But what does that really mean?
- What those numbers represent is the “reduction in any symptomatic illness at all,” he explains. But the main thing we should be concerned about is the prevention of severe illness or death—which all the vaccines do extremely well.
When should I get it? As soon as possible, says Richterman. “At this point in time, and probably for the next four to six months in this country, the benefit of getting the first vaccine available to you is going to outweigh any potential benefit from waiting for the next one.” If you are offered an FDA-approved vaccine now, he says: “take it.”
What you should know: Here are some key facts to keep in mind as you read media coverage of vaccinations, says Richterman.
- Quality: “The quality of evidence underpinning the data for these vaccines […] is grade A plus, top of the line.”
- Safety: “These are extremely safe vaccines, among the safest out there. Some people will have temporary side effects, but they are very safe.”
- Prevention of severe outcomes: These vaccines prevent severe outcomes to a “tremendous” degree, Richterman stresses. “If these vaccines can take COVID-19 down to something asymptomatic, or something more like a cold, that’s a big win.”
And lastly, do you have to wear masks and socially distance after being vaccinated? “Especially right now, when there’s a lot of community transmission,” Richterman says, “and we’re still learning about new variants, it’s a good idea to keep things as safe as possible.” However, “people should be informed that the vaccine reduces their risk and the risk for those around them.”
Manufacturers have pitched in remarkably to help us all through COVID-19—by making things you might expect to be essential (masks, gowns) and things you might not (wire racks, foam). One major manufacturer, Caterpillar, has contributed to the relief efforts in a wide variety of ways across the country and around the world. Here are some of its contributions.
Heating hospital tents: Caterpillar generators made a key appearance in Atlanta during the worst of the 2020 spring surge. Local hospitals set up testing sites outdoors so they could admit only confirmed COVID-19 cases, thus keeping noninfected patients safer from exposure. But to do that, they needed power.
Cat® Dealer Yancey Power Systems provided exactly the power they needed, after thoroughly evaluating the sites, making a detailed plan for servicing them safely and creating an easy set-up process.
Helping to make face shields: A Peoria manufacturer of face shields was missing a critical component—and local hospitals desperately needed those shields. The manufacturer called a Caterpillar distribution center at about 9:00 one morning and had what it needed just an hour later.
Donating materials: And speaking of face shields, a Caterpillar facility in Brazil donated production materials for face shields to local manufacturers, so that doctors in their hard-hit region would be better protected.
Feeding people: The Caterpillar team in Seguin, Texas, hosted two huge food distribution events in 2020. The event in May provided more than 700 families with enough food for two weeks, while in December, the Caterpillar Seguin team and the local food bank provided food to 955 families from 10 different counties.
Powering tugboats: Remember the rousing scene in March when the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship, sailed into New York Harbor? You may not recall the two tugboats that helped it dock, but they were essential. And inside those tugboats were two Caterpillar engines, which ensured the boats could serve their city when it needed them.
Providing support: The Caterpillar Foundation also committed $10 million to support global and local COVID-19 response activities. Together with the incredible outpouring of support from employees and retirees through the Foundation’s special 2:1 match, these contributions have helped keep communities safe and strong.
The last word: “Our employees, dealers and customers around the globe are doing what they can to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and ensure essential work continues,” says Kathryn Karol, Caterpillar vice president of global government and corporate affairs. “They truly embody our values in action, finding ways to help each other and their communities during these difficult days.”
The NAM’s Makers Series is an exclusive interview series featuring creators, innovators and trailblazers in the industry sharing their insights and advice. Meet Rob Goldiez and Matthew Bush, co-founders of Hirebotics. In this edition of the NAM’s Makers Series, Goldiez and Bush explain how Hirebotics uses PTC’s Onshape cloud-based CAD system to power its design teams.
Behind every hospital bed, doctor, ventilator, mask and the millions of other components that make up a hospital is the same thing: a prediction. How much will we need, and where, and when? Analytics make those predictions as precise as possible—and that’s never been more essential than during COVID-19.
Analytics software company SAS understood the problem better than almost anyone. And not long after the pandemic started, it partnered with the Cleveland Clinic to create an innovative dashboard that would help hospitals optimize their resources and keep saving lives.
How it started: On March 17, the Cleveland Clinic asked SAS to create models that could predict the spread of COVID-19. They wanted to understand the strain that COVID-19 might put on the hospital, and by extension, its resources—from ventilators to PPE to dialysis machines to their doctors’ time.
Why it’s different: While plenty of organizations around the world were building epidemiology curves to track the course of the virus, SAS and the Cleveland Clinic built a framework that offers more. The collaborative team came up with a range of scenarios based on varying inputs like virus transmissibility and social distancing. With SAS vetting the math behind the models, the Cleveland Clinic identified which curve it was on at a given time and developed action plans in advance.
How it worked: The models helped the Cleveland Clinic identify markers for potential surge scenarios and recognize when the actual severity of the outbreak would fall short of some projections. That means it did not have to cancel planned events like routine surgeries and treatments and was able to continue treating non-COVID-19 patients.
- “One of the challenges of this pandemic is the public health cost of dislodging patients with cancer or chronic disease to make room for COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. Steve Bennett, director of the global government practice at SAS. “These models can tell you that you may not need the surge capacity; you can keep doing the sorts of standard work that you’re doing. That has a valuable public health benefit.”
Sharing the wealth: SAS didn’t want to keep such a potentially valuable tool to themselves—so the team made their code publicly available on software development site GitHub. Other hospitals and public health agencies have adapted it, given feedback and made it their own, thus contributing to innovation and effective response.
- “Cleveland Clinic is very advanced in analytics—but at the same time, they really wanted to help smaller organizations and smaller clinic hospitals that may not have big data science teams,” said Natalia Summerville, senior manager at SAS. “That’s why they allowed us to make everything publicly available, which was amazing.”
What’s next: The technology has applications even beyond the current crisis. “SAS aspires to be the platform of the future,” said Dan Abramson, executive director of U.S. manufacturing at SAS (and an NAM board member). “It’s got capabilities in modeling and AI and data management and visualization. So, the knowledge we gain from projects like these can be a launching point for pretty much any business problem or challenge.”
The last word: “The collaboration worked,” said Andrew Williams, principal analytical solutions architect at SAS. “The analyst community has always spoken very highly of our technology and analytic capabilities in AI, machine learning and optimization—and I think what we’ve shown here is that we can apply them to critical use cases across the board and across industries.”
The NAM and The Manufacturing Institute have launched a large-scale project to promote vaccination among manufacturing workers and communities, called “This Is Our Shot.”
As NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons describes it, “This project builds on our months of work advocating the use of face masks and other smart health measures to protect all Americans . . . . Now is our opportunity as a country to end this pandemic. Our future depends on all of us rolling up our sleeves and getting armed against COVID-19.”
So how did they make it happen? We recently talked to NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas about the inside story.
Why: As Kefalas puts it, “We have a crisis. Depending on which study you look at, between 30% to 40% of Americans say they will not get a COVID-19 vaccine. We have to take direct aim now at vaccine hesitancy; otherwise, we’ll have safe and effective vaccines and not enough people willing to get them to reach heard immunity.”
Why the NAM and the MI? The NAM, along with its workforce development and education partner, the MI, has a “singular power” to leverage manufacturing’s unifying position as a trusted community resource, Kefalas explains.
How: In the spirit of manufacturers everywhere, let’s take a look at how this project got made.
- First, the research: “We’ve relied on a wide range of suggestions and guidance, from manufacturers of all sizes and all sectors. We’ve also sought recommendations from the Gates Foundation, the CDC and other public health leaders,” says Kefalas.
- Second, the reach: “We’re engaging company medical officers, local health care providers and community members who can change hearts and minds about COVID-19 vaccination.”
- Third, the sights: “It’s going to take videos, photos, flyers, posters, emails—and other very visible signs that others are getting armed against COVID-19.”
- Fourth, the psychology: Research shows that a sense of group loyalty or patriotism can boost vaccination numbers, Kefalas explains. To create that sense of solidarity (and social influence), the NAM and MI will distribute red and yellow ribbon pins for those who get vaccinated—and encourage people to put up red and yellow ribbons outside their homes once their whole households have received the vaccine.
What can you do? The initiative is providing manufacturers with communications materials to share with their teams. As Kefalas says, clear, consistent and direct communication from employers and peers really helps. “And when you are conveying medical information, rely on the experts like medical officers and direct people to their medical providers,” Kefalas suggests.
All we need is love: In case you missed it, the first video in this initiative dropped yesterday, a charming short called “I Love Frank.” Kefalas explains the idea: “Caring for others is really the one message that seemed to resonate across all demographic groups. Vaccinations should be really simple, because it comes down to one thing: we want to protect the people we love.” You can’t say it any better than that.
The NAM’s most effective allies aren’t just manufacturers themselves, but other manufacturing associations as well. And the strength of those alliances was on full display this month, as the NAM’s Council of Manufacturing Associations hosted its first virtual Winter Leadership Conference.
Despite the limitations of the pandemic, a record showing of association leaders turned out to discuss the future of the industry. Here’s a look at what they did.
The background: With a membership of 250 national manufacturing associations representing 130,000 companies worldwide, the CMA creates partnerships across the industry and amplifies manufacturers’ voices. It’s the place to be if you want to connect with association CEOs, senior staff executives, experts and decision makers of all kinds.
A meeting of leaders: Here are some of the highlights of the CMA conference, which showcased the incredible network of leaders that the NAM has built up.
- “Leading in the Midst of Uncertainty”: NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons spoke to Biotechnology Innovation Organization President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath about the pharmaceutical industry’s role in vaccine development during a year unlike any other.
- “The Changing Geopolitical Landscape”: Retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal chatted with Steel Manufacturers Association President Philip Bell about how changes in foreign policy will alter the way manufacturers work.
- “Rising to the Occasion”: Timmons and Stephen Ubl, president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), spoke about what manufacturers have done to combat COVID-19 and how they will protect the supply chain that is critical to vaccine delivery.
- “An Economic Forecast”: NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray spoke about what manufacturers can expect in 2021, as well as what the “new normal” might look like.
The conference also featured smaller discussions among association executives on topics such as “Recruiting in a COVID-19 Environment”; “Planning, Promoting and Producing Online Experiences”; “The Digital Transformation”; and “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” In addition, leaders discussed how they can collaborate to advance manufacturers’ policy priorities with the new Congress and administration.
New leadership: The CMA announced new leadership at the conference as well. Robb MacKie, president and CEO of the American Bakers Association, will serve as the new CMA chair, and Bell will serve as CMA vice chair.
CMA Leadership Award: Every year, the CMA recognizes the association leader who has done the most to advance and expand this influential network. This year the award went to Steve Caldeira, president and CEO of the Household & Commercial Products Association.
- As Timmons said about Caldeira, “Steve has been a powerful force for CMA recruitment and retention. He’s convened his peers and colleagues in timely CMA discussions . . . [and has] been an indispensable voice for the CMA among the broader association community.”
The last word: As Timmons put it in his opening remarks, “Our country needs real leaders right now. It needs people who will speak truth and bring light into darkness. And the business community has to provide that leadership.”
Cyberspace seems to get more dangerous every day. The latest scare comes from the likely Russian hack of tech company SolarWinds’ software, which affected several U.S. government agencies along with major corporations. But manufacturers can give themselves some peace of mind by investing proactively in security measures—such as cyber insurance.
One industry executive is very happy with his decision to buy cyber coverage from the NAM to protect his company. After its sister company was attacked in a cyber incident, Manitoba Corporation’s Partner and Vice President of Marketing Adam Shine shopped around for plans that would safeguard the family-run metal recycling business based in New York. After considering his options, Shine signed up with NAM Cyber Cover because it offered proactive protection in addition to coverage, tailored to manufacturers at a competitive price.
“I think the NAM has done a good job of providing value for money, so it’s not like you’re just writing a check for cyber insurance on an if-come basis,” said Shine. “You’re actually signing up for some user training and some tools that will help you mitigate that risk.”
What it is: NAM Cyber Cover is a cybersecurity and risk-mitigation program developed exclusively for the NAM’s member companies and organizations in partnership with AHT Insurance and Coalition, which specializes in underwriting cyber and technology insurance.
What it offers: Cyber Cover presents a range of benefits for manufacturers seeking to secure themselves against cyber intrusions, allowing them to:
- Manage risks through a free Cyber Risk Assessment, as well as gain access to threat monitoring and vulnerability alerts;
- Mitigate the severity of intrusions with training platforms and programs that help employees recognize issues, while also working with ethical hackers to identify vulnerabilities;
- Receive 24-hour-a-day coverage from Cyber Cover support; and
- Recover from an attack with instant support that helps manufacturers survive and rebuild after a breach.
The word from Manitoba: “Speaking from experience, don’t think it can’t happen to you,” said Shine. “[Cyber attackers are] targeting every company from every walk of life…. To know that you have coverage and a safety net is critical. I would highly advise everybody now to have cyber coverage.”
The word from the NAM: “Modern manufacturers are deploying advanced technologies that are transforming what we make and how we make it. This rapid digitization and the workplace disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic have created new and unprecedented risks for our members,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Our partnership with AHT and Coalition will help protect our industry from cyberattacks and ensure we can continue to lead our economic recovery and renewal.”
International Paper is acutely aware that forests are “the lungs of the landscape,” says Chief Sustainability Officer Sophie Beckham. That’s why the company, which serves 25,000 customers in 150 countries around the world, has developed a close partnership with The Nature Conservancy.
Beckham chatted with us recently about what the two organizations have done together. Here’s the condensed interview.
How it started: International Paper’s collaboration with TNC goes back decades, to the days when International Paper was the largest private forest landowner in the United States. About 15 years ago, when International Paper made the decision to divest of all of its land holdings, TNC acquired significant amounts of the company’s land. And in 2017, International Paper decided to go further—taking on an expansive effort to help others support forests and communities.
- “We wanted to look outside our own supply chains, and understand how might we contribute to knowledge on natural climate solutions and biodiversity,” said Beckham. “Working on projects that are more global in scope and more focused on natural climate solutions—that was the beginning of the relationship.”
Phase 1: First, International Paper partnered with TNC to reduce the carbon impact of logging in southeast Asia, including through cutting-edge methods like bioacoustics—a technique for measuring the biodiversity of forests by recording the animals and insects that live there. The company also employed reduced-impact logging methods to advance carbon sequestration.
Phase 2: Earlier this year, the partnership moved into a new phase, and today International Paper is bringing its expertise to North American forests. It partners with private local landowners to sequester more carbon, which reduces the impact of climate change while protecting the land’s commercial value.
- “We’ve learned from our experiences around the world that we have great opportunities to promote sustainability without compromising the economic value of the land for landowners—and now, we’re bringing those techniques to forests in North America,” says Beckham.
Good advice: For other companies interested in promoting sustainability, Beckham emphasizes the importance of strategic partnerships and collaboration.
“There was a time in which manufacturers felt a little bit in the defensive position with environmental stakeholders—but the turning point has already happened,” said Beckham.