Business Operations

At a time when breaking news and shifting policy environments move faster than ever, our members benefit from innovative programs that keep them at the forefront of the manufacturing industry and support their bottom line.

Policy and Legal

In Uncertain Times, The Manufacturing Sector Leads

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NAM CEO Jay Timmons Speaks at the 2020 CMA Winter Conference

At the Council of Manufacturing Associations Winter Leadership Conference last week, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons discussed the industry’s extraordinary achievements during uncertain economic and political times and the need for continued strong industry leadership in 2020.

In his remarks, Timmons described how 2019 was defined by major manufacturing achievements, including many that were considered unlikely.

Timmons also made the case that, while not all of the manufacturing industry’s victories were widely covered in mass media, they were numerous and necessary.

Timmons made note of the ongoing 2020 election and cast the manufacturing industry as a leader in complicated political environments. In the midst of the escalating campaign, Timmons laid out manufacturers’ vital role.

As manufacturers look to the future, Timmons discussed the need for new skilled workers and an engaged workforce that can help drive modern manufacturing and promote America’s manufacturing strength. He spoke about the Creators Wanted campaign—a unique and unprecedented effort from the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute to inspire a new generation to pursue careers in the industry.

Timmons closed by stating that manufacturers’ leadership will determine not only the achievements of this coming year, but also what the United States looks like and represents for years to come—and he called on manufacturing leaders to seize that opportunity.

Get more information about our Creators Wanted campaign.

Business Operations

General Mills Digs Into Greenhouse Gas Reduction Efforts

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General Mills volunteers sort potatoes for distribution at a food bank.

To advance its efforts as a leader in sustainability, General Mills set a goal to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across its full value chain by 28 percent by 2025. To achieve this, the global food company identified three key opportunity areas: implementing sustainable agricultural processes, streamlining production operations and optimizing the consumer experience.

First, the company is addressing sustainability at its roots. General Mills’ work to reduce emissions across their full value chain starts at the farm level. The company works with suppliers and farmers to implement practices like regenerative agriculture, dairy management and reforestation.

Second, it is optimizing production operations—processes like mixing, cooking, toasting, freezing and packaging—that generate the bulk of production-related greenhouse gas emissions. The supply chain team significantly reduced this impact by consolidating some production operations and reducing the average emissions intensity of electricity the company purchased.

Finally, it’s improving the customer experience. On the consumer end, activities like shopping, preparing, eating and disposing of food products also generate greenhouse gas emissions. General Mills’ portfolio has shifted to more products that do not require cooking or refrigeration, which cuts down on related consumption emissions. Recycling was also emphasized on pack.

“The biggest way General Mills can impact climate change is within our supply chain,” said General Mills Chief Supply Chain and Global Business Solutions Officer John Church. “By using our global scale, we work to create value and reduce our footprint for the benefit of consumers, supplier partners, communities and the planet.”

Understanding food waste in landfills creates greenhouse gas emissions, the food company provides philanthropic support to leading nonprofits that make it possible for food companies, grocers, restaurants, distributors, trucking companies and other organizations to donate surplus food so it can be distributed to people in need, while bettering the environment.

“Over the past year, our global investments in food recovery technology with our nonprofit partners have enabled the recovery and redistribution of more than 4 billion pounds of surplus food and our food donations enabled 29 million meals for food-insecure people around the world,” Church said.

“Manufacturers are taking meaningful steps to lead sustainability efforts across the nation,” said Laura Berkey-Ames, NAM’s director of energy and resources policy. “General Mills’ efforts are an excellent example of manufacturers putting sustainability plans into action that make an immediate difference in the lives and communities of their customers.”

Press Releases

The National Association of Manufacturers Announces Partnership with National Nonprofits SBP and Good360

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with national nonprofits SBP and Good360 that will offer disaster resiliency and recovery resources, support and training to the NAM’s 14,000 members nationwide.

Building on the broader philanthropic and community work NAM members have been doing regularly for many years, this partnership with two national disaster resiliency and recovery organizations expands the reach and effectiveness of the NAM’s efforts and positions NAM members to better understand and engage with disaster recovery needs in their own communities and across the country.

The partnership benefits NAM members by providing training, resources and tools to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, helping members reduce the risk of disasters and recover quickly should one strike. The partnership will also provide opportunities for purposeful and impactful giving and lending, allowing members to maximize the impact of their charitable giving to communities affected by disasters. Similar to the outpouring of resources to NAM members after recent events such as Hurricane Dorian and Tropical Storm Imelda, the NAM’s partnership with SBP and Good360 will provide ongoing support to affected members’ employees to simplify an overly complicated recovery space and increase predictability for survivors as they navigate their individual recovery.

Manufacturers and NAM members are tireless supporters of our communities and those in need,” said NAM Chief Operating Officer Todd Boppell. “We are excited about the opportunity to expand and extend our disaster resiliency work and to make that support more effective than ever.

The NAM announced the strategic partnership to members at its September board meeting in Washington, D.C.

By leveraging each other’s strengths and experiences, the NAM, SBP and Good360 look forward to many successful initiatives to help manufacturers become more resilient and active in their community’s disaster recovery.

-SBP and Good360-

SBP is a national nonprofit whose mission is to shrink the time between disaster and recovery by educating individuals, companies, nonprofits and government agencies about disaster preparedness before events occur and helping those affected by disasters to rebuild and recover. Good360, also a national nonprofit, is the global leader in product philanthropy and purposeful giving and partners with hundreds of socially responsible companies to source highly needed products and distribute them through a network of diverse nonprofits that support people in need, including survivors of disasters.

SBP and Good360 have partnered with the NAM to provide training, resources and tools to help manufacturers prepare for and respond to natural disasters.


The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit

Business Operations

BTE’s President on the Importance of Small Manufacturers

The NAM’s Makers Series is an exclusive interview series featuring creators, innovators and trailblazers in the industry sharing their insights and advice. Each month, we ask founders, executives and leaders of innovative firms what it takes to be a leader for manufacturers and makers in America.

Meet Chuck Wetherington, president of BTE and the NAM’s Small and Medium Manufacturers board chair. In this edition of NAM’s Makers Series, he explains why small- and medium-sized manufacturers are a cornerstone of America.

Business Operations

Manufacturers Make Cybersecurity Central to Industry Culture

As rapid technological innovation sweeps across the manufacturing industry, cybersecurity has become a top priority. David Brousell, Vice President and Executive Director of the Manufacturing Leadership Council—the world’s first member-driven, global business leadership network dedicated to senior executives in the manufacturing industry—explains the importance of cybersecurity and what manufacturers are doing to combat global threats in the digital age.

Why is cybersecurity important for modern manufacturing?

Manufacturers are using cutting-edge digital technology to a greater degree than ever before. We’re putting sensors in equipment, digitizing supply chains and gathering data from customers to better the customer experience, to name just a few examples. The number of electronic connections we’re making is enormous—and the more you electronically link products and processes, the more vulnerable they become to cyberattacks.

What are the impacts of cyberattacks?

When we talk about cybersecurity, we’re not just talking about people trying to steal intellectual property. We’re also talking about attacks that target business operations, which can actually bring business to a halt. Manufacturers need to be able to guard against these attacks across the board in order to do their own innovative, cutting-edge work and to deliver for customers in the United States and around the world. That’s why manufacturers must invest in developing solutions that can stand strong against even the most sophisticated assault.

What are some of the challenges manufacturers face in cybersecurity?

The number one challenge is the increase in attacks. We do a lot of survey work among manufacturers of the Manufacturing Leadership Council, and the overwhelming majority of survey participants say they’re expecting more attacks in the year ahead. Just keeping up with the sheer volume of attacks is a big issue for manufacturing companies—large and small alike. This isn’t just an issue for multibillion-dollar enterprises. Cybersecurity is everyone’s concern.

What are manufacturers doing in the cybersecurity space to keep their work secure?

We’re taking a variety of actions. We’re continuing to invest in technology. We’re training people to understand best behaviors and best practices. And we’re trying to protect more and more on a systems level. For example, some companies are housing their information in the cloud because they feel that there are greater protections in a cloud environment than in a system on their own premises.

Most importantly, though, companies are adopting cybersecurity as a cultural discipline and making cybersecurity part of their business’ DNA and culture. Over many decades, manufacturers have made physical safety a well-honed science. Now we have to raise cybersecurity up to that level of safety if we’re going to bring it under control. We talk about how safety is everybody’s business—and now cybersecurity has to become everybody’s business, too.

Business Operations

Honda’s Rick Schostek on Why Companies Should Focus on the Customer

The NAM’s Makers Series is an exclusive interview series featuring creators, innovators and trailblazers in the industry sharing their insights and advice. Each month, we ask founders, executives and leaders of innovative firms what it takes to be a leader for manufacturers and makers in America.

Meet Rick Schostek, Executive Vice President of Honda North America, Inc. In this edition of NAM’s Makers Series, he explains why focusing on the customer is the key to manufacturers’ success.


NAM in 5 Photos: Week of Sept. 9

This week, the National Association of Manufacturers helped move the manufacturing industry forward on three major fronts.



Press Releases

MLC Releases Blueprint for Next Phase of Manufacturing Digitization

Washington, D.C. – The Manufacturing Leadership Council has released a new blueprint to guide manufacturers as they transition to the digital model of doing business. The blueprint, called the 2019/2020 Critical Issues Agenda, is the latest strategic guidance on digital transformation released by the MLC, a division of the National Association of Manufacturers.

The MLC’s mission is to help senior manufacturing executives and emerging leaders define and shape a better future for themselves, their organizations and the industry by focusing on the intersecting business and technology issues driving manufacturing growth. The Critical Issues Agenda encompasses the technology, organizational and leadership requirements of implementing the digital model of modern manufacturing, also known as Manufacturing 4.0.

The agenda covers five categories:

  • Factories of the Future
  • Establishing M4.0 Cultures: Collaborative, Innovative, Integrated and Connected
  • Transformative Technologies in Manufacturing
  • Next-Generation Manufacturing Leadership and the Changing Workforce
  • Manufacturing 4.0 Sustainability

The 2019/2020 Critical Issues Agenda identifies opportunities for manufacturers to become more efficient, more productive and even to develop new business models and services by successfully implementing new digital technologies and practices. These include data entrepreneurship, deploying artificial intelligence, the use of digital twins and providing digital skills training.

For nearly 10 years, our Critical Issues Agenda has proven to be a comprehensive and reliable model for embracing Manufacturing 4.0, said David R. Brousell, Co-Founder of the MLC. But what’s new and important this year is the need for leaders to develop greater digital acumen and for manufacturing organizations to deal with even greater volumes of data from increasingly connected factories and plants. If manufacturers can rise to these challenges, they will go a long way to unleashing the potential of M4.0.

The agenda is the result of a unique member-driven process designed to capture and reflect the views and insights of the MLC’s 1,500-strong executive membership. The resulting agenda is then finalized and approved by the MLC’s Board of Governors.

I am delighted that the MLC’s member-driven process continues to enable us to identify the critical issues that MLC members themselves have defined as most important in their drive to transform their businesses to world-class levels of efficiency and competitiveness, said John Fleming, chairman of the MLC’s Board of Governors and former executive vice president of global manufacturing and labor affairs at Ford Motor Company. The MLC will work tirelessly to deliver thought-leading knowledge and insights around these key transformational issues in the year ahead.

Full descriptions of the 2019/2020 Critical Issues Agenda are available on the MLC’s website and in the August 2019 issue of the Manufacturing Leadership Journal.


Founded in 2008, and now a division of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s mission is to inspire and support manufacturing executives to achieve transformational growth for themselves, their companies and the industry at large through enlightened leadership. With more than 1,500 senior-level members from many of the world’s leading manufacturing companies, the MLC focuses on the intersection of advanced digital technologies and the business, identifying growth and improvement opportunities in the operation, organization and leadership of manufacturing enterprises as they pursue their journeys to Manufacturing 4.0.

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit


Press Releases

National Association of Manufacturers Launches NAM Health Care to Address Member Health Coverage Needs

NAM Offers Association Health Plan for Employers in Select States

ANN ARBOR, MICH. – The National Association of Manufacturers announced today that it will offer an association health plan to its members, extending affordable health care to small and medium-sized manufacturing companies and member associations in approved states. In states where the association health plan is not available, the NAM will connect manufacturers with available small-group options in their state.

“This association health plan is another step in our work to make the NAM a one-stop shop for manufacturing across the United States,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “With small and medium-sized businesses making up more than 90 percent of our membership, this plan will help provide health care and reduce uncertainty for workers and their employers across the country.”

The plan, called NAM Health Care (, was developed to meet manufacturers’ unique health care needs. It will offer a portfolio of health benefits options insured by UnitedHealthcare. In states where these plans are available, businesses with 2 to 99 employees will be able to choose from a variety of PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) and HSA (Health Savings Account) health plans. Members will also have access to UnitedHealthcare’s Choice Plus care provider network of more than 1.2 million physicians and care professionals and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare will work with any licensed or appointed agents who want to sell NAM Health Care.

In addition, Mercer will provide the NAM’s small business members with consulting services regarding health benefits offerings and contribution strategies, marketing support to educate and enroll their employees, plan administration and compliance services. The Mercer Affinity 365+sm platform will provide members technology for quoting, enrollment and ongoing benefits administration to drive cost efficiencies and facilitate employee engagement.

Association health plans allow companies to band together to manage and purchase health care coverage that may save on annual health insurance costs by providing plans that are typically enjoyed by larger companies at a competitive price. Under NAM Health Care, eligible member companies also will have access to supplemental benefits, including dental, vision and life.

“The work that manufacturers are doing every day grows the economy and strengthens our country, and they deserve the health care they need to do that job with certainty and support,” said Timmons. “At the NAM, we are proud to help lower costs and increase competitive health coverage for the men and women who make things in America.”

NAM Health Care is quoting these plans for eligible member groups for a Sept. 1, 2019, enrollment date. To enroll in these plans, where available, interested businesses may visit


Business Operations

Greenbrier Companies Doubles Down on Sustainability

In a recent National Association of Manufacturers survey, 80 percent of manufacturers said they had a sustainability policy in place or were developing one. Freight railcar equipment designer and manufacturer The Greenbrier Companies is making strides through innovative sustainable design—from reducing railcar tare weight to efficiently building marine vessels.

“At Greenbrier, we pride ourselves on manufacturing among the most environmentally friendly forms of transportation while simultaneously improving our production processes and engineering designs,” said Jack Isselmann, Senior Vice President, External Affairs & Communications. “This promotes long-term sustainability across the transportation and shipping industries.”

These innovations present exciting opportunities for long-term progress. Greenbrier has introduced innovative railcar designs since 1985, beginning with the double-stack intermodal unit. Prior to its inception, the number of trailer-equivalent units per train maxed out at 120. With the ability to stack two units per railcar, that number quickly grew to over 200 units per train, saving space, time and money.

In addition, Greenbrier aims to make its operations more efficient by minimizing the weight and length of an individual railcar while simultaneously increasing its volume, allowing for more railcar units per train. Through a process called articulation—which reduces the weight of one railcar by making it share axles with another—Greenbrier is decreasing the space between railcars, ensuring that more may be included in trains and allowing for greater efficiency through a larger volume of transported products. Additionally, articulation increases braking efficiencies, which reduces fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Manufacturers across the country are making operational changes that promote sustainability and prioritize our environment,” said Laura Berkey-Ames, Director of Resources and Energy Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “With 12 million employees throughout all 50 states, the manufacturing industry understands the positive impact our sustainability efforts can have—and we are committed to setting an example for other industries nationwide.”

For more information on Greenbrier’s approach to corporate responsibility, see its inaugural Environmental, Social and Governance report.

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