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What’s the Next Phase of Digital Evolution?

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In late 2021, the Manufacturing Leadership Council launched the Manufacturing in 2030 Project, a comprehensive examination of the factors that will influence the industry leading up to the year 2030 and beyond. The latest milestone in this sweeping project is the release of The Next Phase of Digital Evolution.

This groundbreaking white paper examines the global megatrends like population, the economy, sustainability demands, and technology development – all of which will impact business decisions and are essential for manufacturing competitiveness.

Data’s Growing Role: Data is perhaps manufacturing’s most important asset, tracking everything from individual machine performance to the status of global supply chains. Developments in digital systems for factories, high-powered industrial networks and advanced communication technologies are giving rise to the ability to collect data.

Combined with a rise in analytics capabilities, manufacturers are now able to apply that data in powerful ways to improve processes, speed innovation, find new business opportunities and ultimately create conditions for greater competitiveness.

A Rising Middle Class: Population trends will influence where manufacturers build new factories, who they hire, the products that they make, organization for supply chains and who they are selling to.

Africa and Asia are projected to have the strongest population growth, and while traditional middle-class markets in the U.S., Europe and Japan are expected to grow at only modest rates, 88% of the next billion entrants into the middle class will be from Africa.

What’s to Come: Manufacturers will also need to consider their role in creating sustainable business practices and how they will overcome persistent workforce challenges. Institutional investors are pressuring businesses to significantly improve environmental practices, while the already yawning gap in skilled workers is expected to skyrocket to 2.1 million unfilled openings by 2030.

Technology could have a role in solving both of those issues. On the sustainability front, data can be key to monitoring emissions, utility consumption and waste, while also giving rise to new processes that improve on those metrics. For the workforce, data can empower workers to make more informed decisions, automation can eliminate repetitive tasks, and technologies like augmented and virtual reality can enhance training and upskilling.

To learn more about these and other insights, download the full white paper here.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Unveil Competitiveness Agenda Ahead of Midterm Elections

“Competing to Win” offers a path for bringing the country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the midterm elections, the National Association of Manufacturers released its policy roadmap, “Competing to Win,” a comprehensive blueprint featuring immediate solutions for bolstering manufacturers’ competitiveness. It is also a roadmap for policymakers on the laws and regulations needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry in the months and years ahead.

With the country facing rising prices, snarled supply chains and geopolitical turmoil, manufacturers are outlining an actionable competitiveness agenda that Americans across the political spectrum can support. “Competing to Win” includes the policies manufacturers in America will need in place to continue driving the country forward.

“‘Competing to Win’ offers a path for bringing our country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM is putting forward a plan filled with ideas that policymakers could pursue immediately, including solutions to urgent problems, such as energy security, immigration reform, supply chain disruptions, the ongoing workforce shortage and more. Manufacturers have shown incredible resilience through difficult times, employing more workers now than before the pandemic, but continued resilience is not guaranteed without the policies that are critical to the state of manufacturing in America.”

The NAM and its members will leverage “Competing to Win” to shape policy debates ahead of the midterm elections, in the remainder of the 117th Congress and at the start of the 118th Congress—including in direct engagement with lawmakers, for grassroots activity, across traditional and digital media and through events in key states and districts as we did following the initial rollout of the roadmap in 2016.

The document focuses on 12 areas of action, and all policies are rooted in the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.

Learn more about how manufacturers are leading and about the industry’s competitiveness agenda at nam.org/competing-to-win.

-NAM-

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 $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

Business Operations

Manufacturers Are Getting Tough on Cybersecurity

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More companies are taking a disciplined approach to the growing threat of cyber attacks, according to a new cybersecurity survey from the Manufacturing Leadership Council. The MLC is the digital transformation arm of the NAM.

  • The survey, which included input from 160 companies, indicates a dramatic change in how seriously manufacturers consider cyber threats compared to 2018, when the MLC last conducted the same survey.

Who’s prepared: Nearly 62% of manufacturing companies say they have a formal cybersecurity plan in place, according to the survey.

  • That’s up from 2018, when barely 33% of manufacturers indicated they had devised and adopted formal cybersecurity plans that encompassed their plant floors.
  • Nearly 40% of respondents said they had a high level of confidence in their internal cyber expertise, compared with just 25% who expressed such certainty in 2018.

More attacks expected: Yet even as better cybersecurity strategies are put in place, nearly 79% of survey respondents said they expect more attacks in the next year.

  • That figure is up from 64% in 2018.
  • The most frequently cited reasons for this prediction are increased levels of cyber crime and cyber terrorism and greater connectivity in manufacturers’ operations.

The effects on digital transformation: More than half the survey respondents expressed concern that cybersecurity issues could affect the speed and scope of digital transformation.

  • 14% said cybersecurity could be a major obstacle in the next five years, with another 40% describing it as “an issue of concern.”
  • Close to half—43%—said they consider cyber a part of doing business in a digitally transformed world.

Proactive measures: More manufacturers are taking advantage of publicly available safeguards, such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, to underpin their strategies.

  • Nearly 58% of respondents said they have adopted the NIST framework, up from 48% in 2018.
  • 45% said they have cyber insurance, compared to the 18% that said they had it in 2018.

The coming challenge: In the past four years, manufacturers have made significant strides to combat the growing problem of cyber attacks against the industry.

  • However, manufacturers will need to stay a step ahead of cyber criminals as the number and sophistication of attacks increases.

See the survey: Review the survey findings for an in-depth look at how manufacturing leaders are thinking about cybersecurity in manufacturing’s digital era.

Get help: NAM Cyber Cover was designed specifically to provide enhanced risk mitigation and protection for manufacturers and their supply chains. Find out more at www.namcybercover.com.

Press Releases

Every Manufacturer in America Will Benefit from the CHIPS and Science Act

Timmons: Manufacturers thank congressional leaders from both parties who got this bill across the finish line and President Biden and Secretary Raimon

Washington, D.C. – Following President Biden’s signing of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“Every manufacturer in America will benefit from the CHIPS and Science Act, whether they make chips, make products that require chips or are part of a supply chain disrupted by the semiconductor shortage.

“Manufacturers thank congressional leaders from both parties who got this bill across the finish line and President Biden and Secretary Raimondo for their leadership. The industry will also benefit from the new law’s funding for programs to support the STEM workforce, advanced technology development, excavation of critical minerals, clean energy and more.

“Without a doubt, this legislation boosts manufacturers’ competitiveness. But there’s work to be done. Congress must continue its work on China competition legislation and move forward on policies from the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and the America COMPETES Act that were left out, such as anti-counterfeiting measures, important trade provisions and further investments in supply chain resilience and workforce development.

“Our economic future and America’s leadership in the world depend on a competitive manufacturing industry. Congress has acted wisely with the CHIPS and Science Act. Now we need Congress to continue standing with manufacturers and focus on policies that will help us compete with China and other countries, not make it more expensive to make things in America.”

-NAM-

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 $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Practical Insights

Manufacturers: Legislation Is a Bold, Important Step Toward Ramping Up the Domestic Manufacturing of Essential Inputs

Timmons: Every manufacturer will benefit. But there is more to be done.

Washington, D.C. Following the House’s passage of the CHIPS-Plus Act, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“This legislation is a bold, important step toward ramping up the domestic manufacturing of essential inputs used by virtually every part of our industry. Every vote for the CHIPS-Plus Act was a vote for a more competitive manufacturing industry in America. This bipartisan legislation shows that Congress is taking the problems of supply chain disruptions and inflation seriously. Every manufacturer will benefit. But there is more to be done.

“Once President Biden signs it into law, manufacturers will work with lawmakers to build on the momentum and continue our advocacy for important measures that did not make it into the final CHIPS-Plus legislation, including trade measures, anti-counterfeiting protections and other workforce development priorities.

“But if lawmakers are truly serious about competing with China, they will now oppose the tax increases and attacks on pharmaceutical innovation in the latest reconciliation bill proposal, which will certainly lead to continued inflationary pressures. Congress should stay focused on bipartisan solutions, not legislation that weakens our economy and makes us less competitive with other countries.”

-NAM-

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 $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

Press Releases

Manufacturers: CHIPS-Plus Act Will Deliver a Powerful Boost to Manufacturers’ Competitiveness

Timmons: It’s encouraging to see this Congress once again come together in a bipartisan way to make critical investments in our industry’s competitive

Washington, D.C. Following the Senate’s passage of the CHIPS-Plus Act, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“The CHIPS-Plus Act will deliver a powerful boost to manufacturers’ competitiveness. Manufacturers across all sectors rely on access to chips, so this bill will help strengthen American supply chains thanks to its investments in domestic semiconductor production—as well as its funding for programs to support the STEM workforce, advanced technology development, excavation of critical minerals, clean energy and more. Manufacturers have worked with lawmakers for more than a year to advance many provisions of this bill, and we urge the House to pass it as quickly as possible and get it to President Biden’s desk.

“CHIPS-Plus should only be the beginning, however. We will continue advocating policies needed to beat back economic headwinds such as inflation and supply chain disruption. And we will work with Congress to move quickly on policies from the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and the America COMPETES Act that were left out of CHIPS-Plus, such as anti-counterfeiting measures, important trade provisions and further investments in supply chain resilience and workforce development.

“It’s encouraging to see this Congress once again come together in a bipartisan way to make critical investments in our industry’s competitiveness and our country’s future. Manufacturers look forward to building on this progress. This and future China competition legislation will help us to innovate, create jobs, expand domestic operations and grow the U.S. economy for years to come.”

-NAM-

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 $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

Press Releases

NAM Launches Six-Figure Television Ad Campaign Opposing Reconciliation

NAM Urges Senate to Vote “No” on Government Price Controls That Harm Manufacturers

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers has launched a six-figure broadcast and cable television advertising campaign ahead of a potential reconciliation bill that threatens manufacturing innovation and competitiveness. The campaign calls on senators to oppose government price controls that would undermine the development of lifesaving medicines and the livelihoods of manufacturing workers across America who deliver them.

“Government price-setting schemes that undermine our ongoing work to develop lifesaving cures to diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s and respond to health crises are never the answer,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “At a time when manufacturers are already facing extraordinary economic pressures, the Senate should be focused on bolstering our industry’s competitiveness, not undermining it. We are calling on senators to vote ‘no’ on reconciliation and stand with manufacturers and the hardworking Americans who are integral to battling this pandemic and discovering future cures.”

To view the latest television ad, click here.

-NAM-

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 $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Back Chips Bill, Call for Further Action from Congress

Timmons: “A vote for the CHIPS Act funding is a vote for a stronger, more competitive manufacturing industry in America.”

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of consideration of legislation to bolster U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“A vote for the CHIPS Act funding is a vote for a stronger, more competitive manufacturing industry in America. But if Congress fails to pass this investment in the coming days, they will hand other countries a competitive advantage and weaken our own economy at a precarious moment.

“Other provisions of the China competition bill still under negotiation also need to make it to the president’s desk, and manufacturers firmly support their inclusion in this package. We will continue our advocacy for the anti-counterfeiting measures, trade provisions, supply chain investments and more. Congress must get those done.

“This week, we can take a powerful step forward with chips funding and move toward a future where semiconductor shortages—and the disruptions they’ve created—are a thing of the past. Other nations are not waiting around to ramp up semiconductor manufacturing. America should be leading, not falling behind.”

Background:

According to the NAM’s latest Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, more than 88% of respondents said it was important for the federal government to take steps to support the domestic manufacturing sector in the face of increased global competition for industrial investment, with nearly 58% saying “very important” and 30.7% saying “somewhat important.” When asked about what aspects of the China competition legislation were most important for supporting manufacturing activity, the top choices were addressing port congestion and competition issues in ocean shipping (70.9%), eliminating ill-conceived labor provisions that facilitate unionization campaigns (61.3%), strengthening U.S. leadership in energy innovation and competitiveness (58.2%), funding to increase domestic semiconductor production capacity (57.9%), investments to support the critical minerals supply chain (55.7%) and ensuring the tax code provides a full deduction for research expenses (48.3%), among others.

-NAM-

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 $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Policy and Legal

Why Nuclear is Key to Climate & Energy Security

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As energy prices remain at their highest levels in more than a decade, there’s little sign that the U.S. is on a steady course toward energy security. That’s why the NAM is urging the federal government to pursue all available options—including nuclear.

The lowdown: Nuclear energy is a safe, reliable and the largest zero-emission source of energy in the U.S.

  • At a time of pronounced supply chain challenges, oil-and-gas lease cancellations and costly shortages of critical minerals, nuclear energy could go a long way toward fortifying the grid.
  • In addition, the technology has advanced enormously in recent years. Microreactors, small enough to be moved by truck, are poised to help solve the challenge of powering remote areas.
  • The Department of Energy also recognizes the importance of nuclear energy, recently noting its relevance to energy security in the department’s Supply Chain Assessments.

What we’re saying: “The reality is that to meet our growing electricity needs and climate goals, nuclear-generated power must be part of the solution,” said NAM Director of Energy and Resources Policy Chris Morris. Here are his key policy recommendations:

  • Encourage capital formation: The NAM secured a significant $6 billion investment in the Civilian Nuclear Credit Program through the recent infrastructure bill, but more robust investments will be needed to ensure operations continue at current nuclear projects, Morris said.
  • Relicensing: Licensing and permitting processes should meet the highest standards, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission often takes years to complete them. The NRC should use its position on the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council to make efficiency improvements in its licensing processes under the recently announced Permitting Action Plan.
  • Fuel supply chain security: The U.S. imports uranium for civilian nuclear use from Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Canada and Australia, among others. Meanwhile, new advanced reactor concepts will utilize high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) which is now solely produced by Russia and China. The NAM has been calling on policymakers to prioritize increasing domestic production.
  • SMRs and microreactors: Small modular reactors use factory-built components to streamline construction, while microreactors are portable and self-sufficient. Both will be crucial for next-generation nuclear power—but the U.S. government must invest in their manufacturing and modernize regulations accordingly.
  • Spent fuels: The NAM has long supported ongoing R&D into the storage and transportation of spent fuels—and progress is being made. Just yesterday, NRC staff recommended licensing a new storage project in New Mexico, “determining there would be largely minor environmental impacts from the project,” according to POLITICO (subscription).
  • Public perception: Commercial nuclear power is sometimes viewed as dangerous or unstable based on historic misconceptions. In truth, the U.S. nuclear industry is leading the world in best practices, safety and accountability. Policymakers must engage with local communities to provide the facts and emphasize the importance of nuclear power for combating climate change.

The last word: “Our current fleet and the next generation of nuclear power must be a substantial part of a clear-eyed strategy to address climate and energy security,” Morris said.

Business Operations

Meet the Manufacturing Leadership Council

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How is digitization changing manufacturing? What can manufacturers do to stay competitive in a fast-shifting world? What does the future look like—and how can leaders prepare for success?

Those are the kinds of questions being asked and answered by the NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council—a member-driven global business leadership network focused on the intersection of manufacturing and technology. We spoke with David R. Brousell, MLC co-founder, vice president and executive director, who gave us more insight into what the MLC is, how it works and why it matters today more than ever.

An early start: The idea for the MLC was born nearly two decades ago, when manufacturers began turning to consumer technologies to strengthen their businesses.

  • The convergence of these technologies with traditional operational technologies on factory floors sparked an idea. Brousell, who was running a publication called “Managing Automation,” recognized the trend—which he called “Progressive Manufacturing”—and founded an annual conference for manufacturers to discuss new approaches and best practices for the future.
  • By 2008, that conference had given rise to a council designed to offer useful programming for manufacturers on the future of digitization. Ten years later, the council became a part of the NAM.
  • “We realized that digitization was not a tactical or small change—it was a fundamental change in the industry,” said Brousell. “It was clear that manufacturers needed an informational resource or organization to bring them together to deal with what we now call Manufacturing 4.0 in a systematic way.”

A systematic approach: Today, the MLC represents what Brousell calls “the digital transformation arm of the NAM,” helping manufacturers meet future needs and address ongoing trends—through changes in technology, organization and leadership.

  • “The transition to the digital model of manufacturing is only one part technical,” said Brousell. “The harder part is changing the organizational structure to be more collaborative and decentralized and making the leadership approach digital-first. We’re probably the only organization that has looked at it this way, in a systematic way, beyond technology alone.”

A critical focus: Every year, the MLC lays out a member-approved set of critical issues involved in the transition to Manufacturing 4.0 and offers resources and programming from thought leadership to plant tours to the Rethink Summit.

  • This year’s critical issues include topics like factories of the future; transformative technologies, including AI and machine learning; augmented reality and virtual reality; Manufacturing 4.0 cultures; and cybersecurity.

A broad view: Digitization isn’t just an issue for individual manufacturers. Because manufacturing is so vital to economic and societal growth, it’s also important to the future of the United States and the world.

  • “Manufacturing is one of the fundamental drivers of social and economic prosperity,” said Brousell. “Its growth will lead to a better life for people. No other industry can say that. And I believe that the countries whose companies are most successful in making the transition to the digital model are going to be the powers of this century. There’s a lot riding on this.”

Sign up: Come learn from leading manufacturers at the Rethink Summit, June 27–29, in Marco Island, Florida. It’s the premier event for senior operational executives and their teams as they continue to navigate disruption.

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