Research, Innovation and Technology

Manufacturing doesn’t just use cutting-edge technology—we create it. The manufacturing sector accounts for three-quarters of all private-sector research and development in the nation, giving our industry a critical competitive edge and providing our highly-skilled employees with vital support.

Business Operations

How to Get the Most Out of R&D

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How should companies design R&D teams and processes to create the best possible results? That’s the challenge that Babson College Professor of Innovation Management Gina O’Connor addressed in her talk at the Innovation Research Interchange’s annual conference back in June. The IRI is a division of the NAM that advances the field of innovation management by creating contemporary practices—in R&D and many other areas.

A common problem: In an extensive research project at Babson College, O’Connor worked with experts from Goodyear, Synthomer and Diageo to study companies and decipher best R&D practices. She noticed a recurring theme: R&D professionals were being used by companies to solve urgent technical issues rather than to discover and invent.

  • “In many organizations R&D has this feeling of being an order taker and of having to solve problems that are finely tuned and narrowly scoped,” said O’Connor. “That erodes confidence—and eroded confidence reduces empowerment.”

Empowerment and autonomy: O’Connor described empowerment as the authority to determine which projects and initiatives to take on and what problems to tackle. Meanwhile, autonomy refers to the authority to make final decisions.

  • So, what do R&D professionals need? According to O’Connor, most want a moderate amount of empowerment, but not complete control over what to do.
  • “We want to make sure that there’s organizational commitment somewhere associated with what we are doing, but we don’t just want to be told what to do,” as she put it.

So, what works? O’Connor explained that organizations with structureless R&D systems often had erratic decision making, sudden disruptions and unexpected changes in direction that left employees feeling powerless.

  • Similarly, organizations with R&D processes that were too formal were also alienating to employees, who felt there wasn’t any room for flexibility or discussion.
  • In contrast, the best systems included strong project leaders, consistent back and forth between the R&D group and organizational leadership, constructive communication, clearly outlined goals and trust in employees.

A last piece of advice: Training and developing project leaders is among the most essential steps in achieving successful R&D, said O’Connor.

  • “What you need to be doing as a team leader every day is checking in with every member of your team, seeing what they need, where they are, what has happened,” said O’Connor. “It has to be an interactive, interpersonal kind of a thing.”

Learn more: Head on over to the IRI website to check out more of its programs and events.

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.

Business Operations

Ransomware Attacks Increasingly Targeting Manufacturers

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Think your business is safe from hackers? You could be wrong, according to the Manufacturing Leadership Council—the division of the NAM focused on digital transformation in manufacturing.

With the incidence of ransomware attacks against manufacturers on the rise, all businesses should be on guard against cyber extortion, advises Peter Vescuso, vice president of marketing at industrial cybersecurity provider Dragos and a member of the Manufacturing Leadership Council.

How it works: Ransomware schemes often target manufacturers by disabling their operations technology and blackmailing victims into paying to restore the functionality of their systems. Manufacturers that cannot afford to have production halted by hacks often have no choice but to pay the hackers’ ransom.

What we’re seeing: Industrial ransomware attacks increased significantly in 2021, with criminal groups specifically identifying manufacturers as vulnerable and profitable targets.

  • Last year, manufacturing accounted for 65% of industrial ransomware incidents, according to Dragos.
  • The top three manufacturing subsectors targeted by ransomware attacks were metal components (17%), automotive (8%) and plastics/technology (6%).
  • Manufacturers as a group were targeted six times as often as the second leading industrial sector, food and beverage.

Why it matters: Many manufacturers remain unprepared for ransomware attacks.

  • About 90% of manufacturers have limited visibility into their OT systems, according to Dragos.
  • 90% of manufacturers are also ill prepared with poor network perimeters, 80% have external connectivity exposure in their OT systems and 60% use shared credentials that make it easier for ransomware groups to infiltrate systems.

Who’s behind it: In 2021, ransomware groups Conti and Lockbit 2.0 caused 51% of all ransomware attacks, and 70% of their attacks targeted manufacturers.

  • These groups successfully developed malicious business models and used underground marketplaces to outsource operations to partners who then carried out the attacks.
  • Ransomware groups also fund research and development to stay ahead of the curve on security and infiltrate systems.

What’s next: “Ransomware trends are likely to continue shifting as groups reform and reprioritize and as law enforcement pursues them and takes them offline,” says Vescuso.

  • “As this evolution continues to evolve, Dragos analysts believe with a high degree of certainty that ransomware will continue to disrupt all industrial operations and OT environments through 2022, in manufacturing and beyond.”

Protect yourself: To protect against ransomware attacks, manufacturers must take the necessary steps to modernize and secure their IT and OT systems. Check out NAM Cyber Cover for information and risk management solutions.

Business Operations

Lilly Accelerates Innovation Under Mike Mason

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What is Lilly Diabetes President Mike Mason’s goal for people living with diabetes? The simple answer is to improve and simplify diabetes management so people can focus on living the life they want.

Forward-looking: Today, more than 537 million people across the world are living with diabetes. That’s why Mason and his Lilly Diabetes team are continuing to develop more innovative insulin and non-insulin medicines to help transform diabetes care.

Lilly has played an important role in improving diabetes care for close to a century, starting with manufacturing and bringing to market the first commercial insulin, lletin, in 1923. Since then, there has been incredible innovation in insulin, shifting from animal-based insulin to recombinant DNA human insulin to today’s more modern analog insulins.

  • “Thanks to a century’s worth of scientific advancements and discoveries, I am proud that we can meet the diverse needs of people with diabetes in ways we only dreamed were possible,” Mason said.

More to be done: Still, only about half of people with diabetes are achieving their blood sugar goals—leaving them at higher risk for long-term cardiovascular disease and other diabetes-related complications.

  • For Lilly, that means keeping a “relentless focus” on the improvement of diabetes treatments and solutions, Mason said.
  • “Importantly, delivering breakthrough treatments is just the start of what we do. Lilly is deeply committed to doing what we can to ensure everyone who needs our products can access them,” he added.
  • Lilly offers a variety of affordability solutions through patient support programs and copay assistance across the major products of its portfolio. People with diabetes can contact the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center to learn about affordability solutions that best match their needs.

What’s coming: Lilly’s vision for the future is to maintain a relentless focus on raising the innovation bar for diabetes treatment, as well as in other serious metabolic conditions, including obesity, NASH and heart failure, to name a few.

  • “Our diabetes pipeline includes a once-weekly injection, currently under review by the FDA that represents a new class of medicines to treat type 2 diabetes,” Mason said. “In clinical trials, this therapy significantly lowered glucose levels and body weight—and even helped many participants reach a non-diabetes glucose range.”
  • “Our hope is to revolutionize how metabolic conditions are understood and treated, hopefully changing the way people manage conditions like type 2 diabetes and others,” he added.

Manufacturing support: Diabetes innovation is ultimately made possible by the people who work tirelessly to make life-saving medicines.

  • “I’ve witnessed our team start with an extraordinary idea and determine the science to make it possible, and it’s our manufacturing team that brings these products to fruition,” Mason said. “Our talented and dedicated manufacturing teammates make delivering life-saving medications to people with diabetes possible.”
  • Even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lilly employees in essential manufacturing and research jobs came to work each day “to make vital medicines for the world.”

 The last word: Lilly is “in an exciting period of growth,” Mason said, noting a recent announcement from the company that it planned to invest $1 billion in a North Carolina site to create an injectables-manufacturing facility.

The investment “underscores our commitment to delivering innovative medicines to patients around the world,” Mason said. “And it taps some of the brightest minds from the local labor force to bring it to life.”

News

Finding Solutions for a Sustainable Manufacturing Future

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With increased pressure from customers, regulators and even shareholders, sustainable business practices are no longer optional for manufacturers. From reduced energy and materials consumption to lower emissions and ethical sourcing, manufacturers are expected to meet ambitious new goals. Luckily, the Manufacturing Leadership Council has established a new member working group devoted to helping manufacturers reach these objectives.

Support set-up: With five virtual meetings each year, the M4.0 Sustainability and Net Zero Decision Compass Group will explore key issues, best practices and challenges related to creating sustainable, compliant and environmentally friendly operating strategies.

  • At the first meeting, “Next Steps in Manufacturing 4.0 Sustainability,” on March 10, attendees heard from 3M Senior Vice President of Environmental Strategies and Fluorochemical Stewardship Dr. Rebecca Teeters and Lexmark International Chief Sustainability Officer John Gagel. Both speakers are also MLC board members.

Why the new group: The MLC decided to create the group after a survey of their more than 3,300 members revealed sustainability was a top member business concern.

  • “We decided that given the intensity of interest in sustainability and related subjects, such as net-zero and the circular economy, this was an opportunity to dedicate a whole new group to the topic,” said MLC Co-Founder, Executive Director and Vice President David Brousell.

Good for business, too: While manufacturers have been discussing and working toward sustainability for decades, recent growing concerns about climate change and other environmental issues are making the matter increasingly urgent.

  • Manufacturers that take on sustainable business practices are seeing competitive advantages ranging from cost savings to higher product quality to increased shareholder and employee satisfaction.

Lessons from manufacturing peers: The new Decision Compass group will share sustainability strategies, the real-world achievements of manufacturing companies, knowledge about the use and application of advanced technologies and timelines for implementation.

  • Participants will also be able to see how they stack up against other manufacturing companies.

Get involved: The MLC offers resources to help manufacturers improve their operations and learn about digital manufacturing. To learn more about the sustainability group or find out about MLC membership, email [email protected].

Business Operations

Outlook Hazy for Manufacturing 4.0 Progress, Survey Shows

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, many manufacturers raced to adopt advanced manufacturing technologies as a way to mitigate related disruptions. But there are signs the implementation is falling short of expectations, according to a new survey from the Manufacturing Leadership Council.

Is M4.0 adoption increasing? Respondents to the most recent survey were nearly evenly divided as to whether they were increasing digital-tool adoption in the wake of the pandemic: 30% said adoption had accelerated, 32% said it decelerated and 35% said it had not changed. Prior surveys overwhelmingly revealed that manufacturers were accelerating their digital investments.

Key findings: Other data points of note include the following:

  • Most manufacturers gave themselves a low- to mid-level grade on their M4.0 maturity—somewhere between a 3 and a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. When it comes to M4.0 roadmaps, the largest percentage of respondents (33%) said that formal roadmaps were still under development.
  • Nonetheless, progress is being made in some areas. Customer support made the most strides in M4.0 adoption, with 12% of respondents rating themselves as advanced in this area compared to only 4% last year. Additionally, 20% of manufacturers surveyed said their plant floors are extensively networked and IP enabled, and 52% said they have digitization for production and assembly processes.
  • More manufacturers are keen to take advantage of M4.0 technologies: 43% of respondents said they use machine learning, and another 27% said they plan to bring it online in the next two years.
  • The biggest jump for planned usage is for digital twins: 32% of respondents said they plan to implement this technology in the next two years, on top of the 25% who are using it now.

Major risk: Many manufacturers find themselves in a perilous cybersecurity position, according to the survey. Just 19% have a fully formed cybersecurity program that includes workforce preparedness plans, employee training and routine drills that simulate a cyberattack.

  • This is likely why 57% of respondents say that their company’s plant floor systems and assets are only partially secure against cyberattacks. The need to upgrade legacy equipment tops the list of potential challenges, with 59% of manufacturers reporting that they should do so.

 Other struggles: Not surprisingly, 53% of respondents cited a lack of skilled employees as their top challenge. Some 39% said access to an adequate budget for M4.0 investments was their chief problem.

The takeaway: Despite these issues, manufacturers still see tremendous potential in embracing M4.0, according to the survey’s findings.

  • Sixty-seven percent of respondents cited better operational efficiency as a top benefit of M4.0; 49% cited better decision-making, 47% cited greater speed and flexibility and 42% cited cost reduction.
  • Disruptions of the past two years have made manufacturers want to move toward becoming factories of the future, but the realities of the ambitious undertaking are proving daunting. Those who persist, however, are likely to find great rewards.
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