News & Insights

Business Operations

What Will Manufacturing Look Like in 2030?

Get the Latest News

Sign up here

Given the many uncertainties brought about by COVID-19, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and more, it might seem as though what happens in the coming decade is anyone’s guess. But on closer examination, there are signposts signaling some of what’s to come—and a closer look at them can help manufacturers plan for the coming years.

At the recent “Manufacturing in 2030: The Shape of Things to Come” event hosted by the NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council, in-person and virtual attendees heard from experts, examined trends, explored technologies and discussed upcoming challenges. The goal: to look into the future of manufacturing.

“We can’t be certain about what tomorrow will bring, let alone what might be in 2030,” said MLC Co-Founder David Brousell in his opening remarks. However, “we can project or extrapolate based on current trends and conditions, with a reasonable amount of probability, what the shape of manufacturing will look like in 10 years’ time.”

Why Manufacturing in 2030: Everything in manufacturing is changing, driven by technologies capable of giving decision makers more information than ever before. Prior to the pandemic, companies were already making changes to their organizational structures, shifting from hierarchical models to more collaborative means of organizing people and processes. COVID-19 has only accelerated this change.

Brousell explained: “All around us, conventional notions of what can be accomplished in production … are being reimagined.”

Challenges and opportunities: Upcoming challenges discussed included continued global supply chain disruptions, climate change and the redefinition of the human–machine relationship. Speakers examined the technological, organizational and leadership characteristics that can set manufacturers apart and provide them with a competitive advantage.

What’s next: The MLC will soon launch its yearlong “Manufacturing in 2030” project, which will help manufacturers explore, understand and plan for the future of the manufacturing industry in the next decade.

Said Brousell: “If we do things right in the next 10 years, we have the opportunity to create the greatest engine of manufacturing production humankind has ever seen.”

Press Releases

COMPETES Act Supports Manufacturers’ Call for Stronger Stance on China, Addresses Inflation

Timmons: Lawmakers can feel confident that supporting this bill means supporting the future of manufacturing in America

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement today on the introduction of the America COMPETES Act by the U.S. House of Representatives:

“The introduction of the America COMPETES Act, which includes many components of the overwhelmingly bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, is a major step forward, and lawmakers can feel confident that supporting this bill means supporting the future of manufacturing in America. Not only would its provisions help address inflation and alleviate supply chain challenges we’re facing today, but the bill provides significant investment in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, which would also help us avert future crises. This bill also includes funding for a Supply Chain Resilience and Crisis Response Office at the Department of Commerce. I’ve discussed the programs that this office would oversee with Secretary Raimondo, and manufacturers strongly back these initiatives, which would include game-changing grants, loans and loan guarantees.

“This legislation would strengthen U.S. leadership in global climate innovation, improve environmental research and fill critical gaps in data—all while holding China accountable as the world’s biggest emitter. Manufacturers look forward to working with Congress on all elements of this legislation to ensure it meets the needs of our industry and supports America’s manufacturing workers and American families by putting the United States in a much stronger competitive position toward China.

“We will work to get it passed through the House and then work with the Senate to ensure that final legislation achieves the critical shared goals of this bill and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and makes it to the president’s desk.”

-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 12.5 million men and women, contributes $2.52 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector 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

Vaccine Myth Buster: Nephron’s Michaela Almgren Gets to Work

Get the Latest News

Get involved

Michaela Almgren already has two jobs, but in recent months, she’s found herself appointed to a third: COVID-19-vaccine information hub.

A foot in each world: A pharmacist by training, Almgren divides her time between the University of South Carolina’s College of Pharmacy, where she is an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Outcomes Sciences, and Nephron Pharmaceuticals, where she is clinical adviser and pharmacy student internship director.

  • Owing to her impressive background in drug formulation and analytical method development as a hospital pharmacist, as well as her skills as a lecturer, Almgren has also become a sort of de facto conspiracy-theory debunker when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination.

A go-to for facts: In recent months, in her capacity as both a professor and a Nephron employee, Almgren has given lectures and presentations about COVID-19, its variants and the vaccines—and she’s had significant follow-up questions from audience members. So many, in fact, that colleagues and others she has met teaching and at manufacturing gatherings have come to see her as a voice of reason capable of cutting through the noise.

  • “A lot of people just fall into this misinformation mill” about the vaccine, Almgren said. “Typing in something like ‘Dangerous COVID-19 vaccine’ will give you this feed of articles, but it doesn’t mean the vaccine is dangerous.… That’s just how these [search engines] work.”

Convincing and calm: Almgren has been the impetus for the vaccination of several employees at Nephron, which has a 100% vaccination rate.

  • “They’d say, ‘Thank you for talking with me. I was unsure about the vaccine, and it made me nervous, but talking with you made me feel that it was OK.’”

Fact vs. fiction: Almgren shared some of the top vaccine-related myths she’s successfully debunked during presentations and other conversations.

  • “They have long-term side effects.” Fact: “This is where I talk about how these [vaccine] components don’t stay in your body more than 72 hours. The idea is just to elicit an immune response, and then it’s gone. And think about it on a global scale. If it was so deadly and terrible, by now we would see millions of people dropping dead or getting really sick” as a direct result.
  • “They were rushed to market.” Fact: “When you actually look at how the clinical trial was defined, it was very similar to any other clinical trials for other vaccines. No shortcuts were taken. They just compressed the studies and ran them simultaneously.”
  • “They’re not safe for kids.” Fact: “As a parent, I can totally understand why people would be concerned” about the vaccine for children, Almgren said. “But the clinical trial is out there, released and published in terms of how Pfizer did it. The data is clear showing the efficacy is there, and the side effects are minimal. If you have no issue with the polio vaccine or the tetanus shot, why is COVID-19 any different?”
  • “Natural immunity is better.” Fact: “Natural immunity can be further boosted with the vaccine, and it wanes more than vaccine-induced immunity,” Almgren said. People who have had COVID-19 and get vaccinated “have an even stronger [immune] response.”

The last word: Check out the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute’s This Is Our Shot initiative to find out how you can protect yourself and the people you care about from COVID-19.

Policy and Legal

Sharpening America’s Competitive Edge

Get the Latest News

Get involved

The Biden administration is making new commitments to semiconductor production and planning new policies designed to bring STEM talent to the United States—and manufacturing leaders are weighing in.

The background: Last week, the White House announced a series of actions to attract STEM talent, to strengthen the U.S. economy and to improve American competitiveness around the world.

What we’re saying: NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons joined Manufacturing Institute President Carolyn Lee in praising the actions, while also pushing for continued work on these critical issues.

  • “The supply chain and economic disruptions facing American families and the manufacturing industry are driven in part by the severe worker shortage and by the serious chip shortage,” said Timmons. “Today, the White House has announced promising developments on both fronts, and we will work with the administration and Congress to build on this progress even further.”
  • “Manufacturers are leading America’s recovery, but we still need to hire more than 800,000 workers right now,” said Lee. “And according to the MI’s research with Deloitte, we will have 4 million jobs to fill by the end of the decade, 2.1 million of which could go unfilled if current trends continue. That sustained need is why the NAM and the MI launched our nationwide Creators Wanted workforce campaign. It’s why we have long focused on programs and policies of all types that will grow the pool of STEM talent in America. We have to come at this crisis from every angle, and the MI and the entire industry will continue using every tool at our disposal to inspire, educate and empower the next generation of creators.”

The road ahead: Timmons highlighted the path forward and noted additional important actions to meet current and future needs.

  • On semiconductor production: “To ramp up domestic semiconductor production, we can’t stop at today’s action, though,” said Timmons. “Too many manufacturing sectors have been unable to deliver the products American families need because they lack key components. Manufacturers are working overtime to overcome this challenge, but Congress has to do its part, which means passing USICA. Doing so will not only shore up our recovery and ease supply chain strains but also strengthen our economy and national security.”

On attracting STEM talent: “These immigration policies will also undoubtedly sharpen America’s competitive edge and help us outpace and out-innovate the rest of the world,” said Timmons. “In far too many cases, we’ve seen brilliant minds educated at American universities leave because our outdated immigration system doesn’t let them put their talents to work for America’s future. Now we can start to reverse that trend, among other key policy changes. As part of ‘A Way Forward,’ our plan for comprehensive immigration reform, we have long called for immigration policies that are responsive to clear economic needs. These policies meet that test, meaning that they will benefit our workers, our communities and our industry, empowering us to create even more opportunities for the American people.”

Workforce

Labor Shortage Will Continue, But Manufacturing Is a Bright Spot

Shortage to Go On, But Manufacturing a Bright Spot

Get involved

The future workforce will continue to ‘favor’ workers over employers, with the labor pool set to grow just 0.2% a year from 2024 to 2031, according to the Congressional Budget Office and Axios.

What’s happening: “In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby boom generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis. But now, boomers are retiring, millennials are approaching middle age, and the Gen Z that follows them is comparatively small.”

  • Unlike in the recent past, organizations now and in the future won’t be able to count on “a flood” of job applicants for all advertised positions.

What it means for manufacturers: “On the one hand, manufacturers added 349,000 manufacturing workers in 2021, the most since 1994, and on the other, the sector has 219,000 fewer workers today than it did before the pandemic began,” said NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray.

  • “In addition, job openings remain near record highs, and firms continue to note difficulties in finding and retaining workers. In 2022, we would expect to add around 150,000 to 180,000 employees, building on last year’s strong gains.”

What it also means: “The reality of the labor shortage makes clear that we need an all-of-the-above solution to our workforce crisis,” said Manufacturing Institute President Carolyn Lee. “We need to attract new workers and provide them with the needed skills. That’s why the NAM and the MI’s Creators Wanted campaign is so critical and so timely. Research shows the next generation is looking for careers that matter. They want to have an impact, and they want the potential for family-supporting jobs with upward mobility, all of which are characteristics of modern manufacturing.”

“This data also underscores why we also need comprehensive immigration reform to ensure that we are bringing the best and brightest to the U.S. to help strengthen manufacturing in America.”

Press Releases

Manufacturing Leaders Welcome White House STEM Policy Push

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons and Manufacturing Institute President Carolyn Lee released the following statement on the administration’s announcements on semiconductor production and new policy efforts to attract STEM talent to the United States:

“The supply chain and economic disruptions facing American families and the manufacturing industry are driven in part by the severe worker shortage and by the serious chip shortage. Today, the White House has announced promising developments on both fronts, and we will work with the administration and Congress to build on this progress even further,” said Timmons. “To ramp up domestic semiconductor production, we can’t stop at today’s action, though. Too many manufacturing sectors have been unable to deliver the products American families need because they lack key components. Manufacturers are working overtime to overcome this challenge, but Congress has to do its part, which means passing USICA. Doing so will not only shore up our recovery and ease supply chain strains but also strengthen our economy and national security.

“These immigration policies will also undoubtedly sharpen America’s competitive edge and help us outpace and out-innovate the rest of the world. In far too many cases, we’ve seen brilliant minds educated at American universities leave because our outdated immigration system doesn’t let them put their talents to work for America’s future. Now we can start to reverse that trend, among other key policy changes. As part of ‘A Way Forward,’ our plan for comprehensive immigration reform, we have long called for immigration policies that are responsive to clear economic needs. These policies meet that test, meaning that they will benefit our workers, our communities and our industry, empowering us to create even more opportunities for the American people.”

“Manufacturers are leading America’s recovery, but we still need to hire more than 800,000 workers right now,” said Lee. “And according to the MI’s research with Deloitte, we will have 4 million jobs to fill by the end of the decade, 2.1 million of which could go unfilled if current trends continue. That sustained need is why the NAM and the MI launched our nationwide Creators Wanted workforce campaign. It’s why we have long focused on programs and policies of all types that will grow the pool of STEM talent in America. We have to come at this crisis from every angle, and the MI and the entire industry will continue using every tool at our disposal to inspire, educate and empower the next generation of creators.”

“All in all, it’s a day of positive developments for manufacturing in America,” added Timmons.

-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 12.5 million men and women, contributes $2.52 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector 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.

-The MI-

The MI grows and supports the manufacturing industry’s skilled workers for the advancement of modern manufacturing. The MI’s diverse initiatives support all workers in America, including women, veterans and students, through skills training programs, community building and the advancement of their career in manufacturing. As the workforce development and education partner of the NAM, the MI is a trusted adviser to manufacturers, equipping them with resources necessary to solve the industry’s toughest challenges. For more information on the MI, please visit www.themanufacturinginstitute.org.

Business Operations

“What’s Ahead for 2022?” Predicts Growth, Continued Challenges

Get the Latest News

Get involved

Remote work, digital twins, an increased focus on sustainability and continued talent shortages: these are just some of the trends affecting manufacturers that we’re likely to see in 2022 and beyond, according to a group of expert panelists on the recent Manufacturing Leadership Council’s “What’s Ahead in 2022?” Critical Issues Panel. The NAM’s MLC is a global business leadership network dedicated helping to senior executives leverage digital transformation in the manufacturing industry.

We rounded up some of the top predictions as they pertain to manufacturers.

Economy

  • Manufacturing production will continue to be strong, said panelist and NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray. Toward the end of 2021, it was 2% above February 2020, “a sign that we’re continuing to move in the right direction despite … continuing supply chain challenges.”
  • S. labor-force participation is not likely to return “where it was pre-pandemic,” Moutray said. “A fair share of that is coming from retirement … [and] some people who are continuing to worry about child care and schooling.”
  • The economy will grow about 4% in 2022, Moutray predicted.

Policy

  • Washington will make moves to ease supply chain problems. “Congress knows they must do something to unleash the bottlenecks,” said panelist and NAM Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse. Legislation could involve workforce-participation incentivization in the form of training programs, as well as giving additional resources to ports.
  • The vaccination and testing Emergency Temporary Standard will be “an area for continued movement” in 2022, Newhouse said.

Technology

  • Technology will find ways to cope with what are likely to be ongoing workforce shortages, IDC Energy and Manufacturing Insights Group Vice President Kevin Prouty said. These will include automation and technologies to enable virtual and remote work.
  • More manufacturers will begin using vision analytics, Prouty said, owing to the increased affordability of cameras and the ease with which footage can be analyzed, shared and moved in the cloud.
  • Use of artificial intelligence will start to become the norm among manufacturers rather than the exception, panelist and MLC Content Director Penelope Brown said. “We’re seeing manufacturers move away from that research phase and much more toward a roadmap” for how they’re going to use AI in their plants.

Environment

  • There will be greater, more widespread movement toward sustainability. In a recent MLC survey of manufacturers, 87% said they believed manufacturing had a responsibility to society to be more sustainable, Brown said.

Dive in deeper with the MLC’s recently redesigned website, and ensure your team has access to the MLC’s full network and suite of intel, events and other resources.

Press Releases

NAM Announces New Board Leadership

Fitterling and Wengel Take Helm at a Pivotal Time for the Manufacturing Industry

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers announced the Executive Committee of its Board of Directors has elected Dow Inc. Chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling as board chair and appointed Johnson & Johnson Executive Vice President and Chief Global Supply Chain Officer Kathy Wengel as vice chair.

With the industry on the front lines of an ongoing pandemic, supply chain disruptions, a persistent worker shortage and critical policy debates, these manufacturing leaders will take charge at a particularly consequential time.

“Jim and Kathy have well-earned reputations as respected and visionary leaders of renowned global brands. We have many challenges to confront, and they will ensure our industry continues to lead our recovery and leverage new innovations to raise standards of living in America and around the world,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “And no matter what comes our way, our association and industry remain steadfastly committed to policies that uphold the values that make America exceptional: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.”

“Manufacturing is vital to the long-term sustainability and prosperity of our citizens and our economy and continues to play an increasing role in solving some of the greatest challenges facing society,” said Fitterling. “It is a privilege to represent such a critical sector as board chair of the NAM, which is committed to continually advancing our collaboration across business, government, academia and all stakeholders for the betterment of all people and our planet.”

“The NAM is widely respected for its unique ability to convene key stakeholders and address important challenges across the manufacturing industry,” said Wengel. “Now more than ever, market dynamics and the acceleration of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are providing important opportunities to advance policies that foster growth, promote sustainable manufacturing and ensure readiness and diversity of the workforce of the future. I look forward to continuing to work with fellow members and the incredible staff that make up this organization to confront the challenges of today, while addressing our industry’s needs for tomorrow.”

The NAM Board of Directors guides the association’s leadership in policy advocacy, workforce solutions, legal action, operational excellence and news and insights. More than 200 manufacturing leaders serve on the NAM Board, helping the industry advance an agenda that promotes growth and prosperity for all Americans.

The new board chair was elected at the December meeting of the Executive Committee of the NAM Board. Additionally, the NAM announced significant promotions for key staff members effective Jan. 1, 2022.

-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 12.5 million men and women, contributes $2.52 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector 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 Announce Addition of Innovation Research Interchange

Key Milestone in Vision to Be One-Stop Shop for Manufacturing

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons today announced plans to continue the NAM’s ambitious organizational growth by combining with the Innovation Research Interchange.

The IRI is a leader in helping companies drive innovation and develop the cutting-edge technologies that keep manufacturing strong. The NAM’s growing array of services and thought leadership represents another key milestone in the vision adopted by the NAM Board of Directors to become the one-stop shop for manufacturers.

“The modern association must constantly innovate and evolve to best serve its industry, and with the addition of the Innovation Research Interchange, NAM members will have access to the widest array of expertise and services in the history of the association. With this transformational development, the NAM and our industry will benefit from world-class R&D thought leadership and the proven strategies that the IRI has perfected. The IRI will continue to support organizations in their mission to drive innovation, and it will enjoy access to the largest network of manufacturing companies and leaders,” said Timmons. “This development enhances the value proposition for NAM members and is part of our ongoing commitment to provide programming that exceeds our members’ expectations.”

IRI President Ed Bernstein will continue to lead the IRI’s day-to-day operations as vice president and executive director, reporting to NAM Chief Operating Officer Todd Boppell.

“The NAM is the perfect partner for the IRI,” said Bernstein. “Together, we will be the preeminent thought leadership organization for innovation management. We have a proud history of helping manufacturers and others lead R&D that produces lifechanging products and technologies. As part of the NAM, we will be able to equip even more industry leaders with the tools to ensure that innovation is impactful throughout the entire enterprise.”

The combination with the IRI follows the NAM’s acquisition of the Manufacturing Leadership Council in 2018. “As a member of the Manufacturing Leadership Council, I’ve seen firsthand how the MLC has been strengthened since becoming part of the NAM,” said Entegris Director of Digital Transformation and IRI Board Chairman Steven Moskowitz. “The access to even more resources and an incredible network has been invaluable—especially through the ongoing pandemic and supply chain disruptions. That’s why I believe that bringing the IRI, MLC and NAM together is the right move for everyone—IRI members, NAM members and the entire industry. The combination of the IRI, MLC and NAM will not only provide continued leadership from each individual organization for their members, but also create opportunities for new value across the entire product lifecycle, thus demonstrating the old adage that the total is greater than the sum of the parts. This positions all of us for even greater success and creates the future-facing organization we need.”

As part of the transition, IRI staff will join the NAM team. More information on the IRI can be found 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 12.5 million men and women, contributes $2.52 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector 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.  

-Innovation Research Interchange-

Innovation Research Interchange (formerly the Industrial Research Institute) is an inclusive membership organization with hundreds of global members in private-sector companies, federally funded laboratories, universities and others. Founded in 1938, we lead and advance the field of innovation management by creating contemporary practices. Some of the world’s most widely adopted models—such as “open innovation,” “front end of innovation” and “stage-gate”—were born from the work of our members. We value strength in cooperation and partner with other organizations at the forefront of developments in innovation management, creating a hub for all to convene and contribute in an experimental, noncompetitive and noncommercial environment. For more information, visit www.iriweb.org.

Policy and Legal

Fender Fights Counterfeiting

Get the Latest News

Get involved

Manufacturers want counterfeiters to face the music.

That’s the message from Fender Musical Instruments Corporation—one of the world’s leading manufacturers of guitars, basses and amplifiers and an iconic brand recognized by millions. The company is urging Congress to step up protections for manufacturers and increase oversight of third-party sellers that can unintentionally contribute to the sale of counterfeit merchandise.

The problem: Manufacturers like Fender routinely face threats to their brand from counterfeit products. In 2021 alone, the company identified almost 32,000 listings of Fender products online for potential trademark infringement. Nearly 70% of those flagged listings were suspected of being counterfeit products. Yet, because those products are often sold anonymously through third-party online marketplaces, it can be difficult to go after the groups and individuals who create and supply fake merchandise.

Consumer issues: Counterfeits don’t just rob consumers of an authentic Fender experience; they can also create safety concerns. Guitars and amps with electrical components have been tested and perfected to ensure a safe product, but counterfeit and fake products come with no such guarantee.

A global challenge: Fender isn’t the only manufacturer facing issues around counterfeits and copyright infringement. According to the NAM’s research, fake and counterfeit products cost the United States $131 billion and 325,000 jobs in 2019 alone, and the global trade in counterfeits may exceed $500 billion every single year. That puts an enormous burden on manufacturers and consumers alike.

Our move: The NAM is leading the fight against counterfeit products. Our report, “Countering Counterfeits,” includes a series of suggested solutions to help the federal government and the private sector work together against fake merchandise, including:

  • Requiring e-commerce platforms to reduce the availability of counterfeits;
  • Modernizing enforcement laws and tactics to keep pace with counterfeiting technology;
  • Streamlining government coordination;
  • Improving private-sector collaboration; and
  • Empowering consumers to avoid counterfeit goods.

The word from Fender: “Protecting consumers starts with protecting the manufacturers who have built a name by putting out the best and safest products,” said Executive Vice President of Operations and Co-President of the Fender Play Foundation Ed Magee in his letter to Congress. “By working together with online marketplaces, manufacturers and trademark holders can proactively work toward preventing counterfeit goods from entering the stream of commerce, while also reactively working together to track down fraudulent sellers. When manufacturers and online marketplace vendors come together like this, the consumer is the ultimate winner.”

View More