News & Insights

Business Operations

How Smart Glasses Helped a Manufacturer Through the Pandemic

How does an expert in one facility guide an engineer halfway across the country through implementing a new technology? Food and beverage packaging manufacturer Crown Holdings found an innovative answer during the pandemic, when its employees couldn’t travel freely: it equipped them with smart glasses.

This pilot program, the subject of a new case study by the Innovation Research Interchange (the NAM’s innovation division), has shown a great deal of promise. Here’s some of what the company has learned so far.

How it worked: The glasses make it possible for experts to connect with on-site workers in real time, thanks to their built-in cameras, microphones, speakers and high-resolution display. The glasses can even be integrated with Microsoft Teams.

  • “When the pandemic started, we were trying to coordinate commissioning activities through email and WhatsApp messaging,” said Crown Holdings Project Industrial Engineer Leon Azzi. “Tasks that normally took two to three days were taking weeks.”
  • But with the glasses, “[The workers] could share with each other the PLC (programmable logic controllers) electrical diagrams and pictures using the glasses viewer, and the remote experts could point them to areas to focus on in real time,” said Crown Holdings Digital Optimization Team Head Alberto Rodriguez.

Working out the kinks: The company is still perfecting its use of the glasses, which do need some optimization for a manufacturing environment.

  • One issue is with the Wi-Fi, since the glasses need a consistent connection that is sometimes hard to find in a manufacturing facility.
  • In addition, the integrated noise cancellation headphones that come with the glasses need some upgrades, as the workplace can be incredibly loud and impede easy communication.
  • Workers also found the weight of the glasses on their heads to be uncomfortable at times, especially as they were already wearing other safety equipment.
  • And last, the screen in the smart glasses is relatively small, which can make it difficult for workers to read.

The path ahead: Crown Holdings considers the program to be a success and plans to expand its use of smart glasses in other areas, including worker training and the mapping of visual data onto equipment. It also hopes the glasses can improve worker interactions with machines via their voice recognition technology, which could allow remote workers to zoom in or capture photos from afar through voice commands.

Learn more: Read more about Crown Holdings’ experience at the IRI Learning Center.

Workforce

Watch: Timmons Talks Workforce on CBS

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons joined CBS Mornings today to discuss manufacturing’s number one challenge: finding enough skilled workers to fill available jobs.

Business Operations

Manufacturers Support Aid for Eastern Europe

It’s been nearly a year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but NAM partner Project HOPE hasn’t let up on its humanitarian aid efforts. With the generous support of many NAM members, it has helped tens of thousands of people who have seen their lives torn apart by the conflict.

What’s going on: Project HOPE—the global health and humanitarian aid organization on the ground providing relief in Ukraine and supporting refugees in Poland, Romania and Moldova—is delivering millions of dollars in medicines, medical supplies, trauma care training, mental health assistance and more to those in need.

What’s been accomplished: To date, the humanitarian relief organization has:

  • Delivered 24 generators to health facilities and 34,000 hygiene kits and nonfood items in Ukraine;
  • Launched 10 mobile medical units that have treated more than 35,000 patients in Eastern Europe;
  • Partnered with 13 local organizations in Eastern Europe to support emergency response;
  • Helped provide medical care to more than 5,800 Ukrainian refugee children in Poland;
  • Provided nine child playrooms in Moldova that have provided services to more than 3,750 Ukrainian refugee children; and
  • Donated more than 300 wheelchairs and other mobility equipment to refugees and others living with disabilities in Romania and Ukraine.

Helping those in need: “Manufacturers are committed to giving back: saving lives, protecting communities and responding quickly in times of trouble,” said NAM Emergency Response Committee Co-Chair and Senior Director of International Trade and Regulatory Affairs Ryan Ong.

  • “That includes efforts to stand with the people of Ukraine through strong support to those providing badly needed help in the region. That’s why we’ve been pleased to support and partner with Project HOPE, which is making a difference on the ground.”

The last word: “We are so grateful for the support of the NAM community who has been an integral partner in our Ukraine response,” said Project HOPE Executive Vice President of Global Health Chris Skopec.

  • “As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we at Project HOPE remain committed to continuing to deliver medicines, medical supplies, mental health support and other urgent assistance for the people of Ukraine.”

Get involved: If you’d like to donate to those in need in Ukraine and the region, you can do so via the NAM’s partnership with Project HOPE. For more information about NAM efforts or to share what your company is doing, contact the NAM Emergency Response Committee at [email protected].

Press Releases

NAM Hosts “Rebuilding Ukraine: Inaugural Conference of Manufacturers in the U.S. and Ukraine”

Washington, D.C. – This week, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs co-hosted “Rebuilding Ukraine: Inaugural Conference of Manufacturers in the U.S. and Ukraine.” The conference was led by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and ULIE President Anatolii Kinakh.

“Manufacturers have demonstrated their unwavering support for Ukraine and denounced Russian aggression,” said Timmons. “Manufacturers in the U.S. have a long and proud history of standing firm in support of democracy, the rule of law, transparency, freedom and opportunity. We stand with President Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people as they defend those values and as they work to rebuild their country in the years ahead.”

Also participating were senior Ukrainian government officials and manufacturers, as well as NAM member companies with a presence in Ukraine and the U.S. During the meeting, Kinakh thanked the U.S. for its comprehensive support of Ukraine, including through the providing of defense arms, funding and other aspects.

“This is the first business conference of Ukraine and the U.S. on such a scale,” said Kinakh. “In our view, it will enable our partners in the U.S. to learn about the true situation in Ukraine, the business climate and our priorities. It will be the basis to shape direct ties, common interests and business plans that will boost economic activities of Ukraine.”

Kinakh stressed that a stable economy, new jobs and welfare growth for the Ukrainian people were crucial to achieve victory over Russia. Furthermore, he invited American businesses that are not currently operating in Ukraine to invest in the promising sectors in the country, including information technology, energy, infrastructure, industry renovation and education.

To formalize manufacturers’ commitment to supporting Ukraine, the NAM and the ULIE signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the meeting yesterday. This MOU will serve as a roadmap to the cooperation between the two organizations and outlines the key goals and objectives for the partnership.

In March 2022, in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the NAM Board of Directors unanimously voted to denounce Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and to stand with the people of Ukraine in their fight to preserve freedom and independence. The resolution expressed support for the economic and financial sanctions implemented against Russia and called for the removal of the Russian Federation from the World Trade Organization and termination of permanent normalized trading relationship status with the U.S.

-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 12.9 million men and women, contributes $2.81 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 55% 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 visiwww.nam.org.


ULIE

Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (ULIE) is a strong non-governmental association uniting large enterprises and SMEs, which produce 80% of Ukrainian GDP. The League has 28 representative offices abroad and 39 committees for various sectors. ULIE is an observer organization in business at OECD and cooperates with BusinessEurope. It established several bilateral business councils (with Lithuania, Latvia and others).

For more information, please visit https://uspp.ua/en/.

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers in the U.S. Stand with Ukraine

Manufacturers in the U.S. are united with their counterparts in Ukraine as that country continues to grapple with the destruction caused by Russia’s invasion.

That was the message of “Rebuilding Ukraine: Inaugural Conference of Manufacturers in the U.S. and Ukraine,” an event that took place yesterday thanks to the partnership between the NAM and the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

The background: In March 2022, in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the NAM Board of Directors voted unanimously in support of a resolution denouncing the invasion and supporting the people of Ukraine.

  • In addition to affirming shared values of freedom and independence, the resolution expressed support for economic and financial sanctions against Russia, demanded removal of Russia from the World Trade Organization and called for the end of normalized trade between Russia and the U.S.
  • In the months since the invasion, the NAM has stood consistently with Ukraine and supported actions against Russia.

The conference: Led by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and ULIE President Anatolii Kinakh, the conference included representatives from a diverse range of companies from both countries, who spoke to the challenges ahead and the need to support Ukraine as it rebuilds. The event also featured opening remarks from Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova and other senior Ukrainian government officials.

  • Manufacturers in the U.S. described the support they have provided for Ukraine—from financial and technology support to equipment and humanitarian aid—and laid out areas in which they would like to continue to partner with Ukraine. These included R&D and university collaborations and sourcing for products and personnel.
  • Ukrainian officials laid out urgent needs for their country, including rebuilding infrastructure, strengthening logistics and supporting areas such as clean energy, education and workforce training.

The result: The NAM and ULIE signed a Memorandum of Understanding that laid out common values and mutual goals.

  • The organizations affirmed their shared “commitment to democratic values, the rule of law and the furtherance of democracy, freedom and opportunity for our citizens and other countries around the world.”
  • The two groups agreed to create a “framework” to help explore areas of collaboration in business, trade and economic relations.
  • The NAM and ULIE identified a series of steps the organizations can take to increase cooperation, from sharing information about each other’s services and activities to promoting visits between representatives and creating additional joint meetings and conferences.

What they’re saying: “Manufacturers have demonstrated their unwavering support for Ukraine and denounced Russian aggression,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Manufacturers in the U.S. have a long and proud history of standing firm in support of democracy, the rule of law, transparency, freedom and opportunity. We stand with President Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people as they defend those values today and as they work to rebuild their country in the years ahead.”

Said Kinakh: “This is the first business conference of Ukraine and the U.S. on such a scale. In our view, it will enable our partners in the U.S. to learn about the true situation in Ukraine, the business climate and our priorities. It will be the basis to shape direct ties, common interests and business plans that will boost economic activities of Ukraine.”

Workforce

What Manufacturers Should Know about Hiring Military Talent

With 200,000 people transitioning out of the military annually, in addition to veterans, reservists and military spouses, the military population represents a highly skilled talent pool that manufacturers are eager to tap. But how should they go about doing so?

At a recent roundtable, the Manufacturing Institute—the NAM’s 501(c)3 workforce development and education partner—brought together veterans who have transitioned successfully out of the military into manufacturing careers, as well as manufacturers who have prioritized attracting and retaining military talent. The panelists discussed how companies can leverage this talent, and here’s some of what they had to say.

A great fit: “If you look at manufacturing, a large part of the job is doing things well, day after day after day—and that’s essentially what happens in the military. It’s that military discipline. It’s one of the most compelling reasons why we should be aggressively hiring military veterans,” said Dow Global Business Director Greg Bunker.

  • “We’ve got three principles in our organization that we call ROI: responsibility, operational excellence and innovation. We know that veterans bring each of these to the table,” said UnitedHealth Group Director of People Analytics Troy Vandenberg (formerly director of people analytics at Smithfield Foods).

Networking matters: Transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce can be difficult, but veterans who make direct connections with manufacturers often land excellent job offers. The MI’s Heroes MAKE America program facilitates those connections, offering veterans opportunities to meet manufacturers as well as support in the job search process.

  • Nicole Rena, an Army veteran and now a shift operations manager at Smithfield Foods, applied to five jobs at Smithfield and didn’t hear back on any of them. But then the program manager at HMA contacted Smithfield’s talent acquisition department to ask if they could speak with Rena about why she wasn’t chosen, so she could be more successful moving forward.
  • As Rena put it, “The first 15 minutes of the call was about what I could do better on my resume, but after talking about my background and what I was looking for, the talent acquisition lead said he was going to count this as my first interview.”
  • She landed the job! In her 18 months at Smithfield, Rena has been promoted twice.

Language can be a barrier: Rena’s experience speaks to one of the disconnects identified by veterans and manufacturers alike—the language used in job descriptions and resumes. Veterans often do not know how to best describe their skills and experiences in a way that civilian employers can understand.

  • To avoid missing out on great talent, the panelists advised, manufacturers should ensure that a leader with a military background is involved in the hiring process, to translate military lingo and skills into more familiar manufacturing terms.
  • Manufacturers should also specify in their job descriptions whether they will accept military experience as equivalent to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, Bunker advised.

Support is crucial: Once veterans have been hired, the company must ensure they are set up for success. “Transitioning is a really scary process for veterans. It’s very stressful. The support that a company can provide is huge,” said Meg Zehringer, a Coast Guard veteran and a corporate environmental engineer at National Gypsum.

  • Employee resource groups are a great way to provide support to veterans while also serving as a platform to advocate for population-specific needs, the panelists agreed.
  • To be most effective, ERGs should be run by employees, not human resources departments, noted Vandenberg. Bunker added that establishing connections between the ERG and company leaders is also key.

The last word: “Equally as important as the wording of your job descriptions and preferred skills is creating a culture that invites a diverse group of people. That’s going to play a huge factor in attracting veterans,” said Zehringer.

Get involved: If you are interested in learning more about HMA, its next Heroes Connect event will be a networking opportunity with Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

  • You can also tune in to (or share with interested veterans) this Veterans Learning Series workshop on how to use LinkedIn effectively, coming up on Thursday, Jan. 26.
  • And last, HMA will be hosting a virtual hiring fair in late February. Keep an eye on the MI website for updates!
Business Operations

The Top 8 Manufacturing Trends for 2023

The NAM recently released its Top 8 Manufacturing Trends for 2023—a guide to the opportunities ahead and the resources that the NAM can offer. Here is what to look out for this year and beyond.  

Advanced and emerging technology: Manufacturers are investing in a multitude of new technologies, including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, machine learning and more. Automation and robotics are enhancing workers’ abilities but will also require many more high-skilled employees. Though the workforce shortage is a challenge, digital technologies will help manufacturers become more resilient, efficient and profitable.

Supply chain resilience: As manufacturers face long lead times, increased costs and a scarcity of raw materials, they are taking steps to boost supply chain resilience through reshoring, cybersecurity, increased supplier pools and more.

  • NAM resources: Manufacturers can benefit from resources like CONNEX Marketplace, which helps connect nearby manufacturers and suppliers; the NAM’s Supply Chain Hub—a continually updated collection of webinars and policy documents focusing on supply chain issues; and useful case studies highlighting best practices.

Talent disruptions and opportunities: Manufacturers are confronting a range of challenges around the workforce, including labor shortages and skills gaps, while also figuring out how to take advantage of previously untapped talent pools. 

Cybersecurity: The threat from bad actors is real, and strong cybersecurity has become critical to manufacturing operations up and down the supply chain. At the same time, manufacturers will have to be on the lookout for new cybersecurity reporting requirements.

  • NAM resources: The NAM can help, with support like the NAM’s complimentary Cyber Risk Assessment. NAM Cyber Cover offers cyber insurance and risk mitigation, and you can check out these videos from manufacturing executives laying out best practices for cybersecurity defenses. 

Post-pandemic growth and expansion: Long-term goals shouldn’t be downgraded, despite an uncertain economy. Manufacturers should keep pursuing technological advances, navigate government incentives and stay open to mergers, acquisitions and other investments.

  • NAM resources: The NAM Incentives Locator helps manufacturers find funds and tax credits to help their business, while the MLC offers networking opportunities for manufacturing leaders.

Tough economic outlook: There’s no doubt that manufacturers face economic headwinds. That means manufacturers need to look for ways to be nimble and responsive to changing realities and able to work more efficiently than ever. 

  • NAM resources: Tools like NAM Shipping & Logistics give manufacturers discounts on shipping and freight, while NAM Energy offers conversations with energy advisers who can help adjust energy use strategies. IRI Coffee Houses promote virtual conversations with innovation leaders to discuss new developments and opportunities.

Sustainability: Manufacturers are committed to strengthening operations and maintaining a healthy planet at the same time. More than ever, manufacturing companies are looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions.

Looking ahead to 2030: Changes in the manufacturing industry and in the world around us—from population growth to the rise of a new middle class to increased interconnectivity—have manufacturers planning for big changes in the next decade. 

  • NAM resources: The IRI offers a forum for manufacturers to connect with R&D leaders, while the MLC’s Next Phase of Digital Evolution report shows how manufacturing leaders can plan their long-term futures.

 Learn more: Take a look at the full guide for more details and to find out more about the NAM resources that will help manufacturers deal with these key trends.

 

 

Press Releases

Timmons: Debt Ceiling Uncertainty Will Derail Manufacturing Growth

Manufacturers Call on Administration and Congress to Act Swiftly

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement regarding negotiations to raise the debt ceiling:

“It is imperative that Congress and the administration reach a resolution to the debt limit issue as swiftly as possible. Waiting to act until extraordinary measures are exhausted constitutes dangerous brinkmanship that would inject uncertainty into the global economy and increase the risk of a default that would derail manufacturing growth in America, tank markets and put jobs at risk.

“We did not become the greatest nation in the world by shirking our responsibilities. Manufacturers have been working overtime to rebuild our economy, strengthening supply chains, creating jobs at record rates and helping defend against threats from around the world. All of those achievements will be erased if the United States does not find a path forward on the debt limit and fiscal responsibility. Let’s rise above this challenge so that manufacturers can do what we do best: improve lives and livelihoods here and around the world.”

-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 12.9 million men and women, contributes $2.81 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 55% 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

Melissa Hockstad to Chair NAM’s Council of Manufacturing Associations

2023 Association Executive of the Year Selected to Head Premier Industry Leadership Group

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers’ Council of Manufacturing Associations announced new 2023 leadership at the CMA 2023 Winter Leadership Conference. Melissa Hockstad, president and CEO of the American Cleaning Institute and the 2023 Association Executive of the Year as named by Association TRENDS and CEO Update, will serve as chair of the CMA Board of Advisers. Jennifer Abril, president and CEO of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA), will serve as vice chair. Made up of more than 200 industry-specific manufacturing associations representing 130,000 companies worldwide, the CMA creates powerful partnerships across the industry and ensures manufacturers have the strongest possible voice.

“The Council of Manufacturing Associations is a positive force for collective advocacy, industry thought leadership and association operations. We strive to be the group industry associations choose,” said Hockstad. “The country depends on our leadership, and I look forward to collaborating with the manufacturing association community to strengthen our voice and advance our competitiveness agenda in this new year.”

“Melissa and Jennifer are experienced and accomplished leaders who are well-positioned to continue the cooperative spirit that has made the CMA such an influential organization for our industry. To add to her long list of achievements, Melissa was just named 2023 Association Executive of the Year by Association TRENDS and CEO Update,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “I look forward to working with them to promote plans and policies that keep manufacturing resilient and uphold the values that have made America exceptional: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.”

Prior to leading the ACI, Hockstad held senior leadership positions at American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and SOCMA. Hockstad previously served as CMA vice chair.

The CMA’s mission is focused on bolstering the industry’s nationwide grassroots mobilization efforts and improving the competitiveness of manufacturers in the United States. CMA members work with the NAM to unite the manufacturing association community, and ultimately the broader business community, around strategies for increased manufacturing job creation, investment and innovation in America.

Newly appointed 2023 CMA board members include the following:

  • Holly Alfano, CEO of the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association
  • Kerwin Brown, president and CEO of the Bakery Equipment Manufacturers and Allieds
  • Charles Johnson, president and CEO of The Aluminum Association
  • Heather Rhoderick, president of the Valve Manufacturers Association of America
  • Corey Rosenbusch, president and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute
  • Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI – The Food Industry Association

-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 12.9 million men and women, contributes $2.81 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 55% 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

NAM Legal Center Hits the Ground Running in 2023

It’s a new year, there’s a new Congress, and the NAM Legal Center is renewing its efforts to stand up for manufacturers in courtrooms across the country. Coming off a successful 2022, in which it achieved pivotal wins holding the Securities and Exchange Commission accountable to the rule of law and protecting a vital visa program for high-skilled workers, the NAM Legal Center is planning on a similar sweeping defense of the industry in 2023. Here’s what you need to know.

What it is: The NAM Legal Center is the leading voice for manufacturers in the courts.  Enlisting the best and brightest legal minds—and funded through voluntary contributions from NAM members—the NAM Legal Center promotes manufacturing interests by reining in regulatory overreach, protecting vital manufacturing policies and priorities and litigating on behalf of impacted manufacturers across the United States.

Why it matters: “When lobbying efforts fall short, and a new rule or statute goes into effect, the last line of defense is the court system,” said NAM Deputy General Counsel for Litigation Erica Klenicki. “We step in to be a forceful advocate on behalf of the industry, fighting difficult fights and working to overturn harmful policies.”

Achievements: The NAM Legal Center has notched a number of critical victories for manufacturers over the past several years, including:

Coming up: The NAM Legal Center is gearing up to tackle a number of critical issues for manufacturers in 2023, Klenicki says. High on the list are the activist NLRB, the administration’s aggressive environmental, social, and governance agenda and the Federal Trade Commission’s efforts to broadly regulate the labor market.

The last word: “Right now, we’re seeing a significant uptick in executive action, and given the divided Congress, that action is only going to increase over the coming year,” said Klenicki. “We’re prepared to bring litigation as needed to challenge overreaching policies and defend manufacturing competitiveness.”

For more information, or to support the NAM Legal Center’s work, contact Klenicki at [email protected].

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