News

How Hershey Makes Masks

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Ever wonder how disposable face masks get made? Recently, NAM staff photographer David Bohrer visited a Hershey facility in Pennsylvania where workers are making masks for local schools, food banks, homeless shelters and more—producing about 60,000 per month for donation. They gave him the full tour, where he snapped these mask-makers in action.

Here’s how they do it. First, workers combine three layers of nonwoven fabric into one large piece. Why three? Because you need a layer on both sides of the electrostatic filter to protect it.

(The candy pattern adds style to safety.)

Then workers pleat the fabric and insert the nose bridge. The outer edges get folded and sonic welded. And only then do you cut out individual masks from the three-layer fabric.

After the individual masks are cut, workers inspect each mask by hand.

Next, they use a machine to sonic weld the ear loops to the masks. When Hershey started making masks, workers did this by hand, but it later purchased a machine that speeds this process up. In the middle of a pandemic, every second counts.

Lastly, the masks get sterilized, bagged, labeled with a date and lot code and sent on their way.

To date, Hershey has donated more than 440,000 masks to more than 65 community organizations and nearly two dozen public school districts in central Pennsylvania.

“PPE is critical to our daily operations, and when acquiring masks became challenging earlier this year, we quickly pivoted and made the decision to buy our own equipment to make masks,” Hershey Vice President of International Supply Chain & Manufacturing Will Bonifant says. “Sharing our masks with our employees’ families and the broader community was just a natural extension of how we’ve always supported the communities in which we live and work.”

Press Releases

Manufacturers: Yellen Is a Champion of the American Worker

Timmons: “Janet Yellen possesses extraordinary expertise and sterling credentials to serve as U.S. Treasury Secretary”

Washington, D.C. – Following President-elect Joe Biden’s announcement of former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to be his nominee for Secretary of the Treasury, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement:

“Janet Yellen possesses extraordinary expertise and sterling credentials to serve as U.S. Treasury Secretary. Her nomination is, of course, historic as she will be the first woman to serve as Secretary. NAM leadership met twice with Chair Yellen during her time leading the Federal Reserve. We were struck by, and appreciative of, how focused she was on American workers and the success of the manufacturing sector. Our conversations with her were refreshingly never one-way as she listened intently to the perspectives of America’s frontline job creators and asked probative questions on how Federal Reserve policies impacted our ability to invest, hire and strengthen our communities. We look forward to a similar productive relationship in working with the future Secretary as we continue to seek clarity on additional stimulus and economic needs for the sector’s recovery.”

-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 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 62% 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: First Cabinet Nominations Signal Steady and Experienced Leadership

Timmons: “Our nation is strongest when engaged globally and acting as a beacon for democracy and freedom”

Washington, D.C. – Following President-elect Joe Biden’s announcement of key Cabinet nominees and members of his national security and foreign policy team, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“President-elect Biden has chosen a group of steady and capable hands to lead American diplomacy. Tony Blinken’s considerable experience and his strong commitment to America’s highest ideals will make him a welcome presence on the world stage. He understands that our nation is strongest when engaged globally and acting as a beacon for democracy and freedom.

“In a critical moment for U.S. immigration policy, Alejandro Mayorkas’s history-making nomination is a welcome announcement, and we look forward to working with the Department of Homeland Security under his leadership. We are firmly committed to comprehensive immigration reform, as outlined in our ‘A Way Forward’ plan, which offers solutions to protect Dreamers, maintain critical visa programs and smartly secure our borders.”

Manufacturers also congratulate additional individuals chosen to serve in a Biden–Harris administration:

  • Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence
  • Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor
  • John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

Timmons added, “Every day, manufacturers are working to rebuild our economy and bring about American renewal. We look forward to strengthening our working relationship with these departments as we overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, improve national security, promote American values around the world and strengthen our economic recovery here at home.”

-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 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 62% 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 Disagree with HHS Socialistic Price-Setting Plan

Timmons: “What this dangerous precedent will do is stifle the development of treatments and vaccines to combat future pandemics”

Washington, D.C. – Following the Trump Administration’s announcement on implementing a Most Favored Nation approach to pricing of Medicare Part B drugs, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“Manufacturers in America are driving global pharmaceutical innovation. Recent COVID-19 vaccine and therapy developments underscore the value of that leadership. As the coronavirus tightens its grip on the country, we should not be looking at failed price-setting schemes as a solution. While producing the essential supplies needed to fight the virus, manufacturers are also working to provide affordable medicines and therapies to the public. We believe strongly in lowering health care costs, but the socialist policies outlined today will not aid in the effort.

“What this dangerous precedent will do is stifle the development of treatments and vaccines to combat future pandemics, Alzheimer’s or cancer while also limiting access to critical products for those most in need. Competition and free market principles are the foundation of a strong economy, and now is not the time to abandon those values.”

Currently, the NAM is running an ad on the dangers of price indexing. To view the 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 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.37 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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

Vaccines: What’s Next?

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The creation of several safe and effective vaccines within a single year is historic. But what can we expect to happen next? NAM Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Robyn Boerstling spoke to us about the vaccine rollout—and what this achievement tells us about the state of American public policy.

What’s next: For Pfizer and Moderna, the next step is to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization. In fact, Pfizer is set to do so today, though the approval process is likely to take a few weeks.

The vaccine manufacturers are also focusing on the rollout process.

  • That includes not only mass production, but also mass distribution across 64 jurisdictions that include every state, territory and tribal nation in the United States.
  • Those jurisdictions have submitted plans to the Department of Health and Human Services for consideration, and manufacturers will work with all governments to make the process go smoothly.

How they’ll do it: In some cases, this will involve a public–private partnership with manufacturers through Operation Warp Speed, which will help distribute kits that include needles, vials, alcohol wipes and other important elements.

  • It will also involve a system for ordering and tracking vaccines that allows the federal government to keep tabs on who is getting the vaccine and when.
  • Some vaccines require two doses, which means that coordination is especially key—local governments and manufacturers must ensure that patients can get a second dose at the right time.

It takes a village: Boerstling emphasized that the vaccines’ development relied not just on a few pharmaceutical companies, but on many manufacturers—as well as an ecosystem that supports innovation, collaboration and discovery.

  • “The fact that our biopharmaceutical manufacturing community had the platforms to do what it has accomplished in a very short time is nothing short of amazing,” said Boerstling.
  • “But given the expertise, research and development investment, access to capital and all the things that make our industry competitive in the United States, it’s also something that we can expect in this ecosystem. It’s a testament to our ability to mobilize quickly and create progress.”

The bottom line: Most importantly, Boerstling emphasizes, vaccines protect us against this virus—and manufacturers must get the word out. “Vaccines work,” she says. “They protect Americans from adverse health events. And COVID-19 is the most adverse health event in our lifetime.”

Workforce

A Manufacturing Leader Shares What She’s Learned

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As more women enter the manufacturing industry every day, they need guidance from those who have already succeeded. Luckily, BASF Corporation Senior Vice President of Chemical Intermediates North America Erika Peterman is happy and proud to show the way.

Peterman is the 2020 chair of The Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Ahead Awards, which recognize accomplished women in manufacturing from the shop floor to the C-suite. She also works with BASF to increase the number of female leaders within the company, recognizing that strong female leadership brings value to corporations, as a study from MSCI shows. BASF is also a proud sponsor of the STEP Ahead Awards and participates in many programs that encourage women and girls to enter this rewarding field.

So what does Peterman have to say to women who are just starting out? Here is her advice, courtesy of a recent email interview.

1. Don’t underestimate your abilities.

As a young engineer, I was once called in to solve a problem affecting distillation operations. After chatting with the control room technician, I asked her to run a little test, opening and closing various valves while also recording process flows and temperatures. It took only 20 minutes (enough time for a pleasant conversation about weekend plans), after which I shared the solution with my boss.

That 20-minute test had a big impact on my career. Later that afternoon, my boss told me that the team had struggled with this problem since before I took the job. Had I worried about how my solution measured up to previous ideas, I may never have solved it at all.

2. Be prepared to be tested, but stay calm and trust you belong.

Women have earned a seat at the table, but unfortunately, some people will challenge you anyway. Later in my career, when I worked in product management, my boss’s boss told me my salary was “much higher” than my counterparts’. I was thrown, but I knew my response would matter not only to me, but to other women who looked up to me as a role model.

I told myself to stay calm and responded that he should consider placing me in a higher-level role commensurate with my compensation. Of course, I’d done the market research and knew I wasn’t overpaid. I also knew this boss had a reputation for trying to catch people off guard—but this time, he was the one who didn’t know what to say! To this day, I’m proud of how I managed that conversation. I knew I had to defend myself, because if I didn’t, no one else would.

3. Learn to listen and become comfortable with not being the expert in the room.

I have so many examples for this that it’s hard to choose just one. Everyone has points in their career when they do not know all the answers, and that is okay. The key is to be confident in what you do know and comfortable going to others to ask for assistance.

Considering multiple perspectives and forging strong alliances within your organization are the keys to driving progress and innovation. Let go of your ego to allow for clarity of thought and action, and it will set you apart from others.

Check out the STEP Women’s Initiative and the STEP Ahead Awards here.

Policy and Legal

Timmons: Immigrants Fill Critical Roles Across Manufacturing

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Manufacturing needs skilled workers to innovate in the United States and compete globally—and immigrants fill a variety of critical roles. For this and many other reasons, the NAM has been a longtime advocate of bipartisan, sensible immigration reform.

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons reinforced manufacturers’ commitment to immigration yesterday at a panel event hosted by the National Immigration Forum, which was moderated by Axios reporter Stef Kight and also featured Tyson Foods Chief Sustainability Officer John R. Tyson. Here’s what he said.

The skills gap: Immigration is crucial to many sectors in manufacturing, Timmons stressed.

  • “High-skilled immigration professionals fill critical roles across the country,” he said. “You think about researchers and scientists and technicians. Workers for these roles are in very high demand, and H1-B visas and employment-based immigration are one way manufacturers fill these immediate needs while we work to strengthen our domestic talent pipeline.”

And the pandemic hasn’t changed things—this is a long-term skills shortage that will continue even after the industry bounces back completely.

  • “Even though manufacturers lost 1.3 million jobs during the pandemic—we’ve filled back about half of those—we still have 460,000 jobs that we can’t fill,” said Timmons. “Legal immigration programs are absolutely critical for that workforce development, and to allow manufacturers to grow their operations in the United States, and also expand their global footprint.”

The ecosystem: Immigrants aren’t just important for manufacturing jobs; they’re also critical for the support jobs that make manufacturing work.

  • “Our employers know that our economy depends on immigrants in a multitude of support functions to enable our economy to succeed,” said Timmons. “Think of an ecosystem of educators and childcare providers, health care workers, transportation professionals, agricultural workers and countless others. They enable our sector, and they enable our economy, and they enable our country to function.”

The NAM’s plan: The NAM has long called for commonsense immigration reform, which includes creating an employment-based immigration system that prioritizes America’s workforce needs. Its comprehensive immigration plan can be found in the policy blueprint “A Way Forward.”

You can watch the full event here

Business Operations

Porta-King CEO Steve Schulte Talks Health Care

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Steve Schulte began his career running Porta-King Building Systems, a portable building manufacturer, five decades ago. At the time, the Montgomery City, Missouri, business had just 10 employees—but as it grew, Schulte decided to offer health insurance to his employees to attract and retain a high-quality workforce.

Over time, Schulte became an advocate of providing benefits like health care to manufacturing employees—and when the NAM started developing NAM Health Care to extend affordable coverage to small manufacturers, Schulte wanted a seat at the table. Today, he serves as the chair of the NAM Health Care program’s governing committee.

“I thought it was very important for small businesses to be part of a larger group to help improve the cost of their health care,” said Schulte. “Knowing how expensive it is in today’s market—as a small manufacturer, it’s very difficult to get a competitive rate. Being a part of a larger group offers a tremendous opportunity for small businesses to get involved.”

How it works: NAM Health Care is an association health plan created by the NAM, Mercer and UnitedHealthcare. It allows manufacturers with fewer than 100 employees to band together to purchase affordable coverage that is usually available only to larger companies. Offering a range of benefits and savings, the program is tailored to manufacturers and provides tools that make the process of offering health benefits easy.

NAM Health Care is operated by the plan’s governing committee, which is made up of mostly small and medium-sized manufacturers. The committee manages the NAM’s medical, dental, vision and life plans with the support of Mercer and UnitedHealthcare.

The benefits: While Schulte’s company is too large to take advantage of NAM Health Care, he knows that the initiative still provides important benefits for his company. By helping his smaller suppliers attract and retain high-caliber employees, he can strengthen his own supply chain and the manufacturing workforce as a whole.

The last word: “As time goes on and it becomes more well known in the manufacturing community that the NAM has this offering, it will continue to grow,” said Schulte. “I’m a believer in the program. I’m delighted to be a part of the beginning stages and to be able to see the success we’ll continue to have.”

To learn more about the program, go here.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Call on GSA to Sign Letter of Ascertainment

Washington, D.C. – The leadership of the National Association of Manufacturers—NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, Trane Technologies Chairman and CEO and NAM Board Chair Mike Lamach, Dow Chairman and CEO and NAM Board Vice Chair Jim Fitterling, BTE Technologies President and NAM Small and Medium Manufacturers Chair Chuck Wetherington and Protolabs President and CEO and NAM SMM Vice Chair Vicki Holt—released a joint statement on ascertainment.

“The next two months are critical to our nation’s ability to successfully deal with twin crises: controlling the spread of COVID-19 and rebuilding the U.S. economy. Manufacturers have been on the front lines throughout this pandemic—producing protective equipment, stabilizing the food supply, encouraging safe practices and developing vaccines and treatments. Now our attention turns to the distribution of safe and effective vaccines as quickly as possible, while continuing to protect against disruptions of the supply chain.

“While we understand and respect the court challenges that are a part of our democratic process, it’s imperative that our nation has a President and advisors who are fully prepared to lead our nation on Inauguration Day given the magnitude of the challenges ahead and the threats to our economic and national security, and most importantly, to the public health. It is highly appropriate that the Trump administration allow key individuals from the Biden team to access critical government personnel and information now.

“To ensure manufacturers can continue to work seamlessly with the federal government—no matter who is President on January 20—we call on the administrator of the General Services Administration to sign the letter of ascertainment immediately so that this consistent process in American democracy can begin and the exchange of critical information can commence.

“Further, we call on the Trump administration to work cooperatively with President-elect Biden and his team.

“There is no time to waste nor room for error. Manufacturers have been leading throughout these crises, and we know what is at stake: American lives and livelihoods.”

-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 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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

The Future of Supply Chains

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How are supply chains holding up under the stresses of COVID-19? How are companies preparing their supply chains for the future? As manufacturing endures a difficult year, these are key questions for all of us.

Fortunately, the new 2020 Digital Supply Chain Survey—a research initiative from Grant Thornton, the Manufacturing Leadership Council and the NAM—is here to tell us what we need to know.

The good news: While COVID-19 has caused widespread disruption in economic activity—and three-quarters of survey respondents reported some level of supply chain disruption—60% of respondents say that the disruption was only “minor.”

Still, according to the report, “around half had to rapidly reforecast demand, almost a third had to reduce production and two in five began to identify new suppliers as their existing global networks tried to cope with the initial disruption.”

The growth areas: The survey also identified a few areas where companies need to invest or make further progress:

  • There’s room for growth in identifying supply chain risks (only 23% of companies called themselves “very capable” of doing so) and in accelerating digital maturity (just 17% of companies say their supply chains are fully integrated).
  • More than half of companies—approximately 53%—say they are already beginning or considering redesigns of their entire supply chain processes.

Transformational tech: Companies are increasingly focused on making use of new technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning systems and advanced analytics that would allow them to respond better to challenges—from shifts in markets to disasters like COVID-19.

The bottom line: “While transformational initiatives were already underway in many manufacturing supply chains before the COVID crisis, the lessons learned so far this year have clearly given those plans a new sense of urgency and a clearer focus for the years ahead.”

Sign up to get the executive summary and the forthcoming full report here. You can also register for a Dec. 8 webinar about the report, featuring Grant Thornton and the MLC, here.

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