Press Releases

NAM Appreciates Biden Message and Leadership on Masks

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement following President-elect Joe Biden’s encouragement for all Americans to wear face coverings.

“Americans and the American economy benefit from a consistent message on how to control the pandemic in order to bring our economy back and save jobs and lives. President-elect Joe Biden’s message today, which is based on fact and science, is the type of leadership by example that will help us achieve that.

“President-elect Biden is doing exactly what he promised: following the science to defeat COVID-19. We are very encouraged that he has also named a task force to help us defeat this invisible enemy. It is significant that only 48 hours after achieving the electoral votes necessary to be elected, the incoming president focused like a laser on this national crisis in his first address to our nation.

“Since the early days of the pandemic, manufacturers have been calling on our fellow Americans to wear face coverings in public, socially distance and follow other smart health practices, and early in the crisis provided innovative solutions and quickly retrofitted our essential operations to meet the challenge.

“As President-elect Biden said today, while we keep working toward a vaccine, ‘the single most effective thing we can do’ is wear a mask. He’s exactly right, and we hope all Americans will join manufacturers in this simple but lifesaving act.

“Manufacturers and the business community look forward to continuing to work with the Biden–Harris transition team and administration to ensure that our nation successfully restores our public health and recovers economically.”

Background: The NAM’s Creators Respond Commitment encourages our industry to commit to healthy behaviors like the use of face coverings, social distancing, handwashing and other health practices. Join the commitment here: https://www.nam.org/crc/

-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.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Congratulate President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris

Timmons: “The American people have spoken, and they have chosen a leader who throughout this campaign spoke of healing and bipartisanship”

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on the results of the 2020 election.

“Manufacturers congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on being declared the winner of the presidential election. The American people have spoken, and they have chosen a leader who throughout this campaign spoke of healing and bipartisanship. We also congratulate Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Her election will resound through history, and we are hopeful that it will send a message that helps us achieve the more inclusive country that manufacturers work to build every day.

“Manufacturers trust the democratic process, and the vote counts are clear enough that the networks have confidently projected a winner. Poll workers tirelessly counted ballots through a pandemic to handle record turnout and make sure the process worked. Recounts are also part of our system, and we trust that they will be carried out fairly and carefully where required or requested. As part of the democratic process, we want to make sure this election is accurate and there are no valid questions about its legitimacy.

“When Joe Biden becomes the 46th President of the United States, he will take office in the face of crises of historic proportions and deep divisions. Throughout this difficult year, manufacturers have consistently risen to the occasion to help keep our fellow Americans safe, healthy and fed. We pledge to continue our leadership, especially as we race toward a vaccine, and we will work with a Biden–Harris administration, along with the new Congress, to achieve economic recovery and American renewal. Manufacturers are committed to being part of the solution.

“Our focus at the National Association of Manufacturers has always been on policy—not politics, personality or process. And so we look forward to working with anyone and everyone who shares the objectives of our policy goals—and advocating constructively with those who may not. It should be clear from the gains made by the Republican Party in this election that the American people are not interested in extreme policies from either party; they are looking for smart, stable and solutions-oriented governance. The right approach, one that can unify our country, is an agenda like that advanced by manufacturers—a competitive tax and regulatory system, infrastructure investment, comprehensive immigration reform, expanded trade and a strengthened workforce.

“This election has tested our nation. Election Day is behind us, and an uncertain future awaits. The choice facing each American is how we move forward. For our part, manufacturers choose to move forward in a way that will advance the values that make America exceptional: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity. We invite all of our leaders and fellow Americans to join us.”

-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

Labor Department Finalizes Rule on Pension Investments

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The U.S. Department of Labor has adopted a final rule that requires pension plan managers to make investments based solely on financial implications, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

What it does: The rule clarifies that pension plan managers can only consider “pecuniary” factors—that is, factors relating to the financial performance of the plan—when making investment decisions on pensioners’ behalf.

  • Existing standards hold managers to a fiduciary duty to represent pensioners’ financial best interests; the new rule cautions plan managers against considering so-called environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors unless they would have a financial impact on plan performance.
  • The goal of the rule is to prevent investment decisions based on non-pecuniary metrics rather than on the financial interests of the workers whose savings are at stake.

A win for the NAM: The NAM sent a comment letter supporting the DOL’s proposed rule in July, arguing that fund managers should be required to look out for the financial interests of pension plan participants.

The last word: “This is a positive outcome for manufacturing workers across the country,” said NAM Director of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Charles Crain. “Pension plan participants should be able to trust that their long-term savings will be protected over any other considerations so that they can enjoy a stable and secure retirement.”

Press Releases

Manufacturers Trust the Democratic Process

Timmons: “Manufacturers have faith in our institutions”

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on the state of the 2020 election.

Americans are hard at work counting the ballots and tallying the votes. That is our democratic process, and it has served us well throughout our history. Manufacturers have faith in our institutions, and all valid ballots must be counted.

-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.

Business Operations

How Manufacturers Can Prepare for Hurricanes

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In any other year, a hurricane might be the worst catastrophe facing a manufacturer. And though all bets are off in 2020, hurricanes are still a major hazard. So how can leaders protect their operations and help their employees stay safe?

The National Association of Manufacturers’ Emergency Response Committee hosted a webinar recently to answer these important questions. It featured speakers from SBP, which works on the ground to support preparedness and resiliency; Kirby Corporation, a tank barge operator based in Texas; and Good360, a leader in philanthropy and purposeful giving. Here is some of their advice. 

For workers: SBP Community Engagement Manager Amanda Gallina laid out important steps that individuals can take—and that companies can promote to their employees. These include:

  • Collecting hazard and emergency information from local and national sources like news and weather apps, NOAA Weather Radio and the Red Cross Emergency app.
  • Making a household emergency plan, which should include stockpiling supplies, establishing communication methods and emergency contact numbers, and creating an evacuation and sheltering plan.
  • Identifying and protecting important documents by storing them in a fire- and water-proof box, while giving extra copies to a trusted attorney or friend. You can also use secure online cloud storage as another backup.
  • Getting the right insurance by identifying any gaps in coverage and asking your agent the right questions.
  • Protecting your property by taking a home inventory of your possessions using tools like myHOME, UPHelp Home Inventory and Sortly. You can also make proactive improvements to your home, such as flood protections and green infrastructure, using tools like the FEMA Property Protection Toolkit or dontgoof.org.

For businesses: Kirby Corporation Vice President of Public and Government Affairs Matt Woodruff shared what his company learned while mobilizing for Hurricane Sally in New Orleans. Here are his recommendations for other companies: 

  • Make sure new employees understand the hurricane plan well ahead of hurricane season.
  • Create a checklist of duties for that must be performed, starting with the first day of hurricane season.
  • Set up remote work sites for affected areas and employees.
  • Provide support to the families of employees who live in affected areas to ensure their safety.

Woodruff also provided recommendations specific to his industry, including:

  • Create vessel and facility inspection and response teams that can be repurposed to support affected families after a hurricane or other disaster.

“A lot of what you heard about preparing for your home is also what you do to prepared for your company,” said Woodruff. “You need to have a plan. That plan needs to be written, communicated, understood and exercised. And you need to be prepared to implement that plan early.”

Helping others: There are also plenty of ways for manufacturers to support people and companies after a disaster. Good360 Vice President of Disaster Recovery and Philanthropy Jim Alvey discussed how his organization partners with socially responsible companies, sourcing much-needed goods and distributing them through a network of diverse nonprofits.

“The goal for Good360 with the NAM members is to make it easy to donate products,” said Alvey. “And I’m talking about year-round—not just in a knee-jerk reaction to disasters. . . . If you have product in your warehouses taking up space, or you’re paying for disposal, Good360 can turn it into products that can help the community.”

The current mission? Getting large quantities (15,000 -20,000) of cleaning products—including buckets, cleaning supplies, cleaning tools and garbage bags—to aid the Hurricanes Laura and Delta recovery efforts in Louisiana. You can contact at Alvey at [email protected] to help.

Watch a recording of the webinar here. To contact the NAM’s emergency response committee or be put on its mailing list, email [email protected]

Policy and Legal

NAM Wins Victory as SEC Shelves Rule Change

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In a victory for the NAM, reports suggest that the Securities and Exchange Commission has abandoned a planned rule that would have decreased market transparency and made it more difficult for public companies to communicate with shareholders.

The background: Form 13F requires asset managers to report their holdings in public companies. Under current law, if an institution manages more than $100 million in assets, they are required to report the businesses they hold shares in. Companies use that information for investor relations, outreach and communication with shareholders—and because there is no other way for public companies to know who their owners are, it’s fundamental to the day-to-day operations of businesses across the country.

The proposal: This summer, the SEC proposed changing the Form 13F disclosure threshold from $100 million to $3.5 billion—a 3,500% increase. The change would have exempted 89% of current filers from the 13F reporting requirement, preventing businesses from communicating with many owners and disproportionately affecting small public companies that tend to be held by small investment managers.

The result: The NAM strongly opposed the SEC’s proposal and led an aggressive response that included direct outreach from the NAM and NAM members to the SEC, as well as multiple official submissions to the comment file. In the face of this strong opposition from manufacturers, recent news reports indicate that the SEC will abandon the rule.

The word from the NAM: “This is a critical victory for manufacturers—from large corporations to small and mid-sized businesses,” said NAM Director of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Charles Crain. “We are proud of the extraordinary work from so many NAM members who mobilized to fight this rule—and we are pleased that the SEC now intends to preserve vital transparency for manufacturers and their shareholders.”

Press Releases

Broad-Based Coalition of Business Leaders’ Statement on the 2020 Election

Washington – Today, a broad coalition of business leaders issued the following statement:

“The strength of our nation’s democracy depends on the integrity and fairness of our elections. We urge Americans to exercise their right to vote.

“This election, tens of millions of Americans are expected to vote by mail, and it may be days or even weeks until the outcome is settled. Even under normal circumstances, it can take time to finalize results. We urge all Americans to support the process set out in our federal and state laws and to remain confident in our country’s long tradition of peaceful and fair elections.

“Regardless of the election outcome, we look forward to working with the Administration and the new Congress to ensure a strong and safe economic recovery while working to build long-term prosperity for all Americans.”

The statement was issued by the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, Business Roundtable, ITI, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

###

CONTACTS:
American Property Casualty Insurance Association: Jessica Hanson Hanna, 202-828-7137
Business Roundtable: Jennifer Cummings, (202) 496-3249
Information Technology Industry Council (ITI): Ryan Thornton, (724) 316-8930
National Association of Manufacturers: Jamie Hennigan, (202) 316-6160
National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors: Jade West, (202) 452-6109
National Retail Federation: Mary McGinty, (202) 763-8157
Retail Industry Leaders Association: Melissa Murdock, (202) 381-0627
U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Tim Doyle, (202) 463-5771

Workforce

Merck CEO Ken Frazier Talks Diversity in Manufacturing

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Merck Chairman and CEO Ken Frazier is one of the few African American CEOs of a Fortune 100 company and a passionate advocate of manufacturing’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Recently, Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee asked him a few questions by email about Merck’s approach. The condensed interview is below.

What advice do you have for CEOs looking to improve their organizations’ diversity and culture of inclusion? 

Well, first things first—you must understand your own environment. What does the data tell you about the diversity of your organization? Do your employees believe they can bring their most authentic selves to work each day? What are people telling you? You should be having courageous conversations with them.

Once you figure out what your employees think, you can work on changing that environment. You should also plan on integrating your solutions into all your internal and external policies.

From there, you need to monitor progress and make sure your leadership is modeling the changes for all employees. Those leaders must be held accountable for your D&I goals.

How have you implemented such an approach at Merck?

We work hard to make our culture as inclusive as possible, so that all our workers feel empowered to fulfill our mission of saving and improving lives. We’ve made sure that our talent processes take unconscious bias into account, from hiring to reviews to succession planning. We’ve also created employee business resource groups, which not only support people at work, but have a meaningful say in our business practices.

Meanwhile, we weave D&I efforts into our day-to-day business activities. We work to get diverse patients into clinical trials, ensure our business strategies are relevant to patients all around the world and prioritize diversity among our suppliers.

Diverse employees are also a major asset for a company serving a diverse patient base around the globe. We need employees to bring their knowledge and experience to work so they can teach us how to serve our patients better.

And lastly, I strongly believe that we must learn from and be a role model to others, both in manufacturing and beyond. We have joined coalitions and organizations such as The CEO Pledge for Diversity and Inclusion, Paradigm for Parity and The Valuable 500, all of which do excellent work in the D&I sphere.

How can D&I efforts complement the industry’s work to close the “skills gap”?

We know there were around 12 million unfilled jobs in this country before the pandemic, and there are 5 million inner-city and other African American kids who want access to the economy. They want to be participants. They want to be citizens. They want to be leaders. What they lack is the education and the opportunity—and we business leaders can fix that.

Following the industry’s June “Pledge for Action,” the National Association of Manufacturers brought industry leaders together to focus on recommending bold next steps to increase equity and parity in our sector and increase opportunities for underrepresented communities in America. Click here to add your company to manufacturers’ combined efforts to make a difference—and make a Pledge for Action Commitment.

And register here for the Manufacturing Institute’s Virtual D&I Summit on December 7 and 8, where you’ll learn more about advancing diversity and inclusion in the manufacturing workforce. 

Workforce

“The Superhero Generation”: Microsoft and York Exponential Collaborate on Upskilling

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Residents of York, Pennsylvania, will proudly tell you about the role it played in the “Arsenal of Democracy” during World War II. Today, the town is drawing on that manufacturing heritage as it adapts to the digital age. And among the leaders of the transformation is the collaborative robotics startup York Exponential, which has partnered with Microsoft’s new skills initiative to help York residents get the education they need for high-tech manufacturing jobs.

The initiative: Microsoft’s global skills initiative is designed to help 25 million people worldwide gain digital skills by the end of the year. It is intended to offer rising and mid-career professionals the skills they need to succeed in a changing economy—both during and after COVID-19. The program also includes partnerships with local companies like York Exponential that seek to upskill workers.

“If there’s maximum digital transformation in the U.S. post-COVID, we believe there is capacity in the United States for the manufacturing sector to absorb more than a million new roles in technology,” said Microsoft Philanthropies General Manager of Digital Inclusion Naria Santa Lucia.

How it works: Microsoft uses LinkedIn data to identify jobs that are in demand, projected to grow in the future and accessible to applicants without a related degree. It offers free learning content to help people develop the skills those jobs require, including soft skills like virtual collaboration. The initiative also offers certifications and job-seeking tools to connect people with applicable jobs.

In practice: York Exponential is looking to add well-rounded employees—new workers proficient in digital skills as well as experienced workers who can gain new qualifications, said CEO John McElligott. The company is combining its own community outreach—including through its training school, the Fortress Academy—with Microsoft’s tools to help students and employees gain the qualifications they need to be successful.

Why partnerships matter: Partnerships like this one offer exponential benefits by joining large-scale training efforts and resources with local talent.

  • From Microsoft: “The most important consideration is locally-based entities that are trusted by the community,” said Santa Lucia. “If we’re going to change this economy and who has access to it, it’s about the networks you’re introduced to and who is going to connect you where you need to go. The content is important, but it’s really about that personal connectivity. That’s how we get to jobs.”
  • From York Exponential: “Communities like us are often overlooked,” said McElligott. “People go to major metropolitan areas and big cities. So the fact that we’re having these discussions with Microsoft means a lot—an initiative of this size could have an outsized impact on a community as small as us.”

The last word: “This generation growing up today is the superhero generation,” said McElligott. “They grew up watching the Avengers, in a world where everything is robotics and superpowers. They are primed to do amazing things with technology—and to build things for their families, their communities and their country.”

October is Manufacturing Month and a perfect time to check out the exciting careers and training opportunities available from companies like Microsoft and York Exponential. There are still many events left, including an October 28 capstone event presented by Microsoft and called “Creators Wanted: Empowering a Diverse and Sustainable Manufacturing Workforce.” You can find the list of events at creatorswanted.org.  

Business Operations

How Ford Made Its Factories Talk

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The term “Symbiotic Simulation” might sound like a science fiction plot point, but in fact, it’s an incredibly useful framework that makes manufacturing processes more efficient by connecting digital tools with real-world facilities. Working with key partners, the Powertrain Manufacturing Engineering group at Ford Motor Company conceptualized and delivered this software solution. And this month, at the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s 2020 ML Awards, the MLC recognized the company’s work in developing it.

What it is: Symbiotic Simulation—or SymSim—is an evolution of discrete event simulation, which is when experts experiment on a computer model representing a facility in order to find improvement opportunities. Usually, that involves manually downloading data, reformatting it and pushing the data into a model ready for optimization.

SymSim shortens that process by making a direct connection to the data that is produced by facilities, pulling data out automatically to help the company understand what’s happening and how its goals can be accomplished more efficiently.

Why it matters: First, connecting the digital model more closely to the physical facility improves the quality of the simulation, which leads to better decisions and results. The second benefit is time. Traditionally, downloading the data, cleaning and processing it would take a week—but the SymSim process can do it almost instantaneously.

The long road: The idea was hatched in 2015, in a Ph.D. project by a member of the company’s PTME group. Once the Ph.D. project ended, the PTME group decided to build it out further, then added a few collaborators: software partner Lanner Group, as well as the University of East London and a team at sustainable manufacturing consultancy HSSMI.

The benefits: In general, the project has helped to improve efficiency and deliver savings by reducing overtime and eliminating costly delays. While Ford just launched the proof of concept in 2019, the project has already saved more than 1,000 hours of engineering time and around $2.7 million. In one Ford plant that was launching a brand-new engine assembly line, the company ran a daily meeting to show—in just 15 minutes—where the bottlenecks had been the day before.

The last word: “Sometimes it’s necessary to revolutionize,” said Ford Simulation & Process Optimization Leader Michael Higgins. “With these technologies, you can get stuck with making incremental changes. Sometimes you need to step back and ask how you can improve processes and leverage technological improvements on a grand scale. That’s exactly what we did.”

Along with many other leaders in manufacturing, Higgins will be one of the speakers at Rethink, the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s virtual summit on navigating disruption and seizing opportunities in the digital era. The summit will take place on October 27 to 29, 2020, and you can register here.

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