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Business Operations

VP Pence Thanks Manufacturers for COVID-19 Response

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Vice President Mike Pence recently joined 3,000 manufacturing leaders on a call hosted by the National Association of Manufacturers and the NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council regarding the COVID-19 response. He provided an update on the administration’s efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19, detailed the NAM’s work with the administration to coordinate the industry’s response and thanked manufacturers for the work they have done across the country to provide and produce vital supplies.

“The efforts of so many of you have truly been inspiring, and at times, at great cost,” said Pence. “It is clear to the president, it is clear to his vice president, and clear, I know, to the American people that American business is putting America’s health first.”

Pence specifically mentioned ASO LLC, a consumer medical supplies manufacturer in Sarasota, Florida, that stepped forward to produce 1.2 million medical gloves for health care workers. He also mentioned other ways manufacturers are stepping up, including by donating millions of N95 masks to health care workers in impacted areas.

Pence urged manufacturers to examine their inventories for equipment that could be donated to local hospitals, to communicate the White House’s health and safety guidelines to employees and to continue working with the NAM as it helps mobilize the industry to deliver and produce urgently needed supplies. The NAM has been in close contact with the White House’s Office of Emergency Supply Production, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services and other key federal agencies.

“So many of you play a critical role in the life of this nation and critical infrastructure industry,” said Vice President Pence. “We want to work with you to find a way to continue to move forward, to continue to produce and continue to operate.”

In addition to the vice president’s remarks, Todd Niemeier of the CDC’s COVID-19 Response-Health Systems and Worker Safety Task Force provided manufacturing-focused guidance, and The Hershey Company’s Vice President of Engineering Will Bonifant and Senior Director of Manufacturing, Global Supply Chain Tim Hinegardner shared steps the manufacturer is taking to protect their employees and the public.

“As manufacturers have throughout our history, we are going to be part of the solution,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “We are responding, we are mobilizing and we are leading the country.”

The NAM is continuing to provide coronavirus resources for manufacturers, connecting businesses with guidance from appropriate government officials and agencies and providing updates on the state of the manufacturing industry.

For more information, including best practices, CDC resources and more, go to nam.org/coronavirus.

Business Operations

Manufacturer Racks Up New Product in COVID-19 Response

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Marlin Steel Wire Products team member creates newly designed test-tube racks critical to COVID-19 testing efforts in the U.S.
Marlin Steel Wire Products team member James Branch creates newly designed test-tube racks critical to COVID-19 testing efforts in the U.S.

At 6:15 p.m. on Friday, Marlin Steel Wire Products, a Baltimore-based wire and sheet metal fabricator, received an urgent order. A client conducting coronavirus testing needed a large set of test-tube racks by Monday morning to continue work. Marlin had never designed test-tube racks before, but the company sprang into action.

It was a race against time. During a week when employees had already worked 40 to 60 hours—and on a day when some had begun at 6:00 a.m.—a group volunteered to work through the weekend. After working until 10:30 p.m. on Friday, they started again at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, working until 10:00 p.m. that evening and resuming early Sunday morning. At 1:40 p.m. on Sunday—just 43 hours from the moment they received the request—the racks were ready to ship.

Still, the work continued. The client asked Marlin to send the racks by plane—but when Marlin’s staff arrived at the airport, their flight was canceled. Undeterred, Marlin loaded the racks into a truck with two drivers to cover the 1,100-mile journey. By Monday morning, they were unloading the racks—fewer than 65 hours after receiving the order.

“This team is extraordinary. They’re manufacturing heroes,” said Drew Greenblatt, Marlin’s president and owner and a member of the National Association of Manufacturers Executive Committee. “Despite working 40 to 60 hours during the week, they dropped everything, pulled together and used an extra 30 hours to get things done. This is Rosie the Riveter stuff.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, the company is taking extra measures to protect employees; keeping workers at least six feet apart, sanitizing workstations and door handles frequently, and ensuring that employees able to work from home can do so. Greenblatt emphasized manufacturers’ importance to the effort against COVID-19 and the need for factories to stay open.

“That lab cannot determine if COVID-19 is in that test tube unless they have that wire rack, and I can’t manufacture that wire rack if I don’t have my steel suppliers in Illinois or my cardboard box manufacturer in Maryland or my employees in our facility,” said Greenblatt. “We’re doing this so they can accomplish their mission. We need to keep factories open because we’re making the goods that keep our world functioning.”

The NAM, working with state association partners, has asked governors and municipal leaders nationwide to declare manufacturing facilities “essential” so that businesses like Marlin Steel can continue their lifesaving work.

“Manufacturers in America are mobilizing to help our nation overcome this historic crisis,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “America’s creators will respond to this challenge, as we have throughout history. We’re in this together as we fight to keep our country healthy and strong.”

“Small manufacturers can help defeat COVID-19,” said Greenblatt. “Many make products that help labs or hospitals. Let the NAM know and let your governor know: your products and team can play a critical role to save lives.”

Business Operations

Food Manufacturer Details Measures to Combat COVID-19

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To protect the health of workers and customers, food manufacturers in the United States are strict about sanitation every day. But the COVID-19 pandemic has made the issue even more critical as our country works to contain this crisis, and food manufacturers in America are demonstrating how effective workplaces can adjust during emergencies.

New Jersey-based Premio Foods is a maker of specialty Italian sausage products with about 1,000 employees. In addition to continuing its regular rigorous sanitation practices, the manufacturer has stepped up its efforts to sanitize operations and maintain hygienic conditions by increasing the use of protective clothing and ensuring maximum face coverage.

“We’ve stepped up expectations about changing out protective clothing and gloves, so that people cycle through them more quickly,” said Premio Foods Senior Vice President of Operations Eric Fidoten, who is also a member of the Board of Governors of the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Leadership Council. “We have our employees sanitize their hands, then sanitize the glove itself—and do all this more frequently than usual. We instructed people to cover their entire head except eyes and forehead. Where we don’t mandate safety glasses, we now encourage our associates to use them.”

The company has held meetings to demonstrate proper procedures and conducted “audits” throughout the day to check that employees are thoroughly protected. It has also instituted rotating breaks and lunches to reduce large gatherings at its facilities and is ensuring high-use surfaces in breakrooms and lunch areas are frequently sanitized.

“Manufacturers across the country are committed to the highest standards of safety and sanitation,” said David R. Brousell, Vice President and Executive Director of the NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council. “Businesses like Premio Foods are a great example of the way manufacturers lead during times of need, implementing critical measures to keep workers and communities safe and healthy. As we grapple with this global health challenge, that example is more important than ever.”

In addition to leading by example, Premio Foods has recommended that other businesses and organizations work to step up their responses as well. They can do so by taking steps such as contacting a sanitation consulting company for a tailored sanitation plan, restricting vendors and other visitors from entering the facility and offering a brief how-to on sanitation procedures to any necessary visitors.

Of course, the standard measures are the most important—and achievable by anyone: wash your hands frequently, eliminate physical contact at work and observe social distancing, sanitize frequently-used surfaces and rooms and ensure that anyone who shows signs of illness stays home.

For more information, including best practices, CDC resources and more, go to nam.org/coronavirus.

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Call for IP Protections to Secure Innovation

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On Wednesday, National Association of Manufacturers Director of International Business Policy Ryan Ong testified before the Special 301 Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee on the global intellectual property challenges and priorities for manufacturers in the United States. While manufacturers have long called for stronger intellectual property protection, Ong’s testimony comes at a time when IP theft has been on the rise; a 2017 report by the Commission on the Theft of Intellectual Property found that stolen ideas, brands and inventions drain up to $600 billion from the U.S. economy—nearly double the amount found just four years previously.

In his testimony, Ong highlighted a growing tide of fake products sold in the United States, which has been estimated to cost the U.S. economy between $29 billion and $41 billion every year. He also detailed sophisticated attempts by bad actors to steal U.S. companies’ trade secrets; one 2014 study estimated that the economic loss from trade secret theft is between $180 billion and $500 billion. In addition, he discussed attempts at international organizations to weaken IP protections in the name of other policy priorities, from public health to environmental protection, and explained how these actions overlook the importance of innovation and create barriers to progress.

“The United States has long made vigorous protection of IP rights at home and abroad a cornerstone of our manufacturing competitiveness, but we must do more in the face of these and other challenges,” said Ong. “It is more critical now than ever before that the United States strongly defend intellectual property and innovation around the world in all available forums.”

Ong’s testimony was accompanied by a full list of recommendations on a country-by-country basis to protect the full scope of threats to manufacturers’ intellectual property.

Manufacturers have recently made important progress on intellectual property protections. For example, the “phase one” trade deal between China and the United States—which was a major victory for manufacturers—included Chinese commitments on trade secret protection, patent protection, trademark issues and judicial enforcement. Still, manufacturers continue to fight for robust support of American innovation.

“Every day, manufacturers across the country are transforming their operations to achieve greater efficiency, productivity and competitiveness while working to create a better tomorrow,” said Ong. “None of that is possible without U.S. leadership, driving strong rules to protect our IP and robust enforcement efforts. The success of our industry—and the strength of our economy—depend on it.”

Policy and Legal

Presidential Candidates Discuss Manufacturing at Infrastructure Forum

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In advance of the upcoming Nevada caucuses, presidential candidates convened at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas on Sunday to discuss their plans for the future of America’s infrastructure. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and businessman Tom Steyer took part in the event, titled “Moving America Forward: A Presidential Candidate Forum on Infrastructure, Jobs and Building a Better America.”

United for Infrastructure, a nonprofit that educates the American public about the importance of infrastructure to the nation’s economy, workers and communities hosted the event. As a member of the United for Infrastructure steering committee, the National Association of Manufacturers helps advance an infrastructure agenda that unites business and labor interests in a common call for urgent action to modernize U.S. infrastructure.

“From making products to transporting them to customers, modern manufacturers must be incredibly precise to maximize productivity, but without reliable infrastructure, it’s impossible to do that cutting-edge work,” said NAM Director of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Catie Kawchak. “Now is the time to deliver transformational advancements to the infrastructure that connects our communities and facilitates free enterprise.”

Manufacturers led the call for significant infrastructure investment. In 2019, the NAM updated “Building to Win,” a blueprint to revitalize our nation’s infrastructure. The comprehensive policy framework provides solutions to support workers in the United States, jumpstart economic growth, spur job creation and enhance quality of life by improving and expanding transportation, energy, water and digital infrastructure in order to pave the way for the success of new generations. It also lays out a path for Congress to fund these investments.

“I was encouraged to hear the candidates participating in the forum say that modernizing U.S. infrastructure must be a top priority,” said Kawchak. “While we won’t agree with every candidate on every specific, each candidate included provisions from ‘Building to Win’ in their infrastructure platforms. Building a 21st-century infrastructure system is a top priority for manufacturers and an issue that unites diverse stakeholders—from Republicans to Democrats and from business to labor. It will remain an important issue for candidates throughout the election cycle.”

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Lead Fight Against Counterfeit Goods

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Recently, manufacturers took to Capitol Hill to do their part to combat counterfeit products entering the United States. Counterfeit goods are increasingly prevalent and pose a threat to consumers’ wellbeing and manufacturers’ competitiveness. To take a stand on this growing issue, Johnson & Johnson recently testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce. In their testimony, the company highlighted the challenges facing health care manufacturers and the dangers counterfeiting can pose to the health of patients and consumers.

“Illicit trade has increased dramatically in recent years, impacting nearly every industry,” said Johnson & Johnson Vice President of Global Brand Protection Rich Kaeser. “The problem is obviously a serious concern in the health care and personal care industries where patients and consumers can be injured or even die due to unsafe, counterfeit and illicit products. These situations demonstrate why businesses must partner with one another and with government, so collectively we can be a greater force to deter the growing threat of [counterfeiting].”

Beyond consumers, counterfeiting also seriously impacts private shippers like UPS as well as the manufacturers that rely on their services. A new report from the Department of Homeland Security outlines a series of actions on how the federal government can partner with the private sector to combat trafficking in fake goods.

“With the rise of e-commerce and a global economy, counterfeit goods are a significant problem for many of UPS’s customers, particularly small and medium-sized companies,” said Laura Lane, UPS President of Global Public Affairs. “UPS is pleased to see the administration taking action on counterfeits, including enforcing the collection of advanced electronic data, and assurances that packages coming into the U.S., whether through the private express industry or the global postal system, receive consistent treatment and that there is uniformity at U.S. borders to curb counterfeits and dangerous goods from getting into our country.”

With the administration’s breakthrough “phase one” trade deal with China, the U.S. gained strong, enforceable intellectual property protections to help counter the importation of fake goods, but there is still significant work to be done to protect consumers and manufacturers, including ensuring those commitments are honored. In order to achieve long-lasting reform, a broad coalition of public- and private-sector voices need to be part of the process.

“Manufacturers have always had to deal with counterfeit goods, which lead to damaging consequences for consumers and the business community,” said National Association of Manufacturers Vice President of Labor, Legal and Regulatory Policy Patrick Hedren. “At the end of the day, this is about as bipartisan an issue as you can find. Manufacturers are eager to work with members of Congress, the administration and private-sector stakeholders to better protect the public from the threat of fake goods.”

Policy and Legal

VP Mike Pence Joins Manufacturers at NAM Winter Board Meeting

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Vice President Mike Pence addressed the National Association of Manufacturers’ Board of Directors Meeting on Friday. In a speech livestreamed to manufacturers across the country, he paid tribute to the NAM’s 125-year history, celebrated manufacturers’ accomplishments and praised the NAM’s historic Creators Wanted campaign, which was publicly unveiled earlier in the week—asserting that “President Trump will continue to back the efforts just like that one to create job training and vocational education and make it more accessible than ever before.” His appearance capped a three-day event attended by government officials and manufacturing leaders from across the nation.

“I’m really here just to pay a debt of gratitude,” Vice President Pence told the manufacturing leaders gathered. “You’ve been investing in your companies and investing in working Americans… You’ve really revived the confidence of the American people and opened doors of opportunity.”

The vice president touted the impact of United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, which was developed and signed into law with the vocal support of small and large manufacturers. The agreement helped secure the 2 million American manufacturing jobs that depend on exports to Canada and Mexico, the biggest markets for U.S. exports in the world.

“We have a deal in the USMCA that is an unambiguous win for American workers, American manufacturing and American agriculture,” said Vice President Pence. “And we are grateful to each and every one of you for helping to bring it about.”

Vice President Pence also shined a light on several manufacturing companies that are keeping their promises to make bold investments following tax reform and regulatory certainty, including HM Manufacturing, which invested $500,000 in new equipment, hired 20% more workers and raised wages by 25%; BWX Technologies, which created 170 new jobs at three new facilities in Ohio and Indiana; and Nephron Pharmaceuticals, which gave employees a 5% raise.

“All of you in this association and the companies large and small that are represented here, for 125 years have improved the lives of the American people,” said Vice President Pence. “I’m standing in front of some of the most generous and conscientious corporate citizens in America. Your companies get behind literally every worthy cause in every big city and small town in America. So why don’t you give yourselves a round of applause for what you and your employees do to improve the lives of the American people every day. We’re truly grateful.”

Earlier in the week, the NAM awarded its inaugural Alexander Hamilton Award to Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump for her leadership on job training and workforce development.

In addition to the Vice President and Ivanka Trump, board meeting attendees heard from Axios’ Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei and political leaders including Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford.

Want to shape the future of manufacturing? Get involved in our Creators Wanted campaign.

Workforce

NAM Honors Ivanka Trump, Launches Creators Wanted to Mark 125 Years

More than $14 million raised so far for “Creators Wanted” campaign

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Manufacturers and industry leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., last night with high-profile government officials to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the National Association of Manufacturers and the launch of it and The Manufacturing Institute’s “Creators Wanted” campaign. Hosted by the NAM, the event featured Senior Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, who received the organization’s inaugural Alexander Hamilton Award, which recognizes leaders who inspire Americans to promote, perpetuate and preserve manufacturing in America.

“Ivanka Trump embodies the collaborative spirit and relentless drive needed to solve manufacturers’ most pressing challenge—the workforce crisis,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Like no one in government has ever done, she has provided singular leadership and shown an unwavering commitment to modern manufacturing in America.”

Other leaders in attendance included Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and more than a dozen members of Congress from across the political spectrum.

The “Creators Wanted” campaign is an unprecedented, nationwide effort to reshape America’s perception of manufacturing and take on the manufacturing industry’s skills gap. Manufacturing executives are rallying around the initiativemore than $14 million in initial sponsorships will help the campaign engage communities across the country and inspire more Americans to pursue careers in modern manufacturing.

The “Creators Wanted” campaign will feature an on-the-ground, interactive mobile tour in more than 20 states and a culminating “Making America” festival in Cincinnati, Ohio. By 2025, “Creators Wanted” aims to reduce the skills gap in the United States by 600,000, expand the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools or reskilling programs by 25% and increase the positive perception of the industry among parents to 50% from 27% today.

“Since its inception 125 years ago, the National Association of Manufacturers has stood up for the men and women who make things in America,” said Timmons. “Today, manufacturers are keeping our promise to make a difference for our communities and our country. We have set ambitious goals that we intend to exceed. We will keep manufacturing front and center in 2020 and deliver the results our members expect and deserve.”

Get involved in the “Creators Wanted” campaign here.

Policy and Legal

Tax Reform Brings Jobs, Facility Growth to Tennessee Manufacturer

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Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc., a manufacturer of restroom accessories for non-residential buildings, is creating new jobs in the U.S. by expanding its toilet partition product line production in Tennessee. This $4.5 million investment in U.S. manufacturing was made possible thanks to the strong economy and competitiveness fostered by tax reform.

In 2018, shortly after the passage of tax reform, Bobrick acquired a competitor based in the United Kingdom. Bobrick has since moved production for the North American product lines to its Jackson, Tenn., facility, where they just completed a 40,000-square-foot expansion.

“Bobrick is a great example of a global company relocating manufacturing from international operations to be closer and more responsive to domestic markets,” said Bobrick President Mark Louchheim. “I’m proud that we’ve been able to do that, especially as we expand.”

Since the beginning of 2017, Bobrick has increased its workforce by more than 30 percent, and the company plans to hire more workers in the coming months.

In addition, Bobrick is investing in its five other North American plants to help them continue to stay on the cutting edge of manufacturing technology.

“We’re truly in a renaissance of manufacturing when it comes to technological advances,” explained Louchheim. “We’ve made significant investments in all of our plants. Robotics and modern technology have made us more efficient than ever as a manufacturer. The increased competitiveness from productivity gains resulted in growth, and not a reduction in our labor force. Therefore, we are not only growing the company, but we’re also developing our workforce with higher-level skills and pay.”

Bobrick’s commitment shows that the future for U.S. manufacturing is bright.

“Tax reform leveled the playing field for manufacturers,” said Chris Netram, the National Association of Manufacturers Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy. “Bobrick is a great example of what manufacturers have been saying all along. Making our tax code more competitive sets the stage for companies of all shapes and sizes to create jobs, grow the economy and invest in the U.S.”

“The lower corporate tax rate made a huge impact on our ability to continue to invest in this business,” said Louchheim. “We couldn’t be more excited about the good things to come.”

Policy and Legal

First FDA-Approved Peanut Allergy Drug Shows Manufacturing Innovation

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Last week, the first drug to treat life-threatening peanut allergies was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, offering families and children new protection against potentially deadly reactions.

The therapy, manufactured by Aimmune Therapeutics, opens the door to additional remedies that may change how food allergies are treated and give millions of people the chance to enjoy experiences like plane travel and meals at a restaurant without worrying about dangerous inadvertent exposure or cross-contamination. Aimmune is working on additional food allergy treatments as well, offering hope to individuals who suffer from a range of severe allergies.

This new development is an example of the manufacturing industry’s capacity for innovation, and a reminder of the importance of research and development. Currently, pharmaceutical manufacturers in the United States spend more on research and development than any other industry. With approximately 1,100 facilities in the United States, pharmaceutical manufacturers are leading a period of significant medical breakthrough.

“As the employers of nearly 13 million Americans, manufacturers care deeply about lowering the cost of health care—and as the innovators behind many revolutionary medicines, manufacturers are also committed to delivering lifesaving and life-changing cures for people in this country and around the world,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. “In order to continue that work, we need policymakers to take an approach to drug pricing that protects our ability to provide quality health care and spur innovation, not squash it.”

Some approaches to lowering drug prices, such as international price indexing, which is a form of price fixing, would have adverse effects by preventing manufacturers from investing in life-saving innovations. These price controls act as a tax on manufacturers, leaving less money for research and development and fewer investments in potential cures for debilitating conditions and illnesses that affect millions of vulnerable people.

Instead, manufacturers urge policymakers to take more constructive solutions that preserve American innovation and quality of care.

“The men and women who keep U.S. manufacturing facilities running go to work every day with one goal: to keep Americans healthy,” said Timmons. “We know that our elected leaders share that goal as well, but good intentions must be paired with good policy.”

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