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Workforce

MFG Day 2022 Is Almost Here!

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This Friday, Oct. 7, manufacturers across the country will open their doors in an epic celebration of manufacturing in America. Students, parents, teachers, local leaders and many others will be welcomed into factories, technical schools and similar venues to see what modern manufacturing is really about.

What it is: Led by The Manufacturing Institute—the NAM’s workforce development and education partner—MFG Day kicks off a monthlong series of events that provide an inside view of the industry and the exciting careers it offers.

This year’s events: MFG Day events include open houses, expos, job fairs, roundtable discussions and more across the United States, featuring many different types of manufacturing.

  • This year, more than 500 companies and organizations are already on the national map of registered events, beating last year’s total.
  • One of the flagship events will be hosted by SAS at its world headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, and include remarks from SAS CEO Jim Goodnight and Gov. Roy Cooper, as well as discussions with manufacturing leaders from Deere & Company, Mack Trucks, Johnson Controls and ABB. Experts from SAS and the MI will speak about technology, analytics and career paths in manufacturing, while manufacturing and technology exhibits will be open to visitors.
  • In addition, the NAM and MI’s Creators Wanted mobile experience will stop at Nephron Nitrile’s new glove factory in West Columbia, South Carolina, giving visitors the chance to complete challenges that resemble real, creative manufacturing work.

Why it matters: The manufacturing industry will need to fill about 4 million jobs by 2030, and a lack of high-skilled workers threatens to leave more than half of those positions empty, according to a study by the MI and Deloitte. MFG Day is designed to increase awareness among the young people who could become the stars of tomorrow’s industry, showing them how much they stand to gain from choosing manufacturing as their career.

  • Changing misconceptions: MFG Day helps the industry push back against misguided stereotypes, demonstrating that today’s industry is high skilled, high tech, clean, creative and welcoming to people of all backgrounds and talents.
  • Opening doors: MFG Day events are also excellent opportunities to demystify the industry and show young people (along with their parents and teachers) a vision of an exciting future. The coolness factor matters—taking students through a dynamic, high-tech factory floor can fire their imaginations and change the course of their lives.

Don’t forget: If your company or organization is already on board and planning an MFG Day event, register it so that the MI can keep track of the industry’s outreach and highlight the impact of MFG Day nationwide.

  • Find more resources to help you with MFG Day planning here. And check out these useful tips for promoting and sharing MFG Day content on social media.

What we’re saying: “This is manufacturing’s biggest annual stage to inspire the next generation,” said MI Director of Student Engagement Jen White. “We hope anyone who cares about the industry’s future will use their social media platforms and amplify #MFGDay22, to showcase why manufacturers are saying ‘Creators Wanted.’”

Workforce

Creators Wanted Inspires Students in Tennessee

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If you’re a student or job seeker looking for tailored career guidance combined with some hands-on, immersive fun, White House, Tennessee, was the place for you to be last week.

National impact: The Creators Wanted Tour, a joint project by the NAM and MI, made its 10th national tour stop at White House Heritage High School on Sept. 27–29.

  • There, more than 700 students from four schools in Tennessee’s Robertson County went through the Creators Wanted mobile immersive experience, the award-winning, manufacturing-themed escape room–like activity in which participants work together to solve challenges in a “race to the future.”
  • They also got the opportunity to chat with on-site sponsor representatives from Electrolux, Schneider Electric and FactoryFix about the many rewarding, well-paying career paths available in the industry.
  • Local partners, including the Robertson County Economic Development Board, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Tennessee Manufacturers Association, were also on hand to answer jobs- and manufacturing-related questions.

Calling all creators: During the Tennessee stop’s premier event, speakers underscored the need for more skilled workers to fill the millions of open manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

  • “Here in Tennessee, our industry has more jobs to fill than there are people looking for them,” Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Tennessee Manufacturers Association President and CEO Bradley Jackson said.
  • Speaking from firsthand experience about the many benefits of choosing one of those jobs was Tony Fraley, a plant manager for Electrolux. “I’m living proof of the great career opportunities in the field of advanced manufacturing,” said Fraley, who started at the company “running a process that coats dishwasher racks.”
  • “I grew up about two hours from here in a small town very similar to White House,” he continued. “I always liked math and science. … I hope that stories like [mine] inspire the next generation of workers to consider a career that’s not only been good to me, but also offers a strong opportunity to earn a family-sustaining wage in a high-demand field.”

The numbers: The Tennessee stop resulted in more than 52,000 email signups from people interested in learning more about manufacturing careers.

An eye-opener: Students had a great time at last week’s events—and were pleasantly surprised to learn just how many interesting options manufacturing could offer them.

  • “Creators Wanted made me excited about my future,” said one student.
  • Added another, “Creators Wanted made me think more about my future in manufacturing.”

The last word: It’s past time for manufacturing careers to get their due as the gratifying professions they are, according to the Creators Wanted Spotlight panelists (and manufacturing company employees).

  • Manufacturing “is definitely very rewarding [from a salary standpoint] but also the lifestyle that you get to have,” said Schneider Electric Manufacturing Engineer Zoie McFarland. “I get to go boating every weekend. I get to go hiking. I travel a lot. … Also, I was able to buy a house at 25. So, I think that is one major benefit—the lifestyle [manufacturing] gives you and the benefits that come from it.”
Business Operations

New NAM Board Members to Bolster Manufacturing Competitiveness

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The NAM is constantly working to support and strengthen the men and women who make things in America. That mission is upheld by outstanding members of the NAM Board of Directors and their commitment to promoting the industry’s competitiveness on the global stage—a goal laid out in the NAM’s “Competing to Win” agenda.

Welcoming new faces: A number of new members have been elected to the board and will begin their two-year terms in January. They come from many sectors of the industry and companies both large and small, holding an array of leadership roles and boasting a wide range of experience. All of them are dedicated to ensuring that manufacturers in the U.S. have the tools they need to prosper.

The new members include the following:

  • Edward Blair, president, Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.
  • Sara Beth Burton, senior vice president, global supply chain, Hallmark Cards, Inc.
  • Richard Cammarano, president and chief executive officer, Tech-Etch, Incorporated
  • Karl Ehemann, vice president, global manufacturing and quality, Corning Incorporated
  • Ed Elkins, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Norfolk Southern Corporation
  • Cynthia Farrer, senior vice president, global operations and integrated supply chain, Allegion plc
  • Aimee Gregg, vice president and general manager, containerboard and recycling, International Paper
  • John Hartner, founder, Digital Industrialist LLC
  • Christopher Kastner, president and chief executive officer, Huntington Ingalls Industries
  • Ram Krishnan, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Emerson
  • Reece Kurtenbach, chief executive officer and president, Daktronics, Inc.
  • Rose Lee, president and chief executive officer, Cornerstone Building Brands
  • Thomas Long, co-chief executive officer, Energy Transfer LP
  • Michael McGarry, chairman and chief executive officer, PPG
  • Lori Miles-Olund, president, Miles Fiberglass & Composites, Inc.
  • Christopher Perkins, president North America and senior vice president Taste & Beyond North America, Firmenich, Inc.
  • Kimberly Ryan, president and chief executive officer, Hillenbrand, Inc.
  • Karin Shanahan, executive vice president, global product development and supply, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
  • Matt Shields, senior vice president, global animal health manufacturing, Merck & Co., Inc.
  • Sachin Shivaram, chief executive officer, Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry
  • Shruti Singhal, chief executive officer, Chroma Color Corporation
  • Mark Smucker, president and chief executive officer, The J.M. Smucker Company
  • Matt Wood, national industry leader, commercial products practice, FORVIS
  • Brent Yeagy, president and chief executive officer, Wabash
  • Renée Zemljak, executive vice president, midstream, marketing & fundamentals, Ovintiv USA Inc.

What we’re saying: “The diverse backgrounds of our new board members, and their varied experience across many manufacturing sectors, make their counsel invaluable to the NAM in its efforts to bolster the industry’s competitiveness,” said NAM Chief of Staff Alyssa Shooshan. “We are counting on their insights and dedication to help steer manufacturers through this turbulent time and into a position of even greater strength.”

Policy and Legal

NAM Achieves Victory in Proxy Suit

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The NAM notched a significant legal victory yesterday when a federal judge vacated the Securities and Exchange Commission’s suspension of a 2020 rule regulating “proxy advisory firms.”

The background: Proxy firms advise institutional investors on how to vote their shares in publicly traded companies, but those firms have long been unregulated and unaccountable.

  • In 2020, in large part through the advocacy of the NAM, the SEC finalized a rule increasing oversight of these firms—but in 2021, the SEC’s new leadership announced that the agency would not enforce the rule.
  • Suspending the rule without public notice and comment was a violation of administrative law—and the NAM stepped up to challenge this circumvention of the Administrative Procedure Act in court.

The win: Yesterday, the NAM won its case against the SEC in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. The decision makes clear that the SEC acted unlawfully by suspending the compliance date for the proxy firm rule without following the notice-and-comment procedures required under the APA.

  • As the court said in its opinion, “[agencies] do not have the inherent power to stay or delay a final rule absent notice-and-comment rulemaking.”

What’s next: The NAM has also filed suit against the SEC’s 2022 rescission of critical components of the 2020 rule. That case is still ongoing, with oral arguments scheduled for December—but this week’s decision ensures that the SEC will not be able to re-suspend the 2020 rule if the NAM is successful in its challenge to the rescission.

Our take: “Today’s decision is a victory for the rule of law, and the NAM Legal Center was proud to lead this effort for the industry,” said NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly. “Federal agencies are bound by the Administrative Procedure Act—standards the SEC failed to meet by indefinitely delaying the compliance date for the 2020 proxy firm rule without notice-and-comment rulemaking. Manufacturers depend on regulators to promulgate and enforce reliable rules of the road, and the NAM looks forward to similarly holding the SEC to account in our ongoing case against the agency’s unlawful rescission of the 2020 rule.”

Business Operations

Manufacturers Help Hurricane-Hit Communities

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Hurricane Ian’s devastating landfall in Florida Wednesday afternoon marked the second significant storm to hit the U.S. and territories in less than two weeks. But as is usually the case when catastrophe strikes, manufacturers are already among those leading the charge to help the communities affected.

Manufacturers mobilize: In Puerto Rico, where approximately one-third of all residents remain without power following Hurricane Fiona Sept. 18, manufacturers including Dow, UPS, Coca-Cola, Ecolab and Toyota are funding product donations across the island through NAM partners Good360 and SBP.

What’s happening: These NAM partner organizations are providing on-the-ground updates and working to get products where they’re needed most. Items of greatest need include:

  • Solar-powered power generators;
  • Nonperishable foods and ready-to-eat meals;
  • Mold remediation products;
  • Oxygen tanks;
  • Hygiene kits and supplies;
  • Drinking water;
  • New clothing; and
  • School supplies.

Meanwhile, the work is just beginning in Florida to respond to Hurricane Ian, with anticipated items including drinking water, nonperishable foods, hygiene kits, tarps, blankets and mold remediation products.

NAM in action: The NAM’s Emergency Response Committee is an employee-led, volunteer group that works year-round with nonprofit partners, including Good360, SBP and Project HOPE, to provide NAM members with disaster-preparedness resources and training.

  • These resources, which include e-learning modules, fact sheets and webinars, enable manufacturers to support their employees ahead of, during and in the aftermath of disasters.
  • The NAM’s ERC also helps manufacturers activate to aid their communities when disaster strikes—and it works to identify and highlight members that are leading this critical work.

Be prepared: In a webinar sponsored by the NAM’s ERC, Amanda Gallina, SBP community engagement manager, and Matt Woodruff, vice president of public and government affairs for Texas-based tank barge operator Kirby Corporation, gave their suggestions for hurricane preparation.

For businesses: Woodruff provided some commonsense advice for employers:

  • Have a plan: Have a hurricane-preparedness plan and ensure that all employees understand it—before hurricane season starts.
  • Make a list: Create a checklist of tasks that must be done during the season, starting with the first day.
  • Set up: Create and offer remote work sites for affected communities and employees.
  • Support: Provide support to the families of employees who live in disaster-hit areas.

The last word: “The NAM stands ready to provide resources and support for its manufacturing members and the communities in which they operate in all conditions,” said NAM Director of Member and Board Relations Isabelle Powell.

  • “We urge members to contact their membership directors with questions on how to better prepare their team or support people in their communities.”

For more information on manufacturer disaster preparedness or to be added to the NAM’s ERC mailing list, please email [email protected].

Policy and Legal

Action Needed on Interest Deductibility, NAM Study Shows

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An important new study released by the NAM shows that failure to reverse a new, stricter limit on interest deductibility could cost the United States nearly half a million jobs.

The background: Manufacturing is a capital-intensive industry—and manufacturers often borrow funds to purchase capital equipment and invest in growth. The interest they pay on those loans is tax deductible up to a certain limit. However, a recent change in tax law modified the way that limit is calculated—leaving companies with a smaller deduction and increased costs as they seek to invest in equipment and job creation.

The data: The study published by the NAM paints a bleak picture of the economic impact if Congress fails to take action to fix this problem. According to the EY analysis, keeping a stricter interest deduction in place would increase manufacturers’ cost of capital and lead to reduced investments in the U.S. economy. The result would be lost jobs, reduced employee compensation and lessened U.S. GDP. Specifically, the study finds that the stricter interest limitation will cost the United States:

  • 467,000 jobs;
  • $23.4 billion of employee compensation; and
  • $43.8 billion in GDP.

What’s next: The NAM supports the Permanently Preserving America’s Investment in Manufacturing Act (H.R. 5371/S. 1077), bipartisan legislation that would reverse the stricter limitation and ensure that manufacturers can make critical investments in themselves and their communities.

What we’re saying: “These numbers show the importance of preserving manufacturers’ ability to deduct interest and finance critical job-creating investments,” said NAM Senior Director of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Charles Crain. “With 467,000 jobs at risk, the NAM is leading the effort to secure a reversal of this harmful change by year’s end.”

Workforce

Creators Wanted Kicks Off Fall 2022 in Tennessee

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Robertson County, Tennessee, is a battleground—for companies vying for talent. With approximately 14,000 students in the school district, it’s a prime target for manufacturers looking to attract more young workers by shifting perceptions among parents, educators and students themselves.

What’s happening: The Creators Wanted Tour, the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute’s effort to build the workforce of the future, kicked off its fall 2022 tour yesterday in White House, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. The stop’s premier event offered a glimpse of the advantage the tour gives manufacturers over other industries.

  • “Our mission is to enable all students … to succeed … in a technologically advanced and culturally diverse society,” Dr. Chris Causey, director of schools for Robertson County, said at the kickoff event, calling Creators Wanted “a life-changing experience.”
  • The stop was made possible by support from Dow and Honda, as well as more than 70 other manufacturing companies, including Tennessee stop hosts Electrolux and Schneider Electric.

The pitch and platform: Area manufacturing leaders held students’ attention as they spoke about the resilience of the industry and the reward of manufacturing careers.

  • “Preliminary job numbers for August already show that Tennessee has reached its highest manufacturing employment level in over a decade—that’s over 360,000 Tennesseans,” said Bradley Jackson, president and CEO of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Tennessee Manufacturers Association, the official NAM and MI affiliate organization in Tennessee and key partner in the tour’s first-ever stop in the state.
  • Tony Fraley, the Electrolux plant manager in Springfield, didn’t just trumpet the company’s new, $250 million state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. He explained to students that robots and cobots are increasing the industry’s need for technical skills, which enables workers with these skills to make “family-sustaining wages in a high-demand field.”
  • “We have a lot of job openings, really good jobs,” said Ken Engel, senior vice president, global supply chain – North America at Schneider Electric. He highlighted the company’s advanced development program, where students “fresh out of college have a rotational program” to get experience in supply chain, logistics, lean manufacturing, marketing, finance and other disciplines.

The Creators Wanted experience: “The skills and technology on display here will help change Tennesseans’ understanding of what a manufacturing team does and how they do it,” said MI President Carolyn Lee.

  • “So, for those of you who’ve gone through our mobile experience—did you have fun?” asked NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, causing students to nod in agreement.
  • Hoping to spur more career exploration, he concluded with this: “Have you learned that you can make a lot of money in manufacturing, doing things you like to do? That’s just a taste of what our industry is about and what manufacturing teams do every day.”

Early returns: More than 200 attendees gathered for the premier event, including students from White House Heritage High School, East Robertson High School and Jo Byrns High School.

  • During the two-and-a-half day stop, the NAM and MI expect more than 700 students to visit and more than 30,000 email signups by students and career mentors interested in manufacturing careers.

The last word: “To strengthen manufacturing’s competitiveness, we must shift perceptions among, and provide opportunities to, students, parents and educators,” said NAM Executive Vice President Erin Streeter. “This stop in Tennessee will provide them with an introduction to the technologies and careers that are defining the future.”

Policy and Legal

Building Infrastructure That Works

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As supply chain disruptions and industrial shipping challenges of the past few years have proven, the U.S. infrastructure network is in dire need of a comprehensive overhaul. That’s why it’s a key focus of the NAM’s “Competing to Win” policy roadmap.

Turnkey fixes: “Competing to Win,” which focuses on immediately implementable solutions for congressional leaders in 12 policy arenas, enumerates a wide range of policies that will bolster manufacturers’ competitiveness.

Historic and bipartisan: With its $1.2 trillion investment, last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provided a solid foundation for upgrading roads, airports, bridges, ports, railroads and more.

  • In fact, much of the final legislative text of the IIJA resembled proposals included in “Building to Win,” the NAM’s blueprint for modernizing our transportation, energy, water and digital infrastructure.
  • The legislation contains nearly $550 billion in new federal appropriations for projects ranging from bridge and highway updates to significant broadband expansion and community climate resilience efforts.

The NAM’s plan: The NAM’s latest policy prescriptions are commonsense ideas that will help policymakers make the best use of the IIJA and enhance American competitiveness. Here’s a quick tour of the most important aspects it addresses.

Funding: The first order of business is paying for the upgrades. Policymakers should modernize user fees that support road and runway projects with much-needed funding.

Efficiency: Next up is fixing the all-too-sluggish pace of infrastructure projects. Some of the NAM’s recommendations:

  • Keep improving the broken permitting process to decrease time-consuming reviews and eliminate burdensome costs.
  • Clear the extensive backlog of essential infrastructure projects that are already in the planning process and awaiting final approval.
  • And last, streamline regulatory agencies’ processes so that key transportation projects don’t get tripped up by more red tape.

Flexibility: Public–private partnerships and innovative collaboration between industry and government should play a large role in these upgrades, but not every approach is universal. Policymakers should maintain key funding sources and keep the federal government involved but retain a results-oriented focus to improve our nation’s infrastructure.

The last word: “‘Competing to Win’ builds on the historic gains made through last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and presents policymakers with a roadmap for improving American economic prosperity,” said NAM Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Robyn Boerstling.

  • “Manufacturers are the backbone of our national industrial base and rely on all parts of the transportation supply chain to create, assemble and ship to market essential products and consumer goods. The steps outlined in this plan are commonsense and will generate the economic growth needed to enhance American companies’ competitiveness in a global marketplace.”
News

Dr. Ashish Jha on the Next Phase of Pandemic Response

This winter, we might be facing both a difficult flu season and another surge of COVID-19. How can manufacturers help protect workers and all Americans from illness, hospitalization or worse? Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, gave a comprehensive answer at an NAM gathering of manufacturing leaders last week. Here’s what he had to say.

The situation today: Though both COVID-19 infections and deaths are down, Jha noted that if we keep steady at today’s numbers, we’ll be seeing 100,000 to 150,000 deaths per year—three to five times worse than the average flu season.

  • However, “almost every one of those deaths is preventable,” he emphasized. In fact, we are better able to fight COVID-19 than the flu, as we have more effective treatments for the former.
  • If we take some proactive measures, Jha added, we can “drive the death number down 90%.”

What to expect: The near future is rather worrying, according to Jha. The combination of COVID-19 and flu stands to hit us hard this winter.

  • We’ve had two seasons in a row with “little to no flu”—in large part thanks to COVID-19 mitigation measures like masking and avoiding large gatherings.
  • This year, however, people have largely stopped masking and are back to congregating in person. And there is reason to expect a COVID-19 wave anyway, as infections spiked during both the past two winters.
  • Meanwhile, there are alarming indications that this flu season will be harsh. Jha noted that public health officials watch the southern hemisphere during our summer (their winter) to see what our flu season may be like—and this year, the southern hemisphere had an “early and robust flu season.”
  • In addition, the health care workforce is truly exhausted after more than two years of the pandemic. “There’s no question that this is potentially challenging,” Jha concluded.

What to do: As alarming as the situation might be, Jha says there is “good news” as well. “We can actually control and prevent a large chunk of what might be coming down the path,” he said, as long as we focus on three key measures.

Vaccines: This is the big one. Getting people vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu is essential, said Jha, and the new BA.5-specific COVID-19 shots will make a big difference.

  • The U.S. is the first country to authorize such a shot, and that means we now have a “vaccine that exactly matches the dominant variant” and that offers much better protection for today’s environment than the original vaccines.
  • Jha praised manufacturers’ and the NAM’s efforts to encourage workers to get vaccinated and urged manufacturers to continue their efforts this season, including by offering paid time off for workers getting vaccinated.

Treatment: The second essential element is treatment. As Jha explained, we have very effective treatments for COVID-19, including antivirals and monoclonal antibodies. We must make sure that people have easy access to them, via test-and-treat sites and telehealth, for example. Employers can also help workers get these lifesaving treatments, he added.

  • These medicines not only prevent hospitalizations and deaths, but also help people “clear the infection faster, so they feel better faster.”
  • “There is some preliminary evidence that they also prevent long-term complications like long COVID as well,” Jha added.

Air quality: Last, Jha cited the importance of improving air quality to combat all respiratory infections, whether COVID-19, influenza or RSV (a common respiratory virus).

  • Most Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, but don’t really think about the quality of the air they’re breathing, he noted.
  • Yet, that air quality helps determine your likelihood of getting sick, and even “makes a difference to your cognition,” he pointed out. Research shows that improving air quality raised students’ test scores in schools and reduced worker absences.
  • We can improve indoor air quality by upgrading filters, improving air exchanges with the outdoors or using air purifiers, he advised.

The long term: “The virus will continue evolving, and that means we need a long-term strategy for building people’s immunity,” said Jha.

  • The next generation of vaccines—including nasal vaccines that block transmission and “variant-proof” vaccines—will truly put COVID-19 behind us. And we need to develop these vaccines fast, via a partnership between the government and private sector, he said.
  • Improving indoor air quality will also have a huge long-term impact, he added, as the economy loses tens of millions of dollars from worker absences due to illness.
  • “We should use this moment, with all that we have learned from this pandemic, to build a healthier society,” he said.

The last word: In conclusion, Jha said, “Let me wrap up by saying thank you for the incredible leadership so many of you have shown in bringing our country as far forward as it has come.”

  • “This next set of challenges is every bit as big as the original,” he warned. Yet, when the public and private sector work together, they “can accomplish enormous things,” like the development and deployment of the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • “My hope is that we can continue doing that work together. And if we do, we can certainly get through this fall and winter without disruption, without a lot more sickness . . . and get our country to a much better, healthier and more productive place.”
Business Operations

What’s the Next Phase of Digital Evolution?

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In late 2021, the Manufacturing Leadership Council launched the Manufacturing in 2030 Project, a comprehensive examination of the factors that will influence the industry leading up to the year 2030 and beyond. The latest milestone in this sweeping project is the release of The Next Phase of Digital Evolution.

This groundbreaking white paper examines the global megatrends like population, the economy, sustainability demands, and technology development – all of which will impact business decisions and are essential for manufacturing competitiveness.

Data’s Growing Role: Data is perhaps manufacturing’s most important asset, tracking everything from individual machine performance to the status of global supply chains. Developments in digital systems for factories, high-powered industrial networks and advanced communication technologies are giving rise to the ability to collect data.

Combined with a rise in analytics capabilities, manufacturers are now able to apply that data in powerful ways to improve processes, speed innovation, find new business opportunities and ultimately create conditions for greater competitiveness.

A Rising Middle Class: Population trends will influence where manufacturers build new factories, who they hire, the products that they make, organization for supply chains and who they are selling to.

Africa and Asia are projected to have the strongest population growth, and while traditional middle-class markets in the U.S., Europe and Japan are expected to grow at only modest rates, 88% of the next billion entrants into the middle class will be from Africa.

What’s to Come: Manufacturers will also need to consider their role in creating sustainable business practices and how they will overcome persistent workforce challenges. Institutional investors are pressuring businesses to significantly improve environmental practices, while the already yawning gap in skilled workers is expected to skyrocket to 2.1 million unfilled openings by 2030.

Technology could have a role in solving both of those issues. On the sustainability front, data can be key to monitoring emissions, utility consumption and waste, while also giving rise to new processes that improve on those metrics. For the workforce, data can empower workers to make more informed decisions, automation can eliminate repetitive tasks, and technologies like augmented and virtual reality can enhance training and upskilling.

To learn more about these and other insights, download the full white paper here.

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