Manufacturers across the country are doing their part for the pandemic response—whether that means developing vaccines, producing vials and containers or creating personal protective equipment for frontline responders. They are also increasing the capacity and efficiency of vaccination operations by embedding their manufacturing methods and technologies—as Honeywell and several partner organizations did recently in North Carolina. Now, the group has published a guide to help others do the same.
What they did: Honeywell, Atrium Health, Tepper Sports & Entertainment and Charlotte Motor Speedway formed a unique public–private initiative with a bold goal of distributing 1 million doses of the vaccine by July 4. With support from the state of North Carolina and Gov. Roy Cooper, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and local governments, these organizations worked together to plan and execute efficient, safe and equitable mass vaccination events at Bank of America Stadium and Charlotte Motor Speedway in January and February.
- “These highly efficient mass events safely vaccinated a diverse group of more than 36,000 people with scalability at a rate of nearly 1,500 vaccinations per hour with average wait times of less than 30 minutes,” according to the guide. “These successes offer several best practices for locations around the world working to get ‘shots in arms’ quickly, efficiently and safely.”
Planning and structure: The guide encourages planners to offer doses by appointment only, to schedule the first and second doses concurrently and to ensure that the venue will have enough doses to serve all its guests without any waste. Meanwhile, it advises that a “task force” staff model be put in place with cross-functional teams and a clear decision-making structure.
Site selection: Planners should consider venues like stadiums, arenas, racetracks and convention centers as mass vaccination sites. But they should also consider whether these venues have:
- Sufficient space for social distancing;
- Free and available parking capacity if necessary; and
- Convenient access to public transportation.
Equity in distribution: Would-be vaccinators should take special account of underserved communities and populations, says the guide. Organizations seeking to create a mass vaccination site should engage in outreach, promote access and work to reduce vaccine hesitancy. That might require:
- Developing early partnerships with diverse faith-based, health care, business, educational, news and entertainment organizations;
- Working with the local government to create free transportation options; and
- Connecting with social influencers and community members who can help reduce vaccine hesitancy in targeted areas.
Process: This how-to guide lays out the processes an organization should be aware of and plan for—from pre-event scheduling to on-site check-in, screening, vaccination and observation. The organization should also plan to do post-event data entry, which ensures both their team and local governments can document doses correctly.
Why it matters: “Like any other successful endeavor, mass and community vaccination events require deep planning, strong leadership, committed partnerships and an army of support,” the guide says. “Missing even one of these critical elements can severely limit the effectiveness of an event, ultimately slowing down a community’s recovery… We hope these learnings will be helpful to government leaders who are building a strategy to get their community vaccinated.”
The last word: As NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas said, “Manufacturers like Honeywell and their partners in health care and government are leading us toward the end of the pandemic. It’s important that all of us play our parts to help them, as the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute’s ‘This Is Our Shot’ project emphasizes. Our industry has been protecting Americans from COVID-19 for a year now, and our job isn’t over yet.”
You can download the full guide here.
The NAM Board of Directors has reelected Trane Technologies Chairman and CEO Mike Lamach as its chairman and Dow Chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling as vice chair.
Lamach and Fitterling provided stalwart leadership during an extraordinarily difficult year. Under their guidance, the NAM achieved notable successes, ensuring that policymakers accounted for the industry’s needs and helping to make the production of masks, vaccines and other vital supplies possible.
And that’s not even the half of it. Here are some of the highlights from the NAM’s past year:
- COVID-19 response: Our “American Renewal Action Plan” shaped legislation and administrative action to get manufacturers the support they needed. The NAM team’s advocacy secured more than six dozen policy accomplishments.
- PPE production: Our Creators Respond initiative helped send millions of pieces of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to hospitals and health facilities—and after the election, the NAM worked with the Biden transition team to share insights on PPE production and distribution.
- Workforce development: The Manufacturing Institute’s initiatives, including Heroes MAKE America, the STEP Women’s Initiative and the FAME apprenticeship program, strengthened manufacturing’s workforce pipeline and helped close the skills gap.
- Legal victories: The NAM led the business community in court on issues like protecting vital immigration and standing up against regulatory overreach.
- Fight for opportunity: Through our Pledge for Action, the NAM has committed our sector to taking 50,000 tangible actions to increase equity and parity for underrepresented communities and creating 300,000 pathways to job opportunities for Black people and all people of color.
A look ahead: With Lamach and Fitterling at the helm and an exceptional team in place, the NAM is poised to expand on its successes over the past year and continue to strengthen manufacturing across the country. Already, the NAM is working closely with the new administration and Congress to make sure manufacturers’ voices are heard. To learn more about the breadth of the NAM’s policy agenda, read its newly updated blueprint “Competing to Win.”
Small and medium-sized manufacturers: Meanwhile, the current chair of the NAM’s small and medium-sized manufacturers’ group, BTE Technologies President Chuck Wetherington, will also serve another two years in his position. Ketchie President and Owner Courtney Ketchie Silver will replace retiring Protolabs President and CEO Vicki Holt as vice chair.
The last word: “Today more than ever, manufacturers are the arsenal of democracy. In our nation’s time of need, manufacturers have stepped up and manned the front lines to provide essential goods for the American people. With Mike and Jim’s sound guidance and experience, the NAM will continue to be a leading voice for the business community during these unprecedented times,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.
“Our board leaders will also help our industry lead America’s recovery and renewal—helping to strengthen and unify our nation during extraordinary times. And above all, we will advance the values that make America exceptional: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.”
The NAM is speaking out against H.R. 842/S. 420, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.
Impacting workers: The bill would remove the right to a secret ballot in union elections, allow unions to access personal employee information in union-organizing drives, prevent workers from working as independent contractors and force workers to pay union dues even if they do not support the union.
Impacting businesses: The bill would also increase liability and penalties, threaten supply chains and create an adverse relationship between employers and employees—while also making it harder for businesses to access legal counsel.
Our take: “The PRO Act is a misguided attempt to fundamentally restructure American workplaces and would infringe on workers’ rights to a secret ballot, workplace democracy and personal privacy,” said NAM Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Robyn Boerstling in a letter to Congress.
- “This bill is being considered during an unprecedented global pandemic, in which manufacturing workers are supplying Americans with the medicine, protective equipment and goods necessary to defeat COVID-19… It is critical that Congress consider policies that support manufacturers in the fight against COVID-19, but the PRO Act would do the opposite.”
In other congressional news, the NAM threw its support behind H.R. 5, the Equality Act of 2021, which would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and the jury system.
- “Manufacturers have known for years that an inclusive workplace with meaningful anti-discrimination protections helps them hire and retain the best possible workforce,” said NAM Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Linda Kelly in a letter to the House of Representatives. “Individuals can only thrive when they can bring their whole selves to work. Manufacturers can only attract talented employees when those employees feel safe from discrimination, harassment or worse at work and in their communities.”
There’s a new administration in town, and the NAM also has a new trade policy leader—who is already out promoting manufacturers’ agenda. Ken Monahan became the NAM’s Vice President of International Economic Affairs in January after nearly six years at the organization, and he is perfectly equipped to represent the industry on these crucial issues.
Monahan recently spoke to us about the organization’s priorities for the year ahead. Here’s what you need to know.
The big picture: “The NAM’s priority is to stand up for manufacturers and manufacturing workers in the United States by ensuring that our trading partners hold up their end of the bargain, while also working to open markets for American-made exports and promote U.S. supply chains,” says Monahan.
USMCA and Trade Enforcement: The NAM achieved a victory when Congress passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, but although the agreement is already being implemented, the NAM’s work is not yet finished. The focus now turns to ensuring that Mexico and Canada follow through on their USMCA commitments, while also holding other U.S. partners accountable as well.
- “Manufacturers continue to face trade barriers and other measures in countries with which the United States has trade agreements, notably in Mexico,” said Monahan. “We stand ready to work with the Biden administration and Congress to ensure that U.S. trade agreement partners treat our industry fairly, which will support manufacturers and manufacturing jobs here in America through an increase in exports.”
China: Given the rise of China, U.S. ties to the country and the size of the Chinese market, we need a strong strategy going forward. The United States must put consistent, targeted pressure on China – directly and with allies – to reverse its illegal subsidies, intellectual property theft and discriminatory industrial policies, says Monahan.
- “We must work with allies to set a clear, strong strategy on China, leveraging our strengths to halt problematic Chinese behaviors and level the playing field for manufacturers,” said Monahan. “We need strong American leadership to ensure that the United States – and not China – is writing the rules of global trade to benefit manufacturers and employees in America.”
Opening New Markets: Beyond China, it is vital that U.S. policymakers work to open new markets and ensure that the rules-based global trading system allows manufacturers to confront challenges in markets around the world, says Monahan.
- “We need to revitalize the rules-based international trading system and pursue new trade agreements to reverse unfair barriers, enhance the role of free market forces, promote respect for the rule of law and propel manufacturing innovation around the world,” said Monahan. “This is all the more important given that our competitors are pursuing their own deals with countries with which the United States does not have trade agreements.”
The bottom line: “As we engage with the Biden administration and legislators of both parties to promote a trade policy that opens markets for American-made exports and promotes U.S. supply chains, we must put a spotlight on the American manufacturing employees whose jobs depend on trade,” said Monahan. “We want to tell their stories. We want to share at every opportunity how trade is lifting up these employees and their communities. That’s our focus, and we’re excited to get to work alongside the NAM’s members.”
As President Biden pushes for a majority of elementary schools to be open five days a week by the end of his first 100 days in office, the Federal Communications Commission is engaged in an important effort to ensure students learning remotely are still connected to their classrooms.
The big shift: The FCC is updating the E-Rate program, which supports broadband access for schools and libraries, to allow funds to be used for at-home learning—and the NAM has advocated for this change.
Why it matters: While President Biden is aiming to send more kids back to school soon, it’s clear that they need more assistance while they are still at home. In addition, high school students may stay home for longer than elementary school kids (due to higher risks of contagion among older students) and thus require longer-term support.
Our view: “Ensuring the FCC’s current programs for schools and libraries are adapting to meet these new remote needs is of critical importance, and the cost of not responding to the changing environment is high,” said NAM Director of Innovation Policy Stephanie Hall in a comment letter to the FCC. “The FCC should coordinate with the Department of Education on necessary revisions to the E-Rate program or to build consensus on new alternatives that can close the digital divide.”
In related news, the FCC held a roundtable last Friday to discuss how to quickly implement the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program—another important initiative for manufacturing communities. Established late last year, the initiative allocates $3.2 billion for discounts on internet service for people who are struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- What it includes: The program offers up to $50 per month for eligible consumers and up to $75 per month for eligible consumers on Tribal Lands. Some eligible participants can also receive discounts on personal computers or laptops.
The last word: As Hall says, “Manufacturers recognize that enhanced broadband investment and the growth of next generation wireless networks are critical both for the current challenges in COVID-19 and to support continued U.S. technological leadership.”
As we wait to get our shots, many people still have questions. Does it matter which vaccine I get? What safety precautions should I continue to take? We talked to highly cited infectious disease expert Dr. Aaron Richterman of Penn Medicine to get some answers to these very real concerns.
Which vaccine? As Richterman tells us, the priority for vaccines is preventing bad outcomes—death and severe illness. And the good news? “The really, really good news is that all of these vaccines that have been tested so far—all of them—prevent severe outcomes.” That list includes vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax. (Only Pfizer and Moderna are approved in the U.S. so far, while the J&J vaccine is expected to be approved soon.)
- And the clincher? “When you put all the trials together [including the Russian vaccine trial], there are somewhere around 80,000 to 90,000 people total who have received the vaccine, and none of them have required hospitalization—and none have died,” says Richterman.
Let’s talk specifics: What about the different numbers we’ve been seeing? As Richterman points out, we’re all used to seeing different headline numbers—95% effective, or 72%, and so forth. But what does that really mean?
- What those numbers represent is the “reduction in any symptomatic illness at all,” he explains. But the main thing we should be concerned about is the prevention of severe illness or death—which all the vaccines do extremely well.
When should I get it? As soon as possible, says Richterman. “At this point in time, and probably for the next four to six months in this country, the benefit of getting the first vaccine available to you is going to outweigh any potential benefit from waiting for the next one.” If you are offered an FDA-approved vaccine now, he says: “take it.”
What you should know: Here are some key facts to keep in mind as you read media coverage of vaccinations, says Richterman.
- Quality: “The quality of evidence underpinning the data for these vaccines […] is grade A plus, top of the line.”
- Safety: “These are extremely safe vaccines, among the safest out there. Some people will have temporary side effects, but they are very safe.”
- Prevention of severe outcomes: These vaccines prevent severe outcomes to a “tremendous” degree, Richterman stresses. “If these vaccines can take COVID-19 down to something asymptomatic, or something more like a cold, that’s a big win.”
And lastly, do you have to wear masks and socially distance after being vaccinated? “Especially right now, when there’s a lot of community transmission,” Richterman says, “and we’re still learning about new variants, it’s a good idea to keep things as safe as possible.” However, “people should be informed that the vaccine reduces their risk and the risk for those around them.”
Manufacturers have pitched in remarkably to help us all through COVID-19—by making things you might expect to be essential (masks, gowns) and things you might not (wire racks, foam). One major manufacturer, Caterpillar, has contributed to the relief efforts in a wide variety of ways across the country and around the world. Here are some of its contributions.
Heating hospital tents: Caterpillar generators made a key appearance in Atlanta during the worst of the 2020 spring surge. Local hospitals set up testing sites outdoors so they could admit only confirmed COVID-19 cases, thus keeping noninfected patients safer from exposure. But to do that, they needed power.
Cat® Dealer Yancey Power Systems provided exactly the power they needed, after thoroughly evaluating the sites, making a detailed plan for servicing them safely and creating an easy set-up process.
Helping to make face shields: A Peoria manufacturer of face shields was missing a critical component—and local hospitals desperately needed those shields. The manufacturer called a Caterpillar distribution center at about 9:00 one morning and had what it needed just an hour later.
Donating materials: And speaking of face shields, a Caterpillar facility in Brazil donated production materials for face shields to local manufacturers, so that doctors in their hard-hit region would be better protected.
Feeding people: The Caterpillar team in Seguin, Texas, hosted two huge food distribution events in 2020. The event in May provided more than 700 families with enough food for two weeks, while in December, the Caterpillar Seguin team and the local food bank provided food to 955 families from 10 different counties.
Powering tugboats: Remember the rousing scene in March when the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship, sailed into New York Harbor? You may not recall the two tugboats that helped it dock, but they were essential. And inside those tugboats were two Caterpillar engines, which ensured the boats could serve their city when it needed them.
Providing support: The Caterpillar Foundation also committed $10 million to support global and local COVID-19 response activities. Together with the incredible outpouring of support from employees and retirees through the Foundation’s special 2:1 match, these contributions have helped keep communities safe and strong.
The last word: “Our employees, dealers and customers around the globe are doing what they can to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and ensure essential work continues,” says Kathryn Karol, Caterpillar vice president of global government and corporate affairs. “They truly embody our values in action, finding ways to help each other and their communities during these difficult days.”
If you’re a manufacturer looking to begin—or improve—your diversity and inclusion efforts, you’ll need some expert advice. That’s why The Manufacturing Institute—the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers—hosted a virtual summit recently on D&I development, drawing together a variety of experts in one comprehensive event. Now you can watch the event online, and to get you started, we’ll give you a quick overview.
Why it matters: Manufacturing workers are deeply diverse in all sorts of ways: age, gender, race and ethnicity, ability and sexual orientation—not to mention education, life experience and socioeconomic background. To be competitive, businesses must be able to connect with the skills and experiences of a wide range of communities.
The main events: The first day of the summit was broken down into several “dimensions” of D&I, each with its own panel of experts:
- Race Dimension: Representatives from HBCU Connect, Pfizer and Ingredion discussed how leaders can promote racial equity in their companies and communities—including by setting measurable hiring goals and increasing internal candidate development.
- Ability Dimension: Panelists from Autism Speaks, Stanley Black & Decker and Lee Container Corporation discussed their work with manufacturers to create 1 million employment and leadership opportunities by 2025 for people with autism and intellectual and/or developmental differences. The panelists highlighted data showing how neuro-diverse individuals strengthen the workforce overall.
- Sexual Orientation Dimension: Representatives of Out Leadership and Dow spoke about how manufacturers can stand up for LGBT+ equality and D&I overall. They recommended supporting LGBT+ equality by being vocal allies and signing on to court cases that protect LGBT+ rights. They also talked about why bringing your whole self to the workplace is critical.
- Military Dimension: Panelists from the MI, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and Johnson & Johnson discussed how manufacturers can connect directly to transitioning service members, veterans, the National Guard, reservists and active-duty military spouses, including through programs like the MI’s Heroes MAKE America—an integrated training, certification and career-readiness initiative.
- Gender Dimension: Panelists from the MI, Fresenius Medical Care North America and BASF Corporation discussed the steps companies can take to support women in manufacturing—such as creating supportive women-led networks within their businesses and ensuring uniforms are available in female sizes. They also noted the critical progress made so far by programs like the MI’s STEP Women’s Initiative and through local employee resource groups.
- Age Dimension: With one-quarter of the manufacturing workforce over 55 years old, manufacturers must adapt to the needs of older workers. Panelists from AARP, ALOM and Winton Machine Company discussed the importance of two-way learning and how creating mentor–mentee relationships between younger and older employees can build a stronger workforce.
And that’s not all. . . Day Two featured an executive panel titled “Voices from Leadership,” with leaders from the MI, Arconic, Intel Corporation and Deloitte. It also included a goals-oriented panel called “Building D&I Into Team and Individual Goals,” featuring speakers from the MI, BP America, Trane Technologies and Covestro, which focused on how to put this work into practice.
The last word: “We need to close the racial inequities and the gaps that we have in our society because it is the right thing to do, but it is also the economic imperative for our sector,” said MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “We need more people—and the workforce of the future is going to look different than the workforce of today.”
The NAM’s creative shop, always on the cutting edge, is bringing you something new: a collaboration with PTC to showcase the digital transformation in manufacturing. Today, the NAM and PTC are launching a series of co-branded videos to show both manufacturers and the public what the future will look like.
Watch: Before we go any further, take a few minutes to watch the first video in this series. In it, robotics company Hirebotics talks about how PTC’s Onshape cloud-based system allows it to design innovative welding robots that can be directed by a smartphone—and hired out to whatever company needs them.
The background: Over the past year, PTC has become a more visible presence to NAM members as a national sponsor of the association, expanding the NAM’s support of manufacturers in the United States and helping companies capitalize on digital technologies.
But the origins of this collaboration go back further than that. This sponsorship is a continuation of NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons’ “2020 Vision,” which he outlined back in 2015. Timmons envisioned turning the NAM into a “one-stop shop” for manufacturers—in advocacy, workforce development, legal action, news and more. Now, with PTC’s help, the NAM is giving voice (and visuals) to the industry’s future in more ways.
And there’s more . . . This series isn’t the only product of the collaboration—PTC President and CEO Jim Heppelmann has lent his expertise to the NAM’s board meetings and Leading Edge events, most recently giving a keynote address at the virtual Leading Edge Supply Chain Forum. Those of you interested in the business implications of the internet of things, augmented reality and the emergence of SaaS-based industrial solutions won’t want to miss his appearances in the future.
PTC says: Mike DiTullio, PTC’s president of SaaS business and an NAM board member, said of the partnership, “By partnering with the NAM on the Makers Series, we hope to inspire manufacturers with stories of how software is empowering manufacturers to transform and drive outcomes never thought imaginable. We are proud to be a member of the NAM, and even more proud to support the manufacturers of America.”
The NAM says: Timmons said of the partnership, “Through the Makers Series, PTC is providing powerful thought leadership, showcasing the incredible technologies that define modern manufacturing. We’re grateful that they are sharing their expertise and sponsoring this exciting initiative. They have created a model that demonstrates what the NAM is capable of producing alongside our members.”
Key members of Congress are seeking to include a significant rollback of net operating loss relief in a COVID-19 relief bill, according to Politico (subscription).
What it is: When a company’s deductible expenses are greater than its revenues, it results in a net operating loss. Under the CARES Act, companies with losses from 2018, 2019 and 2020 can carry these losses back for the five previous years and have the losses offset up to 100% of taxable income, providing critical liquidity through tax refunds.
- Some members of Congress now want to limit carrybacks of businesses’ 2020 losses to only two prior tax years, while also limiting the amount of relief for pass-throughs.
Why it matters: The provision provides important liquidity support, especially for small and medium-sized manufacturers. Eliminating or reducing it could make it more challenging for manufacturers to keep workers on the payroll and stay in business, says NAM Senior Director of Tax Policy David Eiselsberg. Ultimately, it would amount to a major retroactive tax increase on businesses and workers that are critical to our pandemic response.
Blast from the past: As President Barack Obama said in a 2009 interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, “The last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession.”
A more recent statement: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said during her confirmation hearing that the Biden administration’s “focus right now is not on tax increases; it’s on programs to help us through the pandemic.”
The NAM says: “Net operating loss relief is a vital tool for manufacturers that are working hard to stay in business and support their employees across the country,” said Eiselsberg. “Undoing this critical liquidity support would not only hurt the ability of businesses to get through the pandemic but would also result in a retroactive tax increase on a sector that is key to America’s success.”