With increased pressure from customers, regulators and even shareholders, sustainable business practices are no longer optional for manufacturers. From reduced energy and materials consumption to lower emissions and ethical sourcing, manufacturers are expected to meet ambitious new goals. Luckily, the Manufacturing Leadership Council has established a new member working group devoted to helping manufacturers reach these objectives.
Support set-up: With five virtual meetings each year, the M4.0 Sustainability and Net Zero Decision Compass Group will explore key issues, best practices and challenges related to creating sustainable, compliant and environmentally friendly operating strategies.
- At the first meeting, “Next Steps in Manufacturing 4.0 Sustainability,” on March 10, attendees heard from 3M Senior Vice President of Environmental Strategies and Fluorochemical Stewardship Dr. Rebecca Teeters and Lexmark International Chief Sustainability Officer John Gagel. Both speakers are also MLC board members.
Why the new group: The MLC decided to create the group after a survey of their more than 3,300 members revealed sustainability was a top member business concern.
- “We decided that given the intensity of interest in sustainability and related subjects, such as net-zero and the circular economy, this was an opportunity to dedicate a whole new group to the topic,” said MLC Co-Founder, Executive Director and Vice President David Brousell.
Good for business, too: While manufacturers have been discussing and working toward sustainability for decades, recent growing concerns about climate change and other environmental issues are making the matter increasingly urgent.
- Manufacturers that take on sustainable business practices are seeing competitive advantages ranging from cost savings to higher product quality to increased shareholder and employee satisfaction.
Lessons from manufacturing peers: The new Decision Compass group will share sustainability strategies, the real-world achievements of manufacturing companies, knowledge about the use and application of advanced technologies and timelines for implementation.
- Participants will also be able to see how they stack up against other manufacturing companies.
Get involved: The MLC offers resources to help manufacturers improve their operations and learn about digital manufacturing. To learn more about the sustainability group or find out about MLC membership, email [email protected].
A new overtime rule from the U.S. Department of Labor is likely to change some of the existing rule’s white-collar exemptions. NAM Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Robyn Boerstling joined us to explain what’s happening.
The background: The overtime rule, part of the Fair Labor Standards Act, dictates that employees must receive overtime pay of at least time and a half for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. It contains exemptions for white-collar workers based on their salaries and duties. If an employee makes a minimum amount of money or is classified as an executive, administrator or professional, they are exempt from overtime pay.
- “The NAM has provided comments over the years to the Department of Labor and the Wage and Hour Division concerning the exemptions from Fair Labor Standards Act minimum wage and overtime requirements for certain executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employees,” said “Manufacturing employees, on average, earn $92,832 in pay and benefits.”
The new action: A new overtime rule is expected soon, and employment law attorneys expect the U.S. Department of Labor to recommend higher salary thresholds for the rule’s white-collar exemptions.
What it means: A new overtime rule that raises salary thresholds for white-collar exemptions would make more employees eligible for overtime pay and potentially cause challenges for employers and even those employees who have worked to advance themselves away from hourly jobs and into salaried company positions. The current salary threshold is $35,568 per year.
Our take: Boerstling made the case directly to the Department of Labor during an April public listening session. “The NAM urges caution in any effort to expand overtime exemptions as manufacturers believe adjustments would be disruptive in a challenging economic and workforce environment,” she said.
- “The manufacturing workforce has tremendous autonomy and latitude in this labor market to address pay and compensation issues directly with their employers.”
Next steps: The NAM continues to work toward a regulatory solution but could have to take legal action to protect employers and manufacturers across the country. Check out the NAM Legal Center to learn how we are working to support our members nationwide.
The last word: “We think that any rulemaking that is being prepared for public release on overtime exemptions for certain white-collar workers should be paused and reconsidered until a later time when supply chain and inflationary challenges have subsided,” said Boerstling.
Few C-suite job descriptions include being smeared with baked goods, but for Pella’s Joher Akolawala, getting a pie in the face last November was just another day in the life—and another step toward broadening the diversity, equity and inclusion conversation among employees.
Dessert for diversity: “The main event at our Day of Giving was a livestream of executives doing a pie-baking competition,” explained Pella Senior Digital Talent Brand Strategist Kolbie Creger, who leads a DE&I-related employee committee at the Iowa-based window and door manufacturer. Pella’s Go Beyond for a Cause committee focuses on rallying team members around DE&I efforts within their walls and communities through education and engagement opportunities.
- “Team members donated [money] into each executive’s pie tin, and the one with the most money in their bucket got a pie in the face. It ended up being our CFO [Akolawala], who was a great sport about it.”
“Fun raising”: So, what do pies have to do with diversity? Pella’s 2021 “Pie in the Face” and other activities during the company’s first annual Day of Giving raised $17,000 in 24 hours for diversity-focused education efforts for partner philanthropies, including the nonprofit organization Facing History and Ourselves, Creger said.
- Team members on Pella factory floors nationwide got in on the fun, with each manufacturing site getting to “pie” department managers, bid on auction items and compete to raise money for DE&I efforts.
- In total, across myriad fundraising efforts, Pella donated more than $90,000 to DE&I initiatives in 2021.
“GIVE IT UP”: Last year, Creger’s team, the Go Beyond Committee, which is currently at work organizing 2022’s dedicated, daylong DE&I effort, asked Pella employees to each give up a small daily “guilty pleasure” purchase of their choice.
- “It could be a coffee, a fast-food meal or an [overpriced] Diet Coke,” Creger said. “We asked them to take that money and instead donate it” to one of Pella’s DE&I partner philanthropies.
- “It’s just about continuing to layer in the larger ‘Why?’ in all of our communication,” Creger continued. “We are the boots on the ground trying to create engagement. Our main focus is just meeting people where they are in their DE&I journey, creating spaces where we can have conversations.”
This year: In 2022, Pella’s DE&I-focused events will be fewer but hopefully even more effective.
- Among the planned activities are lunch-and-learn sessions and a months-long bingo-like challenge that lets employees track everyday positive behaviors, such as thanking a coworker or donating the amount of a “give-up” item.
- At the end of the challenge, Pella will match employee donations.
The last word: “We’ve learned some people like to track their progress, those day-to-day achievements, whereas some people would rather absorb content in a lunch-and-learn or partake in an activity,” Creger said.
“We know our people are unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach, so we do our best to create diversity in our outreach. Inclusion to Pella means our people feel comfortable showing up to work as their authentic self and belong as a valued team member. That intent holds true no matter our approach. We aim to get that message right each time, and let the rest vary.”
The Manufacturing Institute’s 10th annual STEP Ahead Awards took place in Washington, D.C., last week, honoring some of the most impressive and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry today. The Awards are part of the STEP Ahead program, which is designed to help advance women’s achievements in the fields of science, technology, engineering and production.
- The event highlighted the 2022 STEP Ahead Honorees (100 women who are leaders in manufacturing) and the 2022 STEP Ahead Emerging Leaders (30 women under 30 years old who have already had a significant impact on the industry).
The awards ceremony took place on Thursday night, with hundreds of guests in attendance at the National Building Museum and hundreds more viewing the ceremony online. The program featured:
- 2022 STEP Chair and former 3M Senior Vice President Denise Rutherford;
- 2022 STEP Vice Chair and Cornerstone Building Brands President and CEO Rose Lee;
- MI President Carolyn Lee;
- MI Vice President of Strategic Engagement and Inclusion AJ Jorgenson; and
- NAM President and CEO and MI Board Chair Jay Timmons.
Sponsors included an all-star roster of manufacturers, including Arconic Foundation, BASF Corporation, Cornerstone Building Brands, PTC, Trane Technologies, ABB, Molson Coors, Novelis, Rockwell Automation, SABIC, Sherwin-Williams and Toyota.
What they said: Carolyn Lee lauded the Honorees and spoke about the importance of closing the skills gap by bringing more women into the manufacturing industry.
- “My hope is that 10 years down the line, when we meet here for the 20th anniversary of these awards, the young women we will honor won’t have even heard of the glass ceiling, because it’ll be ancient history,” said Lee.
- “And that will be thanks to the support system, the mentorship and the sterling examples set by the women in this room and the support from our allies.”
Rutherford spoke about leaders’ opportunities to work together to make important progress.
- “Throughout my career, I’ve learned that being a great leader, as an individual or as a company, means that we don’t go it alone,” said Rutherford. “True change only happens when we work together as trusted allies, advocates and sponsors.”
Rose Lee laid out the qualities that all the Honorees showed and highlighted their shared successes.
- “The STEP Ahead Awards recognize women in science, technology, engineering and production who exemplify leadership within their companies and within their communities,” said Lee. “Tonight is their night to celebrate their accomplishments.”
Timmons praised the STEP Honorees and called on allies to continue supporting women in the manufacturing industry.
- “Your achievements, your success and your dedication are showing women what’s possible in manufacturing,” he said. “If you can see it, you know you can be it.”
35×30: Carolyn Lee and Jorgenson spoke about the 35×30 initiative—a program designed to close the skills and talent gap in manufacturing by adding half a million women workers to the industry, increasing women’s representation in manufacturing from 29% today to 35% by 2030.
- The campaign will train more than 1,000 women mentors, build new tools and resources and work with manufacturing leaders to deploy proven strategies to attract and retain female talent.
- It will also support young women throughout their education by offering best-in-class leadership development programming and creating a STEP alumnae-funded scholarship.
- “Tonight, we are done with waiting for other leaders to ‘change things,’ to make society better, more equitable,” said Jorgenson. “We are the leaders. So, tonight, we ask you to join us, to lead.”
New commitments: To help this new initiative along its way, Arconic Foundation President Ryan Kish and Ketchie CEO Courtney Silver stood up during the ceremony to pledge new financial commitments to the program.
The last word: The gala featured a stellar musical performance by award-winning singer–songwriter Rachel Platten, which left not a dry eye in the house. Inspired by the women of STEP, she surprised the audience by singing a new song she’d written for her daughters. It captures what the women leaders of today want to tell the girls who will someday be their heirs:
Girls, you were born to run. To reach the stars and chase the sun.
Girls, you’re wild and free. The wind is at your back, the world is at your feet.
There’s nothing quite like a real-world test run to determine whether a new technology is right for your business. That’s where Rethink, the annual summit of the NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council, comes in.
The world’s leading event on Manufacturing 4.0, Rethink boasts an agenda packed with case studies to help manufacturing leaders see exactly how various digital technologies might help them improve their operational quality and efficiency.
The featured case studies coming to Rethink include the following:
- The Expanding Reach of Collaborative Robots: Examine practical applications for collaborative robots in manufacturing. Discover the benefits already being realized from the use of robots and identify ways to maximize the benefits.
- Extracting Insights from Plant Floor Data: See firsthand how to use data to monitor equipment performance, predict conditions and take preemptive action to avoid downtime. Gain practical takeaways on how to leverage data for bottom-line benefits.
- How AR/VR Can Empower Frontline Workers: Take a deep dive into one company’s advanced deployment of augmented and virtual reality technologies. Explore how these technologies helped transform operational activities and empower frontline workers.
- Fostering Data Literacy: The What, Why and How: Learn how to manage and analyze data from all aspects of your operations and use it effectively to improve decision making. Gain an understanding of the emerging discipline of data literacy as a way to overcome business culture hurdles.
How to participate: The Rethink summit takes place June 27–29 in Marco Island, Florida.
- In addition to case studies, the agenda will include inspirational keynote speeches, thought-provoking panel discussions and hands-on think tanks.
- More than 300 top-level executives and their teams attend each year.
- Participants include professionals in operations, IT, supply chain, engineering, C-level management, HR and more.
Click here to browse the agenda and to register.
As job recruiters rush back to campuses and career fairs nationwide, the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute’s Creators Wanted Tour Live continued to help manufacturers stand out in the competitive labor market this week in Freeport, Texas.
The reach: The three-day tour stop, presented by Creators Wanted Legacy Sponsor Dow, drew more than 800 students to Brazosport ISD’s new Career and Technical Education Center.
- More than 25,000 students and career mentors signed up online to learn more about modern manufacturing careers.
- Students came from all over the area, including from Brazoswood, Angleton, Brazosport, Columbia and Sweeny High Schools.
Who’s who: Students and teachers got access to top industry leaders, including:
- Dow Senior Vice President of Operations, Manufacturing and Engineering John Sampson;
- Dow Vice President of Operations for the Gulf Coast Fernando Signorini;
- Cornerstone Building Brands Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Katy Theroux;
- Dow Plants A&B Manufacturing Director for Texas Operations Sharon Hulgan; and
- BASF Corporation Vice President of Operations, Polyamide & Precursors Deborah McKitten.
These leaders joined creators at their companies, as well as team members at Fluor Corporation, on livestreamed panels throughout the stop to discuss their career journeys and offer advice to students. Here are some of the themes of the event.
Inclusion and diversity: Manufacturing is “for all,” said Dow Associate Research & Development Director Kalyani Martinelango during a Creators Panel on inclusion, diversity and equity.
- She continued: “For Dow to be competitive, we need to be inclusive. And it’s not just about diversity of gender or race … but thought, too. We have to be passionate about inclusion because it’s the right thing to do.”
Change the world, live a good life: Panelists uniformly agreed that manufacturing careers offer significant benefits.
- From making sustainable products to driving innovations to advancing decarbonization to earning great pay, industry careers offer a lot.
- “Manufacturing is an awesome [career] option,” said Hulgan, who oversees two plants in the company’s Texas operations. “They’re in the top 10% of income earners. … This is the place to be if you like to have a nice lifestyle.”
Calling all women: Women shouldn’t hesitate to jump into manufacturing, the panelists advised.
- Manufacturing “is a male-dominated industry, yes,” said Dow Texas Operations Apprentice Leader for the United States Natalia Muniz Rivera. “However, we’re changing that. … Don’t be shy. Get yourself up. This diversity is what makes the future better.”
Meanwhile, the teacher- and student-endorsed immersive experience continued to win accolades.
- One student said, “They made this [in] an actual fun and interactive way so that people can get interested and into manufacturing.”
- Students repeatedly confirmed that the experience changed their perceptions and increased their interest in manufacturing careers.
Activities galore: It wasn’t just Dow that brought the A-team and A-game, complete with a robotic dog and lizard, to excite students.
- Chart Industries and Turner Industries brought team members to answer student questions and help them explore manufacturing in their own backyards.
- Brazosport College helped students chart the next steps in their career processes.
- And FactoryFix was on hand to provide pathways to career coaching and job opportunities.
What young people are saying: In surveys and testimonials, one point came across clearly to prospective manufacturers.
- “It’s definitely a lucrative field to be a part of,” said Dow apprentice Chris Thurman.
- Dow apprentice Anna Green reinforced the point, pointing out that she worked with a good many people who received two-year degrees at Brazosport College and “are making six figures a year.”
The last word: “Creators Wanted shows the variety of opportunities available,” Brazosport ISD Superintendent Dan Massey told The Facts Newspaper (subscription). “There is something to meet the needs of every single student. That’s what’s amazing about this event.”
What’s next? Creators Wanted is working on securing additional financial commitments to finalize a fall tour schedule and reach more students and communities. Email [email protected] if you are interested in supporting the campaign.
The NAM delivered several key messages to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai this week at the U.S.–UK Dialogue on the Future of Atlantic Trade in Aberdeen, Scotland.
What’s happening: The meetings, convened by Ambassador Tai and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan, were the second in a series begun last month in Baltimore.
- The meetings in Aberdeen featured a series of dialogues on issues including supply chains, digital trade, small- and medium-sized enterprises and green trade.
- They included U.S. and UK government officials as well as U.S. and UK business, labor and civil society leaders.
What the NAM said: NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Ken Monahan, who participated in both sets of meetings, told Input that the NAM made two crucial points to Ambassador Tai, Secretary Trevelyan and other leaders this week.
- “Manufacturers in the United States need diverse sources for trade to ensure supply chain resiliency—supported by a robust network of market-opening, comprehensive, enforceable trade agreements and other arrangements with U.S. allies,” Monahan said.
- He added that “as the U.S. and the UK take steps to build a stronger, more open and secure economic relationship, the NAM urged the launch of talks toward a new U.S.–UK market-opening trade agreement that includes strong, clear and enforceable outcomes.”
Monahan also told the leaders that a trade deal with the UK should include several key priorities for manufacturers, including:
- The elimination of tariffs and nontariff barriers;
- Strong digital trade commitments;
- Robust engagement on intellectual property issues;
- Collaboration on standards, technical regulations, testing procedures and conformity assessment;
- The brokering of common approaches to ending forced labor in global supply chains; and
- Ensuring stronger alignment on customs procedures and approaches.
Why it matters: The U.S. and the UK share a strong trade and investment relationship.
- It includes more than $93 billion in two-way trade of manufactured goods and accumulated cross-border investment in manufacturing of more than $273 billion.
- Key U.S.-manufactured goods exports to the UK include metals, chemicals, transportation equipment, computer and electronic products and machinery.
The last word: “Recent events show that we need our friends now more than at any time in recent memory,” Monahan said. “It is vital that we forge deeper trade agreements and other economic partnerships with allies like the UK. It is also essential that we work closely with the UK and others to ensure supply chain resiliency and address shared global economic challenges that our companies face in markets around the world.”
If you want to make a good living, help change the world for the better and have a good time doing it, modern manufacturing has a job for you. That was the message relayed to local high school students this Tuesday at the premier event of the Creators Wanted Tour Live’s seventh stop, in the Freeport, Texas, area.
Inspiring students: The CW tour, a joint project of the NAM and its workforce development and education partner, The Manufacturing Institute, aims to inspire, educate and empower tomorrow’s workforce.
- For this week’s tour stop, presented by Dow, the immersive mobile experience came to Brazosport Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education Center in Clute, Texas.
- The CTE Center, which is located near Dow’s largest manufacturing facility in the world, strives to prepare students for careers in a global economy by emphasizing career and technical education.
- “We believe that the future of our workforce is highly dependent on the quality of public education,” said Brazosport Independent School District Superintendent Danny Massey.
Seeking difference makers: Dow Senior Vice President of Operations, Manufacturing and Engineering John Sampson highlighted the numerous opportunities available in modern manufacturing to do interesting, well-paid, life-changing work.
- “I hope some of you—all of you—will be creators,” Sampson told students at the kickoff event. “At this point in your lives, you’re probably thinking about what you might want to major in. … I’m sure some of you might be interested in making some money, [too,] but you probably want to do more than that.”
- “You probably want to make the world a better place, create something people want [and] have some fun. … I promise you this: We’ll always have a place for you on our team.”
Filling a void: Before the students rushed off to complete their “race to the future” in the mobile experience, MI President Carolyn Lee laid it out for them: Creators aren’t just wanted—they’re sorely needed to keep the world running and advancing.
- “Without a steady stream of talented, bright young people … we can’t keep up the good work of continuously making our products,” Lee said. “[But] this is not a get-one-job-and-stay-there-for-40-years [situation]. This is a choose-your-own-adventure [career path] with continuing skills and challenges and opportunities and learning along the way.”
- There are currently more than 850,000 open manufacturing jobs, Lee said, and by the end of this decade, modern manufacturing will require an additional 4 million workers.
Find your future: “We’re here because we know there’s something for everybody in manufacturing,” Sampson told event attendees in his closing remarks. “We hope you will find your future in modern manufacturing.”
- Dow Vice President of Operations for the Gulf Coast Fernando Signorini echoed his colleague’s sentiment at a Creators Spotlight panel later on Tuesday. “If your desire is to go and get an education in engineering, you’re going to have a lot of opportunities,” he said.
- “If your desire is to have a technical degree, [you’re] going to have a lot of opportunities. For a company like Dow to work, we need all the different … diversities in education and degrees. You see everything in there.”
The impact: More than 750 students are expected to tour the mobile experience this week at the CTE Center, and more than 25,000 students and career mentors in the Houston-metro area have already signed up online to learn more about modern manufacturing careers as a result of this latest tour stop.
Take a look: Check out this highlight reel from the second day of the tour stop.
Manufacturers have been facing unprecedented supply chain challenges. The NAM is leading through this crisis—and we’ve launched an online resource that brings all that information and advocacy under one roof. At NAM.org/SupplyChain, manufacturers can find everything they need to know about the NAM’s work to strengthen the supply chain and access critical tools that can help them make important progress.
The resource: Assembled with critical assistance from the NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council and Innovation Research Interchange, this online resource captures the many activities underway and the information available from the NAM.
The work: The information and tools at NAM.org/SupplyChain cover a wide range of areas, including the following:
- Boosting competitiveness: With a level playing field, manufacturers in the United States can compete and win anywhere. That’s why the NAM is working with Congress on a range of competitiveness measures that would provide billions of dollars for supply chain resiliency, innovation and domestic semiconductor production as well as promote trade and combat counterfeiting. Actions like these give manufacturers the tools they need to succeed.
- Promoting operational excellence: Manufacturers are committed to performing efficient and innovative work—and this resource offers NAM members access to a library of meetings, webinars and other resources from NAM experts designed to help manufacturers share best practices and ensure their companies can grow and thrive.
- Building the workforce: The shortage of skilled workers is a major contributor to supply chain challenges. Through The Manufacturing Institute’s programming and key initiatives like Creators Wanted, the NAM is working to create a new generation of manufacturers while retaining and retraining vital employees.
Taking action: Through the NAM’s grassroots advocacy campaign, Manufacturers United, the NAM is mobilizing thousands of grassroots manufacturing supporters from across the country to engage lawmakers and community members alike on supply chain issues.
The bottom line: “Manufacturers have been grappling with significant supply chain challenges since the start of the pandemic,” said NAM Managing Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Chris Netram. “The NAM’s new supply chain hub will centralize critical thought leadership and advocacy tools on this issue, as well as provide a guide to policies we need to grow manufacturing in America.”
What’s next: The NAM is fighting for a strong manufacturing competitiveness package in Congress this spring to help address supply chain challenges, as well as continuing the operational, policy and legal leadership captured in this frequently updated resource.
The Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s nonprofit workforce development and education partner, has been named an inaugural recipient of Stanley Black & Decker grant funding for its “leadership and expansion” of the Toyota-founded Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program.
The details: The MI, which currently operates FAME, a workforce development and training program, is one of 86 organizations chosen to receive funds from Stanley Black & Decker’s first-ever Empower Makers Global Impact Challenge grant.
- This year’s grants will help skill and reskill approximately 180,000 people in manufacturing through 2022.
- The program will give up to $25 million over the next five years to nonprofits “supporting trade workforce development initiatives in the construction and manufacturing sectors,” according to the MI.
Empowering makers: “Stanley Black & Decker is immensely proud to support the MI through their FAME programming as they work to skill and reskill the next generation of trade professionals,” said Stanley Black & Decker Vice President of Social Impact Diane Cantello.
- “Currently in the U.S., there are an estimated 650,000 open construction jobs and 10 million unfilled manufacturing jobs globally. Our purpose is to support ‘Those Who Make the World,’ and being able to fund educational programs and nonprofits that are revitalizing trade careers directly connects to our core mission. Thanks to this year’s Makers Grant Recipients, together we will be one step closer to closing the trade skills gap.”
The MI says: “Stanley Black & Decker’s commitment to FAME demonstrates how business can lead as they answer the call to grow the workforce of today and tomorrow,” said MI President Carolyn Lee.
- “We are grateful for their partnership in this effort to empower students with pathways to exciting, rewarding careers in modern manufacturing.”
About FAME: Founded in 2010 by Toyota, FAME aims to help students become highly skilled, sought-after makers capable of meeting the unique needs and challenges of the modern manufacturing sector.
Learn more about Stanley Black & Decker’s Empower Makers Global Impact Challenge at EmpowerMakers.com.