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Business Operations

New NAM Board Members Strengthen Manufacturing

a group of people standing in a room

The NAM is committed to upholding the priorities of manufacturers across the United States—and because the manufacturing industry is advancing, changing and innovating constantly, the NAM is always looking for new voices to share their perspectives and experiences.

Adding new talent: At the spring 2024 board meeting, the NAM elected a series of new leaders who will serve on the NAM’s Board of Directors—the leadership team that upholds the NAM’s mission and promotes the industry’s values and competitiveness worldwide.

The new members include:

  • Dan Abramson, Senior Vice President, Americas Market Expansion, FourKites, Inc.
  • Jason Alexander, Enterprise Industry Leader – Industrials, RSM US LLP
  • Alison Bodor, President and CEO, American Frozen Food Institute
  • Kevin Boone, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, CSX Corporation
  • Magen Buterbaugh, President & CEO, Greene Tweed
  • Adrian Button, Senior Vice President, Operations, Carrier Global Corporation
  • AI Collins, Group President, Corporate Development & Sustainability, Fluor Corporation
  • John Coykendall, Vice Chair and Industrial Products & Construction National Sector Leader, Deloitte
  • David Dunbar, President and Chief Executive Officer; Chairman of the Board, Standex International, Inc.
  • Rene Garza, Senior Vice President of Planetary Health Biosolutions, Novonesis
  • Steven Hedlund, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc.
  • Edgardo Hernandez, Executive Vice President and President, Manufacturing Operations, Eli Lilly and Company
  • Richard Howe, Executive Vice President – Deep Water, Shell plc
  • Patricia Hume, Chief Executive Officer, Canvas GFX Inc.
  • Jill Jacobson, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary North America, Electrolux, North America
  • Regina Jones, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Archer Daniels Midland Company
  • Karl Jorgenrud, President, Performance Coatings Group, The Sherwin-Williams Company
  • Tracy Kemp, Senior Vice President and Chief Information and Digital Officer, Allegion plc
  • Michael Lefenfeld, President & Chief Executive Officer, Hexion Inc.
  • Boyce Martin III, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Jamison Door Company
  • Tim Millwood, Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer, AGCO Corporation
  • Nicole Murphy, Executive Vice President, Head of Pharmaceutical Operations and Technology, Biogen
  • Kenny Rocker, Executive Vice President, Marketing & Sales, Union Pacific Corporation
  • John Tate, Senior Vice President, Crown Equipment Corporation
  • Leon Topalian, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nucor Corporation
  • Keller Watts, Executive Vice President, Packaged Business and Supply Planning, Smithfield Foods
  • Melissa Williams Hoskins, Chief Executive Officer, WilliamsRDM
  • Alex Wright, Chief Executive Officer, Ariel Corporation
  • Jill Wyant, President and Chief Executive Officer, Madison Air

What we’re saying: “Our new board members will bring their own keen perspectives and varied backgrounds to the NAM’s critical work,” said NAM Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President of Membership Alyssa Shooshan. “Representing all areas of the manufacturing industry and all corners of the country, we are confident that these individuals will speak effectively for the manufacturing community, and we’re looking forward to everything they will bring to the conversation.”

Policy and Legal

Table Saw Standard Would Cost Manufacturers

If implemented, a safety standard proposed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for table saws will harm manufacturing in the U.S., the NAM told the CPSC this week.

What’s going on: “The Commission’s proposed rule itself outlines that, if implemented, the cost of table saws would more than double, small manufacturers may be forced to exit the market, businesses may be unable to operate and sales of table saws will decrease,” NAM Senior Director of Tax Policy Alex Monié said during testimony at a hearing Wednesday.

  • The rule would require table saws—those motor-driven, wood-mounted, circular saw blades used daily in multiple industries to cut wood, plastic and other materials—to come equipped with patented active injury mitigation technology.
  • Bringing currently on-the-market table saws into compliance could cost manufacturers from $100,000 to $700,000 per model and take up to three years, Monié said.

The background: In October 2023, the CPSC voted to issue a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking promulgating the table saw safety guideline, in response to the petition of a company that holds more than 100 patents “related to the AIM technology the Commission would mandate,” Commissioner Peter A. Feldman told fellow commissioners that month.

  • There are voluntary safety standards in place for table saws, requiring modular blade-guard systems, and these “are working as the market demands,” Monié told the commissioners.

Instituting a monopoly: In addition to costing manufacturers huge sums, the proposed standard “would have the effect of instituting a monopoly, as the proposed rule is the latest in a series of Commission actions to impose a standard that could be achieved only through the use of one claimed patented technology,” Monié continued.

Unjustifiable rulemaking: Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, the CPSC cannot issue a mandatory standard unless it has found that an existing voluntary standard fails to or does not adequately prevent or reduce the risk of injury.

  • “The CPSC admits that it does not have adequate data to determine that the current voluntary standard will not reduce the risk of injury,” Monié went on.

What should be done: The CPSC should withdraw the proposed standard, he said, and “readdress the cost and burden analysis in the proposed rule, with a more tailored focus on small manufacturers.”

Business Operations

Rio Tinto Copper Seeks to Power the Future

a person wearing a hat and sunglasses

America’s fastest-growing industries increasingly rely on copper.

The critical minerals Rio Tinto produces play an essential role in making modern life work and help power the clean energy transition, said Rio Tinto Copper Chief Operating Officer Clayton Walker. “Think of increasing demand for things like electric vehicles, the copper plumbing in our houses … transmission lines, smartphones, electronic devices—the things you can’t live without all include copper.”

This criticality was brought home to the NAM during a site visit by leadership last Friday to the company’s Resolution Copper mine, an Arizona project with the potential to supply up to 25% of the nation’s copper demand.

Electrifying a revolution: Rio Tinto—which produces more than 10 different minerals and metals around the world—has copper operations in Utah and Mongolia with joint ventures in Chile and Peru and is working to open Resolution Copper and another copper-mining site, in Australia.

  • These operations are going to become increasingly important as the world’s appetite for EVs grows, Walker told the NAM, because EVs require more copper than traditional vehicles.
  • EV charging stations also require the metal, as do wind turbines, which “can contain up to 4.7 tons of copper,” according to Walker.

Speed permitting now: The U.S. consumes about 2 million metric tons of copper per year but produces just more than 1 million metric tons. However, “by 2035, that demand is estimated to be around 4 to 5 million tons of copper a year,” said Walker. “The question is, where are we going to get all that additional copper?”

  • The answer, in his opinion, should be here at home. Once approved, Resolution Copper will be instrumental in making that happen. “The copper produced at Resolution would strengthen U.S. supply chains, reduce import dependency [and] add jobs, while employing world-class sustainability standards.”
  • At that site, “we’ve been working on permitting for the last 11 years,” Walker continued. “The average time to permit [a mining project] in the U.S. is 17 to 20 years. That’s a long time. We’re not asking people to cut corners, but could we speed that process up?”

Critical minerals list: Policymakers could also help bolster copper and other critical materials production by harmonizing the efforts of numerous agencies to spur domestic production.

  • For instance, the Interior Department curates a list of critical minerals that are “essential to the economic or national security of the U.S. and which have a supply chain vulnerable to disruption.” The Energy Department conducts critical materials assessments for materials vital for energy.
  • Harmonizing these lists “would create more avenues for domestic supplies,” Walker said. “That would help projects get permitted faster and let us supply manufacturers with the minerals and materials they need sooner, including copper.” 

Not your grandfather’s mining company: Another task on the company’s to-do list is changing the public’s perception of its industry.

  • “We aren’t using pickaxes and wheelbarrows,” Walker laughed. “We have a control center that would rival NASA. We use drones, AI and autonomous equipment. Rio Tinto has the first fleet of driverless trucks in the world, and our team continues to leverage and benefit from high-tech innovation.”
  • Effectively conveying the sophistication of their businesses is an ongoing task for manufacturers, Walker said. “We need to continue engaging with schools, educating and discussing the various trades and opportunities available while highlighting the potential within manufacturing—a career path that provides a great job with multiple opportunities.”

The last word: “It’s our responsibility to help show the next generation what opportunities are available,” Walker concluded.

Policy and Legal

NAM Election Playbook: Synergies, Not Sides

a person standing in a room

The NAM isn’t playing favorites in an election year. Instead, it’s redoubling its post-partisan approach to advocacy. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons’ message to manufacturers: the association will leverage its hard-won, bipartisan influence to advance manufacturers’ priorities, no matter who’s in charge.

  • “That’s what we’re about. Policy that helps people. Policy—not politics, personality or process. That’s what will guide us in 2024 and beyond,” Timmons said in a speech that helped kick off the NAM board meeting this week, before more than 200 of manufacturing’s leading executives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Why it’s important: “Both sides want us on their side,” Timmons emphasized while recounting a recent legislative debate. That trust and respect, he said, translates into wins: agencies modifying rules to avoid lawsuits and high-level White House officials acknowledging the impact of NAM campaigns.

Battles loom: But the very system enabling these victories is under threat, Timmons warned, placing the onus on manufacturers to not just build products, but to empower the NAM to utilize their voices and stories to advance policies that strengthen the economy and underpin democracy and free enterprise.

  • Tax showdown: Any new taxes on manufacturers are a nonstarter, Timmons vowed, staking a claim in the looming 2025 tax fight and reiterating manufacturers’ call for immediate passage in the Senate of full capital expensing, R&D expensing and interest deductibility.
  • Regulatory onslaught: From new Environmental Protection Agency air standards to the broader regulatory agenda, Timmons argued that overzealous rules impede manufacturing competitiveness. He specifically criticized the new PM2.5 standards, saying the EPA “set them at a level that is lower than the EU or the UK, and imposed a compliance timeline that is far more aggressive.”
  • LNG halt: Timmons blasted the Biden administration’s liquefied natural gas export permit freeze, calling it shortsighted and detrimental to both manufacturers and broader U.S. energy and climate goals. “They want to address climate change?” he asked. “So they’re going to have other countries buying and burning dirtier energy? They want to support our allies around the world? So they’re going to force Europe and Japan and others to get their fuel from the likes of Russia?”
  • Immigration deadlock: He criticized inaction on both sides of the aisle, saying border security and workforce solutions can—and must—coexist.

Opportunity ahead: Despite considerable challenges, Timmons sees an opportunity for manufacturers to take the lead in promoting American values and sound policies that fuel the industry’s strength.

  • “This election year, manufacturers can help renew a shared sense of purpose,” Timmons told executives. “Remind Americans why our country—our system rooted in God-given human rights and fundamental freedom—is worth celebrating and defending.” At stake is not just the next regulatory win, but the very system that made U.S. manufacturing a global powerhouse, he said.
  • America’s bicentennial celebration helped us see beyond the divisions of the day, Timmons observed. As we approach the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “it’s manufacturers who are positioned to cultivate that patriotic spirit,” Timmons said. It’s more than just bottom lines. “We can help mend the divides—so that we can promote policy that will strengthen manufacturing in America.”
Policy and Legal

WTO Meeting Kicks Off to Challenges; “Big Deals Unlikely”

With economic challenges and “geopolitical tensions” threatening international commerce, the World Trade Organization faces a difficult job at the 13th Ministerial Conference, according to AFP.

What’s going on: At the meeting, which began Monday in Abu Dhabi and is expected to conclude on Thursday, “[t]he WTO is hoping for progress, particularly on fishing, agriculture and electronic commerce. But big deals are unlikely as the body’s rules require full consensus among all 164 member states—a tall order in the current climate.”

  • The organization could also decide on whether to expand a 2022 TRIPS waiver to include COVID-19 therapies—a move that would be damaging to manufacturing in the U.S.
  • “The WTO committee in charge of discussing intellectual property rights recently told the WTO General Council that it had been unable to reach agreement on the issue after more than 18 months of discussion,” POLITICO reports. “That could signal the end of the road for efforts to expand the waiver, but [there is] fear it could still be approved by ministers at MC13 as part of the final horse-trading that occurs to reach some deal.”

Reform needed: “Speaking on the first day of MC13, WTO Director-General said that ‘multilateralism is under attack,’ highlighting a need to ‘reform the multilateral trading system’ and boost international cooperation,” according to AFP.

  • European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis echoed the call for reform, saying, “The world has changed. And institutions like the WTO need to evolve too. We are faced with crises wherever we look.” 

No waiver expansion: One change that should not take place, however, is the TRIPS waiver expansion, the NAM told U.S. lawmakers ahead of the WTO meeting. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons met with Okonjo-Iweala and WTO Deputy Director General Angela Ellard in Geneva last March to discuss the waiver.

  • “The proposed expansion of the TRIPS waiver to include diagnostics and therapeutics would jeopardize American innovation, endanger U.S. jobs, undermine future investment and research and development for lifesaving products that are fundamental to fighting global crises, including many diseases and health conditions other than COVID-19, and pose serious safety concerns,” the NAM and six association partners told Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and White House Chief of Staff Jeffrey Zients last week.

Digital commerce: There are some concrete actions that should be taken regarding the WTO, the NAM told the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade this month.

  • The USTR should reverse a decision it made in October 2023 to “drop the longstanding digital trade position of the U.S. at the WTO. This longstanding position, which has clear bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress, seeks to protect cross-border data flows, prohibit costly data localization requirements abroad, defend American digital products from discrimination and protect American IP.”
  • And the U.S. should urge the WTO to institute a permanent e-commerce moratorium. Allowing the current “moratorium on customs duties for electronic transmissions … to expire would inject uncertainty and impose unfair burdens on manufacturers in the U.S.”

The last word: “The WTO remains a critical forum to advance free and fair trade globally,” said NAM Director of International Policy Dylan Clement.

  • “The outcome of the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference is important because an expansion to the TRIPS waiver or letting the e-commerce moratorium expire could significantly harm manufacturers in the United States. As such, manufacturers will be watching the WTO Ministerial this week very closely.” 
Policy and Legal

Arizona: Manufacturing’s Crossroads

a group of people sitting at a table

In the heat of Arizona’s “Silicon Desert” and surrounding communities, the future of America’s global competitiveness and climate goals aren’t just being forged—they also hang in the balance.

Last week for the first time in 2024, the NAM brought its Competing to Win Tour to Arizona, and that stark contrast between the status quo and the probable future was on display in Phoenix at global semiconductor equipment manufacturer Benchmark and small manufacturer Valley Forge & Bolt and at Resolution Copper in Superior.

  • NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, Manufacturing Institute President and Executive Director Carolyn Lee—who leads the NAM’s 501(c)3 workforce development and education affiliate—and Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Danny Seiden met with local manufacturers to gain their perspective and insights.

Why it matters: The Biden administration and Congress have secured key measures to bolster manufacturing in the U.S., including the NAM-championed CHIPS and Science Act and tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act to manufacturers investing in advanced production and energy projects. But raw material, workforce and tax and regulatory policy challenges threaten to undermine policy aspirations.

Silicon Desert expansion: With the CHIPS and Science Act poised to transform the sector, Benchmark President and CEO Jeff Benck and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Valkanoff led the tour of their state-of-the-art Phoenix facility.

  • In a good spot: Benchmark is well-positioned for the coming growth in semiconductor equipment demand. It is focused on securing its workforce and navigating a complex regulatory landscape to maximize the opportunity.
  • Workforce woes: Even with the NAM and the MI’s Benchmark-supported Creators Wanted campaign boosting the industry’s image and the MI’s FAME initiative training thousands of technicians, finding skilled labor remains the top challenge. Benchmark advances earn-and-learn programs and partnerships with Arizona State University and community colleges to help fill the pipeline, actions that, according to Lee, “can help change the game.”
  • Red tape delays: Regulatory hurdles pose obstacles. Benchmark seeks streamlined permitting and sensible rules to maintain their global edge.
  • Bullish outlook: Benck is optimistic about the future of U.S. manufacturing and semiconductor demand. Investments in people and technology position the company well to deliver the next generation of innovation.

Taxes and immigration: The NAM’s return visit to Valley Forge & Bolt, after a stop last year with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), shone a spotlight on the real-world impact of stalled tax policy and the urgent need for reform. 

  • Valley Forge & Bolt saw record sales in 2023 thanks to 2017 tax reforms boosting its equipment upgrades. Now, with provisions like full capital investment expensing stalled in Congress, orders have slowed.
  • CEO Michele Clarke and COO Bret Halley made the case for R&D expensing, interest deductibility and a return to full capital investment expensing. Without these, they said, job growth and America’s manufacturing competitive edge are at risk.
  • Skilled workers needed: Despite its success, Valley Forge says finding skilled workers is a constant struggle. Immigration reform is a must to secure the right talent pipeline, said Clarke. “Did you notice our engineers? Most of them are under 30 because we’re snatching them right out of college,” added Clarke. “The engineering talent in this country is dwindling, and we’re not authorizing enough green cards. I, myself, was a green card holder before I became a citizen.”

Women leading the Resolution Copper project

Policy roadblocks: The NAM’s visit to Rio Tinto’s Resolution Copper site highlighted the urgency of permitting reform in the face of critical mineral needs.

  • Copper’s critical role: Copper is essential for clean energy. Electric vehicles, solar power grids and wind turbines all demand huge quantities. Yet, the U.S. remains heavily reliant on imported copper, jeopardizing progress.
  • Massive potential: The domestic solution lies within the stalled Resolution Copper mine. With its potential to supply 25% of U.S. copper demand, it’s poised to be a key piece of the puzzle.
  • Project in limbo: Despite a 350-strong workforce modernizing and maintaining the mine, permitting delays stifle the project’s full impact.
  • Sustainable practices: “Resolution Copper is the future of eco-conscious mining,” said NAM Managing Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas, who toured the site. “Their team innovates sustainable practices, leads in water conservation and even supplies 7 billion gallons of water to Arizona farms. And what is more, it isn’t just the facts of the matter or what you saw that drives this point home, but the people who have worked on the site for years make all that clear with the pride they have about the project and their determination to see Resolution Copper through to making lives better for everyone.”
  • Jobs and growth: Led by President and General Manager Vicky Peacey, the project promises to contribute $1 billion annually to the economy and more than 1,500 Arizona jobs. “This is about people, jobs and supply chains; and it’s also about realizing clean energy ambitions at the speed and scale that climate goals demand,” said Kefalas.

The bottom line: “The future of U.S. manufacturing might hinge on these contrasting stories. Are we a nation that champions innovation, attracts and keeps the brightest here, supports our manufacturers and tackles climate goals with homegrown solutions, or one that stalls progress in its own backyard,” said Timmons.

  • “Arizona is at the epicenter of American manufacturing’s next chapter, and with smart policies and fewer unforced errors at the federal level, we can clear the runway for growth,” added Seiden.
Policy and Legal

Manufacturing Leaders: Congress Must Act Now

It’s imperative for the strength of not only manufacturing in the U.S. but democracy worldwide that Congress move now to advance a security package and government funding, said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, Johnson & Johnson Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Operations & Risk Officer and NAM Board Chair Kathy Wengel and Rockwell Automation Chairman and CEO and NAM Board Vice Chair Blake Moret on Monday.

What’s going on: “For the strength of our democracy here at home and the protection of democracy around the world, manufacturers are calling on Congress and President Biden to act swiftly to keep the government open, pass pro-growth tax provisions, secure our border and approve urgently needed aid for Ukraine,” the three manufacturing leaders told Congress ahead of Biden’s meeting with congressional leaders.

Why it’s important: In March 2022, shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the NAM Board passed a unanimous resolution condemning the act and expressing solidarity with the Ukrainian people in their fight for independence.

  • In February 2023, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to the NAM Board in a speech to the American business community. “We will prove that democracy is stronger than tyranny,” Zelenskyy said in that address. “When Russia loses, we will prove that terrorist states cannot overcome the power of a united democratic world.”

What should be done: Timmons, Wengel and Moret hammered home the criticality of swift action by Congress.

  • “With time running short, manufacturers are looking to our leaders to act. They can address all of these priorities. In fact, they must address them all—for the future of our industry, the security of our country and the defense of democracy.”
Policy and Legal

State of Manufacturing: Strong, But Not Guaranteed

a group of people standing in front of a crowd

What’s the state of manufacturing in the U.S.? Strong and resilient—but under threat.

That was the message delivered by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and other speakers at the NAM’s 2024 State of Manufacturing Address at RCO Engineering in Roseville, Michigan, on Thursday.

  • Attending the address were nearly 100 RCO Engineering team members—some of whom are second- or even third-generation manufacturing workers—as well as local education leaders, including Macomb Community College President James O. Sawyer IV and Macomb Intermediate School District Superintendent Michael R. DeVault.
  • The address was the keystone event of this week’s launch of the 2024 Competing to Win Tour, an opportunity to visit local manufacturers and report on where the industry stands at the start of 2024. 

A place of strength: “The state of the manufacturing industry depends on the people in it,” Timmons said in remarks covered by POLITICO Influence (subscription). “And we are now 13 million strong—the largest in more than 15 years. If we can continue on this trajectory, this resurgence, imagine what the state of manufacturing might look like in 2030.”

  • Johnson & Johnson Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Operations & Risk Officer and NAM Board Chair Kathy Wengel echoed that sentiment in her opening remarks. “Manufacturers are improving the quality of life for everyone. … Together, we can lead the way.”
  • And Michigan Manufacturers Association President and CEO John Walsh told the audience at RCO Engineering, “You are making parts here that are going everywhere. It’s a phenomenal story for us in Michigan. It not only helps you as employees here, but it helps your families, it helps your communities. It builds our state. It builds our nation.”
  • “Manufacturing … is an industry that is vital to our economic competitiveness,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. “In Macomb County, we’re not just witnessing the growth of manufacturing; we’re actively contributing to it. What we are doing here is creating an environment where innovation thrives and where manufacturers can grow as well as compete.”
  • RCO Engineering General Manager Jeff Simek agreed. “The manufacturing brand is coming back, and it’s coming back alive—and you guys are a big, huge piece of that,” he said to loud applause. 

Fork in the road: But continued manufacturing strength isn’t guaranteed, Timmons said. Rather, it’s in large part contingent on sound policy decisions by U.S. leaders.

  • “We will head in the wrong direction if Congress lets taxes go up on small businesses when rates expire next year,” Timmons said. “Or if they hit you with even more regulations—regulations even harsher than ones they have in Europe. Or if they fail to solve the immigration crisis because they put politics over good policy. Or choose trade barriers rather than trade agreements, or … abandon our allies overseas and put our national security at risk.”
  • The recent regulatory onslaught by federal agencies—which Timmons discussed with Fox Business earlier this week—must stop and be replaced with sensible rulemaking done in cooperation with manufacturers, he said.
  • He cited the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently finalized, overly stringent standard for particulate matter and the Biden administration’s decision to freeze liquefied natural gas export permits. This “forc[es] our allies, like Europe and Japan, to buy dirtier energy from countries we can’t trust, potentially enriching the likes of Russia … undercut[ting] our most basic national security objectives,” Timmons said.

No new taxes: The NAM’s message to Congress on taxes is simple: “No new taxes on manufacturers in America,” Timmons said. 

  • “And while we’re at it, Congress should bring back some of the tax policies that made it easier for manufacturers to invest in the future.”

On immigration: The U.S. needs a common-sense solution to immigration, and it needs it now, Timmons said.

  • While manufacturers may not like every piece of the bipartisan border deal that was recently killed in the Senate, “here was my test: Does it make us more secure than we are today? Yes. Does it make our workforce stronger than it is today? Yes. And does it help our allies overseas? Yes,” said Timmons.

Come what may: No matter what the November elections bring, manufacturers will continue to do the jobs so many people depend on them to do, Timmons concluded.

  • “Our commitment is to work with anyone, and I truly mean anyone, who will put policy—policy that supports people—ahead of politics, personality or process. We will stand with you if you stand with us in advancing the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong.” 
Business Operations

Reports: Obesity a Challenge for Manufacturing Employers

Obesity is costing U.S. companies and their workers hundreds of billions of dollars a year, according to a new report, the findings of which are in line with those of a 2023 NAM report on employer-sponsored health care.

What’s going on: “Obesity and overweight are estimated to have caused a staggering $425.5 billion in economic costs to U.S. businesses and employees in 2023, according to a report released by GlobalData Plc, a leading data and analytics company,” MarketScreener reports.

Why it’s important: Obesity can make workers more prone to absenteeism (taking time off) and presenteeism (being less productive while on the job), both of which come with a significant price tag, according to the reports.

  • Some 46.1% of manufacturer respondents to an NAM survey said obesity affected their workplace productivity and employees’ ability to complete their job functions.
  • Absenteeism costs employers $82.3 billion each year, with presenteeism accounting for an additional $160.3 billion, according to the GlobalData report.

Impact on manufacturing: The economic impact of excess body weight on manufacturing is the fourth highest of the seven industries examined by GlobalData, at $44.5 billion annually.

What can be done: Manufacturers care deeply about ensuring their employees have access to high-quality, affordable primary care providers who can help employees manage their weight through personalized interventions like diet, exercise, behavior modification, medications and surgery.

The last word: “Manufacturers support efforts to continue to destigmatize these chronic health challenges and approach them like any other condition so that workers and their families feel comfortable choosing from the full suite of available treatment options in order to live healthier and more productive lives,” said NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain.

Business Operations

Trend of the Week: Data in Action

Everyone knows that data is an indispensable resource, but putting it to use is a whole different challenge from collecting it in the first place. Here’s what you need to know about today’s manufacturing trend, the industry’s increasing reliance on data-driven insights.

What manufacturers should do: According to NAM experts, manufacturers seeking to make the most of their data should focus on five key steps:

  • Understand how to gather data to enable meaningful analytics.
  • Improve data governance for quality and security.
  • Determine what data are important to your business and operations.
  • Learn how to assign value and view the data through the appropriate lens.
  • Know how to use data to make business decisions.

Expert opinion: According to John Petrusick, managing director of NTT’s manufacturing data and analytics practice, companies should consider working backward to some extent, and start by thinking about which business processes the data will influence—and how.

  • “Most of us have grown up in a world where we think of data as a flow from source to consumer, or left to right,” he noted. “In such thinking, we have generated analytics and insights historically by first thinking about ‘what data do I have?’ But what if we thought about generating analytics and insights by thinking ‘right to left’?”

Resources for you: Looking for more resources on data management? Start with these NAM offerings:

  • This Master Class Series from the Manufacturing Leadership Council (the NAM’s digital transformation division) will guide you through case studies and best practices regarding data analysis.
  • CONNEX Marketplace uses data visualization tools to help you make connections to suppliers and buyers, offering exceptional insight into your supply chain.
  • The NAM’s Power of Small newsletter keeps small and medium-sized manufacturers up to date on advocacy, policy, digital trends and much more. Check it out.

Read the full 2024 trends report here.

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