Rockwell and the Importance of a Manufacturing Strategy

From The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “Rockwell calls for national industrial strategy“:

Warning that U.S. manufacturing competitiveness is “very vulnerable,” Rockwell Automation Inc. Tuesday lauded President Barack Obama’s decision to appoint a policy “czar” to shape the nation’s manufacturing strategy.

“American industry needs a transformation unlike any other in its history,” said Rockwell chief executive Keith Nosbusch.

Milwaukee-based Rockwell, which is widely regarded as a bellwether of the manufacturing sector, supplies automation technology that helps improve productivity of factories and refineries.

Rockwell issued a news release on the issue yesterday, also announcing a press briefing next Wednesday at the National Press Club.

Rockwell Automation is organizing a press briefing of manufacturing experts that will encourage the Obama administration and Congress to support incentives for U.S. businesses to make this transformation to smart, safe and sustainable manufacturing. That briefing will be Sept. 9 at 8:30 a.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Scheduled to speak are:

  • Emily DeRocco, president, the Manufacturing Institute and senior vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers;
  • R. Neal Elliott, associate director of research, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy;
  • Evan R. Gaddis, president and CEO, National Electrical Manufacturers Association;
  • Tom Duesterberg, president and CEO, Manufacturers Alliance / MAPI: and Keith Nosbusch, chairman and CEO, Rockwell Automation.

It’s still unclear how serious the Administration is about appointing a manufacturing czar; the only news we’ve seen on the possibility — and of former U.S. Steelworkers’ executive Ron Bloom being named to the post — comes from unnamed White House sources. The comments looked an awful lot like the floating of a trial balloon. And of course, the value of the position is distinct from the merits of the person placed in that position. And better no strategy than a bad strategy that harms U.S. competitiveness — but that’s why Rockwell is weighing in.

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