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Innovation

Next Generation Broadband: Making Regulations Work for Innovation

By | Infrastructure, Innovation, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Later this month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on a proposal to modernize existing regulations to speed the deployment of next generation wireless across the country. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr recently unveiled a plan to support the buildout of 5G, noting the need “to update our rules to match this revolutionary new technology.” Manufacturers agree and support Commissioner Carr’s proposal, along with a similar effort in the Senate with Chairman John Thune’s (R-SD) STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act (S. 3157).

Existing regulations for broadband infrastructure were designed for the technology of previous generations of wireless, which required siting decisions for 200-foot towers that would transmit signals over large swaths of land. Next generation broadband will be delivered through multiple “small cells”—devices that are much less intrusive and more much more numerous. The FCC’s plan would cut through a complex web of hurdles at the local level that could delay 5G buildout. It would ensure cities and towns charge reasonable fees, and it would shorten the shot clock for local regulators to act on build-out requests, while maintaining a role for local control over aspects of small cell placement decisions.

Next generation wireless broadband will unlock further innovation across the manufacturing ecosystem. The Internet of Things has transformed the way manufacturers do business, and today’s shop floors are quickly developing and deploying emerging technologies. Manufacturing operations are more data intensive than ever before. Improved processing speeds and increased wireless capacity with 5G will lead to advancements in data-heavy tasks, like those associated with connected devices and Artificial Intelligence.

The private sector is already investing in broadband infrastructure and the innovations that will be powered by 5G technology. Federal policymakers can help by ensuring the regulatory framework keeps pace with the evolving nature of mobile technology. We applaud Commissioner Carr and the Senate’s STREAMLINE Act sponsors for advancing proposals to clear the way for next generation broadband innovation.

Protect Pennsylvania’s Innovators

By | Innovation | No Comments

A recent analysis by the National Association of Manufacturers shows Pennsylvania manufacturers are innovators and essential drivers of the state’s economy. In fact, in 2015, total output from manufacturing in the state was more than $85 billion, employing 566,000 Pennsylvanians.

Unfortunately, one proposal up for consideration in the Pennsylvania Senate and currently being considered would jeopardize the industry’s success. The proposal would establish a Pharmaceutical Transparency Commission and require manufacturers in the biopharmaceutical industry to disclose proprietary business information, such as research and development (R&D) costs and production and marketing expenses. While the legislation’s intent of lowering health care costs is very important, the unintended consequences would put Pennsylvania’s manufacturers at a serious disadvantage and have very little impact on health care costs.

R&D is critical for manufacturers to maintain their competitive edge, especially in Pennsylvania. In 2014 alone, the state’s manufacturing industry spent $10.8 billion on R&D, ranking it ninth nationally. As a manufacturer, if you aren’t investing in research and continuously innovating, then you are falling behind. Therefore, it is extremely important that manufacturers’ trade secrets are protected.

This is especially true for biopharmaceutical manufacturers creating new medicines, as the research and investment into finding new lifesaving medications is extremely costly, risky and time intensive. Proposed “transparency” legislation does not account for the true costs of R&D and would devastate intellectual property protections, discouraging future investment into critical cures.

However, this legislation would not just harm biopharmaceutical manufacturers; it would send a chilling effect across the entire manufacturing industry. No manufacturer should ever be forced to disclose the sensitive information that contributes to its success. Innovation is the lifeblood of manufacturing, and it should be protected at all costs. Pennsylvania manufacturers need strong intellectual property protections to continue to innovate, create jobs and succeed in the marketplace.

Price Controls Harm Innovation and Interfere with Competitive Markets

By | Innovation, intellectual property, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Some members of the Oregon legislature continue to propose unwieldy requirements and burdensome rebates on manufacturers of pharmaceuticals in an effort to cap drug prices. These efforts will not “control” the price of drugs for consumers but will instead create scenarios that will likely limit choice, restrict supply and increase costs. Moreover, price controls discourage innovation and act as a disincentive for robust research and development (R&D) efforts.

While rising health care costs are a significant concern for Americans, there are very few examples in history where price controls have worked for a full segment of the population. Artificially setting prices does not take into account all of the costs and factors that go into creating a new product, such as numerous failed clinical trials or drugs whose revenue fail to cover development costs. Price controls distort incentives in the market and result in product shortages, which could ultimately increase future health care costs.

Lawmakers must consider carefully the negative impacts of imposing price controls and diminishing any intellectual property protections. Attempts to jeopardize all of the investment and years of work associated with the creation of new medicines and products will discourage R&D and innovation—all at the expense of manufacturers’ competitiveness and the future well-being of patients. As the legislative session winds down in Salem, we urge elected officials to be mindful of these adverse impacts.

Protect Innovation and the Advancement of New Medicines

By | Innovation, intellectual property, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Today, the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee will mark up the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017 (H.R. 2430). To ensure this critical legislation passes Congress far ahead of a September 30 deadline, manufacturers urge swift action by the committee to keep H.R. 2430 on schedule. Any delay of the FDARA risks future gains in medical discovery and harm to our global standing.

In a March letter to E&C Health Subcommittee members, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) expressed strong support for a timely reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act of 2017.

The FDA’s user fee program is the ultimate publicprivate partnership. If approved, this agreement will help the federal government and pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers continue to drive innovation and usher in competition to bring new and groundbreaking therapies to patients.

Manufacturers urge members of the E&C Committee to support FDARA and avoid any needless risk to public health by opposing drug importation amendments.  Any amendment that eases restrictions on the importation of medicines is a distraction. The NAM opposed a similar importation effort in the Senate earlier this year in a key vote letter because it could expose consumers to counterfeit and adulterated therapies. The focus must be on the advancement of new medicines and treatments as well as unambiguous support for scientific innovation by ensuring the FDARA moves forward unimpeded.

Bipartisan Bill Focused on Growing IoT Introduced Today

By | Innovation, Shopfloor Policy, Technology | No Comments

Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the NAM-supported Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act today. This legislation creates a strategic partnership between manufacturers and the public sector focused on fostering the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). The National Association of Manufacturers looks forward to working with both the House and Senate to move this bipartisan bill. Read More

Competing to Win: How to Accelerate Manufacturing Innovation

By | Innovation, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Technology | No Comments

Autonomous vehicles. Smart phones. Lifesaving medicines. All are made possible by the innovation of manufacturers. Technology is transforming the manufacturing industry, and the manufacturing industry is transforming our world.

Manufacturers in the United States perform more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development (R&D) in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector, changing our society and helping Americans live better lives. But our continued progress is not guaranteed. We need our leaders to embrace policies that encourage innovation—not stand in its way—because a country that can’t invent can’t lead.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has laid manufacturers’ technology policy priorities in a new blueprint, as part of our “Competing to Win” agenda:

  • Enable a regulatory and legislative climate that creates the conditions for discovering the next great life-changing inventions.
  • Secure those inventions by protecting the intellectual property rights of manufacturers.
  • Partner with the industry in the area of cybersecurity but not through the creation of a new and unnecessary regulatory regime.
  • Encourage the growth of connected technology when they consider updating our telecommunications laws.

The technologies embraced by manufacturers in the 21st century are improving business models, transforming customer relationships and re-inventing the world. Policymakers in Washington now must decide whether they will accelerate, or stand in the way, of a new economy that innovates and works better for everyone.

This blog is part of the NAM’s 12 Days of Transition series, an effort to provide the presidential transition team and other Washington policymakers with a roadmap to bolster manufacturing in the United States. Read the other blogs in the series here.

Impeding the Development of Lifesaving Products Is What’s Really “Dangerous”

By | Health Care, Innovation, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

If you’re following debates in the Senate, you may have heard Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and others refer to one important piece of pending legislation, the 21st Century Cures Act, as “corrupt” and “dangerous.”

Well, she certainly got my attention. But what is really alarming is that Sen. Warren’s attack is baseless. In fact, the effort to derail the 21st Century Cures Act is what is really dangerous—and alarming.

Here’s why:

Manufacturers of medical devices and pharmaceuticals save lives and improve the human condition. Their breakthroughs in scientific advances and technological innovations create jobs for scientists and researchers as well as machinists and those on the manufacturing line.

Their work is essential to both the health of our families and our economy.

Unfortunately, due to an outdated federal device and drug approval process, manufacturers in the United States face burdensome costs and unnecessary delays in the development of innovative, lifesaving products.

The 21st Century Cures legislation works to address these challenges. It will modernize our approach to the discovery, development and delivery of medical innovations to ensure that the United States maintains its rightful position of leadership in the global economy at a time when foreign competitors are catching up.

This bill, which represents a bipartisan negotiation in the House and Senate, has been significantly debated over the past two years. The act focuses on important investments in basic research that will lead to further advancement in the development of treatments and products, help fight diseases and other chronic conditions and allow for small business flexibility to provide health care options to employees.

In addition, the legislation also includes a fix to the Affordable Care Act that will allow small businesses to use Health Reimbursement Arrangements to provide health care options for their employees, a practice that is currently heavily fined by the IRS.

Attempts to call this effort “corrupt” and “dangerous” are baseless and more about making points based on political rhetoric, completely ignoring the positive and much needed provisions of the legislation.

Too much progress is at stake. Americans should hold Sen. Warren accountable for attempting to hold up these much needed medical advances—all to score political points.

Discouraging Innovation at State or Federal Levels Is Not the Answer

By | Innovation, intellectual property, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

For manufacturers and all innovators in the United States, the protection of intellectual property (IP), including trade secrets, helps drive not only success but also a continuous cycle of innovation. As such, the United States has historically upheld a very strong record of protecting IP through both federal and state laws. After all, if the government can’t ensure sufficient protections, all incentive is lost in spending billions of dollars on research and development (R&D) only to have the resulting product stolen or devalued. Read More

Appetite for Disruption

By | Innovation, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Technology | No Comments

Manufacturers are disruptors. We disrupt products and processes. We disrupt markets. We disrupt our own enterprises based on the needs of our customers. We disrupt because thats what it takes to compete. We disrupt because it drives growth in our businesses and our ability to create jobs.

Disruption is not a new concept for manufacturers or any other industry that strives to outperform its competition. Disruption is a concept we embrace. We don’t do it to have onlookers say you’re crazy. We do it because our industry knows that if we are not driving the disruption, it will drive us out of business.

Technology is the latest disruptor inside the manufacturing sector. This is no secret. Technology has been driving change in our industry for decades. However, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) wanted to better understand just how much technology was disrupting our members. We wanted to know what it means for their business and, if it changes, how they think about you, their customers. So, we asked them and wanted to share with you what we found.

The results from our recent survey of NAM members says that manufacturers are investing in disruptive technologies for many reasons. It is improving shop floor efficiency, speeding up time to market, creating new revenue streams and driving future business.

We also found out a few barriers to investing in disruptive technologiestwo of which include a mismatch of skills and the overreach of government regulation.

Additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, the cloud, big data, drones, robotics and the Internet of Things are just some of the disruptive technologies being leveraged by the manufacturing sector. The NAM is focused on educating lawmakers in Washington so they understand how it’s so easy to create an environment that fosters the growth of disruptive technologies in manufacturing rather than creating an anything goes policy environment.

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