Building Partnerships in Innovation

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

picThe Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming manufacturing—from connecting machines on the shop floor to the end-use products. This concept of interconnectedness has enabled owners and operators in our sector to gather critical data that allows them to improve product design, troubleshoot in real-time and make manufacturing an even more integral partners with their customers throughout the lifecycle of their product. Today’s manufacturers continue to find ways to embed the latest technologies into their products and processes. With an eye toward the future, NAM member Caterpillar—a 90-year-old company—has begun to seek partnerships with technology startups to help better understand and take advantage of ideas coming out of the gate.
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Courts Hear Arguments on Net Neutrality Case

By | Briefly Legal, Innovation, Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, Shopfloor Legal, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Today in the D.C. Circuit, three judges heard arguments in United States Telecom Ass’n. v. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which involves the FCC’s Open Internet Order also known as the net neutrality rules. The arguments were held in the Court’s sixth floor ceremonial courtroom, but because of the overwhelming interest in a case that could shape the future of the Internet economy, a second overflow courtroom was made available to accommodate all the participants.

The rules are broadly written and provide vague, catch-all authority to the FCC, which increases policy risk for broadband companies through FCC exercise of enforcement discretion.  This regulatory uncertainty is why Congress needs to step in with legislation and create certainty.  A decision is expected from the Court in early 2016. Read More

Expropriating Manufacturing Innovation

By | Innovation, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

There are efforts underway to require manufacturers to turn over highly sensitive operational information, such as their pricing on specific products, marketing costs, research investments and product development funding streams. From the view of a manufacturer, publicly releasing this kind of information is contrary to commonly understood business practice, surrenders federal protections, leaves markets and their company open to manipulation and, in many cases, puts the manufacturer in direct violation of contractual obligations. Read More

Government Must Facilitate Internet of Things Growth

By | Innovation, Technology | No Comments

Industry leaders, academics, and think tanks have all recognized that the Internet of Things is a powerful technology trend that has the ability to transform manufacturing. Recent activity by leaders in Congress and the Administration have sent mixed signals to business that they too are serious about facilitating the growth of IoT in the United States. The NAM is calling on government to be a partner and not a roadblock in the widespread deployment of IoT. Read More

Internet of Things Connects to Congress

By | Innovation, Technology | No Comments

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hear from industry and academic experts during a hearing today entitled “The Connected World: Examining the Internet of Things.” One of the expert witnesses participating is Douglas Davis, Vice President and General Manager, Internet of Things Group, of NAM member company Intel Corporation.

Manufacturers are leading the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution and Intel is one of those leaders. Not only is it a company producing the interoperable building blocks of the IoT platform and solutions that we find in many of the connected devices, Intel is a manufacturer leveraging the IoT on their own shop floors. Read More

House and Senate to Examine Regulation of Open Internet

By | General, Infrastructure, Innovation | No Comments

Tomorrow is a big day on Capitol Hill for manufacturers who want to continue to leverage technology in their products and processes. Both the House and Senate are holding hearings on how to protect the Internet from unnecessary regulation. These hearings will kick off in earnest the 2015 debate on how to keep the Internet open for business.

We will see some calling for legislation that will provide regulatory certainty to all industries. This certainty will then lead to increased investment in our nation’s communications infrastructure thereby facilitating groundbreaking technological innovations in the products and processes of manufacturers. Others will call for applying outdated, 1930’s-era regulations on a primary tool driving the 21st century economy. Read More

NAM in the NEWS: Why Manufacturing Still Counts

By | Economy, General, Innovation | No Comments

Today, Wall Street Journal reporter Bob Hagerty published a series of articles highlighting the growing strength of the manufacturing sector. Although in recent years, the U.S. economy has seen a rise in service work, manufacturing continues to be a driver of growth, especially for the middle class. With the growing American energy renaissance, manufacturing jobs remain a source of good paying jobs averaging $36.37 in wages and benefits. Read More

Manufacturers Welcome Congress Back; Say Now Is Time To Govern

By | Economy, Energy, Health Care, Human Resources, Immigration, immigration reform, Infrastructure, Innovation, intellectual property, Regulations, Taxation, Technology, Trade, Transportation | No Comments

As Members of the 114th Congress descend on Washington for orientation, and the 113th Congress convenes for the upcoming lame duck session, manufacturers stand ready to work with our leaders to advance policies that will enable us to continue to grow and create jobs.   Manufacturers believe that now is the time to set aside the differences that have resulted in gridlock, and focus on the pro-growth policies that brought voters to the polls. Simply put, it is time to govern and grow. Read More

House Lawmakers Invest in Manufacturers’ Innovation. Will the Senate Do the Same?

By | Innovation | No Comments

Last evening, the House passed the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI), a bill championed by Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) that has the potential to strengthen the technology leadership position that manufacturers have worked years to establish.

Manufacturers in the United States have always been the world’s leading innovators, as demonstrated by their investments and research and development and prolific patent portfolios. RAMI marks another important investment in a public-private innovation partnership that will help drive manufacturing and facilitate the longevity of our industry’s comeback. The legislation creates a network of innovation centers that brings together business, schools and the government in a joint effort to accelerate the transfer of advanced manufacturing technology and techniques into the commercial sector.

RAMI has been a top legislative priority for the NAM. Our policy teams have tirelessly advocated for the legislation in congressional meetings with key lawmakers. The NAM also designated legislative action on RAMI as a Key Vote. Now that the House has done its part and passed the bill, it is time for the Senate to follow suit.

There is reason to be optimistic. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), the bipartisan sponsors of a Senate version of RAMI, sat down with the NAM’s Member Focus magazine to discuss how their bill would contribute to the manufacturing comeback. “This legislation will particularly help small and medium-sized manufacturers by helping companies gain access to cutting-edge capabilities and equipment and by educating and training students and workers in advanced manufacturing skills,” Blunt told Member Focus.

As NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons wrote to lawmakers in July, “This legislation will accelerate the development of advanced manufacturing technologies and solidify the United States as the best place in the world to innovate.” The NAM will continue its push to advance RAMI until it becomes law.

The Worth of American Ingenuity

By | Innovation | No Comments

Manufacturers in the United States are among the most prolific inventors and innovators in the world and the NAM supports policies at the federal level that encourage and stimulate innovation in all sectors of our economy. While Americans and federal policy makers generally understand there are risks associated with research and development, the enormity of the risk is often difficult to convey, but it is absorbed into every product.

The cost of innovation varies from sector to sector, but the drive for solving problems and improving what we have is priceless. It’s what built our nation into an economic workhorse and we ought to have the proper perspective on the value it brings to our lives every day. Manufacturers of all sizes and types strive to improve, build upon or replace the products we use to make our lives easier – in some cases they even make our lives possible. In the words of Thomas Edison, “There is always a better way.”

Manufacturers of automobiles are constantly looking for ways to make our cars more convenient, more enjoyable, more luxurious, more efficient – generally more of everything, including safer. All of those innovations come with a cost that runs into the millions and billions of dollars and sometimes they never make it to the market. Over time, the price of those innovations that do make it to the market declines and becomes part of the base cost of a vehicle. Thirty years ago, fuel-injection wasn’t viewed as necessary or practical for general use. Try finding a new car that isn’t fuel-injected now – you can’t, unless it’s an electric one.

Manufacturers of paints and other coatings are engaged in a constant and epic battle with chemistry, mineralogy, physics, biology and meteorology. Millions of dollars are spent by coatings companies to perfect the color, application and durability characteristics of all their products and we get to choose which of those features we want with each gallon of paint or stain we buy. Whether we realize it or not, that’s part of the reason we see a price differential between a gallon of flat white paint and a gallon of solid stain.

Manufacturers of medical devices, biologics, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, petroleum, and many other products also spend billions each year to improve upon or invent products and treatments that have never existed before – products that enrich our lives or make it possible to continue living at all. That’s why the NAM has a clear and unambiguous policy when it comes to innovation – we are for it. American ingenuity has always, always been worth the investment and it is firmly embedded in the American ethos.