Closing the Skills Gap in Manufacturing is A Serious Challenge

By | America's Business, Education and Training, Manufacturing Institute, Miscellaneous, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Read the latest CNBC column on closing the skills gap by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in this month’s Member Focus.

If manufacturing in the United States were its own country, it would rank as the ninth-largest economy in the world, with manufacturers contributing $2.09 trillion to the U.S. economy every year.

Every dollar spent in the manufacturing sector adds another $1.37 to the economy and each manufacturing job creates another 2.5 jobs in local goods and services.

Read more here.

NAM Members Continue to Lead The Way on Sustainability Efforts

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Manufacturers lead the way when it comes to finding ways to enhance the sustainability of their processes and products. Whether wildlife and forests, or energy and water, NAM members are always working towards advancing sustainability efforts that positively impact the industry’s contributions to environmental protection, economic performance and the social well-being of the employees, communities, customers and consumers they serve.

Most recently, NAM Member company AT&T announced an effort that aims to save up to 28 billion gallons of water annually—equivalent to the amount of water that more than 765,000 Americans use at home in a given year.

Working with outside partners, AT&T has developed The Building Water Efficiency toolkit, which gives organizations simple, cost-effective resources to build their own water efficiency programs and includes both technical and management tools to design, implement and document water savings. You can view the toolkit and read more about AT&T’s efforts here.


Sweet Success for Cookie Maker

By | America's Business, Miscellaneous, Trade | No Comments

Every so often, manufacturing reaches a milestone.  Today is one of those days, for the Oreo cookie turns 100.  It is one of the many delicious snack foods produced by manufacturers in this country.

The Oreo’s success reflects a key point about modern manufacturing: today’s marketplace is global. While the Oreo may be “America’s Favorite Cookie,” consumers in this country represent a just small share of consumers worldwide.  Indeed, 95 percent of consumers live outside our borders, and reaching those individuals is key to growth.

It’s not always easy.  A story in the Wall Street Journal a few years back highlighted efforts to bring the Oreo to China.  After a “grassroots marketing campaign to educate Chinese consumers about the American tradition of pairing milk with cookies” and a reformulation of the Oreo to suit Chinese tastes, the cookie won China.

That’s what manufacturers do: adapt, innovate and ultimately provide consumers with products that make life better.  Today, the Oreo is enjoyed around the world.

What’s in store for the next century?  No doubt the Oreo will face challenges, as it did over the last 100 years.  The cookie, however, has proved resilient. Whether it’s dispatching a competitor like Hydrox or beating back attempts by nanny-staters to take away life’s little pleasures, the numbers don’t lie: 450 billion cookies sold.

NAM President Jay Timmons Testifies Before the Joint Economic Committee

By | Economy, Miscellaneous | No Comments

This morning NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons testified before the Joint Economic Committee on the state of manufacturing in the United States. The hearing was titled “Manufacturing in the USA: Why We Need a National Manufacturing Strategy.”

Here is a brief excerpt of Jay’s testimony before the committee:

Nonetheless, the NAM remains concerned about the significant challenges faced by manufacturers in the United States. Despite the critical role the industry plays in the economy, taxes, legal costs, energy prices and burdensome regulations make it 18 percent more expensive to manufacture a product in the United States than in any other country. That’s without even taking into account labor costs.

Layered on top of these higher costs is the broad uncertainty faced by American businesses that includes “on-again, off-again” tax policy and an unpredictable regulatory environment. Manufacturers also increasingly are concerned about the impact of the historically-high levels of the federal deficit and the national debt on manufacturing and the overall U.S. economy.

The NAM will continue to push for the policies we have outlined in our “Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and a Competitive America.” This blueprint will help boost the competitiveness of manufacturers of all sizes which is essential for our economy and job creation. 

To watch the video of today’s hearing please click here:

Southern Governors Discuss Manufacturing with NAM President

By | America's Business, Miscellaneous, Regulations | No Comments

Yesterday, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons participated in a roundtable discussion with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslem. The roundtable was part of the annual conference of the Southern Growth Policies Board in Roanoke, Virginia. 

The conversation focused on the state of manufacturing in the South. The governors discussed their concern with federal regulations adding additional burdens to small businesses in their states which limit their ability to create jobs and grow. 

From The Roanoke Times:

McDonnell said reducing the federal corporate income tax rate would give some relief to businesses. Haslam said businesses are looking for predictability and are concerned about things such as health insurance costs and the impacts of the federal health care reform law.

Supreme Court Rules on Arizona Immigration Law

By | Briefly Legal, Miscellaneous | No Comments

In 2008, Arizona was the first state to go beyond existing Federal laws and impose additional hiring responsibilities and penalties on employers. Some states have since followed, resulting in a state-by-state patchwork of varied enforcement and hiring mechanisms, making the process increasingly difficult, burdensome and costly for employers doing business in multiple states.

Today, the Supreme Court found that the Arizona law falls within the authority Congress has given the states and they have the right to mandate that employers use E-Verify, the Federal verification program and impose certain penalties.

Employers need a reliable, accurate and efficient employment eligibility verification system that also provides fair enforcement of the laws. This includes a consistent system that provides a coherent hiring process across all states. Manufacturers are concerned that this ruling opens the door to additional state action that will make the hiring process more confusing.

Federal preemption of state laws and a safe harbor for employers is necessary to ease the regulatory burden that will continue to be imposed one state at a time.

Joe Trauger is vice president for human resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

Farewell from a Blogger

By | Miscellaneous | 4 Comments

This is my last post at after nearly five years of blogging. I’m moving on to new professional challenges.

The National Association of Manufacturers has been a great place to work, and not only because of the latitude the NAM’s leaders gave me in writing about manufacturing, the economy and policy. The issues we promote seek to create a stronger manufacturing sector and more prosperous, free United States, and I’ve been privileged to help in whatever modest way I can. The people at the NAM are top-notch advocates and colleagues.

Shopfloor continues with many voices, and I wish them all the best.

So, in the words of Roy Rogers ….


P.S. OK, I’ll admit it. I’m more a Yardbirds kind of guy.

From Pepsico, Waste Management, DC — Dream Machines

By | General, Miscellaneous | No Comments

We saw our first “Dream Machine” recycling container on a downtown street corner yesterday evening. The photos are of the northeast corner at 13th and F NW.
From “Nation’s Capital is First City to Partner with PepsiCo Dream Machine Recycling Initiative, Quadrupling Recycling Bins in Downtown D.C.

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) today announced a partnership with the DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) and the District Department of Public Works (DPW) that will make Washington, D.C. the nation’s first city to partner with the Dream Machine recycling initiative. A total of 363 recycling bins will be placed throughout the DowntownDC BID area, offering a convenient and rewarding recycling option for people while they are on-the-go and advancing the BID’s Greening Downtown DC initiative.

PepsiCo’s Dream Machine recycling initiative, which aims to place both interactive kiosks and bins, was created in partnership with Waste Management (NYSE: WM) and Keep America Beautiful.

With approximately 1,500 Dream Machines located in more than 20 states to date, the program aims to increase the U.S. beverage container recycling rate from 34 to 50 percent by 2018….

Jeremy Cage, senior vice president of Innovation and Insights at PepsiCo and head of the Dream Machine recycling initiative, commented, “We are thrilled that our nation’s capital is the first city to offer the Dream Machine program to its community. With collaborative partnerships like this one, we are confident that we can help provoke behavioral change by making recycling more convenient, and we encourage others to join us as we strive to make positive change for our planet.”

For all the bottles and cans recycled in a Dream Machine bin or kiosk in Washington, D.C., and across the nation, PepsiCo will make a contribution to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), a national program offering free, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 U.S. veterans with disabilities.

Good Timing! Sikorsky Had Just Celebrated 300th MH-Seahawk

By | Miscellaneous, Technology | 4 Comments

Just three days before modified MH-60 Seahawk helicopters carried Navy SEALS into Pakistan for their successful assault on the Bin Laden compound, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation issued a news release, “Sikorsky Aircraft Achieves 300 MH-60 SEAHAWK® Helicopter Production Milestone for U.S. Navy“:

STRATFORD, Conn., April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), and the U.S. Navy have celebrated the production of 100 MH-60R and 200 MH-60S SEAHAWK® multi-mission helicopters for the U.S. Navy.

“MH-60 helicopters perform an important role protecting the fleet and its sailors, and conducting a host of multi-mission operations,” said Rear Adm. Paul Grosklags, vice commander, U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command. “Our Navy pilots and crew fly with the knowledge that these aircraft not only are proven operationally at sea, but are made by a company with a proven track record of helicopter manufacturing excellence.”

Marc Ambinder at National has an excellent, detail-rich report on the SEAL Team Six,  known officially as Naval Special Warfare Development but called DevGru in the vernacular. From “The Secret Team That Killed bin Laden“:

From Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan, the modified MH-60 helicopters made their way to the garrison suburb of Abbottabad, about 30 miles from the center of Islamabad. Aboard were Navy SEALs, flown across the border from Afghanistan, along with tactical signals, intelligence collectors, and navigators using highly classified hyperspectral imagers.

After bursts of fire over 40 minutes, 22 people were killed or captured. One of the dead was Osama bin Laden, done in by a double tap — boom, boom — to the left side of his face. His body was aboard the choppers that made the trip back.

Hurray for the SEALS! And hurray for the more than 1,100 Sikorsky employees who assemble and complete both MH-60 SEAHAWK helicopter types at the company’s Troy, Ala., and Stratford, Conn., facilities.

We’ll be scanning news reports for other details about the machinery and weapons used in this mission.

At the White House Garden Tour

By | Miscellaneous | No Comments

Having avoided the Executive Branch shutdown, the White House on Sunday opened its grounds for the annual White House Garden Tour. A gray day, and the magnolia and other flowering trees were past their peak blooms.

But the greenery was big!

P.S. Very nice event, attracting thousands of people. The White House chef’s vegetable garden was the most popular site, and kids appeared envious of the playground equipment. We didn’t see any liability warning signs.