Work + Life = HELL-Oh! I Need Balance!

By | Shopfloor Main | No Comments

According to a survey developed by The Manufacturing Institute, Deloitte and APICS, work-life balance is ranked as one of the most important aspects of a women’s career in manufacturing.

As the plant manager of a manufacturing facility in Mexico, I am deeply immersed in the daily grind of the plant floor. I truly understand the difficulty of finding that balance between work and life. First, we need to define what “balance” means for us, because it’s not the same for everyone. For me, staying healthy and fit is a priority. If I don’t stay healthy, I cannot be my best self on the plant floor. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard I just don’t have time to work out!I’d be retired by now! Amazingly enough, we all have the exact same amount of time each day24 hours. What people really mean is, I don’t make exercise a priority. So what are you prioritizing in your life?

My Self-Awareness Quiz:

1) How many hours per week do you spend working? (Yes, weekend emails count.)

2) How many hours a week do you spend dedicated to your family? (Sleeping hours don’t count!)

3) How many hours do you spend solely focused on you? (What’s that?)

Every week has 168 hours. The average adult needs about 60 hours of sleep per week. So, if you are working more than 54 hours per week, you are spending half of your waking hours working!

The other 54:  Four Tactics for Balancing You, Your Family and What You Love!
1) Combine family/couple time with exercise time: A family that plays together stays together! Taking a nature hike (even in your neighborhood), bike riding, swimming outdoors or simply walking the dog every day can all be wonder-filled opportunities for shared time together while moving your body and your family toward a healthy lifestyle.

2) Make family mealtime a “special time”: Turn on the radio or your favorite music and prepare meals together to set a playful or romantic mood. The best ingredient in food is love, so love cutting and chopping and cooking to enjoy nourishing your relationships and your body at the same time.

3) Banish your smart phones for ONE HOUR a day when you are together with friends and family (unless you are on Snopes to settle an important argument). Be present in the moment to enjoy this precious slice of life you have carved out for each other.

4) Bribe yourself: As my father said, after raising nine children who all finished college, bribery works! Let’s face it: If you weren’t getting a paycheck, you wouldn’t go to work. So, set a goal and set up a reward for that goal. Make the reward immediate and strong to be effective. For example, “For every hour that I work out, I will receive two hours of maid service at home.”

Be purposeful, get that balance back and find joy in your life!

Competing for Energy Efficiency in the Manufacturing Industry

By | Energy, General, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The U.S. industrial sector has been a longtime heavy energy consumer, accounting for one-third of the energy usage in the country. What’s more, the U.S. industrial sector has an annual energy bill of about $200 billion. While both of these statistics may seem startling, at Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest building materials companies and manufacturer of innovative material solutions, we believe these numbers present the opportunity for businesses to step up to the challenge to improve the energy efficiency of their manufacturing plants and facilities.

Already, more than 200 industrial partners representing close to 2,600 facilities in all 50 states have committed to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program to improve energy savings by 20 percent or more over the next 10 years. Our new president and CEO, Tom Kinisky, recently signed Saint-Gobain’s renewed pledge, allowing our company to further its energy-savings goals, increase the sustainability of our operations and reduce the overall carbon footprint of our manufacturing facilities.

Image by Saint-Gobain

While these pledges are nice to have, what’s most important is to consider the on-the-ground initiatives companies need to implement to help these goals become a reality. At Saint-Gobain, we believe a sense of competition among manufacturing plants and colleagues truly helps to move these goals forward. In 2016, our company’s Environmental, Health and Safety Department established the company’s Water, Waste and Energy (WWE) Program, which was recently recognized with a U.S. Department of Energy Better Practice Award. This program encourages more than 130 Saint-Gobain manufacturing sites to compete against each other to see which facility can best reduce its environmental impact by highlighting practical and effective solutions for increasing the sustainability of sites. At the end of the program, five sites are recognized with 20-pound championship-style belts and given the titles of “Waste Champion,” “Water Champion,” “Energy Champion,” “CO2 Champion” and “Overall Champion” to recognize their commitment to on-the-ground, effective energy-reduction solutions.

Image by Saint-Gobain

Through this program and by competing against their peers, Saint-Gobain manufacturing facilities across the country have been able to achieve substantial energy consumption reduction results. The program’s 2017 Energy Champion, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in Bristol, Rhode Island, took a systems approach to energy management resulting in a 45 percent energy intensity reduction over the past two years. The 2016 and 2017 CO2 Champion, CertainTeed Roofing in Oxford, North Carolina, invigorated its commitment to reducing energy and carbon dioxide emissions by forming a special committee of 24 members focused on working directly to reduce the site’s emissions. Through the efforts to upgrade heating elements on three of its main production lines, the plant was able to achieve a substantial reduction in natural gas usage. In addition, this year’s Water Champion, Saint-Gobain Quartz in Riverport, Kentucky, implemented the use of a cooling tower to achieve water savings and sealed a well that had been in use for years. The well water withdrawal was reduced from 131 million gallons in 2012 to zero gallons in 2015 and 2016.

Based on these percentages and statistics, it is clear that a sense of competition helps to spur outside-the-box thinking and improvements that are able to result in an overall positive impact for the company and its facilities as well as the planet. Let’s use this learning to encourage our employees and colleagues to compete for the greater good of the planet.

2017 Manufacturing Summit: Manufacturing’s Moment!

By | General, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

During the 2017 Manufacturing Summit, manufacturers of all sizes from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C., for a two-day event, to bring their shop floors to the nation’s capital and to meet with members of Congress and the administration to advance the policies critical to a robust manufacturing economy.

With hundreds of manufacturers in attendance and a leading lineup of speakers, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons referred to the 2017 Manufacturing Summit as a Summit “like none other before itand characterized the moment as unique, calling it manufacturings moment!

Manufacturers heard from Vice President Mike Pence who kicked off the event and House Speaker Paul Ryan who delivered his first major speech on tax. The event closed out with remarks from Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, before manufacturers descended on Capitol Hill for their final day to highlight manufacturing’s top priorities.

Photos and a live stream of the events can be seen below.2017 Manufacturing Summit

Manufacturers on the President’s Cuba Announcement

By | Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Manufacturers support efforts to achieve normal trade relations with Cuba and to share with the Cuban people the values that make, and keep, America exceptional: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity. While today’s announcement will add some hurdles for Americans interested in trade and travel to Cuba, manufacturers appreciate the president’s acknowledgment that our commercial and diplomatic engagement can support the ambitions of the Cuban people. We look forward to expanding investment and opportunity in Cuba.

Isolating the Cuban people has not yielded a new day for freedom and democracy in the island nation just miles from our shores. But eased restrictions on travel to Cuba and U.S. manufacturing exports to the Cuban private sector has made it simpler for Americans to engage with Cuban citizens, as it did when a group of National Association of Manufacturers leaders traveled to Cuba recently, and to support the growth of private enterprise in Cuba. We saw, in even a short time, the potential for normalized diplomatic relations not only to create economic benefits in both nations but also to bring freedom and democracy to Cuba and its people.

Most important in the near term is the strategic value of rapprochement with Cuba, to counter the growing influence of China and Russia in the region. During our visit, for example, a Russian oil tanker with 249,000 barrels of refined product arrived in Cuba for the first time this century. It brought back memories of when the Soviet Union supplied all of the communist country’s needs. Instead of allowing the hand of friendship to come from communist governments and those with a different set of values, we can demonstrate the strength of democratic values and the free market system through a robust trading partnership.

We look forward to the day, as much as anyone, when the Castro regime ends. But ultimately real change will only happen when the Cuban people can take charge of their own destinies and entrepreneurs can create their own opportunities.

Faces of Cuba

FOMC Voted to Hike Rates at Its June Meeting, Plans to Reduce Its Balance Sheet Starting This Year

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise short-term interest rates at the conclusion of its June 13–14 meeting for only the third time since the financial crisis. After hiking the federal funds rate in December and March, the Federal Reserve increased rates by another 25 basis points, with a new target range of 1 to 1.25 percent. In making this decision, participants noted recent strengthening in the overall macroeconomy, including better data for consumer spending, business investment and hiring. Beyond this latest action, it is widely anticipated that the FOMC will increase rates one more time in 2017, perhaps as soon as its September 19–20 meeting. Such a decision, of course, would depend on continued improvements in economic activity, especially as the Federal Reserve remains “data dependent.” At this meeting, there was one dissenter: Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari, who felt that incoming data did not warrant an increase just yet. Read More

Manufacturers on Infrastructure: Get It Done

By | Infrastructure, Presidents Blog, Regulations, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

If you are going to get cut off during an interview, it might as well be for the president of the United States.

Just before President Donald Trump discussed his vision to modernize America’s infrastructure and continue to support manufacturers in the United States, I joined Stuart Varney on “Fox Business” to offer the perspective of our nation’s 12 million manufacturers on the urgent need to advance infrastructure investment and remove job-crushing regulations.

As I told Stu, the bottom line is that the American people want to get things done. Manufacturers are encouraged that the president is getting things done, incorporating elements of the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) “Building to Win” strategy, and we hope Washington comes together to get a big, jobs-first, trillion-dollar infrastructure plan done.

There’s a reason 93 percent of the NAM’s members recently surveyed are optimistic about their outlook on their economy—a 20-year record high. It’s because President Trump is not just delivering speeches like he did today. He’s listening to manufacturers and putting actions behind his words—to create jobs and lift standards of living for everyone.

More Relief for Manufacturers: EPA Grants Flexibility on Ozone Regulations

By | Energy, Environment, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

This afternoon, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) informed governors that the agency will grant states an additional year for initial compliance designations under the 2015 ozone standard. This is welcome regulatory relief for manufacturers, who are working hard to comply with the 2008 and 2015 ozone standards but run the risk of falling into no-grow zonesif their states do not reach the 2015 levels quickly enough.

The 2015 ozone regulation could be one of the most expensive regulations ever issued by the U.S. government. The 2008 standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb)—the most stringent standard ever—was never even fully implemented, while emissions are as low as they have been in decades and air quality continues to improve. The EPA itself admitted that implementation of the previous standard of 75 ppb, when combined with the dozens of other regulations on the books that will reduce ozone precursor emissions from stationary and mobile sources, will drive ozone reductions below 75 ppb (and close to 70 ppb, the current standard set in 2015) by 2025.

Throughout the 2015 ozone rulemaking, hundreds of governors, mayors, local development officials, manufacturers and other leaders warned the EPA that they could not comply with a tighter standard under the strict timelines the EPA requires. Air quality officials from cities and states across the country have testified before Congress that they may run out of controls before they even reach the levels mandated by the EPA. Manufacturers appreciate that the EPA is acknowledging this very real problem.

The EPA also announced it would continue to look into three issues the NAM raised in its comments on the 2015 rule and in subsequent requests to the agency: (1) how the EPA calculates background ozone; (2) the impact of emissions from outside the United States on local ozone levels; and (3) timely consideration of exceptional events designations. Fixing these issues will go a long way toward more flexibility for manufacturers as they continue to reduce their emissions.

ISM: Growth in Manufacturing Activity Essentially Unchanged in May, Expanding Modestly

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index reported that growth in activity remained essentially the same in May. The composite index edged marginally higher, up from 54.8 in April to 54.9 in May. On the reassuring front, it was the ninth consecutive monthly expansion in manufacturing activity in the United States, with the sector showing signs of progress after two years of notable challenges. The sample comments tend to echo those improvements, citing better economic conditions, a favorable outlook and increased difficulties in finding labor. At the same time, the headline index has drifted lower since February (57.7), and respondents continue to note some lingering headwinds and increased pricing pressures. The ISM report mostly mirrors other sentiment surveys, which have observed some pullbacks from multiyear highs post-election, even as they remain mostly encouraging. Read More

How Manufacturers Are Making Progress in Washington

By | Media Relations, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Three months ago, I joined a group of business leaders in a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House. We had a frank discussion about what businesses in America need to create jobs, compete around the world and grow our economy.

We focused especially on issues like regulatory reform and infrastructure, and since that meeting, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has continued to provide the administration with manufacturers’ perspectives. We sent a report on regulations to the Commerce Department, and we continue to advocate the solutions found in our “Building to Win” agenda.

I shared a similar message in a round of television interviews in New York this week. On CNBC, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and I talked about manufacturers’ priorities with the “Squawk Box” audience (You can watch parts one and two of the interview here and here.)

The other hot topic for manufacturers right now, of course, is tax reform. Earlier this month, I was on Capitol Hill to testify before Congress about manufacturers’ priorities for tax policy. I discussed the principles laid out in “Competing to Win” and urged our elected leaders to act in a bold way. “We operate in a fiercely competitive global economy, and we need a fiercely competitive tax system to win,” I reminded them.

It can get lost in the news, but manufacturers really are making progress on our big-ticket items. We have an administration who is listening to us and has already acted to ease the regulatory burden. On Capitol Hill, Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) have introduced a bipartisan regulatory reform bill. President Trump released his tax reform blueprint, and Congress is holding hearings to begin the process. In addition, the administration is expected to release an infrastructure plan soon, after previously citing our “Building to Win” blueprint favorably.

If we keep up the hard work and keep speaking out, we can seize this opportunity and get real results for manufacturers—and our whole country.

Top Three Ways to Inspire Female Students to Pursue a Career in Manufacturing

By | General, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

By Melsha Winchester, Marketing Director, Bishop-Wisecarver Group, 2017 STEP Ahead Honoree

“Women are underrepresented in all manufacturing sectors,” according to the Untapped Resource study conducted by The Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. There are many organizations focused on introducing and encouraging female students to pursue manufacturing careers, such as Women in Manufacturing, Association of Women in the Metal Industries and Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation just to name a few. It is apparent that one of the best way to attract female students is to have women already working in manufacturing careers share the career opportunities available in the manufacturing industry. “By reaching out to mentor a girl or young woman, you can change her life and put everyone’s future in good hands,said Tabby Biddle in her article Why Mentoring Young Women and Girls Is Important.

Bishop-Wisecarver, a California-based manufacturer, can be included in organizations focused on inspiring female students to pursue rewarding careers in manufacturing. I recognize that as a woman in the manufacturing industry and the marketing director at Bishop-Wisecarver, I have a great opportunity and responsibility to show young girls why a career in manufacturing is rewarding and fulfilling.

I wanted to share the top three ways manufacturers can get female students excited about pursuing a career in manufacturing that I have learned at Bishop-Wisecarver:

  1. Host a Manufacturing Day℠ or Private Plant TourEvery October, Bishop-Wisecarver hosts Manufacturing Day for local students and FIRST® teams. Manufacturing Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers by having students tour their plants, ask questions and participate in hands-on activities. Our program at Bishop-Wisecarver also includes a career panel, where staff members talk about their careers in engineering, technology, sales, marketing and operations. Make sure that you include female staff members because young ladies will relate to women who are in roles thought mainly as “male roles.”
  2. Sponsor a Local FIRST TeamBishop-Wisecarver is proud to support two all-girls FIRST® teams for the 20162017 season. Our contribution helps students build skills in STEM to design extraordinary robots that compete in rigorous matches. STEM programs will help prepare students for careers in manufacturing.
  3. Support STEM-Based ProgramsDuring the year, Bishop-Wisecarver actively participates in local science fairs, engineering camps and summits. Our president, Pamela Kan, served as a mentor and panelist for female high school students in last year’s STEAM Summit organized by ASTRA. The support of these activities helps create opportunities for mentorship where female students can have a place to go when they have questions or need support.

As a recent recipient of the 2017 STEP Ahead Award, I had the opportunity to meet many women with rewarding careers in manufacturing. The discussions were riveting, and now I’m inspired to do more to reach young women to tell them why working for a manufacturing company is a great career choice. Learn more about the Institute’s STEP Ahead program here.