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Innovation

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Unfortunately, due to an outdated federal device and drug approval process, manufacturers in the United States face burdensome costs and unnecessary delays in the development of innovative,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

Cybersecurity—Manufacturers Are More Than Aware

By | Innovation, Shopfloor Policy, Technology | No Comments

October is recognized as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The Department of Homeland Security describes it as “an annual campaign to raise awareness about cybersecurity.” The National Association of Manufacturers and manufacturers across the country are pleased to participate in this campaign.

The manufacturing sector is extremely diverse in its size, scope and outputs. The one common thread is that all traditional manufacturing companies are pushing the limits of innovation. Technology is infused throughout everything our industry does, therefore making all manufacturers high-tech enterprises.

One of the biggest trends happening in our sector is the proliferation of connected devices, or the Internet of Things (IoT). What was unimaginable just a decade ago is now a reality. Manufacturers are the creators, users, servicers and installers of the IoT.

Manufacturers have become the first line of defense in securing our nation’s most critical online assets. As a result, our industry places the cybersecurity of its products and processes at the highest priority level.

As we kick off this month that recognizes the importance of cybersecurity to everyoneboth personally and professionallythe NAM will continue its focus on building a stronger publicprivate partnership. We will keep calling for economic tools to encourage investment beyond ordinary levels of commercial cybersecurity spending. We will encourage NIST to complete its cyber-framework efforts to determine the most cost-effective elements of cyber-defense. We will continue to call for a coordinated strategy across the government that helps secure and foster the growth of the IoT. We will work with our government partners and provide guidance on how to improve their resources available to manufacturers. Most importantly, we will continue to be America’s leading innovators.

Lose–Lose Proposal from UNHLP Panel Represents a Missed Opportunity and Poses a Real Threat

By | Health Care, Innovation, intellectual property, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

A highly flawed report that employs the mantle of global health to take aim at innovation and manufacturing was released today by a U.N. panel, representing a real missed opportunity to focus the world on collaborative and effective solutions that could make a substantial difference for real people facing access barriers.  Read More

California’s Manufacturers Deserve Strong IP Protections

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

From cutting-edge advances in information technology, energy-efficiency and lifesaving medical devices and medicines, California’s manufacturers are global leaders in innovation.

At the forefront of innovation is research and development (R&D). The manufacturing industry in California spent $81.7 billion on R&D in 2012—ranking it first nationally. From years of R&D stems manufacturers’ trade secrets and proprietary intellectual property (IP), which is the lifeblood of the industry and the key to creating new consumer goods and generating more effective and efficient technologies. Therefore, there is nothing more critical to California’s manufacturers than the guarantee that their IP will be protected.

Unfortunately, recently introduced legislation would require manufacturers in the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and biotech-related industries to disclose proprietary operational information and data. The bill’s sponsors likely had the best intentions in mind, as it is important that we work to reduce our nation’s health care costs and access. However, this legislation would have the opposite effect. Mandating manufacturers of medical devices and medicines to turn over sensitive data, such as the cost of R&D, would have no impact on controlling costs, but would severely hamper their ability to compete.

The legislation singles out one industry, but devalues the work of all innovators and would send a chilling effect across the manufacturing industry. R&D is risky and expensive, but the rewards are tremendous and should not be desensitized. In California alone, total output from manufacturing was $255.53 billion in 2014, employing 1,271,000 Californians. Manufacturers are the lead drivers of innovation, creating economic growth and jobs. Legislators in California must understand how critical strong IP protections are to protecting the industry and the state’s economy.

NAM Member ABB Highlights Role of Internet of Things in Manufacturing

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

Digital technology is changing the landscape of how the world makes things. More and more often, terms like “advanced manufacturing” and “smart” work are being used to describe the latest era in our sector. But what does “advanced manufacturing” mean? What affect is it having on the supply chain? On jobs? On our laws? Greg Scheu, executive committee member of ABB Group and president of ABB Americas Region, joined lawmakers, administration officials and technology experts in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss those questions.

The goal of advanced manufacturing, according to Scheu, is using technology to provide a competitive advantage—helping grow their business, service their customers and compete globally. Connected products and processes—or the Internet of Things—are helping manufacturers become more efficient in their processes and develop a broader, more customizable array of products to offer.  Read More

Minnesota “Transparency” Legislation Threatens Manufacturers’ Competitiveness

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

Protection of trade secrets and other forms of intellectual property are a fundamental necessity for manufacturers to succeed in today’s intensely competitive global marketplace. No industry should be forced to turn over to the government highly sensitive, proprietary information that tears down longstanding intellectual property protections and weakens their ability to innovate and grow their businesses.

Yet, there are proposals currently in the Minnesota state legislature that would require manufacturers in the pharmaceutical industry to disclose historically protected confidential information about their businesses, such as research and development costs, pricing strategies and production and marketing expenses. This information lies at the very heart of the operational strategy of any business in any industry and is a critical component for success, and the unintended consequences of transparency legislation would put Minnesota manufacturers at a serious disadvantage, undercutting their ability to innovate and compete. Read More

Sherrill Visits Detroit, Calls for Policies That Help Drive Manufacturing Innovation

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

Technology is revolutionizing manufacturing—the Internet of Things, Big Data and the cloud. All of these innovative tools are changing what we make and how we make it. That was a topic of discussion at “Manufacturing in America,” an event hosted by Siemens and Electro-Matic Products this week at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. In his remarks Wednesday morning, Tenneco Inc. Chairman and CEO and NAM Board Chair Gregg Sherrill delved into the many ways technology is not only empowering manufacturers, transforming our products and changing lives but also creating new policy challenges. Lawmakers must approach these challenges with care or risk stunting this growth opportunity for manufacturers in the United States.

Products and processes connected online, also known as the Internet of Things, facilitate the seamless integration of supply chains, drive increased global collaboration and connect design with production. The data generated allow manufacturers to get real-time feedback to better serve their customers and deliver higher quality and safer products. The cloud is securely moving information at light speed across borders. Read More

“Transparency” Proposals Would Stifle Innovation

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

Recent proposals that would require manufacturers in the pharmaceutical industry to disclose sensitive and proprietary business information, such as pricing on specific products, marketing costs, planned research investments, anticipated profits and manufacturing production costs, would set a dangerous precedent that will deliver chilling impacts to our global competitiveness and further dampen prospects for more robust economic growth.

President Obama introduced the idea in his 2017 budget proposal, and the issue is occasionally amplified in the Halls of Congress and on the campaign trail.

Such a move would certainly be sweeping and dramatic, directly impacting the innovators who are leading research and developmentpharmaceutical, bio-pharmaceutical, bio-tech and related industries. Even thought these proposalssome at the state and others at the federal leveltarget one sector, manufacturers across all sectors don’t like the idea of hampering innovation. Read More

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