NACFAM Annual Conference and Advanced Manufacturing Leadership Awards
Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel … Arlington, VA
September 7-8, 2017
“The Future of Manufacturing: Increasing Innovation, Productivity and Value”
- The Coming Revolution of American Manufacturing
- Disruption and Innovation: Two Sides of the Same Coin
- The Case for Digital Reinvention
- Radical Transformation through Technology-driven Innovations: Machines, Materials and Controls
- Industrial technologies transforming manufacturing and driving growth and sustainability
- Revolution at the Convergence—Manufacturing as a Service (MaaS)
- Promoting Growth and Sustainment in Aerospace and Defense SMEs
- Building a Talented Workforce
- Cybersecurity for Advanced Manufacturing
- Measuring Manufacturing Correctly
- Manufacturing Policy Issues – 2017 and Beyond
Draft agenda & conference registration form to be e-mailed in May.
IMF Boosts Global Economic Forecast for 2017
The International Monetary Fund offered a sunnier outlook for the global economy in 2017, predicting growth of 3.5 percent this year. Still, the IMF warned the world economy still “faces headwinds” and warns against protectionism.
(Supply Chain 24/7 – Staff: 4-18-17) The global economy is on course for its best performance in several years despite trade tensions and looming geopolitical threats, the International Monetary Fund said ahead of a meeting of world finance chiefs in Washington this week.
But global investment, manufacturing and consumer confidence are signaling strength.
U.S. growth is projected to accelerate. Europe and Japan are finally showing signs of recovery.
Meantime, oil prices have risen from 2016 lows, boosting inflation readings from exceptionally low levels and offering hope for economies dependent on commodity exports that the worst of the two-year price rout might be over.
The International Monetary Fund, in its flagship report on the state of the global economy, nudged up its forecast for world growth this year a tenth of a percentage point to 3.5%, which will be the fastest rate in five years if the IMF is correct.
“Acceleration will be broad-based across advanced, emerging, and low income economies, building on gains we have seen in both manufacturing and trade,” said IMF Chief Economist Maurice Obstfeld.
While the IMF kept its forecast pickup for U.S. growth at 2.3% for the year – up from 1.6% last year – it notched higher outlooks for all five of Europe’s largest economies. The U.K.’s bump-up was the biggest, a 0.5 percentage point increase to 2% for the year.
In Asia, another dose of government stimulus has pushed China’s growth forecast up a tenth of a percentage point to 6.6%, and the fund lifted Japan’s outlook by 0.4 percentage point to 1.2%.
Growth in cross-border trade of goods and services this year – while still well below pre-crisis levels – is projected to nearly double to 3.8%. Consumer price inflation across advanced economies is projected to pick up to 2% on average, more than twice the previous year, and is gathering pace in emerging markets, too.
“The global economy is accelerating after a period of expansion that has been the most gradual of the past century,” Bank of Montreal chief executive officer William Downe told shareholders earlier this month.
Like many of the largest banks in the U.S., Canada’s fourth-largest lender reported a better-than-expected first-quarter profits, with earnings up nearly 40% on the year.
Measures of optimism of households, businesses and investors show high hopes about growth prospects and expectations of higher inflation. Consumer confidence isn’t just strong in the U.S.: It also ticked higher in March in the Eurozone, underpinned by a Eurozone unemployment rate that in February hit its lowest level since mid-2009.
Surveys of purchasing managers showed that activity in the first three months of the year in the eurozone’s manufacturing and services sectors hit its highest measure since 2011, before the eurozone economy entered a slowdown caused by its government debt crisis.
Bellwether companies in Europe, like German car maker Daimler AG, reported sharply higher earnings in the first three months of the year. And French car parts maker Faurecia SA said first-quarter sales rose 9.8% on strong growth in the U.S. and China.
“A strengthening of the U.S. and global economy…allow us to make some positive assumptions about business conditions for the remainder of our fiscal year,” said William Furman, chief executive officer of international railroad giant, Greenbrier Company, based in Lake Oswego, Ore.
“A sword of protectionism” is hanging over the global economy” IMF chief Christine Lagarde
Even with the generally positive projections outlined by the IMF, however, trade frictions, political uncertainty and China’s debt problems still threaten to erode and potentially upend global growth. Those and other headwinds are expected to keep world growth capped at 3.8% for the foreseeable future, according to the IMF’s long-term outlook.
“The world economy may be gaining momentum, but we cannot be sure that we are out of the woods,” said Mr. Obstfeld.
Investor sentiment in U.S. growth is reliant in part on the Trump administration delivering on promises of a tax overhaul and infrastructure spending, though the president has hit speed bumps advancing his agenda.
Productivity growth around the world – a critical component of economic expansion – is still slow. Growth is also held back by still-sluggish trade growth, aging populations and the failure of the European Union to resolve the legacies of its sovereign debt crisis.
Pre-crisis growth rates were an exceptional time for major emerging markets. Many are now bumping up against the ceiling of growth gains that could prove hard to extend. The rapid economic liberalization of China, India and Eastern Europe and the development of global supply chains made the pre-crisis trade-growth trend at twice the pace of the global economy a unique period, says World Trade Organization chief economist Robert Koopman, who only sees an acceleration of trade to around 1.5 times the global growth rate.
Economic growth in China, the world’s second largest economy, has also come at a cost of an unprecedented credit buildup that many economists warn could mean much weaker growth ahead and even financial turmoil.
Meantime, rising short-term U.S. interest rates could hurt highly-leveraged American firms that have loaded up on cheap credit over the past several years, the IMF said. Many emerging markets are also vulnerable to an increase in borrowing costs and a strengthening dollar, having also stocked up on debt.
All these reasons are why building trade tensions are worrying the finance ministers and central bankers gathering in Washington this week for the IMF and World Bank’s semiannual membership meetings. Fears of protectionism dominated a meeting last month of the Group of 20 largest economies, and IMF chief Christine Lagarde last week warned that “a sword of protectionism” is hanging over the global economy.
With trade long an important driver of world growth, the IMF estimates a surge in tariffs and other trade barriers could sap 2 percentage points off global gross product.
The U.S. says its policies or threats don’t amount to protectionism, but rather are an effort to rebalance distorted trade relationships. Trump officials say other countries’ tariffs, taxes and other barriers have fueled trade deficits with most of the country’s biggest trade partners at the expense of U.S. workers.
But the IMF, Germany and other nations are anxious that overly-aggressive actions by the U.S. could spark a tit-for-tat trade war that stalls global growth.
So far, however, Mr. Trump’s team has shown itself in the trade arena to be less aggressive than some feared.
The White House proposal to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement has been more modest than many expected, and despite Mr. Trump’s promises over several months to label China and other countries “currency manipulators,” the president last week reversed course, with his Treasury Department officially declining to label any country with this designation.
How GE is becoming a truly global network
The company’s vice chairman describes GE’s efforts to bust silos, boost collaboration, and build an internal marketplace of ideas and solutions.
(McKinsey Quarterly – John G. Rice: April 2017) The GE that I work for now is not the same company as the one I joined in 1978, with stand-alone businesses in a holding company. Today, we operate on the premise that our whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and the dynamic networking and exchange of ideas and solutions across GE is a performance differentiator for each business. Close to 70 percent of our business now takes place outside the United States, so this networking exchange needs to reach far and wide.
The problem, of course, is that as businesses grow larger and scale up internationally, more silos start to pop up. It’s not always easy for employees to stay connected and share ideas that drive innovation and add new value, or to view sharing and multiple teaming as a competitive advantage. That has been GE’s challenge: how to connect more than 300,000 people, operating in over 180 countries, in a dynamic and practical way without adding more process and bureaucracy that slows them down. Without a radical shift in everyday working behavior—in employees’ relationships with the company and with one another—silos will remain, and the sort of cross-industry and horizontal collaboration that companies like GE need to foster for growth is not going to happen.
We don’t have the perfect answer, but we are investing in digital tools, training, and “exchange” platforms to facilitate an internal marketplace that enables individuals and businesses to contribute or tap into ideas, inventions, and practices. When our approach works, it has helped us speed up development times, expand globally at a faster pace, scale innovation across industries, improve productivity, and accelerate problem solving. When it does not work, we have a Game of Thrones scenario—silos and fiefdoms. It is metrics that aren’t reconciled or leaders that have not engaged the right way.
While we’re still on the journey, we hope that some of what we’ve learned so far can be helpful for other industries and companies. One lesson is paramount: nothing changes without the right culture. Along with the technical solutions we’re pursuing to support this marketplace, here are five steps we’re taking to create a new team culture and establish a new way of working.
Create a network effect
We encourage GE employees to reach out to employees in other departments and regions around the world to share or ask for ideas and tips. We recently created a virtual forum that connected over 30,000 employees across ten businesses in 91 countries to share insights and drive faster problem solving. One of the results from this virtual exchange was a project leader in our Power business in Europe identifying a solution he needed from the Australia Oil and Gas team, who had earlier worked with the Aviation services team in Singapore. Other leaders use cross-team meetings or councils to connect to horizontal and vertical expertise within the company. We’re also investing in digital tools like sites and apps to make it easier for our teams to identify the right inputs and partners—for any project. At the core, we’re working to eliminate silo thinking that inhibits people from taking advantage of a cross-industry and global network.
Get to ‘why’ early, and establish an underlying ‘yes’ philosophy
When an internal network works, it’s because everybody understands that there is a mission to deliver for a customer, solve a problem, launch a product, or create a solution. That means bringing people together, often from across the organization. Teams that understand the importance of the mission, starting with the why, find ways around obstacles, get past no, and get to yes. Strong leadership and intervention are often required to get everyone to yes and drive a must-win mentality. This means aligning the priorities across the team and agreeing on shared metrics for the common endeavor, whether that is a Power deal in North Africa or a Gas project in the Middle East.
Hunt in packs
There is no confusion in a well-oiled team. Everyone is working to accomplish both the team goals and their own personal goals; they know their roles and reconcile any differences. Nothing of substance happens at GE without a team. Leadership meetings, management councils, and training at GE are conducted with cross-business teams working on problems with the collaborative mind-set we aim to foster. When we worked with Centrais Elétricas de Sergipe (CELSE) for Brazil’s Porto de Sergipe combined-cycle power plant, five different vertical business teams aligned as one to meet the customer demand for a one-stop shop. If we hadn’t, we would have won only a third of the deal.
Move at market speed
Solutions and business models for places as diverse as Japan, Nigeria, and Pakistan require local knowledge and speed as much as global industry expertise, which necessitates both horizontal and vertical intersections. We have to move at a speed that’s determined by customers and by markets, while aligning what we need locally with what we can scale globally. The last three years in India, for example, have seen fast changes brought about by the new government, bringing with it infrastructure-spending increases of 22.5 percent. The market also is highly competitive. Five years ago, we decided to invest in an extremely flexible manufacturing facility in India that could scale multiple businesses as they grew. Spread over 67 acres in Pune, the plant is among the first flexible factories where different products for multiple businesses are built using shared infrastructure, equipment, and people under the same roof. We invested more than $200 million, and in less than three years that investment has paid off. The opportunity that facility provides to demonstrate our local capabilities and flexibility across industries has helped us secure new business, including a $2.5 billion India Rail deal.
Be the dog with the bone
Breaking down silos is tough, even when the intention—and the company goal—is there. Individuals must have persistence and make it part of their personal leadership journey. It is up to the individual leading a team to be both a contributor and an extractor. Continual appraisal of what is valuable is important, giving people an opportunity to say they see things they don’t think add value or to explain why it’s worthwhile to do something differently; we have a company simplification initiative and new employee-appraisal system to support this. But it still requires personal intervention, where leaders interject to align on metrics and outcomes, or it can involve knocking on enough doors internally before you get the right solution.
People often think about the marketplace as something that happens primarily on the outside. But the key insight from our efforts has been the degree of business value, measured by business performance, driven by internal exchanges with the right combination of leadership and culture. When the transportation industry went into a downturn and orders for our locomotive business dropped off, for example, our Transportation team worked with Aviation and our software division GE Digital to create a new business model and build a successful parts business. The transition from new build to fleet modernization happened in months rather than years.
The best marketplaces create as much value as your people put into and take from them. And for me, it’s always about the outcomes. Otherwise, just call it a work happy hour.
(John Rice is vice chairman of GE and president and CEO of the GE Global Growth Organization.)
Manufacturers Still Leaving R&D Credits on the Table
Manufacturers save more than $6 billion a year through R&D tax deductions, but billions more are available to manufacturing companies if they take advantage of new and existing tax provisions.
(IW – Dan Mennel, David Murdock and Dustin Stamper: 4-19-17) Manufacturers are currently leveraging powerful tax incentives to the tune of $6 billion a year, yet evidence shows they are still leaving money on the table.
The first step to leveraging these incentives is understanding the two different ways the tax code encourages research. Not only can taxpayers immediately deduct qualified research costs (instead of depreciating or capitalizing them over as many as 39 years), they can also receive a direct credit of up to 20% for increasing qualified research spending over a base period amount. These two incentives together provide a boon to the manufacturing industry.
The most recent IRS data shows that R&D claims are nearing $12 billion annually, and more than half of that total goes to the manufacturing industry. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that businesses save an additional $2 billion a year by taking advantage of the ability to expense research costs under Section 174. Despite these seemingly large numbers, it’s clear that manufacturers could be saving much more. The Wall Street Journal estimated that only 5% of qualifying companies claim the credit.
More important, manufacturers are overlooking recent guidance that has expanded their opportunities. New types of pilot models and prototypes can now be expensed (and qualify for the credit), and the IRS has expanded the kinds of IT-related expenses that qualify for the credit.
Expensing Pilot Models
Section 174 allows manufacturers and other taxpayers to immediately deduct the cost of qualified research expenses. Without this provision, many costs would have to be depreciated or capitalized over anything from five to 39 years. Manufacturers often miss research costs that may be hidden as costs of goods sold or treated as a fixed asset for book purposes. This typically includes pilot models and prototypes, which are now easier to expense under IRS guidance.
The IRS made clear that a successful pilot model can qualify even if it would generally end up as a fixed asset or part of costs of goods sold. Pilot models are defined broadly to include any representation or model of a product or process to evaluate and resolve uncertainty during the development or improvement of the product or process.
Fortunately, recent regulations offer new opportunities to claim R&D tax credits for software costs that previously would have been excluded or subject to heightened qualification requirements under the internal use software rules.
This means a large and complete prototype can be expensed as an R&D expense and credit. An airplane manufacturer could include the entire cost of a $5 million experimental airplane built to evaluate and resolve uncertainty and test the appropriate design. The IRS will consider the $5 million as an R&D cost in the experimental or laboratory sense. It doesn’t matter whether the plane is ultimately used as a model or sold, and it can include third-party costs like an engine from a subcontractor.
Even better, as long as there are uncertainties surrounding the functionality or interoperability, multiple prototypes can qualify together even if each one is not tested for its own discrete purpose. And expenses after production begins can also still qualify to the extent there is still uncertainty regarding the capability, methodology or design.
The potential benefits are enormous. Most manufacturers customize solutions for production issues by creating new pilot models when standard off-the-shelf solutions are not available.
Traditionally, software developed for internal use has not qualified for the R&D credit, even as it has become a key component of the manufacturing process. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software in particular is often critical to vendor management, server integration, product logistics and customer relationship management (CRM).
Fortunately, recent regulations offer new opportunities to claim R&D tax credits for software costs that previously would have been excluded or subject to heightened qualification requirements under the internal use software rules. The regulations narrow the definition of internal use to include only software developed for the administrative functions of financial management, human resource management and support services. Any software that is developed to interact with third parties or to allow third parties to initiate functions or review data on a taxpayer’s system is not considered developed for internal use.
Even when software is considered developed for internal use, it can still qualify if it meets a higher standard of innovation. The new regulations even provide examples of how certain aspects of ERP implementations or upgrades can qualify under the higher standard of innovation. Under the examples, the cost to integrate the new system with legacy systems, or to customize certain features or modules, can qualify. Any activities to develop specialized data caching and synchronization software constitute elements of a process of experimentation because the taxpayer identified uncertainties related to the development of such software.
Company management should consider all IT development costs to determine which items may qualify for the R&D credit.
Manufacturers can’t afford to overlook tax opportunities. Tax reform discussions are threatening key manufacturing benefits, and the outlook for manufacturing is complicated by the administration’s trade agenda. The good news is that congressional leaders have signaled a commitment to retaining the R&D credit, which recently became permanent. It’s a great time to take a closer look at investments in infrastructure to confirm if the tax provisions Congress created to help incentivize research may apply.
(Dan Mennel is West Region leader, Strategic Federal Tax Services; David Murdock is tax director and Dustin Stamper is director, Washington National Tax Office, for Grant Thornton.)
Onshoring: the new Cost-Cutting Tool in Management’s Arsenal
Businesses, both local and foreign, have been setting up shop in America. And it’s had little to do with Donald Trump.
(Chief Executive Magazine — Ross Kelly: 4-21-17) CEOs pondering whether Donald Trump’s “Buy American” policy ideas will hurt their business should consider this: many companies were already bringing jobs back to the U.S. before the 45th president stepped into the Oval Office.
They’ve been inspired by a number of changes in the global economic landscape that could provide comfort to leaders fearful that mandated reshoring will trigger a blowout in manufacturing costs.
Since 2010, reshoring announcements by local companies and direct investment by foreign companies—including some from China—have brought over 300,000 jobs back to the U.S., the Reshoring Initiative said Wednesday. Those jobs represent over 30% of the 939,000 manufacturing positions added between February 2010 and March 2017, it estimated.
The nonprofit advocacy group was set up in 2010 by Harry Moser, the former CEO of machine tool maker GF AgieCharmilles.
Its figures were presented as wages in traditionally low-cost countries such as China continue to rise as their economies modernize. The business environment in China also has become more hostile to foreign entrants as local competitors, once hungry for foreign input, shed their training wheels and thrive in their own right.
At the same time, wage growth has flattened in the U.S., while advances in manufacturing technology and the boom in oil and gas production keep overheads down. Add shipping costs, other supply-chain costs and intellectual property risks to the equation and the idea of making things at home becomes a more attractive proposition, Moser said.
The biggest reshoring drive was started in 2013 when Walmart pledged to source $250 billion worth of products that create American jobs by 2023. The retail giant is holding its next “open call” for U.S. products on June 28.
“The Walmart commitment is making them the largest driver of reshoring,” said Moser, who is delighted at the prospect of helping suppliers help the retailer reach its goal.
To be sure, at 12.4 million (the number of manufacturing jobs in America), while rising, is still down significantly on levels above 17 million at the turn of the century. Alternative jobs, meanwhile, have been created in other sectors such as technology and healthcare.
Reshoring may not be for everyone, however. And the economic climate can change: some companies, like oil giant Saudi Aramco, see energy demand improving and prices rising in the coming years. While wage inflation in developing countries shows little signs of abating, U.S wage growth also lingers as a concern, should the economy overheat.
Walmart itself also is a member of the Affordable Products Group, which is lobbying against the introduction of a 20% border-adjustment tax, indicating that while it may want to source more products from America, it still wants—and in some case’s needs—to source products from overseas, too.
The Reshoring Initiative has put together a free calculator, which can be found here, to help business leaders make up their minds.
(Ross Kelly is a London-based business journalist. He has been a staff correspondent or editor at The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance and the Australian Associated Press.)
For Trump team, advice and dissent
(SMART Manufacturing — Natasha Dado: March 2017) Within a month of the presidential election in November, the National Council for Advanced Manufacturing (NACFAM) and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) offered policy recommendations for the newly elected Trump administration.
NACFAM called on policymakers to consider legislation that would provide federal education funding for state programs that enable schools to hire more career counselors to help educate students about jobs in the area of advanced manufacturing.
NACFAM also urged the administration to enact employer tax credits 1) to provide new and current workers with technical skills that are required to use advanced manufacturing process technologies and 2) to incentivize industry-recognized certification and apprenticeship training programs.
Both increased capital investment and increased STEM talent could help drive productivity, said Stephen Gold, CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI).
“When productivity growth increases, so do living standards,” he added. “So there is a great deal of risk if we don’t enact policy to stoke the smart manufacturing revolution, and at the same time a great opportunity for gain if we can move forward on those policies.”
The ITIF, a science and technology think tank, urged the Trump administration to articulate a national smart manufacturing strategy, ensure collaboration between the Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers and Manufacturing USA member institutes, direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to continue developing interoperable standards and “negotiate—and enforce—trade agreements that preclude partner nations from imposing barriers to cross-border data flows.”
As it did so, the think tank asserted that Trump “has made bolstering US manufacturing an important policy priority.”
Trump made proposals while campaigning that would directly impact the manufacturing industry. Those proposals include lowering the corporate tax rate to 15%, introducing forced localization policies on US companies, relying on tax and trade reform efforts to boost job growth, shut down the Export-Import Bank and cut the Department of Education and Common Core.
Regarding trade pacts, Trump’s sevenpoint trade plan circulating at the start of the year outlined initiatives that included immediately informing NAFTA partners that the US intended to renegotiate the terms of the pact to better benefit US workers. If NAFTA partners did not agree,
Trump would launch efforts to get the US to entirely withdraw from the deal.
The plan also included initiatives to:
- Bring trade cases against China in the US and at the World Trade Organization;
- Withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a measure that to date has not been
- ratified; and
- Use his executive power to remedy trade disputes if China did not stop its “illegal” activities, including its “theft” of US trade secrets.
The plan was part of Trump’s efforts to negotiate trade deals that create jobs and increase wages in the US and reduce the country’s trade deficit.
The most pressing concern NACFAM had at the time about the proposals related to international trade and how the administration would deal with it. The mercurial commander in chief will, it seems, keep people guessing for a long while about actual policy moves in manufacturing.
Nevertheless, Smart Manufacturing decided the importance of the topic deemed it necessary to take the market’s pulse as close as possible to the time this issue was sent to the printer—in January.
A ‘wrong approach’ on trade
Trump’s announced plans to automatically cancel existing trade policies is “the wrong approach to take,” Fred Wentzel, executive VP at NACFAM said. “We would prefer to see the new administration examine its options first and quickly explore the probable outcomes before saying yes or no to any existing policy.”
How the administration will view the relationship of international trade and the larger issue of US economic growth remained to be seen in January.
“We must remember that the world now operates like a global village, which means people and products move freely throughout the village,” Wentzel said. “Trade within the village must be treated as ‘a natural way of life’ that permits all occupants of the village to enjoy free access to it. As everyone enjoys this privilege, the village’s economy will grow and prosper.”
Concerns vary by a firm’s size
Gold said the concerns small and large manufacturers have about the policies Trump introduced differ. “Trump campaigned for tax reform; small manufacturers will want the administration to work for changes in the tax code that benefit S corps as well as C corps,” he said. “Trump also campaigned for a rewrite of NAFTA and a moratorium on free trade treaties; manufacturers with global markets want to ensure that they continue to have access to their overseas markets, and that foreign barriers are not erected for their exports.”
Trump’s comments regarding consequences for companies shifting operations outside the US are something manufacturers will be watching closely, he noted. Manufacturers open plants in other countries for a variety of reasons, but the most common is for the purpose of serving an overseas market, Gold said. The same occurs when foreign manufacturers open plants in the US in order to serve the American market.
“If the new administration wants to encourage manufacturers to remain in the country, it should work with Congress to develop incentives to create a more competitive environment for manufacturing business in the US,” he added.
Trump recognized the need for regulatory reform, to encourage more innovation and job creation in the sector, Gold said. “Small manufacturers are disproportionately affected by bureaucratic red tape,” he added. “The newly elected president has also expressed a real interest in modifying the tax code, including reduced rates for both C and S corps and simplification. Manufacturers would welcome both of these initiatives.”
‘Proactive’ public policies sought
Stephen Ezell, VP for global innovation policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, is encouraging policymakers to implement robust, proactive, and coordinated public policies that support America’s manufacturing sector.
Speaking at an event ITIF held last year on the Hill to release a report called A Policymaker’s Guide to US Manufacturing, Ezell said, “If the United States wishes to remain a leading smart-manufacturing economy, policymakers must implement robust, proactive, and coordinated
public policies that support America’s manufacturing sector and its ability to leverage smart-manufacturing techniques.”
Smart manufacturing could, the ITIF believes, reduce the advantages low-wage nations have in the manufacturing industry in favor of higher-cost nations like the US, but only if policymakers act.
Recognizing the importance of smart manufacturing to their industrial future, several countries have launched policies and programs to support R&D and deployment of related technologies, Ezell said, noting that those nations include China, Germany, Korea, Sweden and the UK.
To ensure America’s continuing leadership in smart manufacturing, ITIF in December urged Congress to:
- Pass the Small Business R&D bill;
- Reform the Workforce Investment Act system;
- Pass the Energy Modernization bill;
- Pass the Manufacturing Universities bill;
- Pass the National Fab Lab Network bill;
- Allocate funding to build out the Manufacturing USA network;
- Provide a stronger tax incentive for investment in machinery and equipment;
- Make the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership cost-share ratio more generous;
- Expand the development and use of standards-based, nationally portable, industry-recognized certifications designed for specific manufacturing sectors;
- Boost support for vocational-education programs at community colleges;
- Fund a pilot program to integrate the maker movement and makerspaces into high schools;
- Fund R&D into underlying technological challenges relevant to the Internet of Things;
- Fund the National Strategic Computing Initiative and federal high-performance computing initiatives; and
- Support trade agreements that preclude partner nations from imposing barriers to cross-border data flows.
No new policy is a risk
Gold said there is definitely a risk in slowed, or lack of new, policy to support smart manufacturing. “The countries that become leaders in smart manufacturing will attract
more investment and more talent to their borders,” he said. “And, as has happened in other technologies, once a country loses an advantage it is hard to recoup losses.”
The US uses a worldwide tax system to tax overseas earnings, which encourages companies to keep their money overseas, Gold said. US companies keep about $1.4 trillion in cash offshore in an effort to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes, according to a report Oxfam America published last April.
“We need policies that will encourage domestic and foreign companies to make capital investments—and technology investments—in the US,” Gold said. “The most efficient way to encourage investment is through the tax code. I think that making our corporate tax rates more
competitive will dramatically increase the amount of investment here.”
Will gridlock continue?
Washington gridlock is the reason very few new manufacturing-related policy decisions were made in the last six years, Wentzel noted. “In a period of divided government and sequestration, policymakers haven’t focused on very many new initiatives or approved any that required new funding,” he said. Because the Republican Party now is in control of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, more could get done, and possibly quickly.
Gold said there are major divisions even within the two major parties that have effectively prevented negotiations that might bring the two sides together. “Policymakers however pay lip service to smart manufacturing. Unless a member is completely opposed to technology and economic growth, smart manufacturing presents a clear road to make factories more competitive. I sense smart manufacturing has real bipartisan support,” Gold added.
We Desperately Need to Bring Back Vocational Training in Schools
(Forbes –Nicholas Wyman: 9-1-15) Throughout most of U.S. history, American high school students were routinely taught vocational and job-ready skills along with the three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. Indeed, readers of a certain age are likely to have fond memories of huddling over wooden workbenches learning a craft such as woodwork or maybe metal work, or any one of the hands-on projects that characterized the once-ubiquitous shop class.
But in the 1950s, a different philosophy emerged: the theory that students should follow separate educational tracks according to ability. The idea was that the college-bound would take traditional academic courses (Latin, creative writing, science, math) and received no vocational training. Those students not headed for college would take basic academic courses, along with vocational training, or “shop.”
Ability tracking did not sit well with educators or parents, who believed students were assigned to tracks not by aptitude, but by socio-economic status and race. The result being that by the end of the 1950s, what was once a perfectly respectable, even mainstream educational path came to be viewed as a remedial track that restricted minority and working-class students.
The backlash against tracking, however, did not bring vocational education back to the academic core. Instead, the focus shifted to preparing all students for college, and college prep is still the center of the U.S. high school curriculum.
So what’s the harm in prepping kids for college? Won’t all students benefit from a high-level, four-year academic degree program? As it turns out, not really. For one thing, people have a huge and diverse range of different skills and learning styles.
Not everyone is good at math, biology, history and other traditional subjects that characterize college-level work. Not everyone is fascinated by Greek mythology, or enamored with Victorian literature, or enraptured by classical music. Some students are mechanical; others are artistic. Some focus best in a lecture hall or classroom; still others learn best by doing, and would thrive in the studio, workshop or shop floor.
And not everyone goes to college. The latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that about 68% of high school students attend college. That means over 30% graduate with neither academic nor job skills.
But even the 68% aren’t doing so well. Almost 40% of students who begin four-year college programs don’t complete them, which translates into a whole lot of wasted time, wasted money, and burdensome student loan debt. Of those who do finish college, one-third or more will end up in jobs they could have had without a four-year degree. The BLS found that 37% of currently employed college grads are doing work for which only a high school degree is required.
It is true that earnings studies show college graduates earn more over a lifetime than high school graduates. However, these studies have some weaknesses. For example, over 53% of recent college graduates are unemployed or under-employed. And income for college graduates varies widely by major – philosophy graduates don’t nearly earn what business studies graduates do.
Finally, earnings studies compare college graduates to all high school graduates. But the subset of high school students who graduate with vocational training – those who go into well-paying, skilled jobs – the picture for non-college graduates looks much rosier.
Yet despite the growing evidence that four-year college programs serve fewer and fewer of our students, states continue to cut vocational programs. In 2013, for example, the Los Angeles Unified School District, with more than 600,000 students, made plans to cut almost all of its CTE programs by the end of the year.
The justification, of course, is budgetary. These programs (which include auto body technology, aviation maintenance, audio production, real estate and photography) are expensive to operate. But in a situation where 70% of high school students do not go to college, nearly half of those who do go fail to graduate, and over half of the graduates are unemployed or underemployed, is vocational education really expendable? Or is it the smartest investment we could make in our children, our businesses, and our country’s economic future?
The U.S. economy has changed. The manufacturing sector is growing and modernizing, creating a wealth of challenging, well-paying, highly skilled jobs for those with the skills to do them. The demise of vocational education at the high school level has bred a skills shortage in manufacturing today, and with it a wealth of career opportunities for both under-employed college grads and high school students looking for direct pathways to interesting, lucrative careers. Many of the jobs in manufacturing are attainable through apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and vocational programs offered at community colleges. They don’t require expensive, four-year degrees for which many students are not suited.
And contrary to what many parents believe, students who get job specific skills in high school and choose vocational careers often go on to get additional education. The modern workplace favors those with solid, transferable skills who are open to continued learning. Most young people today will have many jobs over the course of their lifetime, and a good number will have multiple careers that require new and more sophisticated skills.
Just a few decades ago, our public education system provided ample opportunities for young people to learn about careers in manufacturing and other vocational trades. Yet, today, high-schoolers hear barely a whisper about the many doors that the vocational education path can open.
The “college-for-everyone” mentality has pushed awareness of other possible career paths to the margins. The cost to the individuals and the economy as a whole is high. If we want everyone’s kid to succeed, we need to bring vocational education back to the core of high school learning.
Insider tips to access the IIoT
How to swim through the big data lake without drowning
(Control Design — Mike Bacidore: 4-13-17) If you’re like most people, you’re still trying to figure out how and when to leverage this Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) that is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
The IIoT is nowhere because it’s not a tangible system and, in many companies’ views, it is still a futuristic concept that is decades away, if it ever happens at all.
The truth is IIoT is everywhere. In its most advantageous form it literally includes every piece of machinery on the planet, sharing data, predicting outcomes and optimizing production based on global, real-time information. It’s also everywhere because it dominates most industrial conversations, from the supply chain through production and right on to fulfillment and distribution. It has become the staple of every industrial trade show and conference, as well. Any event without at least one exhibitor or educational session not focused on the IIoT is, well, Nowheresville.
There is so much to learn and so many real-world IIoT implementers to learn from that the conferences have become one of the best places to gather what you need to break from the concept phase and see the possibilities. At the North American Manufacturing Excellence Summit (NAMES17) in Wheeling, Illinois, a parade of speakers from varied companies, such as Ford Motor, Kellogg, Siemens, GE and Newport News Shipbuilding, discussed how to feed the production beast, and IIoT seemed to permeate each spoonful.
Greg Kinsey, vice president of Industrial IoT Solutions at Hitachi Insight Group, served up a heaping helping of advice in his presentation on manufacturing digitization, which included five key considerations for a successful implementation.
Aggregation of big data enables the value. You have to build the analytics and break down those silos.
Collaborative creation is better than off-the-shelf technology solutions. You cannot buy the factory of the future in a box.
Begin with the business case. When you can take the business case to your manager and show a return that is three times the investment, that ROI makes for a good business case.
Integrate with a continuous-improvement system/culture. Embrace digital as a way to reinvent kaizen.
Execute a five-year transformation roadmap. Having a five-year plan allows you to do some quick wins and move forward on that transformational journey.
The majority of Hitachi’s $90 billion in annual revenue comes from Japan, where it’s involved in a wide range of industrial businesses, but it’s also the 12th largest software company in the world. “Some people think of us as the Japanese GE,” said Kinsey. “We’ve all heard about the fourth industrial revolution, which those of us in the room are supposed to be driving, but there are really three key opportunities for manufacturers; they are smart manufacturing, smart products and smart services.”
Smart manufacturing includes productivity gains, quality improvements, flexibility, mass customization and virtualization. “Most businesses are focused on improved manufacturing,” explained Kinsey.
Smart products are offerings such as tracking, monitoring, remote control, diagnostics and maintenance. “Even Philip Morris has announced it is switching its business from tobacco to smart products,” he noted.
And smart services mean the monetization of data.
At a company like Hitachi, it would be easy to simply fall in love with technology, but Kinsey explained that its approach is to step back and look at how the technology can create value as it builds the factory of the future.
“Excessive time and resources are spent on fighting fires, he said. “Production shifts rarely go as planned. End-to-end visibility of operations is poor. Productivity and quality are impacted by variation. Anomalies cost you productivity; they cost you quality; they cost you money.”
A large number of existing manufacturing IT systems have been out there a long time. In any give factory, there might be many different types of systems or software that don’t talk to one another.
Kinsey discussed the “data lake” concept, in which you can put together data from different formats, including video, spreadsheets, sensor measurements and many others. By analyzing what’s in the data lake, a company is able to process and use that data for something useful. “You can start to get value and overcome some of the problems in your IT systems,” explained Kinsey. “On one hand, you have to run your business; and, on the other hand, you want innovation. The key is it has to be aggregated and scalable.”
What can you do with the data to optimize manufacturing? Aggregation, streaming and integration of data enables the creation of correlation, logic and algorithms. Data analytics allow you to find patterns, combinations and exceptions. Millions of iterations of machine learning help to drive continuous improvement and leaner operations.
“We came up with a digital manufacturing roadmap because most companies we work with weren’t sure where to start,” said Kinsey. “Ours includes six levels of maturity.”
Level 1: visualization—people downstream can see what’s going on upstream
Level 2: integration
Level 3: analysis—making sense of the data
Level 4: predictive—predicting problems
Level 5: prescriptive—suggestions on what to do
Level 6: symbiotic—setting up a global network of factories.
“Maybe your roadmap will have fewer or more steps, but it should focus on capabilities, which will drive maturity on the map,” explained Kinsey, who then explained three use cases, all of which can work from the same database of big data. They are getting rid of bottlenecks through dynamic scheduling which is digitization of theory of constraints … predictive quality which is digitization of Six Sigma … and maintenance optimization which is digitization of maintenance excellence.
A Hitachi distribution center increased its productivity by 8% through dynamic scheduling of orders based on data aggregation, analytics and machine learning. And the Hitachi Omika factory improved lead time by 50% in a high-mix, make-to-order production operation through dynamic scheduling. By aggregating customer order data and operational data sets, bottlenecks are predicted and reduced or avoided, said Kinsey.
And Daicel, a global producer of pyrotechnic injectors for automotive airbags, made a strategic decision to digitize its quality management system. “The goals were to increase certainty of product quality, reduce cost of internal rework and root cause eradication,” said Kinsey. “Through digitization of man, machine, method and material, aggregation of 3D-image analysis with data from IT systems and IoT devices enables defect prediction and improved quality management processes.” And then digitization, analytics and predictive quality are integrated with the continuous-improvement system.
“We started to measure processes and materials,” said Kinsey. “To monitor the workers, they installed video cameras and were able to do a physical analysis, thinking if they knew how people were working they could help to correct new workers who were doing things wrong and developing carpal tunnel syndrome.” While this type of employee monitoring might not be feasible in the United States, the implementation in this case has lowered worker injuries and increased production.
(Mike Bacidore is the editor in chief for Control Design magazine. He is an award-winning columnist, earning a Gold Regional Award and a Silver National Award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. Email him at email@example.com.)
Value-based Pricing Requires Value-based Innovations
(Innovation Excellence — Stephan Liozu: 4-9-17) Let me open this short essay with a very direct statement: value-based pricing is not just a pricing strategy. It is a go-to-market strategy. It is a customer-focused approach that touches segmentation, differentiation, communication and much more.
Why do I say this? I have been working with many organizations and their pricing teams over the past few years as they are trying to design and execute value-based pricing strategies. Most of them are full of good intentions but are facing a lot of organizational resistance, strong silos, and roadblocks during the execution phase.
At the heart of value-based pricing is a different value mindset that requires a strong alignment between all customer-focus functions: innovation, marketing, pricing, and sales.
This is why I am making this strong statement. Putting customer value at the center of your pricing models requires putting customer value at the center of your innovation, marketing and sales models as well.
And it does start with the innovation process as your organization’s innovators create new pockets of customer value in the front-end of innovation.
Value-based marketing and technical programs in turn articulate compelling value propositions and value messages to the market using the outcome of the innovation work and of the dollarization process.
Pricing teams bring more science on how to measure and dollarize customer value as well as on how to deploy pricing tactics that will prevent leaving money on the table.
Finally, sales organizations negotiate for value and enter into value conversations with customers.
In addition to deploying all four of these value-based processes, business professionals also need to make sure the three steps of the value management process are equally managed.
First customer value is created or extracted. Then it needs to be measured using the EVE® process. Finally, it needs to be captured during the commercial interactions.
The measurement process is a must-do activity prior to deploying value-based tactics. Measuring is all about being in control. It is about measuring how much economic value a firm brings to its customers and how much is shared with them without leaving money on the table. It is all about not flying blind!
So you get it. Deploying value-based pricing as a pricing strategy will bring you good results. Doing it as a holistic value-based approach will bring great results.
It will align your customer-focused processes and will help you with the transformation of your commercial culture.
Be bold! Join the customer value revolution!
(Stephan Liozu specializes in disruptive approaches in innovation, pricing and value management. He is CVO at Thales Group and the founder of Value Innoruption Advisors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him @StephanLiozu)
New Interactive Program Brings Ohio Students Pathways to Manufacturing Jobs
LIFT, a Manufacturing USA Institute, today announced the launch of new manufacturing career counseling tools for middle and high schools in Ohio.
(Industry Today: 4-17-17) LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, a Manufacturing USA Institute, today announced the launch of new manufacturing career counseling tools for middle and high schools in Ohio. Through this program, teachers in Montgomery County and surrounding areas will have new game-based and multi-media STEM platforms to engage middle and high school students in career exploration and learning.
The program, to be launched in 50 high schools and their associated feeder middle schools, will deliver Learning Blade® and eduFACTOR programming to the schools to provide the students with ongoing learning opportunities about advanced manufacturing.
Manufacturing in Ohio continues to grow. With more than 735,000 people employed in lightweight-related manufacturing jobs, employers still posted nearly 20,000 job openings online in the fourth quarter of 2016.
“Manufacturing is Ohio’s heritage and the industry here is strong and getting stronger, both in terms of employment and employer demand,” said Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor. “As a state, we need to continue the forward momentum we’ve started by providing as many pathways and opportunities as we can for our students to explore after graduation. That includes providing better and updated information on advanced manufacturing careers to show them it is high-tech, exciting and can lead to successful careers.”
Learning Blade®, a product of Thinking Media, introduces STEM technologies and career opportunities through an entertaining game-based format. In the web-based system, students pursue engaging missions that solve problems, like helping an injured dolphin or building an orphanage after an earthquake. It features a metals manufacturing mission, “Lightweight Aircraft,” from an earlier LIFT investment.
eduFACTOR is a membership-based, online suite of multimedia resources including a TV series, virtual field trip experiences, technology video series, career pathways video series, hands-on CNC and 3D printing projects, interactive STEM activities, CTE success video series, and more.
“By connecting these two programs across both middle and high schools, we can provide a continuing pathway for these students to see advanced manufacturing as a great career option,” said Tony Bagshaw, managing director, Battelle for Kids, a supporter of LIFT’s efforts to offer this innovative, economic-driven approach that will advance opportunities for students in Montgomery County.
Middle school students who complete selected units on manufacturing careers in Learning Blade will be directed to video resources and activities on the eduFACTOR platform that provide real-life examples of using these skills in exciting applications.
The high schools will have access to a library of multimedia tools to inspire their students towards careers in manufacturing and make learning concepts relevant in the context of a story. It provides teachers with 24/7 access to media, lesson plans, projects and presentations in an easy-to-understand online portal.
“By providing the tools which connect students to skill-building in science, technology, engineering and math throughout their school careers, our goal is to keep them engaged with advanced manufacturing curriculum so they are ready to pursue a career or go on to post-secondary education in these fields,” said Emily DeRocco, director, education and workforce development, LIFT. “Connecting students with advanced manufacturing is the only way to fill the talent pipeline and close the ever-growing skills gap.”
LIFT, one of the founding Manufacturing USA institutes, and a part of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation program, is a Detroit-based public-private partnership dedicated to developing and deploying advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training programs to better prepare the workforce today and in the future.
IOT Readiness Remains a Challenge for Many Industrial Supply Chains
New Study Predicts Smart Embrace of Operational Connectedness Will Drive Competitive Advantage and Category Disruption
(Supply Chain Management Review – Patrick Burnson: 4-18-17) A majority of executives at large global companies expect the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to significantly impact business performance and competitiveness over the next three years, according to a new study just released by the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network. However, many companies are lagging in IoT readiness, setting the stage for competitive advances and dislocation among IoT leaders and laggards.
“Executives point to better supply chain intelligence as one of the key areas they are looking towards when it comes to IIoT technologies and their ability to achieve measurable performance improvement,” says Sally Lopez, Content Director with the BPI Network.
In an interview with SCMR she adds that executives also agree that currently supply chain logistics is in the top three areas of current IIoT investment. They believe greater insights into the supply chain will be a key benefit for customers.
In addition, the study suggests that large-scale integrators and other channel partners will be among the biggest IIoT beneficiaries over the next several years. They will likely play a significant role in planning and implementation at many companies due to major internal gaps in the technical skills and management know-how needed to deploy and integrate IoT into operations and new products.
The new report, “The Impact of Connectedness on Competiveness,” was developed by the BPI Network in partnership with the CMO Council, Penton’s IoT Institute, and The Nerdery, a leading digital strategy, software engineering and design firm. The study was based on a global survey of some 350 executives around the world and interviews with innovation leaders at large global enterprises, including companies such as Airbus, Balfour Beatty, Embraer, Philips Lighting, GE, Whirlpool, LafargeHolcim, TVH, Hitachi, and others.
“Executives are telling us that IIoT technologies are about to play a significant role in business and industrial performance, delivering significant improvements in operational efficiency and uptime, as well as growth from new business models, products, services and customer experiences,” said Dave Murray, head of thought leadership for the BPI Network. “Nevertheless, less than 2 percent of large companies say they have a clear vision for how to move forward or have large-scale implementations underway. That dichotomy suggests we are experiencing the lull before the storm of IoT transformation. This is an opportunity for real competitive differentiation and advancement.”
52 percent of executives at large enterprises, and 41 percent of executives at all companies, expect IIoT to have a significant or major impact on their industry within three years. Some 5 percent of all executives say IIoT is gaining adoption within their industries, including both pilots and larger-scale adoption.
However, just 1.5 percent of executives at large companies say they have a “clear vision with implementation well underway,” while another 57 percent are either beginning implementation, have pilots underway or are committed and in the planning stages.
New products and services lead as the area most companies say they will focus their IoT investments (35 percent), followed by customer touch points (29 percent), and manufacturing (23 percent).
More cost-efficient operations (47 percent), product and service differentiation (36 percent) and improved customer engagement and satisfaction (34 percent) are seen as the top benefits of IIoT.
Security and data privacy are seen as top concerns by executives, followed by the cost and complexity of Industrial IoT adoption and the need for new management and workforce skills and training.
“The tidal wave that is connectedness and IIoT is building rapidly and it is unavoidable,” said Chris Locher, Vice President of Software Development at The Nerdery. “Companies see massive opportunities to increase efficiency, gather data in new ways and pivot into new business models. The challenge of the IIoT revolution is that it is accompanied by a great deal of white noise and confusion. How will companies capture those opportunities? How do companies avoid the risk of a failing at an IIoT initiative? How do you find employees with the skill to do it? The sheer scale and implications of IIoT can lead to information overload, create analysis paralysis, and confusion for business leaders. The key to moving confidently into this new space is starting with small, focused efforts or bringing experts to start to build the required skills, behaviors, and business models.”
IoT Readiness Lacking
Making the transformation to IIoT-enabled business will clearly require new skills and management thinking. Chief among those requirements, according to executives, are new technical skills (51 percent), better data integration and analytics capabilities (41 percent), and rethinking of business model (33 percent). Most executives, however, say their companies have significant gaps in these areas.
Some 31 percent of executives say their organizations face a “major skill gap” in their IoT readiness, while another 31 percent say the talent gap is “large, but improving somewhat.” Twenty percent say their IoT skills are quickly improving, while another 7 percent believe they have most of the skills in place.
Similarly, just 12 percent give their company an “excellent” rating in their capacity to develop and deploy applications that utilize real-time insights and systems monitoring. However, another 35 percent rate that capacity as “good.” One third rate their corporation’s ability in this area as “moderate and improving.”
“Global businesses clearly are working to put the needed skills in place to address the opportunity of connected, intelligent products and machines, but those talents are in short supply. We can expect for the time being that system integrators, consulting and software engineering firms with the right skills in connectivity, sensor technology, data analytics and complex integration will benefit from the race to keep pace with IoT enablement,” said Murray.
Creating IoT Value
Interviews with executives at large businesses that are deploying or planning for Industrial IoT applications underscore the wide range of benefits and scenarios represented by these technologies.
Embraer, the world’s largest regional jet maker, for example, says new jets that integrate sensors to identify and predict maintenance needs now have a remarkable “99.5 percent dispatching rate,” in which less than 0.5 percent of planned take-offs are affected by unexpected maintenance issues, according to Alexandre Baule, VP of Information Systems at Embraer. Embraer and its partners are also working toward an IoT-enabled customized experience for passengers, in which each person’s favorite movies, music, and even temperature settings are available before they take their seats.
Airbus, one of the world’s two largest aircraft manufacturers, is also integrating sensor technology to improve the predictability and safety of its aircraft, but also envisions widespread use of IoT technology in its “Factory of the Future”—a platform approach that will include cyber-physical systems, 3-D printed prototypes, open robot interfaces and advanced data analytics to increase the quality and productivity of its manufacturing processes. Factory workers use smart glasses and advanced image processing to track problems, tools and solutions in real-time, while exoskeletons are developed to reduce risk and enhance human capabilities.
(Patrick Burnson is executive editor for “Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review” magazines and web sites. He is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management.)
May 4-5, 2017 – Apprenticeship Forward – Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington, DC
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
This event sponsored by the National Skills Coalition will focus on three critical challenges facing the expansion of apprenticeships: increasing industry engagement across a range of sectors and firms … addressing equity while diversifying the apprenticeship pipeline … and implementing new public policies that can take apprenticeship to scale.
Apprenticeship Forward will feature engaging plenaries and breakout panels as well as interactive discussions between attendees about their efforts within specific industries and with specific groups of students and prospective workers.
Registrations can be made early in 2017.
May 8-10, 2017—Manufacturing and Technology Conference & Exposition – Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland in Cleveland, Ohio.
This conference & exposition will focus on the key elements of advanced manufacturing: technology integration … leadership … operational excellence … design/engineering … talent development … and supply chain.
It also will spotlight the highest best practices in operational leadership, workforce development and continuous improvement.
September 7-8, 2017 – NACFAM Annual Conference – Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel, Arlington, VA. MARK YOUR CALENDAR NOW. More to follow in next weeks and months.
Advanced Manufacturing Leadership Awards nomination forms for big company and small company CEOs were e-mailed on March 13th.