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Supply Chain News: Highlights of NAM CEO Jay Timmons' State of Manufacturing Address


Announces Major New Campaign to Attract Manufacturing Workers, Details Policy Objectives

Feb. 4, 2020
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Once again, Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, has delivered a "State of Manufacturing" address, presented on Jan. 22, at equipment manufacturer Vermeer Corporation in Pella, Iowa.

The address was given to Vermeer Corporation employees, business and community leaders and other local manufacturers.

Below are highlights of Timmons address, which focused on the shortage of manufacturing workers:

Supply Chain Digest Says...

"Let's hold China accountable and negotiate the next phase to turn the trade war into a full-scale, enforceable trade agreement"


Jay Timmons, CEO, NAM

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Despite many changes over time, "One thing remains the same: manufacturing workers are the heart of a strong American economy. And we need more workers.

"So in this pivotal year, the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute, our workforce and education partner, are setting out on an unprecedented campaign to inspire a new generation - and tell the real story of our industry.

"One of the biggest misperceptions is that automation is coming for our jobs. But manufacturers know the truth - technology makes us safer, more effective. Some jobs will shift, often to higher-skilled, higher-tech positions.

"Our members tell us this is their top concern - educating Americans on these opportunities…and finding workers for the hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs open today and the 4.6 million that will be open over the coming 8 years.

"Our historic effort, called "Creators Wanted," is a capital campaign that will support the programs of The Manufacturing Institute - including the STEP Women's Initiative, youth engagement and Heroes MAKE America, which trains our returning service members for high-paying manufacturing jobs.

"And you can bet, "Creators Wanted" will also come to a city or state near you.

"This spring, our mobile tour will launch and engage more than 250,000 Americans with hands-on experiences that demonstrate the high-tech opportunities in modern manufacturing and open their minds to what our industry offers. We'll reach more than 15 million people online, and then we'll conclude the year's activities with the Making America Festival in September [in Cincinnati].

"Now, at the start of this new decade, manufacturers are at a turning point. The NAM's most recent quarterly Manufacturers' Outlook Survey found 68% of manufacturers have a positive outlook for their businesses….

"You might say, two out of three sounds good. But in mid-2018, we were at record high levels in the 90s.

"We've stabilized in the 60s now. And this survey was in the field before the trade deal with China and before Congress passed the U.S.–Mexico–Canada trade agreement, meaning the numbers should improve, barring the unexpected—like geopolitical events beyond our control.

"So, 125 years since our association's founding, manufacturers in America are in a state of renewed resolve, ready to reach our full potential, to lead the world in innovation and to advance our country to a better, brighter future.

"If our elected leaders choose to enact policies that advance manufacturers' priorities, our industry is prepared to lift up our entire country.

"Here's what I will say about this election - It's not the label next to a candidate's name—whether an "R," a "D" or an "I"—that determines whether he or she will be a good president or even a good member of Congress.

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The test is whether he or she will work to uphold the values that make America exceptional. These are the same four values, the same four pillars, that make our industry's success possible.

"The best leaders support all four.

• First, free enterprise: the system unmatched by any other, where market forces drive innovation and growth.

• Second, competitiveness: the level playing field manufacturers in the United States need and deserve to compete and win in the global economy.

• Third, individual liberty: each person's inherent rights. Upholding and respecting these rights unleashes creativity and entrepreneurship.

• And fourth, equal opportunity: the fundamental belief that every American contributes to the success of our companies, our communities and our country.

"In other words, what matters isn't party or personality or process. What matters is good policy.

"If anyone is confused about what those values mean in practice, this week we're releasing "Competing to Win" for 2020. It's manufacturers' agenda on 11 key policy areas.

"On taxes, we want to keep moving forward on tax reform. That 20% deduction for small businesses…make it permanent. Expand it. And the Treasury Department must implement the law as Congress intended.

"And on trade, we have to keep moving forward with China. Tariffs have consequences.

"But you know what, so does China's cheating. The President, to his great credit, has secured a "phase one" deal.

"So now, let's hold China accountable and negotiate the next phase to turn the trade war into a full-scale, enforceable trade agreement, just as the NAM called for two years ago.

"Then, let's get trade deals with as many other countries as possible, before China does…and fully implement the USMCA now that it's passed so companies like Vermeer can do what they do best - sell more Iowa-made products to more people around the world.

"And you know, bold, cooperative thinking is also what's needed to fix our nation's infrastructure. In our "Building to Win" plan, the NAM is calling for more than $1 trillion in infrastructure investments to fix collapsing bridges, unclog our highways, deploy 5G capabilities and so much more.

"I'll put it this way: would an extra $3,400 a year make a difference in your life or the life of someone you know? That's how much our broken infrastructure costs every single American family every single year.

"The gridlock on our highways is unacceptable; and gridlock in Congress is no excuse.

"When manufacturers have the right tools, when our government isn't holding us back, we can do incredible things, stories the NAM is proud to share with the world, from companies leading the way on sustainability to giving back to those in need.

"This American experiment, our shining city upon a hill, was built by manufacturers. So drawing inspiration from the past, with our eyes fixed firmly on the future, we set forth again today on that mission. And I surely hope you'll join us every step of the way.

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