Manufacturing and Infrastructure: Not Just About Economics – Our Own Security Depends on It


The call for dramatic improvements in America’s infrastructure as a critical driver in the reestablishment of the nation’s manufacturing supremacy is building momentum. But that’s only part of the story. Lost is the real correlation between manufacturing, infrastructure development and America’s domestic national security. Despite the emphasis on the economic impact that infrastructure development will have on manufacturing, the U.S. will someday face much more serious domestic challenges that manufacturers are uniquely positioned to address today. Manufacturers and companies involved in infrastructure development are on the front lines of the nation’s effort to improve our emergency preparedness in times of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. All efforts to develop a more permanent solution to our infrastructure and our emergency preparedness must include the significant participation of manufacturers, as noted in A Decaying National Infrastructure is Challenging the Resurgence of American Manufacturing. Continue reading this entry

Opportunistic Acquisitions: Buying Assets Through Bankruptcy


Though often overlooked, bankruptcy sales can be a real boon to businesses looking for a great deal. Prospective purchasers must, of course, interface with the bankruptcy court, so these companies must understand the lay of the land when looking for a bargain.

In the last two years, a container manufacturing business, a well-known vacuum manufacturer and a milk-processing facility changed hands through bankruptcy. These are just to name a few.

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Recognizing Leaders in Manufacturing

This month we salute two organizations for raising the profile of leaders in the manufacturing industry.

First is the Manufacturing Institute for presenting the 2015 STEP Awards. We encourage readers to nominate a peer or colleague for this prestigious national award. The STEP Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership at all levels of manufacturing, from the factory floor to the C-suite.

To nominate a peer or colleague for contributions to her company or the manufacturing industry, download an application. The deadline to submit a nomination is Oct. 10, 2014.

The second organization recognizing leaders in manufacturing is the Manufacturing Leadership Council, of which Foley is a member.

Nominations are currently open for the Manufacturing Leadership Awards, which honor manufacturing companies and individual leaders who have successfully set themselves apart from their competitors by delivering value to the organization and the industry as a whole. The project categories recognize leaders in the areas of supply chain, sustainability, next-generation leadership, new products, operational excellence, big data and advanced analytics, internet of things, among additional categories. Visit Manufacturing Leadership Awards for more information on the categories, qualifications and nomination process. All applications are due Nov. 1, 2014.

U.S. Regulations Can Raise Risks for Reshoring and Next-Generation Manufacturing


More than a third of United States businesses are either bringing back or considering bringing back manufacturing activity to the U.S. through “reshoring.” Although one would think that bringing production back to the U.S. would minimize the impact of U.S. regulations of international conduct, in many cases the opposite is true.

The aggressive enforcement of U.S. law to the overseas sales and conduct of U.S. companies raises special considerations for companies engaged in reshoring of manufacturing. Although there are no special laws that apply to such companies, U.S. law has special resonance for companies engaged in this type of activity, because they need to establish new trading patterns that often emphasize collaborative relationships with affiliates and partner companies. The combination of changing patterns of trade and the need to share technical data in a collaborative fashion often changes the risk profile of the organization in a way that implicates U.S. controls on exports and overseas conduct. Continue reading this entry

China’s Pollution Woes Trigger a New Environment for Manufacturers in China


China presents foreign manufacturers with many paradoxes.

The most modern of manufacturing operations can exist nearby the most backward. Thousands of quality assurance, hygiene, energy conservation and other regulatory standards are in place, but access to, enforcement and interpretation of these standards is inconsistent. Environmental pollution is worsening in a number of areas to the point of threatening life and growth, yet many manufacturers in China are implementing some of the most innovative and effective environmental, health and safety programs. Continue reading this entry