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

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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

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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

Factoryless Goods Producers May Be as Hypothetical as Their Domestic Factories

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Recently, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has considered a controversial new federal classification: “Factoryless Goods Producers” (“FGP”). FGP recognizes that a significant portion of the American workforce is involved with the manufacturing of goods, even if the factories actually assembling the final products are overseas. But what’s the point?

“Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.”

Every Apple® iPhone® user knows this tagline. It’s as much about satisfying U.S. country of origin laws as reminding consumers the extent to which highly-skilled U.S. jobs are involved in the creation of their smart phones – something that sharply distinguishes Apple from nearly all of its competitors, which design, manufacture, and assemble their products overseas. Continue reading this entry

Customer Collaboration and Predictive Analytics Can Lead to Successful Product Manufacturing

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Advanced manufacturing companies increasingly implement “Intellectual Property Plus,” an expanded view of IP assets and risks. Through this lens, companies incorporate customer expectations and preferences in new product development, on the one hand, and navigate the potential regulatory snares of mining customer data, on the other hand. While integrating the “customers’ voices,” companies should protect their legal interests, through IP and contracts, and understand legal restrictions on data use. Continue reading this entry

4 Simple Tips for Better Supply Agreements

Ten Tips to Develop a Practical Conflict Minerals Approach for 2014

Supply agreements serve as the lifeblood of many manufacturing companies. These agreements outline the terms and conditions controlling the supply of goods and services between various parties. Without this framework, many businesses could not meet the pressing demands of the modern-day marketplace.

With so much riding on these agreements, savvy business professionals must pay particular attention to agreement terms. The negotiation of supply agreement terms and conditions should involve the entire business team, not just the attorneys. Failure to critically think through options and deal terms often leads to lost profits and liability concerns over the life of a supply agreement. While by no means an exhaustive list, these tips below will help your business kick-start the supply agreement planning process. Continue reading this entry