News and Analysis
“You can be sure to expect probing questions, from boards of directors to their CEOs, around what they will be doing to ensure that there is minimal disruption the next time a major global pandemic or any catastrophe happens.”
That comment comes from Rich Thompson with Chicago-based investment firm Jones Lang LaSalle. In an article addressing supply chain concerns, Thompson points to U.S. vulnerabilities related to drug and medical equipment supplies, citing a federal report that 95% of surgical masks and 70% of tighter-fitting respirators, such as N95 masks, are currently made overseas. 4/28/2020
While political leaders call for U.S. manufacturers to start producing more critical supplies domestically, Willy C. Shih, a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, has written this article in the Harvard Business Review to point out the complexities of bringing back certain segments of manufacturing.
Shih lists key steps that managers should take now to assess their supply strategies and improve their resilience. 4/27/2020
Manufacturing will look strikingly different in the post-pandemic era, says a Purdue University expert in supply chain and manufacturing management.
“But we’re really bullish on the future of manufacturing,” said Ananth Iyer, senior associate dean in the Krannert School of Management and director of the Dauch Center for the Management of Manufacturing Enterprises. 4/30/2020
The OMA and Ohio’s other major business groups this week urged the DeWine-Husted administration to begin re-opening the economy beginning on May 1. In a letter to the governor, the business groups pointed to “irreversible devastation and bankruptcies under prolonged ‘non-essential’ stay-at-home scenarios,” while highlighting the health-related consequences of long-term high unemployment.
The letter followed last Friday’s testimony by the OMA and the other primary business groups to the Ohio House 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force. The testimony outlined the business community’s concerns in the wake of the pandemic — including access to materials, business cash flow, employer liability, supply chains, and workplace safety.
Also this week, a coalition of state manufacturing associations — including the OMA — urged the governors of seven Midwestern states, including Ohio, to re-open “all of manufacturing and other essential businesses to protect our regional economy.” See the coalition’s letter.
Gov. DeWine has said he plans to unveil details about Ohio’s re-opening plan on Monday, April 27. 4/24/2020
On Tuesday, April 21, the OMA hosted an hour-long phone call with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who updated members on recent federal legislation and new programs in response to COVID-19. During the call, the senator heard from a panel of large and smaller manufacturers who conveyed industry concerns, including problems with supply chains, availability of protective equipment, and the varying definitions of “essential business” across the county.
Listen to the call. (It begins at the 4:25 mark.)
The senator noted several tax provisions that can help businesses with liquidity. OMA Connections Partners — including Plante Moran and GBQ Partners — have provided guidance on the recently enacted tax relief. The IRS also has a site detailing coronavirus tax relief for businesses. 4/21/2020
“The COVID-19 pandemic has America rethinking its reliance on China for not only key medical supplies, but production capacity in general after Beijing clamped down on exports of critical items used to combat the disease,” according to a recent report by FOX Business.
The network interviewed Charles Freeman, senior vice president for Asia at the U.S. Chamber, who said that while a number of companies have already moved, or made efforts to move, there are others that have “huge sunk costs in the market” and are unable to relocate in “any reasonable time.”
To get companies to return, Freeman says, U.S. policymakers should “incentivize domestic production instead of penalizing output in markets like China.” 4/20/2020
More Congressional leaders are calling for investment in U.S. manufacturing as the COVID-19 emergency continues to expose the nation’s vulnerabilities.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, wrote this week that failed policy choices has left America’s manufacturing base diminished, adding: “There is a clear need for a sweeping pro-American industrial policy.”
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Alabama), ranking member of the House Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, wrote a recent editorial saying it’s time to “move critical medical manufacturing back to America” by implementing “Buy America” requirements. 4/21/2020
In his editorial published by IndustryWeek, Keith Belton, director of the Manufacturing Policy Initiative (MPI) at Indiana University, advocates for U.S. investment in “manufacturing resilience” — to ensure America’s industrial base “can adjust in real time to emerging global threats by shifting the location of production while minimizing any loss in capacity or product quality.”
Read the editorial, which contains MPI’s six policy proposals to improve the competitiveness and resilience of U.S. manufacturing. 4/22/2020
Vehicles of the future will be built with surfaces designed to destroy viruses, CEO Jim Hackett said in a recent interview with Barron’s (subscription). Hackett said, “Surfaces will have to have micro structures that can’t hold viruses. These things are there. They’re nano-level structures that are in the fabrics. … You can’t feel them, but if you had a microscope, they’d look like you’re putting a virus on top of arrows. The virus can’t live. The surface punctures it, literally.” 4/20/2020
JobsOhio, Peoples Bank and First Federal Bank/Home Savings Bank have announced a partnership to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
JobsOhio this week committed up to $50 million to assist the institutions with their lending support loans, which can be used to help businesses pay their payroll, rent, mortgages, fixed debt, utilities and other bills. For information on how to apply for this lending support, visit JobsOhio’s website. 4/23/2020