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Ohio Manufacturers Keep Innovating to Fight COVID-19

May 1, 2020

In recent weeks, the OMA has devoted much of its social media activity to sharing positive news about Ohio manufacturers that are helping their communities by donating protective gear or by repurposing to manufacture products that will help win the fight against COVID-19. Here is an updated compilation of some of these uplifting stories. 4/30/2020

Roman: Crisis Creates Greater Appreciation for Cleveland-Area Manufacturing

May 1, 2020

In a recent editorial, Joe Roman, the president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, talks about the “post-coronavirus to-do list.” The first item on the list, Roman says, is to gain a greater appreciation for Northeast Ohio’s manufacturing capabilities, he says.

Cuyahoga (1,680 establishments), Lake (569) and Summit (777) counties are among the most manufacturing-dense counties in the state. 4/27/2020

Managing a Manufacturing Plant Through the Coronavirus Crisis

May 1, 2020

According to McKinsey & Company, there are three core principles manufacturers should follow during this time of uncertainty:

  1. Protect the workforce.
  2. Manage risks to ensure business continuity.
  3. Drive productivity at a distance.

The firm says the adoption of new digital technologies, along with flexibility and creativity of front-line staff, will help companies emerge from the COVID-19 crisis with manufacturing operations that are safer, more productive, and more resilient. 4/27/2020

Report: 95% of Surgical Masks Made Overseas

May 1, 2020

“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

Professor: Bringing Manufacturing Back to the U.S. Is Easier Said Than Done

May 1, 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

What Will Factories Look Like in the Post-Pandemic Era?

May 1, 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

OMA Urges Re-Opening of Economy; Governor’s Plan Coming Monday

April 24, 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

Senator Portman Joins OMA Members for Special Briefing

April 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

Rethinking U.S. Reliance on Chinese Manufacturing

April 24, 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

Calls From D.C. Grow Louder: Boost America’s Industrial Base

April 24, 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