News and Analysis
The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), in collaboration with University Hospitals and The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19, has developed a new, protective testing platform for health care workers assessing the spread of COVID-19.
Health care experts at University Hospitals and UH Ventures, their innovation and commercialization division, believe these specially designed barriers could decrease the need for valuable personal protective equipment, speed up the testing process, and better protect front line health care workers. 5/15/2020
From the Cleveland Fed: How many consumers still say they’re storing more food or increasing cash on hand? How long do most believe the pandemic will last? This interactive chart of weekly survey results gives a glimpse into what consumers are thinking and doing, dating back to March. 5/19/2020
This from the Ohio Homeland Security Critical Infrastructure Unit: Recently, disinformation campaigns through social media have produced conspiracy theories claiming the new 5G technology weakens the immune system leading to rapid spread of the virus. The disinformation campaigns are generated by violent extremists who encourage attacks on the network infrastructure.
Attacks on the 5G infrastructure began in the United Kingdom where 5G towers were set on fire. The fear and theories spread globally to the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. Here in Ohio, fliers have been found posted throughout a southeastern county stating the coronavirus is fake and the 5G towers are the real cause of deaths. Physical attacks to communication infrastructure have not occurred in Ohio at this time. 5/20/2020
The U.S. Commercial Service, the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, has developed free, online export planning resources. 5/18/2020
Globally, manufacturers and other businesses are rethinking their warehouse and distribution systems, with automation likely to play a pivotal role in future plans.
VisualCapitalist.com has published this infographic that provides a look at the future of supply chain automation. It shows that major investment is already occurring in warehouse automation, predictive analytics, and Industry 4.0. 5/11/2020
According to a new survey by Thomas, 64% of companies across the manufacturing and industrial sectors “are likely to bring manufacturing production and sourcing back to North America,” to avoid similar difficulties in the future. Supply Chain Dive reports that the survey was conducted in April and included responses from 878 North American manufacturing and industrial sector professionals. 5/14/2020
The threat of COVID-19 has changed how hospitals like The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center look at their equipment inventories — especially personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks and isolation gowns. Hal Mueller, chief supply chain officer at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center, writes that the crisis may forever alter the way some supply chains operate. He adds that “local sourcing will have to be the focus” as health care providers form “stronger relationships with manufacturers and distributors.” 5/10/2020
This week, manufacturers joined a chorus of business interests in support of Senate Bill 308, legislation to provide temporary legal immunity during the COVID-19 state of emergency. The bill has three components:
- provide immunity to health care professionals;
- provide immunity to businesses against exposure related injuries; and
- provide immunity to manufacturers for emergency protective products.
The OMA provided proponent testimony highlighting the importance of the manufacturing provision, citing hundreds of firms who have generously repurposed operations to make needed masks, gowns, ventilator components, and other protective equipment.
Pete Huggins, president of ITEN Industries in Ashtabula, testified in support of SB 308, telling lawmakers how his company has been producing face shields. He urged lawmakers to promptly pass the bill, saying, “We undertook this activity because we were able to help and there was an immediate need. We did this without consideration of legal liability.”
A representative of the influential plaintiffs’ bar attended the hearing and presented opponent testimony.
Meanwhile in the Ohio House of Representatives, House Bill 606 contains similar immunity provisions for businesses, but it does not include liability for manufacturers of protective equipment and supplies. 5/15/2020
The General Assembly this week held hearings on two unemployment compensation bills that target two very different parts of the system.
On May 12, Reps. Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville) and Mark Fraizer (R-Newark) provided sponsor testimony on House Bill 614, a bill to study and reform the application, processing and administration infrastructure of Ohio’s unemployment compensation system. The sponsors stated that this bill is not focused on the solvency and funding of the system, but instead seeks to dive deep into how the fund is administered and how services are provided.
The Senate heard sponsor testimony from Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) on Senate Joint Resolution 4, which would create an alternative approach for repaying future state borrowing from the federal government to fund unemployment compensation claims. It would allow the General Assembly to provide for the issuance of bonds to repay outstanding debt of the state’s unemployment compensation program. Several states already permit bonding to fund debt repayment. The OMA previously signaled support for the creation of a bond repayment program. Ohioans would need to approve the measure as a constitutional amendment in a future referendum. 5/14/2020
- Gives the attorney general’s office explicit authority to go after the most egregious price gougers — those who sell items at prices “grossly in excess” of the regular price of an item before the declaration of an emergency.
- Gives the attorney general’s office permissive authority to establish statewide and uniform per-consumer, per-transaction quantity limitations on items related to an emergency or necessary to protect the health and safety of Ohioans.
Several senators expressed skepticism regarding the proposal, but changes to the bill could be coming. The OMA will review this legislation at the next Government Affairs Committee meeting, set for June 3. 5/14/2020