Under Armour CEO: ‘We should be bringing jobs back’

Anita Balakrishnan

Moving manufacturing where the labor is cheap isn’t sustainable — but consistently innovating is, Under Armour (NYSE: UAA)CEO Kevin Plank said in a speech recently.

Shoe manufacturing has largely moved abroad to Asia from Europe and the U.S., a function of inexpensive labor in those countries, Plank told an audience at technology tradeshow CES in Las Vegas on Friday.

Now, however, consumers are increasingly demanding locally-sourced goods, making manufacturing in the Americas a more attractive bet, he added.

“We should be bringing jobs back, not just to America, but tightening supply chains all over the world,” Plank said. “We have the ability to do it better. It’s time for all of us to make an investment.” Read more of this post

China Lays Out Vision To Become A Tech Power

China Lays Out Vision To Become A Tech Power

A staff member stands next to robots at a plant of Kuka Robotics in Shanghai in this August 13, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Pete Sweeney

China aims to become a world leader in advanced industries such as semiconductors and in the next generation of chip materials, robotics, aviation equipment and satellites, the government said in its blueprint for development between 2016 and 2020. Read more of this post

The Next Industrial Revolution Should Happen In America

The Next Industrial Revolution Should Happen In America - FEATURED IMAGE- STACEY NEWMAN - SHUTTERSTOCK

The Next Industrial Revolution Should Happen In America – FEATURED IMAGE- STACEY NEWMAN – SHUTTERSTOCK

The ‘Industrial Internet’ is poised to overhaul the way companies manufacture goods, in turn changing our everyday interactions with products. Read more of this post

Making Manufacturing “Cool” for our Youth

by Michele Nash-Hoff.

In an article in July 2, 2008 issue of Industry Week magazine, John Madigan, a consultant with Madigan Associates, observed, “Jobs paying $20 per hour that historically enabled wage earners to support a middle-class standard of living are leaving the U.S. Michele Nash-HoffPublic sector aside; only 16 percent of today’s workers earn the $20-per-hour baseline wage, down 60 percent since 1979.We need to help our youth realize that manufacturing careers, and particularly the advanced manufacturing that now dominates the U.S. industrial sector, creates more wealth than any other industry. Moreover, manufacturing pays higher wages and provides greater benefits, on average, than other industries. For example, in 2010, the average U.S. manufacturing worker earned $77,186 annually, including pay and benefits. The average non-manufacturing worker earned $56,436.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation (SME) is working to change the image of manufacturing and make it “cool” by sponsoring the “Manufacturing is Cool” award winning, interactive website, which challenges and engages students in basic engineering and science principles and provides interesting and useful educational resources for teachers. This fun and information rich website was recently “re-engineered” (updated) and marketed around the country. SME has received positive feedback from teachers, parents, and students about its usefulness.

“The explosion of technology and advanced manufacturing processes are evolving faster than it can be learned and applied,” says Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation. “We designed the Manufacturing is Cool website to inspire, prepare and support young people for careers in advanced manufacturing without patronizing them. We’re giving them access to real-world – people, jobs and technologies, all critical to them finding their place in a global economy.”

The site engages students in basic engineering and science principles and provides interesting and useful educational resources for parents and teachers. Today’s tech-savvy K-12 audience can explore the exciting world of advanced manufacturing engineering 24/7 to learn about the careers it offers and how its advanced technologies affect their daily lives.

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US Swipes at China for Hacking Allegations

chinese

The U.S. has taken its first real swipe at China following accusations that the Beijing government is behind a widespread and systemic hacking campaign targeting U.S. businesses.

Buried in a spending bill signed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday is a provision that effectively bars much of the federal government from buying information technology made by companies linked to the Chinese government.

It’s unclear what impact the legislation will have, or whether it will turn out to be a symbolic gesture. The provision only affects certain non-defense government agency budgets between now and Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends. It also allows for exceptions if an agency head determines that buying the technology is “in the national interest of the United States.”

Still, the rule could upset U.S. allies whose businesses rely on Chinese manufacturers for parts and pave the way for broader, more permanent changes in how the U.S. government buys technology.

“This is a change of direction,” said Stuart Baker, a former senior official at the Homeland Security Department now with the legal firm Steptoe and Johnson in Washington. “My guess is we’re going to keep going in this direction for a while.”

In March, the U.S. computer security firm Mandiant released details on what it said was an aggressive hacking campaign on American businesses by a Chinese military unit. Since then, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has used high-level meetings with Beijing officials to press the matter. Beijing has denied the allegations.

Congressional leaders have promised to push comprehensive legislation that would make it easier for industry to share threat data with the government. But those efforts have been bogged down amid concerns that too much of U.S. citizens’ private information could end up in the hands of the federal government.

As Congress and privacy advocates debate a way ahead, lawmakers tucked “section 516” into the latest budget resolution, which enables the government to pay for day-to day operations for the rest of the fiscal year. The provision specifically prohibits the Commerce and Justice departments, NASA and the National Science Foundation from buying an information technology system that is “produced, manufactured or assembled” by any entity that is “owned, operated or subsidized” by the People’s Republic of China.

The agencies can only acquire the technology if, in consulting with the FBI, they determine that there is no risk of “cyberespionage or sabotage associated with the acquisition of the system,” according to the legislation.

The move might sound like a no-brainer. If U.S. industry and intelligence officials are right, and China is stealing America’s corporate secrets at a breathtaking pace, why reward Beijing with lucrative U.S. contracts? Furthermore, why install technical equipment that could potentially give China a secret backdoor into federal systems?

But a blanket prohibition on technology made by the Chinese government may be easier said than done. Information systems are often a complicated assembly of parts manufactured by different companies around the globe. And investigating where each part came from, and if that part is made by a company that could have ties to the Chinese government could be difficult.

Depending on how the Obama administration interprets the law, Baker said it could cause problems for the U.S. with the World Trade Organization, whose members include U.S. allies like Germany and Britain that might rely on Chinese technology to build computers or handsets.

But in the end, Baker says it could make the U.S. government safer and wiser.

“We do have to worry about buying equipment from companies that may not have our best interests at heart,” he said.

———

Follow Anne Flaherty on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AnneKFlaherty.

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Source: http://news.yahoo.com/us-swipes-china-hacking-allegations-193407762.html

What it Really Means to be Made in the USA

DWM logo

You often hear companies touting their products as Made in America. Recently, DWM magazine looked at the Federal Trade Commission’s “Made in USA” Act which was designed to give the agency “the power to bring law enforcement actions against false or misleading claims that a product is of U.S. origin.” But other programs are in place as well to help consumers make informed decisions and this includes, Made in USA Certified®.

Made in USA Certified® is the only registered “Made in USA Certified” Word Mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to the organization.

“When we say it’s ‘Made in USA,’ you can count on it,” says Julie Reiser, president and co-founder.

Any company bearing one of the USA-C™ seals has gone through a rigorous supply chain audit to ensure that the product and processes originate in the United States of America.

The designation is an independent certification system that applies proprietary audit criteria consistently across companies, and criteria are checked through the company’s supply chain. “The seal says the company has committed to American jobs and to the American economy,” says Reiser. “Displaying the seal gives consumers the option to visibly support products and services of the USA.”

The Earthwise Group LLC, a national network of locally owned, independent manufacturers of doors and windows, announced that the organization has recently been recognized as “Made in USA Certified.” The organization is the first and only door and window manufacturer to be Made in USA Certified, according to Earthwise.

Why did they do it? “Number one it’s the right thing to do,” says Mark Davis, executive director, the Earthwise Group. “We have to invest in the American economy, American worker and American jobs. If our economy is going to turn around we have to be more sensitive in investing, and that means ingesting in American products.”

He also says the consumer is more willing today to buy American.

“Due to the economic slowdown we feel that the American consumer is more motivated than ever to buy American products,” he adds. “They are beginning again to take pride in American made products and realize the benefits of that …. They have seen the result of ignoring investing in America.”

So why should other companies look at this program?

“The biggest thing I try to do is educate people that the claim of ‘Made in the USA’ is unregulated. There are so many companies just making that claim,” says Reiser. “The only way the consumer really knows is if the company does a supply chain audit .”

It’s completely different to say it than to prove it, she adds.

“It says a lot about a company’s willingness to remain transparent. For companies it’s a powerful branding tool to distinguish among those who may be making false claims,” says Reiser.

She also adds that purchasing dollars are going to support a U.S. manufacturer and create U.S. jobs “which is at the crux of our problems now.”

“One of the things this does for companies is it distinguishes them against those in their industry who may be making a false claim to gain market share,” she says. “If the company has legitimately gone through the process and awarded the seal that puts them head and shoulders above the competition.”

Source: http://www.dwmmag.com/index.php/what-it-really-means-to-be-made-in-the-usa/

Why Siemens is expanding U.S. manufacturing

siemens-1024x670

PHOTO: Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (R) walks with Siemens Energy Director of Operations Mark A. Pringle (L) during a visit to Siemens Energy’s plant in Charlotte, North Carolina, January 25, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Keane

By Helmuth Ludwig Reuters

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama talked about the importance of upgrading America’s aging infrastructure. He told the story of how our company, Siemens, recently created hundreds of manufacturing jobs in North Carolina. He quoted our U.S. CEO as saying that if America upgrades its infrastructure, we’ll bring even more jobs.

But there’s another important reason we chose North Carolina, along with more than 100 other manufacturing sites in this country. By manufacturing in the U.S., we get proximity to our largest market; highly skilled workers and crucial software engineers in the Research Triangle, educated at some of the world’s best universities; ready access to ports for export, and cutting-edge innovation that we can link directly to our manufacturing sites. All in a business-friendly atmosphere.

America is poised to lead the next manufacturing renaissance. Sophisticated software is the critical component — and that’s what America produces better than anyone. But smart public policy is also needed. So is a sharp focus on what will make U.S. factories more productive, efficient and sustainable.

When industry insiders talk about America’s improving manufacturing outlook, they usually cite four components of production that have shaped global manufacturing for the past decade. But these elements are now being radically rethought ‑ in a way that plays to U.S. strengths.

First, the idea that the world is “flat” has been supplanted by the idea that speed matters. Innovation speed is now understood to be a competitive advantage. So keeping design and manufacturing half a world apart – manufacturing in China, for example, when your design team is in California – makes less and less sense.

Second, the assumption that lower wages always correlate with lower total cost has proved to be false. Manufacturers increasingly recognize that months-long transportation chains can contribute to substantial direct and indirect costs.

Third, the belief that U.S. energy costs would be a long-term disadvantage has been deflated by unconventional fossil fuel reserves. The “shale gale” is driving U.S. natural gas prices to less than a quarter of those in much of Europe and Asia.

Fourth, the faith that outsourced “low-value” manufacturing jobs would be replaced by higher-value service jobs has been adjusted to the reality that manufacturing underpins the economy. It is crucial to create and sustain steady high-wage employment.

But the major reason why U.S. manufacturing is so well positioned for a renaissance is software that can bring the real and virtual worlds together in a way that erases all boundaries between the two. It connects everyone involved in product design and execution to the same network, sharing the same sets of data, to improve collaboration and decision-making.

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Is The U.S. Really Losing Its Innovative Edge?

Guest post written by Gerard J. Tellis

Gerard J. Tellis is Neely Chair of American Enterprise, Director of the Center for Global Innovation, and Professor of Marketing, Management and Organization at the USC Marshall School of Business. His forthcoming book is Unrelenting Innovation: How to Create a Culture of Market Dominance.

Gerard J. Tellis

Innovation is critical for the improvement in consumer living standards, the growth and success of firms, and the wealth of nations. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the U.S. surpassed Great Britain as the world’s premier economy on the strength of its innovations. These innovations spanned a wide spectrum of industries. Innovations flourished in a variety of heavy industries such as aeronautics, automobiles, defense, communications, electricity and power generation. Innovations likewise blossomed in consumer goods and services such as soap, photography, shaving and entertainment. The U.S. also pioneered innovations in university education, land ownership, home ownership and individual rights. The U.S. lead in innovation lasted through most of the 20th century.

 

 

Is the U.S. now losing its edge in innovation?

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What it takes to be ‘Made in USA’

Athletic shoe maker New Balance says stamping Made in USA on its labels draws in customers

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — With so much talk about the need to revive U.S. manufacturing and create jobs, more companies are touting their American-made roots in order to lure customers.

The notion that buying something made domestically will boost the economy has become an article of faith during the economic crisis. And many businesses are trying to capitalize on that by attaching a “Made in USA” label to their products.

Buying American-made goods has become personal, according to Dave Schiff, chief creative officer at Made Movement, a website that markets and sells only American-made products. Shoppers believe that supporting businesses that manufacture domestically could help them in return.

People are looking for “Made in USA” labels because they know that’s how jobs are created, he said. They think, “My son who is unemployed could benefit if I pay attention to a label. The economy at large gets a shot in the arm.”

But before a company can use the iconic label, it must comply with a complex set of rules that dictates its use.

The Federal Trade Commission has a dizzying 44-page rulebook that lays out the guidelines — and the specifics are enough to make your head spin.

For instance, domestically-made textiles, wool, fur or automobiles must, by law, have a “Made in USA” label. Companies aren’t required to disclose country of origin for most other products, but many choose to tout their American-made status in order to appeal to customers.

Companies looking for that boost from the label have to be able to prove that their final products are assembled or processed in the United States, according to the FTC. The agency doesn’t spot-check items that claim to be made in the United States, but it does investigate complaints.

Related: 7 hot Made-in-the-USA toys for the holidays

Of course, many manufacturers now rely on global supply chains, which makes it much harder to determine when a company can rightly make the claim. Regulators try to assess how much of a product’s total manufacturing cost comes from the United States.

For goods that have parts made in many different countries, the FTC relies on what it calls a “one step removed” rule. For instance, if a shirt is made with fabric from overseas, but sewn together in the United States, it can’t be labeled “Made in USA.”

But if a manufacturer uses U.S.-made fabric that is sewn together domestically using thread made overseas, it would be permitted to use the “Made in the USA” label.

Companies that can’t get all of their component parts domestically can use what the FTC calls qualified “Made in USA” claims, such as “Made in USA from imported parts” or “Assembled in the USA.”

Related: The manufacturing jobs boom is for real

While the distinctions may be minor, a failure to follow the rules can cost businesses a ton of money.

If the FTC finds a label to be deceptive, it can file a lawsuit and ask for a court-ordered fine or consumer redress. According to Matt Wilshire, an FTC staff attorney, fines go as high as $16,000 per mislabeled item sold, or for every day that the item was advertised.

“This could become a very large figure very quickly,” he said, citing one case that ended up costing a business nearly $400,000 in fines.

As costly as a labeling mistake could be, many feel like the regulations protect smaller businesses in the long run.

Brian Meck, who co-owns Fessler USA, a private-label manufacturer that makes clothing for retailers like Urban Outfitters (URBN), says that the regulations reward companies who pay higher costs to manufacture domestically by safeguarding the Made in USA claim. Without the rules, he said, big brands could benefit from the label while sourcing cheaper imported materials to cut costs, without anyone knowing the difference.

Meck also said that the regulations not only protect businesses, but also help consumers. “They give [consumers] the ability to know where their dollars are going and what they’re really supporting.”

For New Balance Athletic Shoe, which is the last U.S.- made athletic footwear brand, the pros of manufacturing domestically outweigh the drawbacks.

“From a cost perspective, you add different burdens — regulatory schemes, wage and benefits — compared to competitors,” said spokesman Matt LeBretton. “But the feedback that we get is pretty outstanding, so we do everything to make that continue to work.”

Source:http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/18/smallbusiness/made-in-usa-label/index.html

 

 

New Computers Made in China Found with Hidden Virus

WASHINGTON — A customer in Shenzhen, China, took a new laptop out of its box and booted it up for the first time. But as the screen lit up, the computer began taking on a life of its own. The machine, triggered by a virus hidden in its hard drive, began searching across the Internet for another computer.

The laptop, supposedly in pristine, super-fast, direct-from-the-factory condition, had instantly become part of an illegal, global network capable of attacking websites, looting bank accounts and stealing personal data.

For years, online investigators have warned consumers about the dangers of opening or downloading emailed files from unknown or suspicious sources. Now, they say malicious software and computer code could be lurking on computers before the bubble wrap even comes off.

The shopper in this case was part of a team of Microsoft researchers in China investigating the sale of counterfeit software. They received a sudden introduction to malware called Nitol. The incident was revealed in court documents unsealed Thursday in a federal court in Virginia. The records describe a new front in a legal campaign against cybercrime being waged by the maker of the Windows operating system, which is the biggest target for viruses.

The documents are part of a computer fraud lawsuit filed by Microsoft against a web domain registered to a Chinese businessman named Peng Yong. The company says the domain is a major hub for illicit Internet activity, home base for Nitol and more than 500 other types of malware, which makes it the largest single repository of infected software that Microsoft officials have encountered.

Peng, the owner of an Internet services firm, said he was not aware of the Microsoft suit. He denied the allegations and said his company does not tolerate improper conduct on the domain, 3322.org. Three other unidentified individuals accused by Microsoft of establishing and operating the Nitol network are also named in the suit.

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