Pittsburgh Technical Council

Manufacturers are Leading the World's Innovators... Let's Keep it that Way

Manufacturers are Leading the World's Innovators... Let's Keep it that Way

Article Published: April 21, 2014

NAM Exec Headshots -143By Brian Raymond, National Association of Manufacturers

What industry in the United States spends the most on research and development? What industry owns the most patents? Where are some of the most tech-savvy engineers employed today? If you guessed manufacturing, you are correct. Manufacturers in the United States are the world’s leading innovators. They use technology in the design, development and delivery of products. Manufacturing in the United States is a highly sophisticated industry and a technology leader. Manufacturers are ready to power the economy, but policymakers must cut through the gridlock, keep up with the pace of innovation we have set and put the right policies in place. 

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is an aggressive advocate in Washington on a broad range of pro-growth technology policies. We are advancing a Growth Agenda to make the United States the best place in the world to manufacture and attract foreign direct investment. The NAM is working with members of the Pittsburgh Technology Council to advance some key technology policy priorities ranging from the protection of intellectual property (IP) to cybersecurity to
investments in basic research that will help protect America’s mantle of innovation leadership.

Manufacturers, for example, are working to ensure that our IP—whether patents, trade secrets or software—is protected here and abroad. A recent study by NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray and Harvard Business School Associate Professor Bill Kerr found that unfair competition fueled by stolen software IP is a significant drain on manufacturing in the United States. Estimated losses between 2002 and 2012 totaled nearly $240 billion in manufacturing revenue, $70 billion in GDP and 42,220 U.S. manufacturing jobs.   

The National Alliance for Jobs and Innovation (NAJI), of which the NAM is a founding member, is a nonpartisan organization of nearly 400 companies and associations that commissioned the study with the NAM. NAJI is a coalition working to stop unfair competition from the use of stolen IP, whether through piracy, counterfeiting or trade secret theft.

 The NAM leads on a number of other technology policy fronts. If the government has information on cyber activity that is a direct threat to our industry, the NAM is urging the government to share that information in real time. The NAM is actively working with government regulators like the Federal Communications Commission to allow manufacturers to leverage the Internet to connect their products and their facilities without being slowed down by unnecessary regulations. And, at a time when fiscal constraint is needed, manufacturers continue to stress that tomorrow’s groundbreaking innovations cannot be sacrificed with across-the-board budget cuts.  

Unfortunately, not all policymakers understand why these
critical technology issues matter to manufacturers. To address this challenge, the NAM recently launched the NAM D.A.T.A.
(Driving the Agenda for Technology Advancement) Policy
Center to educate the general public and elected officials on the
intersection of manufacturing and technology and its impact on global competitiveness.

The NAM D.A.T.A. Policy Center provides an additional tool to increase awareness and portray modern manufacturing as it truly is: a sleek, technology-driven industry. From products to processes, tools to equipment, employees to customers, technology is the adhesive that bonds together manufacturing in the United States.  

As leaders in the technology sector, manufacturers are committed to working with the Pittsburgh Technology Council to protect IP, secure information infrastructure, improve connectivity and foster an environment that encourages innovation. 

Brian Raymond is director of technology and domestic economic
policy at the NAM, the nation’s largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in
every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Visit www.nam.org.

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