Viewing blog posts written by Lance Hastings


California manufacturers will grow with new free trade agreement

Posted by Lance Hastings, President on July 14, 2019

If California were its own country, it would rank as the fifth largest economy in the world. Here, production doesn’t just refer to movies, and tech isn’t just an industry. From cars to computers, smartphones to spaceships, California manufacturers are innovating and making products that will pull our country into the future—doing so with technology that already exists. Our state’s manufacturing industry is poised to grow and thrive as long as lawmakers provide pro-growth policies to enable it—which is exactly why manufacturers here in California and across the nation are calling on Congress to support the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA) when it comes to a vote.

Last year, leaders from the United States, Canada, and Mexico came together to update the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA, while forward-thinking for its time, has become increasingly outdated as our technology and modern economy continue to outpace our economic policy. Our countries’ leaders recognized this and signed the USMCA in November 2018. The next step is for Congress to ratify it expeditiously once the administration formally submits it for approval—which we expect to happen soon.

This new deal not only protects free trade throughout North America, it provides a number of long-awaited improvements that will help to shepherd our economy and our manufacturing industry forward for decades to come.

First, the new agreement includes best-in-class rules that would strengthen United States intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement. Being in such a technology-driven and innovative state, IP rights are critical to a number of sectors and businesses. With even better IP standards that reflect the modern economy, California manufacturers will be emboldened to create new, environmentally friendly, and economical ways to put food on tables across the United States or even to find the next discovery in outer space.

The USMCA would also improve digital rules to ensure companies in the United States using online storefronts have safe and unfettered access to consumers across Mexico and Canada that would help their businesses grow. And let’s not forget about the ways it levels the playing field for many American businesses by improving the way anti-competitive behaviors by state-owned enterprises are addressed and by expanding access into both Canada and Mexico by removing unfair trade barriers. This agreement is undoubtedly beneficial to each North American nation.

To date, Mexico is the only country that has ratified the USMCA. And with data from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) showing the positive economic impact the USMCA would have, it is surprising that some in Congress have not shown the same sense of urgency.

California has more than 25,000 manufacturing firms, 93 percent of which are small- and medium-sized, that depend on free trade throughout North America. And these jobs can be found across our state and throughout many different industries, creating well-paying, career-track jobs. In fact, the jobs in our state that are supported by North American trade pay an average of $100,060 in wages and benefits in comparison to an average $54,329 in nonfarm industries.

According to the same NAM study, California’s economy would suffer without the passage of a strong North American trade agreement, with the state’s manufactured goods exported to Canada and Mexico potentially facing between $1.2 billion and $10.1 billion in extra taxes. That’s in comparison to zero tariffs today and it’s completely unacceptable.

Each day that the USMCA is not approved is another day that goes by without certainty for manufacturers. It’s another day that manufacturers could be creating more well-paying, stable jobs for the middle class. As is so often the case, manufacturers are looking to California to lead, to show what is possible and to pull our country into the future by signing the USMCA. We are up to the task, and let’s get to work!





0 comments | Post your comment

Industrial Strength Body Jewelry 'Making CA' with precision & innovation

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on March 28, 2019

This week CompanyWeek and CMTA bring you Industrial Strength Body Jewlery, a Carlsbad based body jewlery manufacturer, with 67 employees, taking a high tech, low tolerance approach akin to aerospace manufacturing.

The privately owned company has operated since 1991, after starting with just one lathe, grinding tools and other components to modify off-the-rack objects from places like Home Depot. The company started as a bedroom operation but now boasts a 28,000 square foot facility in Carlsbad with highly skilled employees, 14 cutting edge Swiss screw machines, nine high precision CNC mills and several CNC lathes.

Founder and CEO JD Lorenz said proudly, "we've always been able to maintain the highest quality," citing mirror-like polished services and Swarovski Crystals. "We're the only body jewlery company, I think, in the United States that can put their name [Swarovski] on our products."

It's companies like these that sprout and grow to provide tremendous California products, great career opportunities and at times new technical skills for our workforce. CMTA is proud of companies like Industrial Strength where quality, innovation and automation are king.  Let's do what we can to help them grow. Some of the opportunites and challenges at Industrial Strength are as follows.

Challenges: Installing a cloud-based ERP system from Sage. "Implementing new software that's organizing everything we do," says Lorenz, from production scheduling to invoicing. With 6,000 components utilized in 250,000 possible configurations, it's no small task. "It's really a complex web."

Opportunities: Gold jewelry. Industrial Strength got out of gold when prices skyrocketed in 2006, but is getting back into it in 2019. "We just invested about $150,000 into state-of-the-art gold casting equipment," says Lorenz.

Needs: Labor. "We just started re-hiring in assembly and polishing and stone-setting," says Lorenz, anticipating five to eight new hires. "It's a balance," he adds. "We are $1 million behind in orders right now. We need more time." READ MORE ON COMPANY WEEK





0 comments | Post your comment

California illustrates power of manufacturing on State of MFG Tour 2019

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on March 5, 2019

CMTA welcomed the National Association of Manufacturers to California last week to highlight the state’s modern manufacturing industry as part of the fifth annual NAM State of Manufacturing Tour.

The tour collectively opened eyes, changed minds, and recruited new people to be a part of our industry, by elevating the people and companies at the core of manufacturers’ excitement for the future.

During the visit, CMTA's new president Lance Hastings and NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee met with students, business leaders and local manufacturers to discuss the industry’s optimistic outlook for the future, the high-tech, high paying opportunities in modern manufacturing and the urgent need to recruit the next generation of manufacturers.

We began the two-day visit at world-famous candy manufacturer and CMTA member Jelly Belly Candy Company, where we got an up-close look at the candy making process and, of course participated in many tastings. (You can see one particular one here)

Timmons, Hastings and Lee then toured Bishop-Wisecarver, an automation solutions provider. Following the tour Bishop-Wisecarver President and CMTA and NAM Board member Pamela Kan hosted a workforce opportunities discussion on how manufacturing companies can champion science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in the community to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. The day was closed out by a visit to Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, California, where the school’s robotics team discussed how STEM education is inspiring their future career aspirations (see student's excitement in 1 minute video here).

On Wednesday, Timmons, Lee and David Seaton, chairman and CEO of Fluor Corporation and NAM board chair started the day at Salesforce for a panel discussion with Achyut Jajoo, vice president of manufacturing, automotive, & energy industries at Salesforce and CMTA’s very own Lance Hastings. Business leaders from the San Francisco area heard from panel participants about how technology is transforming the manufacturing industry and the looming workforce crisis for California’s manufacturers.

“We’re at the next frontier of manufacturing in the United States. We’re leading in technological advances, such as artificial intelligence, robotics and augmented reality, that will actually spur job creation, boost wages and help us lift everyone up and leave no one behind,” said Timmons in his opening.

On workforce challenges later in the discussion, Hastings said, “We’re at this 3 dimensional crossroad between a workforce, the needs of a manufacturer and the fact that people aren’t looking at those 30 year careers. They might work in the same place for 10 or 20 years but their jobs are constantly changing and evolving. We need to be able to adapt our old model to the new millennial consumer workers, rapid innovation and a growing attrition of skilled workers.”

In total California was so excited to be a part of the NAM's State of Manufacturing Tour to help drive the powerful message of modern manufacturing and key priorities directly with people who will decide our future: students, educators, parents, manufacturers, business leaders, policymakers—and the press.

You can see some pictures below and you can watch the workforce discussion at Salesforce here.  You can read an opinion centered around the Tour and manufacturing authored by Jay Timmons and Pamela Kan in Fox and Hounds here.

 

 

 

 

 





0 comments | Post your comment

CMTA Open House ignites the Capitol community

Posted by Lance Hastings, President on Jan. 28, 2019

Last week CMTA hosted its annual Open House to welcome legislators, Administration officials, industry partners and other friends of manufacturing. A heartfelt thank you from the CMTA team to everyone who joined us to network and reconnect in the early weeks of what will be a busy year!

#CAmfg and #MakingCA will be up front and center in the Capitol in 2019.





0 comments | Post your comment

Six rankings indicating California's investment climate

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Jan. 25, 2019

Site Selection Magazine recently released its “State of the States” report, a guided tour of economic development laws, leaders, policies, indicators and projects from last year. The compendium includes six rankings for each state in the following (with California’s rank in parentheses):

  • (49th) Business Tax Climate
  • (1st)  Higher Education
  • (19th) National Career Readiness Certificates
  • (49th) Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate
  • (47th) Industrial Electricity Power Costs
  • (42nd) Fiscal Condition Index

These are some of the critical datapoints and indicators that drive specific site selection for companies looking to scale up long-term manufacturing across the country. The low rankings certainly play a role in California’s lag in the national manufacturing resurgence. There is no doubt we are highly successful at researching and developing and innovating products, with our tremendous University institutions, but we must make what innovate. It's time to improve California's business climate for long term manufacturing investment and to make way for the economic opportunites that come with those investments.

Link to California's report

Link to State of the States clearinghouse of 50 states





0 comments | Post your comment
View next 5 entries

Copyright © 2019, California Manufacturers & Technology Association. All rights reserved.