The Founder of Under Armour Has Big Plans for…

The Founder of Under Armour Has Big Plans for…

May 5, 2017

“The Founder of Under Armour Has Big Plans for ‘Made in the USA’ “ Kevin Plank has launched an ambitious project aimed at revitalizing Baltimore by empowering entrepreneurs to create and build new products there. By Leigh Buchanan, Inc. Magazine In honor of Small Business Week, Inc. reporters deployed to several cities where they spent one day talking to owners and entrepreneurs in a particular sector about their challenges. Kevin Plank made a fortune from manufacturing. Now he wants to seed his adopted hometown of Baltimore with manufacturers, replacing urban blight with a city of makers. Plank, who grew up in suburban Washington, relocated his athletic apparel business, Under Armour, to Baltimore in 1998, where he grew it into a public company with 2016 revenues approaching $5 billion. Once a manufacturing hub, Baltimore over the decades has bled well-paying jobs with the loss of companies like Bethlehem Steel and Proctor & Gamble. Although Under Armour manufactures overseas, Plank believes new technologies and processes can make Made-in-the-USA economically viable again. He is now experimenting with local manufacturing at Under Armour. And he is building an ecosystem of startup manufacturers engaged in the same grand experiment. The focal point of that experiment resides in Port Covington, a south Baltimore neighborhood where Plank Industries–which manages the entrepreneur’s non-Under Armour ventures–is building a new corporate campus and expansive mixed-use development. It is a 133,000-square-foot converted bus depot, prosaically dubbed City Garage. The space, which opened last year, encapsulates the manufacturing journey from inventor to business to industry. “We are looking at how a city like Baltimore, which once competed on manufacturing, can get that back,” says Demian Costa, managing partner of Sagamore Ventures, Plank’s investment arm. “And in what form does it come back?” City Garage is divided into three sections. First is the Foundery, a sprawling maker space where members (the monthly fee is $150, with 50 percent discounts for students, disabled veterans, and others) have access to classes and tools for work in metal, wood, glass, textiles, and other materials. “This is where the 22-year-old football player walks through the front door and can turn any idea on the back of a napkin into reality,” says...

MEPs are Essential to Rebuilding American Manufacturing…

MEPs are Essential to Rebuilding American Manufacturing…

Apr 26, 2017

By Michele Nash-Hoff, Savingusmanufacturing.com Last month, President Trump submitted a “Skinny Budget” with the goal of removing some of the “fat” within Washington DC. Unfortunately, one of the programs eliminated in his budget is not “fat.” The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) is the only federally funded national network dedicated to serving small and medium-sized U. S. manufacturers. The MEP program was re-authorized by both Houses of Congress by unanimous consent earlier in January when the MEP program went back to 1:1 cost matching. The reality is that the MEP network is essential to helping manufacturers be competitive in the global marketplace and rebuilding American manufacturing. Eliminating the MEP program seems contradictory to President Trump’s focus on manufacturing. The MEP website states, “Since 1988, the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has worked to strengthen U.S. manufacturing. MEP is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a U.S. Department of Commerce agency…MEP is built on a national system of centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. “Each center is a partnership between the federal government and a variety of public or private entities, including state, university, and nonprofit organizations. This diverse network, with nearly 600 service locations, has close to 1,300 field staff serving as trusted business advisors and technical experts to assist manufacturers in communities across the country.” This public-private partnership provides a high return on investment to taxpayers. “For every one dollar of federal investment, the MEP national network generates $17.9 in new sales growth for manufacturers and $27.0 in new client investment. This translates into $2.3 billion in new sales annually. And, for every $1,501 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one manufacturing job.” The top challenges reported to MEP by manufacturers are: • Cost Reduction 70% • Growth 54% • Employee Recruitment 47% • Product Development 45% In FY 2016, the MEP national network interacted with 25,445 manufacturers and achieved these results through their wide range of services: • $9.3 Billion New and Retained Sales • 86,602 New and Retained Jobs • $3.5 Billion New Client Investments • $1.4 Billion $1.4 Billion Cost Savings I have long been aware of the work of the California MEP,...

Made in America – Mercury Corporation

Made in America – Mercury Corporation

Apr 20, 2017

Since 1920, Mercury has been a leader in the Contract Manufacturing world. Whether it’s the fabrication of a simple metal cabinet, or a complex, highly engineered business product requiring assembly of plastic, metal, and electronic components, we do it all. For over 85 years Mercury has been a privately held corporation. We take pride in the fact we are different than public companies. Our business culture, sense of community, sense of pride, and ethics are based on those same family values we were founded upon. Because we are privately held, we take a different approach to doing business. Get to know us and you will see what a difference Mercury makes. Mercury enjoys a rich history with roots deep into the early days of aviation. After surviving two World Wars and Depression, Mercury has built itself into the reputable company it is today. Mercury is with you every step of the way. From concept to full- scale production, we provide the tools you need to get your product to market....

What Does ‘American Made’ Mean to You?

What Does ‘American Made’ Mean to You?

Apr 18, 2017

By Mark Shortt, Design-2-Part Magazine The words ‘Made in the USA’ are becoming increasingly relevant for reasons ranging from pride in workmanship to protection of corporate and national security interests. Here’s a look at some of the forces that are driving companies to keep their manufacturing close at hand. It’s a pretty dynamic landscape for American manufacturers today, much of it being spurred by enabling technologies, economic uncertainties, and agile business strategies that can quickly adapt to changes in market forces and customer demands. There’s also a new administration in place that figures to alter the landscape in significant ways. Amid all the new developments, it’s useful to hear what people in the thick of the action think. With that in mind, D2P reached out to manufacturing leaders—executives, entrepreneurs, and advocates—to hear their insights on the current state of U.S. manufacturing, as well as a number of issues relevant to the industry. What’s the State of American Manufacturing Today? Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), gives it a passing grade, saying that “it’s doing okay, broadly speaking,” but faces significant challenges. While the automotive sector has been a real bright spot, leading the economic rebound from the Great Recession, there have been ongoing challenges with respect to global competition, he said in an interview. “In particular, firms that are in direct competition with China have, I think, very mixed experiences with that. And unfortunately, that imbalance has helped to dampen the potential job gains that we’ve so far realized. “Obviously, the political environment has changed quite a bit, and many people in manufacturing see a lot of opportunity for changes in public policy that would help grow manufacturing in this country,” he continued. “A few see some risks to progress, as well. And, underneath all of this is the fact that technological progress, innovation, and management practices continue to evolve. And I think that will inform the future of manufacturing as well.” What Does ‘Made in the USA’ Mean to You? Paul believes that when a label reads ‘Made in the USA,’ every bit of the product should be made in the USA, other than if there’s a minimal exception....

Toyota bets on sprawling Kentucky plant with $1.3 billion…

Toyota bets on sprawling Kentucky plant with $1.3 billion…

Apr 13, 2017

“Toyota bets on sprawling Kentucky plant with $1.3 billion investment”  By Nathan Bomey, USA Today Toyota said Monday that it will invest more than $1.3 billion in its sprawling Georgetown, Ky., plant, its largest factory in the world, in a massive retooling project designed to bring new vehicles to market faster and more efficiently. Although the investment does not include new jobs, the move signals a deepening commitment to the U.S. market amid threats by President Trump of a border tax on automakers that bet on Mexico. The president, who had previously targeted Toyota in his criticism of companies that make vehicles in foreign markets and sell them to Americans, hailed the Japanese automaker’s investment as reflective of an “economic climate that has greatly improved under my administration,” according to a statement issued by Toyota. To be sure, the Toyota investment is part of a plan announced days before Trump took office to invest $10 billion in U.S. operations over the next five years. In that respect, the investment is no surprise. The future of the sprawling, 7.5 million-square-foot Kentucky plant, which is Toyota’s largest factory in the world, was never in doubt. The company makes several vehicles there, including the Camry sedan, which Cars.com has dubbed the most made-in-America car in the U.S. based on an assessment of the car’s components. Still, the investment marks a significant bet on the future of American manufacturing. Toyota said the retooling investment would pave the way for a new system of vehicle assembly that it’s calling Toyota New Global Architecture.  The new platform is designed to be easily adjusted for future models, giving Toyota the ability to make engineering and design changes swiftly to response to market changes. “This is the largest investment in our plant’s history and it speaks directly to the quality of our people and our products, as well as the partnerships we’ve forged in the local community and across the state,” Toyota Kentucky president Wil James said in a statement. “This major overhaul will enable the plant to stay flexible and competitive, further cementing our presence in Kentucky.” The plant currently has about 8,200 employees, having added 700 in recent months to launch...