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“What Lies Ahead” Great ideas are born of uncertainty, and the one certain thing is that uncertainty is likely to linger as the economy and financial markets emerge from the disruption of the COVID-19 era. The pandemic may be over (or close to it), but the implications will continue to reverberate for years to come.

Scott Clemons, Partner & Chief Investment Strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman, joined Carrie Hines, President of the American Small Manufacturers Coalition (ASMC), and DVIRC’s subject-matter experts for a conversation about the current state of affairs, what lies ahead, and how businesses might turn this unprecedented disruption into opportunity. Here’s a brief recap of the program:

“What Lies Ahead”

Great companies thrive because of disruption, not despite it. Scott Clemons shares key economic indicators and trends to give a thorough and accurate forecast of what businesses can expect in the future. Scott’s analysis dispels some of the overreactions seen in recent headlines and encourages businesses to adopt best practices such as revisiting their value proposition, accelerating the integration of technology, and analyzing ways to use fixed assets (such as real estate) more effectively.

Regional Business Opportunities with the NAVY / DOD

Chris Scafario, President of the DVIRC, provides a look at the key areas our region’s businesses should be looking at as we step into the future: Workforce, Supply Chain, Technology, Defense Industrial Base, and Regional Growth & Prosperity. Chris highlights the benefits of convening regional assets and partnering with federal stakeholders, as well as linking our industrial base to national security needs. Southeastern Pennsylvania is poised to become the region of choice for the design, construction, and commercialization of next-generation life-sustaining, enriching, and protecting goods, services, and technologies.

Supply Chain Resilience​

Lean/Continuous Improvement Content Expert, Nico de Sousa Serro, presents the key elements of supply chain management and why it matters. Nico then introduces four best practices that all manufacturers should work to implement:

  1. Customer Demand Forecasting​
  2. Supplier Onboarding and Management​
  3. SIOP Planning​
  4. Inventory Management Strategies

Grow your Business Through Market Diversification​

Every business, no matter the size, reaches a point where it becomes difficult to tell how to scale up from its current state. Sometimes it’s easier to grow outward than upward. This process is called market diversification.  DVIRC’s Vice President of Research and Strategic Growth, Sylvia Wower, shared why businesses should be trying to pursue business growth through four key strategies:

  1. Market Penetration – This strategy focuses on increasing the volume of sales of existing products to the organization’s existing market.​
  2. Market Development​ – This strategy focuses on reaching ​new markets with existing products ​in the portfolio.
  3. New Product Development -​ This strategy focuses on reaching existing market with new products.​
  4. Market Diversification Strategy​ – This strategy focuses on reaching ​new markets with new or modified ​products.

Develop your Most Valuable Asset – Your Workforce​

Today, workforce challenges are increasingly common among manufacturers. DVIRC’s Senior Manager of Training & Organization Development, Viv Baxter, shares some of the reasons why developing your workforce now is vital and how companies can be investing in their people and working to build a culture that develops leaders from within.

Why A Continuous Improvement Culture is CRITICAL Right Now​​

In the past, businesses could just add more labor to fix any shortfalls in production.​ However, as today’s businesses are faced with workforce shortages, they must do more with less. What’s the solution? Improve, improve, and improve. If you can improve your processes, both in manufacturing and the front office, by even just 5%, the results are amazing. Leadership must be engaged and endorse and empower talent to support Continuous Improvement efforts​ from the top down. Here are some of the ways companies can Continuously Improve:

  • Commit to improvement​ – There is nothing worse than saying you will change things, make some minor efforts and then forget about it​
  • Involve all levels of the company​ – Do not just focus on management, all levels of employees (from the front office to production to shipping) should be trained in the improvement tools
  • Create a continuous improvement team​ – The team should have members from all levels that will guide the company in project selection, project monitoring. and project review​

DVIRC Workforce Initiative​

It’s clear that there’s a workforce need that must be addressed in our region, so what is DVIRC doing to meet the moment? DVIRC’s Executive Vice President, Tony Girifalco, shares the key findings of DVIRC’s comprehensive labor demand study and the initiatives that DVIRC is taking to advance manufacturing careers and address the workforce needs of our region’s businesses. Click here to learn more about the Workforce Initiative and how you can get involved.

Recent Legislation Boosts American Manufacturing​​

Carrie Hines, President of the American Small Manufacturers Coalition (ASMC), gives an overview of recent federal legislation and how manufacturers can benefit from the incentives provided. This legislation includes:

Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act​, Enacted Nov. 15, 2021​

  • Requires federal agencies to prioritize American-made materials and products in federally funded infrastructure projects; involves MEP before Buy America waivers can be granted​
  • Makes significant investments into seaports and airport infrastructure to improve manufacturing supply chain movement​

CHIPS and Science Act, Enacted August 9, 2022​

  • Includes $50 billion to strengthen the semiconductor industry through incentives for domestic manufacturing and research; $39 billion of which will be subsidies to the industry including grants to begin flowing in Spring 2023​
  • Includes new provisions for MEP to provide expansion services to small manufacturers in the areas of workforce, advanced manufacturing technologies, including cybersecurity, and supply chain resiliency and optimization​

Inflation Reduction Act, Enacted August 16, 2022

  • Provides tax credits for small businesses for clean electricity in either production or investment which can increase over time should a facility satisfy domestic content requirements​
  • Doubles the R&D tax credit for small businesses​
  • Provides tax incentives for manufacturing US sourced materials such as batteries, wind and solar and technologies used to make hydrogen.


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