Manufacturing Industry Advisor

Due to the ongoing global supply chain crisis, companies face an uphill battle managing supply chain-related issues. On one front, companies are encountering frequent and extensive shipment and delivery delays. Information from Project44, which tracks global supply chains, reveals that shipment delays between China and major United States and European ports have quadrupled since late March 2022.1 On the other front, suppliers are enduring sky-high freight costs. The cost of shipping a container on…
As manufacturing employers are well aware, the COVID pandemic has forced many employers to furlough or layoff employees. Some operations were closed altogether, while others furloughed employees for various periods of time. Often those layoffs or furloughs were longer than initially anticipated and in some circumstances triggered the WARN Act, requiring the employer to provide the employees suffering job loss with 60 days’ notice of their termination. Calculating when and if the WARN Act is…
The U.S. economy is grappling with the highest inflation in decades, with extensive inflation in the supply chain affecting companies worldwide. Supply chain disruptions undoubtedly have contributed to rising inflation, as extensive delays and skyrocketing costs continue to plague the industry. In March 2022, the consumer-price index (or CPI) — a measure of the prices consumers pay for products — rose at an annual rate of 8.5%, which is the highest increase in 47 years.…
The disruption to the supply chain caused by recent material and labor shortages and freight delays (associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and other unforeseen catastrophes) has left the supply chain in disarray. At its most basic level, the supply chain is the term for the actions and participants that are required to deliver goods or services to an ultimate customer or consumer. The number of “links” in the supply chain depends on the complexity of…
On March 28-29, the 2022 Smart Fabrics Summit, organized by the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), was held at the Wilson College of Textiles of North Carolina State University.  The Summit is an annual conference that serves as a meeting of the minds of the nation’s preeminent stakeholders in the e-textiles industry, including the likes of electrical and textile engineers, research labs, manufacturers, consumer brands, and federal defense agencies.  The two-day event featured the format…
Employers are contending with difficult challenges unlike any time in modern history. Even though many employees, especially in the manufacturing industry, returned to work after working from home during the COVID pandemic, the effects of the increased flexibility seen during the COVID era linger. Many employees enjoyed the benefits of working from home during the last two years, even if only part-time, and do not want to give up the benefit. By contrast, and especially…
Edwin Starr’s song, “War,” said it best. As the first land war touching Europe in decades, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is what many are calling the start of WWIII—let’s hope not. Starr’s song lyrics lament the many, many negative impacts of war. Beyond the obvious impacts, this post will focus on the negative consequences war and political tension will have on global supply chains and manufacturing operations. In 2020 and 2021, manufacturers weathered unprecedented supply…
The spring thaw has yet to set in, but Washington this month has been a hotbed of antitrust regulatory activity impacting supply chains. On February 15, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Lockheed Martin scrapped a $4.4 billion acquisition of its supplier, Aerojet Rocketdyne, in the face of a complaint the Commission filed earlier this year to block the deal. The complaint alleged that the acquisition would eliminate the last independent U.S. supplier of…
Manufacturers spend a pretty penny managing inventory logistics (the management of inbound and outbound flows of goods) and inventory warehousing (the receipt, storage, and distribution of goods). In good times, controlling logistics costs presents a challenge.  In times of global disruption, the costs can border on unmanageable.1  COVID-19 alone caused huge shortages of consumer products and surges in shipping costs.   In the warehousing sector, a combination of pandemic-driven demand and big-box stores…
The Michigan Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and Foley & Lardner LLP recently presented a virtual webinar, “Looking Forward: Advance Preparation in a Dynamic Legal & Business Landscape.” Designed to share insights and best practices with in-house counsel, the webinar featured ten cross-functional experts from Foley who discussed how leading companies can plan, predict, and prepare for rapidly shifting legal and business challenges in the face of the persistent COVID-19 pandemic, global supply chain shocks,…