Top industry leaders to keynote NMW

By Plant Engineering Staff February 16, 2006

At a pivotal time in American manufacturing, attendees at National Manufacturing Week will get insight from some of America’s top business leaders and some of the world’s top business analysts. From a look across the Pacific to a candid assessment of America’s own problems and opportunities, keynote speakers at this year’s NMW will offer some perspectives on the state of global manufacturing

Colin Wu, president of China Business Sources, will kick off the keynotes on Monday, March 20 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. with a program titled, “What’s Behind Chinese Competitiveness?” Wu will examine the issues of Chinese labor costs, social and political factors and how those cost factors impact American manufacturing. He will also offer his perspective on how American manufacturing’s traditional emphasis on innovation and quality can help America compete and succeed in the emerging global landscape.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson and Doug Engel,ll speak on Tuesday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

While companies have taken most of the‘extra” costs out of manufacturing, the focus now is managing those costs that are always present but most complicated to address. These include rising healthcare costs and pension cost management, costs related to regulatory compliance, such as Sarbanes Oxley Tax management, energy cost management and litigation costs. Such costs are 22% higher than other global trading partners. Engle and Thompson, who is now chairman of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, will discuss the impact of these costs on business and to learn more about cost cutting initiatives and solutions for theexecutives dealing with ways to manage the costs.

Another perspective on cost management will be offered by Mary Frances Cox, senior vice president of operations for Schneider Electric, at her key note on Tuesday, March 21 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Cox’s presentation, “Manufacturing Excellence: Shaving Millions Out of the Manufacturing Cost Base,” will discuss how focusing on a combination of levers in the areas of manufacturing, purchasing, materials, logistics and people can reduce costs and improve performance in all areas of the value stream in operations.

Automation is one of the crucial areas facing every plant operation, and Mike Santori,facturing to validation. Machine designers must integrate control and control theory into their early mechanical models and prototypes, manufacturing lines must get smarter to detect and fix production problems before scrap is created, and product testing and validation must become an integral partof the production line, not an after thought.

James Owens, chairman and CEO of Caterpillar, will start the show’s second day with his keynote from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Entitled, “Manufacturing Leadership in the Global Marketplace,” Owens’ address will look at how the expansion of free trade and market-based business practices provides both challenges and opportunities. How can U.S.-based manufacturers compete in this global environment and succeed? How can the growth and expansion of free trade with countries like China benefit the U.S. economy? Owens, whose company has turned the challenges of the global marketplace into record-breaking business success, will address these subjects and provide insight on Caterpillar’s strategies.

Another key global business leader will discuss the ways to get to multiple markets. Gilles Bouchard, executive vice president of global operations for Hewlett Packard, will address the NMW audience on Wednesday, March 22 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. “It’s About Customer Choice: Managing Multiple Routes-to-Market on a Global Scale,” will look at the challenge of operating across diverse geographic regions where buying behaviors and preferences can differ significantly. Bouchard will discuss the balancing act of striving to continually optimize multiple routes-to-market while, at the same time, building customer loyalty and beating the competition.

Jack Perkowski, the founder and CEO of ASIMCO, one of the most successful Western-owned businesses in China, will address NMW on Thursday, March 23 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on China’s opportunities and challenges. While the market in China is rife with opportunities, doing business in China poses unique circumstances and problems. Perkowski offers his perspective on being successful in this environment, and how others can navigate the path to success in the world’s largest nation.

All keynote speeches will be held in Room 1 at the Stephens Convention Center, site of the 2006 National Manufacturing Week. The speeches are open to all badges holders, and doors will open one-half hour before each event. For more information, go to .