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Steel & Aluminum Tariffs: Manufacturing’s Perspective

Trump has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum shipments of export cargo and import cargo in international trade.

Steel & Aluminum Tariffs: Manufacturing’s Perspective

President Donald Trump’s recent announcement and official order to implement tariffs on steel and aluminum imports has worried American manufacturers and ignited a chorus of warnings from lawmakers, companies, and industry leaders.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Director of the National Trade Council Peter Navarro have touted the new tariffs’ potential to make US steel manufacturers more competitive and bring jobs back to American workers.

Billed as the fulfillment of the Trump administration’s America First agenda, the United States placed a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports beginning on March 23. All countries except Canada and Mexico are subject to the tariff, but the European Union, South Korea, Argentina, Australia, and Brazil have been granted temporary exemptions.

While the stated objective of this trade policy is to “level the playing field” for American manufacturers—and many trade experts believe cheap imports have hurt the domestic steel industry—tariffs may do more harm than good over the long run. Many US manufacturers rely on affordable foreign steel and aluminum to make their products. Moreover, these tariffs may result in retaliatory measures from other nations, fueling a global trade war. Consequently, American manufacturers, lawmakers, and industry leaders worry about the far-reaching and unintended consequences of the tariffs.

Effects on Domestic Sectors

American manufacturers across multiple sectors use a combination of foreign and domestic steel and aluminum in their production processes. In 2017, imports made up 60 percent of aluminum and about one third of the 100 million tons of steel used by American businesses.

US automakers tend to buy much of their raw steel and aluminum domestically, but they import certain components from other countries. Another major domestic source of jobs, beer manufacturers, rely on imported thin aluminum to make cans for their products. Tariffs would make much-needed foreign materials more expensive, which may force manufacturers to lay off workers or move their facilities to Canada or Mexico.

The tariffs may also affect industries, like construction, that buy products directly from manufacturers. Price uncertainties about building materials made of steel and aluminum have already disrupted deal negotiations and planning processes for real estate projects. Any price increases probably won’t be catastrophic for the sector, but contractors and real estate investors may choose to pass the costs along to future tenants. This would give neighboring property owners of existing buildings a chance to raise their rents as well.

While US steel and aluminum makers may see a short-term boon in production, there are structural limits to the increase. Steel mills may not be able to easily or cheaply convert their facilities to produce different kinds of components previously made abroad. They may also not be able to meet the demand for products formerly imported from other countries.

Pipeline, oil, and gas companies have lobbied against the tariffs because there just isn’t enough domestic steel available to make pipeline materials. U.S pipelines are currently made with only about 30 percent domestic steel components, according to data by IHS Global Insight and the International Trade Association. Requiring pipelines to be made entirely of US steel would make their production prohibitively expensive to American companies and hamstring efforts to support the energy industry.

Potential for Trade Wars

In response to the tariffs, foreign countries have threatened to implement reciprocal tariffs on US exports. Initially, the EU floated a list of potential target goods, which includes Harley-Davidson motorcycles, bourbon, sweet corn, and blue jeans. These tariffs would decrease American products’ competitiveness abroad and hurt American manufacturers.

China is the first country to take retaliatory action, announcing up to $3 billion in tariffs against 128 US  products, including: wine, fruit, pork, and recycled aluminum and steel pipes, among others. A frequent target of Trump’s criticism on trade, China is well-positioned to hurt American businesses in sectors from aerospace to agriculture.

Boeing exports 80 percent of its planes and its largest market is China. As retaliation for the tariffs on its exports, China may decide to cancel its orders with Boeing and instead buy from a foreign competitor. Boeing employs 137,000 people in the United States, and American workers would directly feel a reduction in business.

China is also the United States’ most valuable customer for soybeans, importing more than one third of all domestically produced soybeans. Chinese officials have explicitly indicated that US produced soybeans are prime targets for tariff retaliation, which could be devastating to American farmers.

China did not include Boeing or soybeans in the initial retaliatory tariffs, but left room for escalation depending on next moves from the US

The Trump administration does seem willing to negotiate with trading partners and make deals to avoid trade wars. At the last minute, Trump temporarily excluded key US trading partners from the tariffs, giving them time to negotiate deals in exchange for permanent exemptions.  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is also reportedly in talks with Chinese officials to prevent the situation from escalating.

Despite these negotiations, the Trump administration is expected to levy an additional $50-$60 billion in tariffs on advanced technology imports from the “Made in China 2025” industrial development program, following an investigation into intellectual property theft from US companies. If these new tariffs take effect, they could derail US-China trade talks and motivate further retaliation from China.

NAFTA Renegotiation

Canada and Mexico’s exemption from the tariffs is contingent on the results of NAFTA renegotiation. While NAFTA needs be modernized to address the changes brought about by the digital economy, the threat of tariffs and any resulting reciprocal tariffs might derail otherwise productive talks.

The US Chamber of Commerce estimates that trade with Canada and Mexico supports nearly 14 million US jobs, and trade wars would put millions of livelihoods at risk.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already threatened to impose tariffs on imports of foreign steel into Canada. Trudeau stated that he does not want cheap, foreign steel to undercut Canada’s robust steel making sector. Depending on the results of NAFTA renegotiation, Canadian and Mexican political leaders may threaten counter tariffs on US manufactured goods.

There doesn’t appear to be a clear end in sight for NAFTA talks and the Trump Administration has not set a deadline for when negotiations must conclude. Barring any unexpected breakthrough, the future of the United States’ trade relationship with Mexico and Canada will likely remain in a state of uncertainty indefinitely.

The forthcoming tariffs may disrupt American manufacturing across multiple sectors and offset any realized gains from the recent tax bill. Manufacturers that normally rely on foreign steel and aluminum may see their production costs increase, while manufacturers targeted by retaliatory tariffs may see their products become less competitive abroad. Even manufacturers who only buy domestic steel or aluminum are worried about the tariffs potential to disrupt complex, global supply chains.

Rising production costs and decreased competitiveness may lead to worker layoffs and facility transfers to countries with access to cheaper production materials. The Trump Administration has made clear its desire to pursue policies that will benefit American manufacturers and their workers, but perhaps more nuanced actions than tariffs are warranted.

It’s safe to say that, outside US steelmakers, the American manufacturing industry is strongly opposed to any changes to trade policy that may ultimately limit market access overseas. The reduction of the corporate tax rate was a significant step in the right direction and will increase domestic industries’ competitiveness worldwide. But while the industry applauds the Trump administration’s efforts to rebalance unfair, global trade relationships—and certainly the World Trade Organization’s anti-dumping measures have been largely ineffective to date—protectionist policies like tariffs will disrupt the complex, global supply chains on which manufacturers rely and stoke the flames of a tit-for-tat trade war. Unhindered global trade ultimately benefits manufacturers, who have long supported policy agendas that break down trade barriers rather than build them.

Rick Schreiber is the National Leader of the Manufacturing & Distribution Practice at BDO, one of the nation’s leading accounting and advisory firms. He is also the National co-Leader of BDO’s Industry 4.0 initiative. Contact him at

Manufacturers are not securing systems that manage shipments of export cargo and import cargo in international trade.

Manufacturers Play Catch-Up with IoT Opportunity

The phenomenon known as the Internet of Things is already impacting nearly every industry, and the revolution is just beginning. Research firm Gartner predicts that 6.4 billion devices will be connected to the internet by the end of this year, and Cisco forecasts 50 billion devices will be online by 2020. The ability to connect devices, equipment, cars and even people to collect, send and respond to data is the new frontier in manufacturing.

The MPI Internet of Things Study, sponsored by BDO, found that manufacturers view IoT as a strategic imperative for their businesses, but few are ready to capitalize on it. 64 percent of manufacturers believe that IoT will have a significant impact (17 percent) or some impact (46 percent) on their business in the next five years. 63 percent of manufacturers believe that applying IoT to their products will increase profitability over the next five years. More than one-third of manufacturers have no plans to develop an IoT strategy for their processes and products.

With an estimated economic impact of more than $11 trillion over the next five years, IoT is an opportunity manufacturers can’t afford to pass up.

Manufacturers Must Become Cyber-Ready

In spite of nearly two-thirds of manufacturers believing that IoT will increase their profitability, data exclusive to BDO reveals they are lagging in two critical areas: cybersecurity and research and development (R&D) credits.

With billions of devices connecting to the internet over the coming years, manufacturers must ensure they have the proper protections in place to minimize their exposure to increasing cybersecurity attacks. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported in January that investigations of cyber attacks on the manufacturing sector nearly doubled in the year ended Sept. 30, 2015. As more devices collect and share what may be sensitive personal or business data, the number of exploitable vulnerabilities and entry points also grows. Hackers only need to find one gap in security to break into an interconnected network.

Despite the growing cyber threat, manufacturers are not shoring up their network defenses as only eight percent of manufacturers report they are very confident in their current cybersecurity protections to prevent an IT breach.

R&D Tax Credits are Underutilized

Just 17 percent of manufacturers say they are planning to claim R&D tax credits and incentives for their IoT investments, meaning most manufacturers are missing a significant tax savings opportunity.

The R&D credit, modified and extended permanently at the end of last year, is one of the most beneficial tax-planning opportunities to save ― and even generate ― cash and reduce effective tax rates when embarking on innovation. Still, every year, billions of dollars in credits go unclaimed.

For those manufacturers not planning to claim credits and incentives for IoT investments, nearly half (45 percent) say the reason is based on a lack of documentation. Only 11 percent of respondents cite concern about the associated costs as their primary reason for not claiming the credits.

Almost 200 years after the Industrial Revolution, manufacturers are in the midst of another transformative era. Through implementing the right protocols and precautions and by taking advantage of cash saving and generating opportunities, they should be as successful as they were the first time around.

Rick Schreiber, partner and leader of the Manufacturing & Distribution practice at BDO USA, LLP, has over 23 years of public accounting experience. He was recently named to the National Association of Manufacturers’ Board of Directors. To contact Rick, e-mail him at

What’s Keeping Manufacturers Up at Night?

U.S. manufacturing is experiencing a growth revival, but concern around labor shortages is escalating. In fact, 98 percent of manufacturers this year noted labor issues, including disputes, recruitment challenges and pension issues, as important concerns, up from 97 percent a year ago and 75 percent in 2013. As seasoned executives and C-suite leaders reach retirement age, manufacturers are feeling the pressure to recruit and maintain a steady labor force to keep production strong. This year, 74 percent of manufacturers note risks around attracting, retaining and motivating key personnel and management, up from 69 percent in 2014 and 62 percent in 2013.

Those are some of the findings in this year’s BDO Manufacturing RiskFactor Report. The Manufacturing RiskFactor Report is an annual study examining the most recent corporate filings of the 100 largest publicly traded U.S. manufacturers. The companies studied include food production, transportation equipment, plastics and rubber, machinery, and fabricated metal.

New taxes on employers’ health insurance plans, along with the nationwide discussion around raising the minimum wage, are intensifying the risk of disputes between employers and existing workers. Provisions of the Affordable Care Act, increasing employer obligation around pension plans, and labor organizations calling for companies to pass on some of the benefits of economic recovery could add to conflict between employers seeking to keep costs down.

Strong Dollar Could Stymie Manufacturers’ International Exploration

The dollar’s climb to 12-year highs during the past year has stimulated consumer confidence, domestic spending and U.S. production. Though overall industrial production was up 0.3 percent in June, the Fed reported that manufacturing output was unchanged in both May and June, bolstering concerns that recent economic gains could be losing steam. This could be a result of foreign buyers, many of whom are experiencing a weakening of their home currency, pulling back on purchases of goods manufactured in the U.S.

The Manufacturing RiskFactor Report suggests that manufacturers are taking note of these potential challenges. Ninety-three percent of manufacturers note concerns around international business and expansion, up from 91 percent in 2014 and 87 percent in 2013. Restrictive international trade policies, such as import quotes, capital controls and tariffs, were also mentioned by 84 percent of companies, up from 77 percent in 2014 and 66 percent in 2013.

Analysts predict that as global issues play out in Europe and Asia throughout the remainder of the year, a tightening of U.S. monetary policy could further strengthen the dollar, creating a greater disadvantage for U.S. manufacturers against competitors abroad.

Business Interruptions Expose Weak Links in Supply Chain

For the second year in a row, 100 percent of manufacturers mentioned concerns around supply chains, including disruptions or issues with vendors or suppliers. This comes as no surprise, given that manufacturers weathered a harsh winter and navigated port shutdowns on the West Coast, not to mention the continuance of widespread drought conditions.

Historically, some manufacturers have chosen to rely on a few suppliers, or even just one. As disruptions become more widespread, this practice carries more inherent risk. Over the past two years, mention of business interruptions, including natural disasters, terrorism events or other conflicts, has jumped 28 percent, with 87 percent of manufacturers citing the risk this year.

Cyber Attacks Create a Chink in Manufacturers’ IP Armor

Data breaches and cyber attacks have stormed into the spotlight in recent months after a string of high-profile attacks on large companies and, most recently, the remote hacking of a Jeep vehicle. These concerns are pushing manufacturers to turn inward and examine their own risks around IT systems, evidenced by 86 percent of manufacturers citing risks related to data and cybersecurity this year, up from 78 percent a year ago.

The risks around data and intellectual property are two-fold for manufacturers, as they work to protect not only their own internal proprietary data, but also end users’ data that could be transmitted via their products. These emerging data challenges could also explain the jump in manufacturers’ concern around legal proceedings and litigation, a potential consequence following a data breach, up to 95 percent from 79 percent in 2014.

What’s Next? Heightened Focus on Preparation

As manufacturers re-shore and look to strengthen their domestic business, the manufacturing industry’s resurgence appears promising. Looking forward, we could see manufacturers across sectors investing more heavily in risk management practices around these key areas, including spreading out supply chains, implementing preventative data security measures and joining forces to strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforce initiatives.


Rick Schreiber, is a partner and leader of the manufacturing and Distribution practice at BDO USA, LLP. He has more than 20 years of public accounting experience in the manufacturing, distribution, retail, technology, and healthcare industries.

Even at today’s modern ports, amid the robotic stacking of ubiquitous containerized cargo, the breakbulk and project cargo terminals are the manifestation of maritime ingenuity and might.

Why We’re Hooked On These Breakbulk Ports

Archimedes defined the lever and pulley in the year 220 B.C. and used those principles to develop a theory on the center of gravity. With these tools, cranes were built that opened the hatch, so to speak, for breakbulk cargo.

Even at today’s modern ports, amid the robotic stacking of ubiquitous containerized cargo, the breakbulk and project cargo terminals are the manifestation of maritime ingenuity and might. Breakbulk cargo is delivered by truck, train or ship to be stored on the dock or in vast warehouses awaiting transfer. The dimensions of the terminal’s footprint, then, are most important for breakbulk operations and contribute to our opinion of why you should consider these six breakbulk ports.

Houston is the national leader for breakbulk cargo in large part due to the area it has dedicated to loading, off-loading and storing breakbulk cargo—in all 47 different general cargo and heavy lift docks.

Approximately $14 million in recent improvements include a new state-of-the-art wharf and dock designed for handling project and heavy-lift cargo. Care Terminal has more than 1,100 feet of berthing space directly adjacent to 15 acres of paved, open storage area and more than 45,000 square feet of warehouse space.
The Turning Basin Terminal is a multipurpose complex of 37 wharves equipped to handle just about any type of breakbulk, containerized, project or heavy-lift cargoes.

Wharf 32 is specially designed for handling project and heavy-lift cargoes and is a $10.8 million, state-of-the-art, freight-handling facility with 1,000-pound-per-square-foot load capacity. Its 806 linear feet of berthing space and 20 acres of paved marshaling area offer sufficient space for heavy-lift or project cargoes of all types.

Port of New Orleans offers 13,511 feet of berthing space available at six facilities tailored to breakbulk cargo. It has 1.6 million square feet of transit shed area for the temporary storage of breakbulk cargo.

NOLA saw nearly 8.4 million tons of cargo in 2014, the highest annual total since 2000 and a 28 percent hike over 2013 volumes. Imported iron and steel led the surge, totaling 3.5 million tons in 2014—a 102 percent increase over the previous year. Breakbulk cargo rose 52 percent from 2013’s total to reach nearly 3.8 million tons.

Port Director Gary LaGrange said he expects 2015’s cargo figures will climb even higher thanks to a thriving chemical industry and new shippers such as Chiquita Brands International, which returned to New Orleans last October.

Baltimore is ranked as the top port among all U.S. ports for handling autos and light trucks, farm and construction machinery, imported forest products, imported sugar and imported aluminum. Overall, the port is ranked ninth for the total dollar value of cargo and 13th for cargo tonnage for all U.S. ports.

Baltimore’s Dundalk Marine Terminal covers 570 acres of land and handles breakbulk, forest products, Ro/Ro, autos, project cargo, farm and construction equipment along with containers at six general cargo berths and seven container berths. Its draft is 34 feet at four berths, 42 feet at seven berths and 45 feet at two berths.
Dundalk offers 10 sheds totaling 789,820 square feet, with 20 acres of container storage, 20 acres of breakbulk storage, 300 acres of automobile storage and 100 acres of Ro/Ro storage.

The Port of Mobile is the second-largest steel-handling port in the nation with just more than 5 million tons handled in fiscal year 2014. That total will grow with the addition of a new $36 million steel-coil handling facility.

Located on the Alabama State Port Authority’s main docks complex, the new rail-, truck- and barge-served facility was constructed behind the Pier D2 berth on a 40-foot deep channel. Last year, Mobile handled 29.1 million tons of heavy-lift and oversized cargo, coal, lumber, plywood, wood pulp, laminate, flooring, roll and cut paper, iron, steel, frozen poultry, soybeans and chemicals.

In 2014, Port Tampa Bay moved 250,464 tons of general cargo, primarily scrap metal, steel products and vehicles, and 92,379 tons of containerized cargo.

Known as a bulk port with some breakbulk in steel, Port Tampa Bay is now receiving aircraft components for Embraer’s executive jet assembly plant. The cargo was manufactured in Brazil and carried by NYK Ro/Ro from Santos to Tampa and then to a jet assembly plant in Melbourne, Fla., about 144 miles across the state.

Several roasting companies at the Port of Virginia turn raw, unprocessed coffee imported in bags into a wide range of brews—and the prospects for growth are bright. In September 2016, the port will join the ports of New York and New Jersey, Miami, New Orleans and Houston as a designated domestic delivery point for internationally traded Arabica coffee beans.

J.M. Smucker Co., Keurig Green Mountain, Massimo Zanetti and Mountanos Brothers Coffee Co. have major coffee roasting facilities in Hampton Roads. Having the raw beans closer will improve business logistics and reduce inland transportation costs, port officials say.



The container ports with the speediest turnaround times are, by definition, the ones with either the most efficient gates and cargo-loading programs or those with the least amount of daily container volume, reducing the length of the lines.

Even the most efficient ports can be stymied when two or more huge ships arrive for unloading on the same day with similar sailing schedules, especially when trucks are compelled to pass through the same gate system to enter and depart. The fastest turnaround times, then, can be expected at ports with only one container terminal and one security gate, or at major ports where congestion has been reduced by improved traffic flow or where separate access is provided to each terminal.

The Georgia Port Authority, which operates the Port of Savannah, shares this endorsement from Reade Kidd, director of International Logistics for Home Depot, in its marketing campaign: “Georgia Ports Authority has been able to provide a single terminal in one location that allows us to go in and out of one spot—regardless of the carrier, regardless of the chassis, regardless of the dray provider—to come out in one seamless move. That sort of forward thinking by the Georgia Ports Authority has really provided us the opportunity to have that seamless execution. I’d probably call it best in class as it relates to turn times and our drivers being able to come in and out in a pretty rapid manner.”

JAXPORT says more than 100 trucking and drayage firms operate in and around its port to take advantage of the city’s highway system, anchored by I-95, I-10 and I-75. Truck turn times at JAXPORT’s container terminals average 23 minutes for two moves, the port says.

F. Brooks Royster III, president of MTC Logistics, a Baltimore-based refrigerated and frozen warehousing company, ships from major ports along the northeast coast. He says, “By far Baltimore has the fastest turn times. New York and New Jersey and Norfolk have real problems with access, but Baltimore has things moving well.”
The Port of Charleston claims 30-minute turnaround times, attributing the improvement to properly staffed gates, better lift equipment and better skilled stevedores at its terminals. Royster agrees.

At Port Everglades, traffic flow was a problem until the port’s roads were redesigned with easy merge to and from the container terminals. Now the port says that with the completion of the Eller Drive overpass there is only one traffic light between the port and Los Angeles.

PortMiami is a showcase for traffic improvement as it prepares for the challenges of Super-Post Panamax cargo ships that will capitalize on the advantage of a newly deep-dredged channel. All the container terminal gates have been redesigned and modernized to ease the flow. A Florida East Coast rail spur connecting the port to an in-shore, multi-modal terminal is operational, helping reduce truck traffic—and so is the Miami Tunnel which connects the port’s terminals to the Interstate highway system, improving truck traffic flow by at least 50 percent over the previous one-road access system.

U.S. manufacturing has a skilled workforce issue that has spread its global supply chain across the world. For America's international businesses to continue to reshore and bring their manufacturing to the U.S., they'll have to learn to hire a skilled workforce, train them and retain them.

How U.S. Manufacturing Can Fuel Its Own Resurgence

U.S. manufacturers face a unique problem: despite high unemployment, the industry still suffers from a skilled-labor shortage. According to the Wall Street Journal, more than three-fourths of U.S. manufacturers reported having difficulty finding capable personnel, based on statistics developed by Accenture PLC and The Manufacturing Institute.


The advanced skills required by manufacturers are far more complex today than they were just 20 years ago. Manufacturers once had a limited shopping list for talent prospects (machinists, tool and die specialists, etc.). But with technology changing nearly all facets of production and jobs, the industry is demanding a labor force with a much more advanced skill set.

Here are three ways the industry could create a talent pipeline to fuel its ongoing resurgence.


The first step is conducting a corporate performance appraisal to identify where talent shortages exist. This helps target where talent upgrades are required. Staffing and performance challenges are often interconnected, and can have far-reaching implications for a company’s efficiency.

For example, if a company is experiencing a decline in market share or a sharp increase in returns or warranty claims, it may be time to reinvigorate the research and design (R&D) staff with new talent to spark new ideas. Poor retention rates, complaints and missed orders can also be signs of a need for talent improvement in client-facing positions. Companies lose customers for plenty of reasons, but regular assessments of sales and service staff is crucial in minimizing negative feedback.

Behind the scenes, a robust and adequately trained maintenance staff is crucial in minimizing costly equipment failures and upholding safety standards. From a product perspective, frontline operators ensure safety, quality and timely delivery of the product. The right talent and properly established systems, such as standardized work, can ensure that these employees can safely and efficiently handle their jobs.

Beyond those on the front lines, talent across all levels is imperative to a company’s day-to-day function. Signs of poor management such as issues with grievances, absenteeism, and labor turnover can arise once talent is identified and hired. Companies must make sure good employees aren’t driven away by poor managers.

Next, the second step is a review of opportunities missed due to a lack of new talent and ideas. These can include new processes for doing business, new products or new customers and markets.

A number of manufacturers are pursuing improvement methodologies, such as lean manufacturing or Six Sigma. Unfortunately, many process improvements never progress beyond basic implementation. Establishing performance management systems that allow managers and employees to grow their skill sets and lead improvement efforts is an important step when implementing new systems and chasing new leads.

Furthermore, a rising economic tide can lull manufacturers into complacency regarding product development. R&D talent should drive efforts to create new products that incorporate new technologies, materials and software. And it’s important for talent to capitalize on new markets to penetrate – manufacturers don’t want to miss out on new business because there isn’t enough or the right kind of sales talent in place.

Human resources staff can supplement this analysis via performance reviews and employee surveys with questions such as: Do employees need training to fill a skills gap? Are they willing to relocate? The end result is a talent development plan with long- and short-term components. In the short term, identify urgent skill requirements and corresponding quick solutions, such as outsourcing, temporary staffing, new hires or reallocation of employees. For long-term staffing success, a talent pipeline plan should be established to focus on recruitment of new talent and long-term employee development, training and retention.


Manufacturers will have to fight for the talent they need. More companies looking for talent means that competition for the best talent is increasing.

Manufacturers must consider a range of approaches to attract job candidates as well as retain existing talent, especially for advanced skill sets. Smart executives and HR leaders get the most out of their talent, including both new hires and longtime workers, with a comprehensive strategy that includes multipronged recruiting and complete recruitment packages, a hire-then-train option, and full onboarding and coaching.



Manufacturers also have a range of financial supports available for growing their workforces.

The federal government offers several notable hiring incentives, including the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for companies that hire individuals from specific target groups, including veterans. The Make it in America Challenge seeks to encourage foreign and domestic businesses to build and/or expand their operations in the United States. Up to 15 awards will be made to accelerate job creation by encouraging re-shoring of productive activity by U.S. firms, fostering increased foreign direct investment, encouraging U.S. companies to keep or expand their businesses—and jobs—here at home, and training local workers to meet the needs of those businesses.

U.S. states, cities and counties have also established enterprise zones. Companies operating in these zones are often eligible for hiring credits as well as add-on, workforce-related tax refunds. Many of these states offer additional hiring tax credits.

Through taking a comprehensive approach to hiring, and making use of existing economic financial supports, U.S. manufacturers have the opportunity to reverse the talent gap their industry is facing. And with the right talent in place, the industry will be well positioned to produce a brighter future for itself and the overall economy.


Rick Schreiber is Memphis Assurance Managing Partner and Manufacturing & Distribution Practice member at BDO USA LLP. He has more than 20 years of public accounting experience in the manufacturing, distribution, retail, technology, and healthcare industries. He also has extensive experience with IPOs, secondary debt offerings, and mergers & acquisitions, and working with private equity companies both at the fund and portfolio levels.