Welcome to the IMA Executive News & Views Blog. The blog format reflects our efforts to provide IMA members with timely, relevant and thought provoking information in a form that is accessible for easy reference. IMA’s Executive News & Views Blog will be updated on a regular basis. Weekly news update emails will be sent out to notify subscribers of new information posted on the blog. IMA members are welcome to submit material for the blog, or request specific information. Simply email Editor Stefany Henson at shenson@ima-net.org with your information or request. Editorial submissions are subject to review. 

Wednesday
Feb252015

Join the Corporate-Startup Challenge

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is seeking companies that would like to be a part of the third round of the Corporate-Startup Challenge that introduces startup companies to some of Illinois’ largest companies including State Farm, Microsoft, Underwriters Laboratories, and Danfoss. The program is run by the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition to help large companies become mentors, customers, or investors for small companies.

In the current round, the ISTC is looking for small manufacturers with some of the following characteristics.

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Wednesday
Feb252015

Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI™

Strong U.S. manufacturing output growth sustained in February

Key points:

• Production levels rise at fastest pace for four months … despite slowest upturn in new work since January 2014

• Manufacturing cost burdens fall for the second month running

Data collected 12 – 19 February 2015. — Markit U.S. Manufacturing PMI (seasonally adjusted)

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Thursday
Feb192015

From Plante Moran: 2015 The Road Ahead

Plante Moran’s theme this year, Forging Ahead, is a fitting tagline for where the economy and capital markets currently stand at this stage in the cycle — somewhere between the expectations set by the runaway optimism of a term such as full steam ahead, but substantially more promising than the so-called muddle-through economy popularized in the wake of the great recession.

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Thursday
Feb192015

Upcoming Events & Webinars from Export.gov . . .

Matchmaking Event: Mexico Automotive Supply Chain

Boost your sales to Mexico in automotive markets. Targeted business-to-business matchmaking at Automotive Meeting Queretaro, Feb 23-25, puts you face-to-face with OEM and Tier 1 procurement, engineers, and supply chain managers. Mexico is one of the worlds top 5 automotive exporters, and U.S. suppliers feed this industry to the tune of $26.6 billion in exports. One month to register!

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Wednesday
Feb112015

Governor Bruce Rauner delivers State of the State Address

In his first major address before a joint session of the General Assembly, newly inaugurated Governor Bruce Rauner laid out a bold and comprehensive plan to create an “Illinois turnaround.” Key themes of the half-hour speech included working together with the legislature in a bipartisan fashion to create jobs, provide property tax relief, empower voters and invest in education and workforce development.

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Wednesday
Feb112015

SBA Announces Expansion of American Supplier Initiative with Matchmaking Events to be held throughout 2015

The U.S. Small Business Administration will expand the American Supplier Initiative with matchmaking events that will be held throughout 2015. The matchmaking events will help provide small businesses with the tools and resources needed to become effective suppliers and connect with federal and commercial supply chain opportunities. “The American Supplier Initiative is part of a comprehensive plan to create jobs through growing small businesses while also ensuring that America has a strong, deep and diverse supply chain,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Becoming a corporate supplier can be a true catalyst for business growth, but accessing those supply chains can be challenging for small businesses. The American Supplier Initiative exists to help our nation’s small businesses find their footing in these supply chains.”

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Thursday
Feb052015

Four Trends That Will Define Manufacturing in 2015

From IMA member Sikich …

The demand for accelerated production and faster delivery, increased consumer expectations, a rise in global competition and advances in technology―these are just a few of the challenges that manufacturers faced over the past year. As 2014 draws to a close, we look ahead to some of the emerging trends that may present more challenges in 2015, but may also offer significant opportunities for the U.S. manufacturing industry.

Emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT)

Technology is transforming almost every aspect of U.S. manufacturing. The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), a network of intelligent devices that “talk” to each other, will bring new efficiencies to the manufacturing industry.

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Thursday
Feb052015

For 2015, Freight Rail Will Carry the Economy

The U.S. economy continues to grow, and strong demand for rail service demonstrates that the freight rail industry is integral to this growth. By providing cost-effective transportation of goods, from lumber to oil to auto parts, freight rail is playing a central role in positive economic trends — including rising gross domestic product, improving employment statistics and low gasoline prices.

Freight rail is ready for this and more. In 2015, the nation’s major freight railroads plan to spend an estimated $29 billion — which would set an annual record — to build, maintain and grow the rail network. This private spending will go​ to expenditures like new equipment and locomotives, installation of new track and bridges, the raising of tunnels and new technology used to keep America’s rail network the best in the world.

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Wednesday
Feb042015

Enabling Manufacturing vs. Tilting the Playing Field

By Thomas A. Hemphill, Real Clear Policy Blog

In December, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that included the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act of 2014. The RAMI Act requires the secretary of commerce to establish a national network of “centers for manufacturing innovation,” each with a special focus — be it a manufacturing process, a novel material, etc.

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Wednesday
Jan282015

Four Smart Marketing Resolutions for 2015

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger in the Industry Word Blog at the U.S. Small Business Administration

Happy New Year! Have you resolved to take your small business to bigger and better heights in 2015? Then one of the best moves you can make is to upgrade your marketing. Here are four marketing resolutions that every small business owner should consider making for 2015.

1.) Invest more money in your marketing. I see so many small business owners who make the (sometimes fatal) mistake of playing Scrooge when it comes to their marketing. By pinching pennies, they may save a few dollars here and there, but they lose out on bigger opportunities. It’s important to look at marketing costs as investments in your business and your brand—not as expenses.

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