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Manufacturing Risk Advisor - November 2018

Amazon’s Impact on the Customer Experience


Technology has helped create more efficient product life cycles, supply chains and custom processes, but Amazon’s impact may be pushing manufacturers even more.

Consumers are starting to demand faster and easier buying experiences, and many businesses are beginning to mirror Amazon’s practices. Here are some findings from Salesforce research that show the company’s ripple effect:

  • More than 80 percent of business buyers want the same experience from their vendors as when they’re buying for themselves.
  • Two-thirds of buyers have switched vendors to get a more consumer-friendly experience.
  • 73 percent of businesses said that their standards for good experiences are higher than ever, compared to 64 percent of consumers.

According to experts, the best way for manufacturers to adapt is to create value beyond delivering a product and to pay attention to what their customers are saying.

U.S., Mexico and Canada Agree to New Trade Deal


Officials from the United States, Mexico and Canada recently agreed to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Trump administration frequently criticized NAFTA for giving Canada and Mexico unfair trade advantages and failing to support U.S. industries—and manufacturing in particular.

The new deal, referred to as the United States-Mexico- Canada Agreement (USMCA), includes new provisions to support North American businesses, update intellectual property (IP) protections and increase workplace safety.

Here are some key changes in the USMCA that will likely affect manufacturers:

  • Auto parts—Beginning in 2020, vehicles can only avoid tariffs if at least 75 percent of their parts are made in North America. This change could also encourage large manufacturers to create new domestic facilities.
  • Auto manufacturing—At least 30 percent of the manufacturing labor performed on a vehicle must be done by employees with hourly wages of $16 or more. The Trump administration believes this will prevent businesses from exploiting cheap labor practices outside the United States.
  • IP protections—The new deal has stricter regulations to protect trademarks, copyrights and other sensitive information. The USMCA also extends copyright protections to 70 years beyond the life of the author.