What makes a policy or a politician pro business? Lower minimum wage, weaken OSHA, cut corporate taxes. These are pro-factory policies, that make it easier for the factory to be more efficient, to have more power over workers, and to generate short-term profits. But "business" is no longer the same as "factory."
The 1,350-acre site on its way to becoming a Volkswagen plant was once home to an ammunitions operation producing bombs that dropped on Germany during World War II. "The federal government sat on it for a long, long time and wouldn't even talk about giving it up," says Ron Littlefield, mayor of the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Starting in 1994 — "about four mayors ago," as Claude Ramsey, the Hamilton County mayor, puts it — the city got serious about buying the land.
For all its shiny green future, Volkswagen has a dark and complicated past. Nowhere do those two disparate sides present themselves more starkly than in the company's headquarters of Wolfsburg, Germany. It's a one-horse town of 120,000. The factory employs some 48,000, and more than 2 million a year visit the 61-acre Autostadt, a celebration of all things VW, with pavilions, exhibits, even a mini track where kids can become kinder-licensed and drive wee electric Beetles.
Filling its own shoes as one of the world's most innovative manufacturers once again, Nike has partnered with MAS Holdings to open the new Apparel Innovation and Training Centre in Sri Lanka. The new center, operated and staffed by Nike but located in the MAS Fabric Park in Thulhiriya, Sri Lanka, will feature a 12-week Core Lean Program with sessions on theory and lean manufacturing as well as hands-on training with manufacturing process innovations.