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Companies are ‘focusing on resilience’ amid COVID-19: Rockwell Automation CEO

Yahoo Finance's Alexis Christoforous and Blake Moret, Rockwell Automation CEO, discuss the company's latest earnings as well as manufacturing outlook amid COVID-19.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Joining us now is the CEO of Rockwell Automation, Blake Moret. Blake, good to have you on the show again. And congratulations on another strong quarter.

Tell us what drove momentum for your company last quarter.

BLAKE MORET: Well, it's a gradually recovering economy. Certainly we, like others, have been affected by, really, uncharted territory across the multiple industries that we serve. But the general picture is that industry is recovering. And we're seeing that in sequential growth in sales as well as improving orders that went through the last quarter and into this quarter.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: I want to switch gears for a moment and-- and talk about sort of the political landscape at the moment with President-elect Biden. Certainly, when he was on the campaign trail, he talked a lot about the importance of manufacturing. I'd imagine that's when your ears really perked up. What are your expectations for a Biden presidency in your industry, in particular?

BLAKE MORET: Well, we are encouraged that-- that he talked a lot about the importance of US manufacturing, which is really at the vital core of the American economy, and I think we've all seen that. And because we serve industries across the spectrum of manufacturing and production, from automobile manufacturing to life sciences, creating medicines, food and beverage, and oil and gas. Across all of that, when we hear about a focus on strengthening the US industrial economy, that's good news for us.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: For sure. And we know that this pandemic has left-- has sort of highlighted pain points, if you will, for a number of different companies and different industries. It left manufacturing supply chains very vulnerable. Have you seen, or are you seeing, that trend, where more companies are bringing the workforce here within North America and moving supply chains closer to home?

BLAKE MORET: What we're really seeing is companies across the spectrum focusing on resilience, agility, and sustainability. And resilience can take a lot of different forms.

As you said, it can be to reduce single points of failure. If they find that their manufacturing is leveraged too heavily on one plant in one part of the world or on component supply from one vendor, then they're looking at decreasing that single point of failure. And in some cases, that includes re-shoring or near shoring. And we're definitely seeing some examples of that in life sciences, in semiconductor, and some other industries.

But I think the central theme is companies are making investments. We are ourselves, as a manufacturer in our own right, in reducing our dependency on any single point of failure, increasing the traceability that we can achieve, watching our products across the supply chain, remote operations to decrease the number of different people that have to be physically right next to each other when commissioning or troubleshooting equipment. So all those things are good positive trends for us.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: But Blake, might companies be less likely to bring workers back to the US because Biden might not lean on tariffs in the same way President Trump has?

BLAKE MORET: You know, I think-- and we certainly advocate for free and fair trade. And to be able to level the playing field in the way that American manufacturers can compete and win, we're going to have to find ways to strengthen US manufacturing and create an environment where manufacturers can thrive. And that includes, obviously, some policy-- workforce development and continued innovation, which probably, in the end, is the most important of all.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right. Blake Moret, CEO of Rockwell Automation. Always a pleasure. Thanks for being with us.

BLAKE MORET: Yeah. Thanks for having me.