PMI Annual Report Explores ‘Plumbing Manufacturing Evolution’

Consistently through the years, Plumbing Manufacturers International has fulfilled its vision of “safe, responsible plumbing – always.” But now, “we find ourselves at a time when our social contract is being extended into areas such as climate change mitigation and diversity, equity and inclusion,” PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole states.

“A Plumbing Manufacturing Evolution,” the PMI 2022 Annual Report, explores how PMI member companies are responding to new societal demands while remaining profitable and meeting the needs of customers. Virtually all PMI member companies are mentioned in the report.

Running through the report are examples of how PMI member companies are striving to become “net positive” by improving the well-being of everyone they affect – every product, operation and stakeholder, including future generations and the planet itself.

The term “net positive” was coined by co-authors Paul Polman and Andrew Winston in their book “Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take” and in an associated Harvard Business Review article “The Net Positive Manifesto.” Winston will be a keynote speaker at the PMI22 Manufacturing Success Conference, Oct. 24-27, in Louisville.

In their letter for the report, PMI leaders Martin Knieps, 2022 Board of Directors president, and Todd Teter, immediate past president, say that even before the term “net positive” was coined, “PMI has worked to find solutions benefiting all water system stakeholders. PMI has always understood that the value of a toilet, showerhead or faucet is only as high as the quality of the water conveyed by it. As a result, PMI has always worked with the health and safety of water consumers in mind, knowing that their best interests are the same as ours.”

Report focuses on sustainability, supply chain and workplace

The report’s three main stories cover sustainability and waste reduction, supply chain, and workplace and labor.

The sustainability story provides examples of how PMI manufacturing member companies are reducing the use of plastic packaging in favor of recyclable materials, using recycled water and other recycled materials in manufacturing, and implementing QR code systems to reduce the amount of paper instructions.

PMI’s allied members are doing their part, too, to address environmental impact. The report provides examples of how building energy codes reduce greenhouse gases and energy costs and how a new lead testing standard has reduced the allowable amount of lead leached during testing by five-fold.

As new legislation in various states focuses on the concept of extended producer responsibility, Knieps says he expects to see more legislation and regulatory actions relating to waste and sustainability in the future. “Through the PMI initiative to address climate change, PMI is developing a structure through which to act decisively on these issues for the benefit of our members,” he states in the report.

The supply chain story provides examples of how various PMI manufacturing member companies are responding to the specific challenges they face. While PMI manufacturing members deal with supply shortages, PMI’s allied members are doing whatever they can to speed certifications needed to bring a product to market.

In the meantime, PMI staff and advocacy/government affairs representatives do whatever they can to support members by gaining assistance from federal and state government on issues relating to supply chain. “PMI advocated for provisions that will make supply chains involving ocean shipping more efficient, help the plumbing manufacturing industry assure safe and reliable plumbing systems to strengthen water quality and water efficiency, and protect shoppers from counterfeit or stolen merchandise,” Stackpole says in the report.

The workplace and labor story focuses on how PMI member companies are transitioning into a changing workplace and labor market. The COVID pandemic introduced remote work technologies and policies into plumbing manufacturing, and the report provides examples of why remote or hybrid working arrangements are here to stay.

This story also explores diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and why these programs have become increasingly important, particularly to women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and younger workers. 

PMI’s DE&I initiative began last year to develop more diverse engagement within the association and to guide members in forming and reaching their own DE&I goals. At the PMI21 Manufacturing Success Conference, keynote speaker Risha Grant provided insights on how to accomplish lasting DE&I success.

One way is to self-educate and get to know people based on your own experiences – not from those imprinted on you by your family, friends and the media, she said. Once you identify your biases, start seeking people who fit those biases, then take them out for coffee and get to know them, she suggested. Start with colleagues who seem to get overlooked in meetings or who don’t speak up. Grant asked, “Who is on your team that you can become an ally for – that you can help give a voice to?”

Read the entire report at