#122. Why We Love Manufacturers

Posted on | The Agurban
Why We Love Manufacturers

For the past fifteen years the focus of Agracel has been upon the recruiting in of manufacturing and high tech businesses into the towns that we work with. We have focused upon this sector because it has been where tremendous gains in productivity in the past have translated into higher wages and the multiplier affect of manufacturing jobs have been tremendous drivers for many local economies.

Lately, the knock on manufacturing is that it is here today and gone tomorrow. We’ve not found any research on the opening and closing of new plants so we decided to look at our own experiences over the past 14 years.

Since doing our first build-to-suit (BTS) project in 1993, we have done 52 projects in 13 states. That first project for a bicycle manufacturer moved their production to Mexico and then to China. However, only four of the other projects have closed down. One lost a supply contract, another consolidated several plants, a third moved to another city and the fourth went bankrupt. The other 47 companies are still in their plants, often having expanded their facilities and production several times in the interim.

I think that part of our success has been our focus upon smaller, more focused factories that are much more nimble and able to adapt more quickly to market changes. Many of the 47 successes have expanded several times and are today employing many more people than when they first started production. Our job count right now is around 5,000 or 100/project. Most are in towns of under 50,000 population.

Plant closures are big news when they happen, but there is little attention paid to the many companies that continue to produce goods here in the USA. Business retention should be in every economic developer’s arsenal to grow the jobs in their community.