April, 2008 Archives
Catalog Retailer Doubles Capacity One of the most prominent recent corporate expansions in Nebraska is Oriental Trading Company, Inc.’s (OTC) new 737,000-square-foot fulfillment center in La Vista, NE. Headquartered in Omaha, NE, OTC is the largest direct marketer of novelties, toys, and party supplies and the second largest direct marketer of home décor products. To serve its 18 million customers with over 30,000 unique items, the privately held company needed to nearly double its order processing capacity. The new fulfillment center does just that, bringing OTC’s fulfillment space up to a total of 1.9 million square feet. La Vista is part of the Greater Omaha region, throughout which OTC employs about 3,000 people. The new building is the largest distribution facility in eastern Nebraska and, according to the company, “utilizes the latest in technology, including a sophisticated order management system.” “Our newest fulfillment center embodies the future of Oriental Trading Company and our goal of becoming a world class organization,” says Steve Frary, OTC’s president and CEO. “It is an essential part of Oriental Trading Company’s overall platform for growth. When combined with the strength of our brand, our vast product selection and e-commerce capabilities, we are well-positioned for our next phase of growth.” Ethanol Flowing From Nebraska There has been speculation that the boom in ethanol plant construction across the Midwest will slow, but it hasn’t stopped ethanol projects already underway in Nebraska from opening recently. US BioEnergy Corporation began production in May 2007 at its Ord, NE facility. Ground was broken on the 50-million-gallon plant in December 2005 and construction was completed ahead of the normal 20-month schedule. The Ord plant is expected to produce approximately 50 million gallons of ethanol and 275,000 tons of modified wet distillers grains per year from the 15 to 18 million bushels of corn provided by local farmers. Forty new jobs were created by the plant. The facility is served by Loup Valleys Rural Public Power District, a Nebraska Public Power District wholesale customer. The next month, Siouxland Ethanol, LLC held its grand opening on June 18, 2007, at its site in Jackson, NE. The $80 million plant, for which ground was broken in September 2005, is estimated to be able to produce 50 million gallons of ethanol and 165,000 tons of distillers grain annually. The company employs 35 people. Abengoa Bioenergy hosted an open house last October to showcase its new $34 million, state-of-the-art cellulosic biomass-to-ethanol pilot plant. The plant, located adjacent to Abengoa’s 55-million-gallon per year ethanol facility, researches and […]
This month, the Expert explains why existing industry interviews are a necessary component of labor market analysis.
Mark O’Connell is the CEO of OCO Global, a consulting firm he founded in 2001 that specializes in international investment and trade. O’Connell also oversees the operations of Mintel International Group in Ireland. BF: In 2007, the United States saw a 20% increase in FDI from 2006. Is this an unusually large increase and, if so, what factors do you think account for it? O’Connell: The United States currently offers a bargain to international investors; the weak dollar, combined with the slowdown in the U.S. economy, is creating a unique opportunity for foreign companies to establish a U.S. presence. Property is relatively cheap and investors can negotiate since it’s a buyer’s market. Skills are abundant since many U.S. firms are not hiring, and some in the financial services are shedding jobs, making labor costs more competitive. Economic development organizations in the worst-affected states will sell their grannies to get new jobs and investment, so big incentives are on the table. We expect 2008 to be another strong year for inbound FDI to the U.S. BF: California, New York, and Texas attract the most U.S. FDI. What other states can you identify as possible alternatives for foreign companies to consider? O’Connell: Arguably, some of these front runner states are over shopped and over heated from an FDI perspective. We are seeing shrewd investors look at overspill states like Arizona and Nevada, where you can still find skills and quality without paying California prices. Florida and Georgia also offer excellent gateways for investors to the wider Southeast U.S. and Latin America. Lastly, New York has some stiff competition in financial and business services from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New England, which offer lower costs with often better operating environments and skills. BF: What can states with smaller economies do to lure foreign investment? O’Connell: The best advice here is to specialize—choose one or two sectors or activities where you can shine and demonstrate competitive advantage to investors. Get to know those sectors and the business issues that need to be addressed. Then prepare your short list of active companies and build relationships directly with these companies and their advisors. BF: Why do you think the Asia-Pacific region attracts 40% of the world’s FDI? (I assume it’s more complicated than just being the largest land mass.) O’Connell: Many commentators assume all the FDI flows to Asia are cost seeking projects. Undoubtedly, in the past much of the volumes of FDI flowing into China and India have been precisely that. However, we are increasingly […]
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