Industry Focus | Business Facilities - Economic Development, Site Selection & Workforce Solutions

As the economy slowly rebounds, businesses will need to restructure their distribution networks to maximize efficiency and minimize miles to capitalize on the recovery when it occurs.

As the economy slowly rebounds, businesses will need to restructure their distribution networks to maximize efficiency and minimize miles to capitalize on the recovery when it occurs.

Logical Solutions for the Logistics Industry

Industry Focus Articles

Changing Demographics Drive Medical Demand

Our aging population has expectations for healthcare and a sustainable quality of life that those before could have only dreamed of—prospects that innovation supported by plastic medical devices can afford them. Rising healthcare spending, higher life expectancy and innovation all have fueled growth in the plastics and medical device industries. A strong focus on research and development has led to numerous scientific and technological breakthroughs with no end in sight. In the past few decades, plastics have made healthcare simpler and less painful, and new techniques possible. Plastic medical devices have reduced contamination, relieved pain and cut medical costs. They have prolonged, improved and saved lives. “From blood bags and examination gloves to glucose meters and heart valves, vinyl, polyurethane and other plastics have traditionally been the healthcare industry’s materials of choice,” says Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) President and CEO William R. Carteaux. “The materials’ strength and versatility will continue to be in demand as medical discoveries and treatment breakthroughs create a need for new medical tools that only plastics can deliver.” Be it tamper-evident seals, child-resistant caps or Petri dishes, plastics continue to permeate medicine. Home healthcare products—including assistive devices, therapeutic devices, monitors, sensors and telemetry devices—are expected to become one of the fastest- growing segments of the medical device industry. The U.S. Census Bureau notes that as the U.S. population ages, healthcare will be increasingly delivered in alternative settings, such as nursing homes, hospices and patient homes. As a result, BCC Research & Consulting, a company that does economic, market and policy research, projects a $20-billion global market for home medical equipment in 2012. Another market tipping the scale is the plastic medical device packaging sector. Plastics packaging has proven indispensable in modern medical care, providing products such as see-through intravenous bags and break-resistant containers. According to a recent study by the firm Frost and Sullivan, this sector is expected to earn $920 million by 2013. U.S. Census data shows that by 2030 there will be 71.5 million adults age 65 and over—up from 35 million in 2000. The older population is influencing the direction of the medical device industry due to its changing health needs and an accompanying shift in thinking on how and where seniors will be treated. Polymer-containing devices such as artery-opening stents, heart pacemakers, and hip replacements will help save and improve life for this rising figure—demonstrating that as our population ages, the need for plastics will grow. As important a role as plastics may play in medical devices, there is an […]

Ports and FTZs: Gateway to Fair Trade

A variety of incentives enable U.S.-based companies to compete in a global marketplace. Current economic conditions have moved the government to increase capitalization of trade benefits created in 1934. A “Port of Entry” is where Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers or employees are assigned to accept entries of merchandise, clear passengers, collect duties and enforce the various provisions of CBP and related laws. These include seaports, airports and land border locations and provide the link for getting goods to consumers and transporting U.S. made products overseas for export. The U.S is the largest trading nation in the world for both exports and imports of goods and services. January exports alone totaled $142.7 billion and imports $180 billion. Approximately 360 commercial seaports presently serve the United States, the largest being Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York/New Jersey. Ports are found along the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf and Great Lakes coasts, as well as in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ports are gateways to domestic and international trade with more than 3,100 publicly and privately owned cargo and passenger handling facilities. Established by enactments of state government, public port agencies develop, manage and promote the flow of waterborne commerce. They act as catalysts for economic growth, and depending on the individual port facility, may accommodate anything from barges, ferries, recreational watercraft, passenger ships and ocean-going cargo. Ports also play a role in national security by supporting the mobilization, deployment and resupply of U.S. military forces. The increasing demands placed on waterborne transportation have been addressed through billions of dollars worth of port improvements. Part of the rationale to update and modernize facilities stems from the significant benefits ports contribute to local and regional economies. More than 13 million Americans were employed through commercial port activities in 2008. Additionally, U.S. businesses related to waterborne commerce contributed more than $3 trillion to the U.S. economy and almost $213 billion in federal, state and local taxes—seaport activities alone accounted for $31.2 billion. U.S. ports and waterways manage more than two billion tons of domestic and import/export cargo annually, some of which include commodities and finished products such as corn, lumber, steel, phosphate, plastics, film, modular homes and liquid bulk cargo like crude petroleum and petroleum products—including oil and gasoline. About two-thirds of all U.S. wheat and wheat flour, one-third of soybean and rice production and almost two-fifths of U.S. cotton production is exported via U.S. ports. Plus, automobiles and the passenger cruise industry are dependent on deep-draft seaports, which […]

Calling for Growth

Sectors of the call center industry did more than show surprising resilience in the downturn—they actually thrived and added job growth across the economy. As with many of the industrial sectors in the U.S. today, economic news about the call center/IT/data center industry is a mixed bag in terms of growth. The good news is that according to the National Association of Call Centers (NACC), which tracks the call center industry globally, more call center jobs were gained in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2009 than lost. This news also was bolstered by the fact that it was a part of a three-quarter-long recovery. The bad news was that the number of call center openings versus closings was down. According to the NACC, the largest growth in call center jobs came from the Financial Services Sector. King White, president of Site Selection Group, a location consulting firm that focuses on call center and back office site selection globally, reported in July, 2009 that unlike other sectors of the economy, certain sectors of the call center labor market were flourishing; what’s driving them is a demand for business process outsourcing (BPO) and accounts receivable management (ARM) services. “This [was] probably the strongest month we’ve had in 12 to 18 months,” White said of the jump in June. “We had huge numbers, 20,000 total jobs created, which is what it was during the peak of the economy two years ago.” According to Site Selection Group’s research, 20,485 new jobs were created in the industry worldwide with 56% of those jobs located in the U.S., and the BPO industry led the way with 15,560 jobs. The financial services industry and debt collection services industry also added jobs at this time. The economic downturn also shifted the way call center site selection has been occurring. Many large corporations laid off employees and closed divisions such as customer service, financing and collections, preferring to outsource these functions instead. However all of these functions still must be performed for customers. This is what’s provided the growth in BPO and ARM call centers, according to Susan Arledge, president/CEO of Arledge Partners Real Estate Group. It creates a specific necessity for “plug and play” properties where companies can be operational quickly without a large capital outlay. Arledge says her company tracks several million square feet of these types of locations. “There are many former contact center properties that had been operational or had been built but never occupied when corporate plans changed or client contracts fell […]