Business as usual: when one retailer fails another succeeds. In the current economy, sink or swim has become sink or float. And while not all looks bleak, regardless of marketing, product quality, and cost, less competition is one way retailers can keep from drowning.
Florida’s total merchandise trade exceeded $130 billion in 2008, a 13.7% increase over the previous year.
If you are looking for skilled labor, shovel-ready sites, and robust ports, these two southeastern powerhouses have it all.
Better Built Snares Two Projects from Army Corp Better Built Construction, based in Middletown, OH, has garnered two major defense contracts in the past four months. Better Built topped seven other construction firms last month to land a $9.1-million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers award to build a training support center at Ft. Campbell, KY. The Middletown-based firm also recently was tapped by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for one of the last major Wright-Patterson Air Force Base construction contracts. It won an $11.6-million contract to design and build a dormitory for students attending the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, relocating to the area in 2011. According to Joe Munger, Better Built’s director of operations, the Wright-Patterson project will add more than 100 new construction jobs to the area economy. The company has about 18 full-time employees and more than $30 million in government contracts. The 52,000-square-foot, three-story building will be located on base in the Kittyhawk Center, which houses many on-base amenities, across from the old theater on Broad Street in downtown Fairborn, a Dayton suburb. Construction will start this summer, Munger said. The 96-room dorm will service the 711th Human Performance Wing, housed in a 680,000-square-foot, $194.5-million complex, and will be home to about 200 airmen fresh from basic training, arriving for the aerospace medicine school. Occupancy is set for June 2010. To date, $226 million in construction funds have been awarded as the base prepares to receive about 1,200 people as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Process, the largest flurry of projects since World War II. The government soon will award the final construction award: a 140,000-square-foot, $40-million project at the Air Force Research Laboratory sensors complex. Ford to Build “Cleaner” Engine in Cleveland The first Ford Motor Co. plant to make a new line of fuel-efficient engines will be located in an existing facility in suburban Cleveland that has been closed since 2007. The Cleveland plant was chosen to make the 3.5-liter, V-6 EcoBoost engines that will be standard on the Ford Taurus SHO and optional on the Lincoln MKS and MKT, and Ford Flex cars. EcoBoost engines combine direct injection technology and turbo-charging for improved fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. The EcoBoost engines can achieve up to 20% better fuel and 15% lower CO2 emissions, compared with larger displacement engines, without sacrificing power. The new EcoBoost engine will get an estimated 25 to 26 miles per gallon on the highway and 18 to 20 miles per gallon in […]
Advanced Manufacturing Flocks to Mississippi Mississippi is becoming a magnet for companies specializing in advanced manufacturing techniques that also are seeking centralized logistics operations. With low taxes and a low cost of doing business, the state also is an attractive choice for companies looking for ways to reduce operational costs. In April, G & G Steel, producer of some of the world’s largest fabricated metal components, announced plans for a metal fabrication facility to be located in the Tri-State Commerce Park in Iuka, MS. The company will fabricate metal components for large-scale projects including bridges, locks and mining equipment at its new facility. The area’s available workforce and access to major transportation networks were key factors in the decision to locate in Mississippi. Earlier this year, Handy Hardware, a member-owned hardware-buying group, announced the location of a distribution center in the Meridian I-20/59 Industrial Park. Handy plans to break ground on its new facility by the middle of this year. Once complete, the distribution center is expected to create more than 150 new jobs, representing a $20-million investment by the company. Other companies are expanding operations already located in Mississippi: Alliant Techsystems (ATK), is making preparations to manufacture composite structures for commercial aircraft applications at its Iuka, MS, facility. The company will produce composite stringers and frames, which are essential components of next-generation commercial aircrafts. The expansion is expected to retain 176 current jobs and increase the workforce to a total of 800 employees over the next eight years. Nissan North America, which has been manufacturing automobiles in Mississippi since 2003, currently is expanding its Canton, MS, plant as the company prepares to launch commercial vehicles (CV) in 2010. The facility will produce the NV2500 Concept, which is Nissan’s first entry into the CV market in North America. The expansion represents a $118-million investment by Nissan North America. Mississippi also is home to a number of leading research centers dedicated to telecommunications, geospatial systems, aerospace and aviation, biotechnology and biodefense, polymers and more. From the University of Southern Mississippi’s Polymer Institute to Mississippi State University’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, the state’s universities and colleges are forming innovative partnerships with companies to provide the technology resources companies need to develop new products and new manufacturing capabilities. Tylertown Site Shines for Kalencom Kalencom, Inc. recently selected the former MultiCraft facility in Tylertown, MS to manufacture soft-good jewelry packaging and specialty-sewn products. Kalencom is a multi-faceted manufacturer made up of four divisions. The company’s marketing distribution concentrates in the U.S., Canada, Caribbean, […]
Combining back-office or service center operations may be an attractive way to reduce costs, but a number of key factors must be weighed before picking a location.
BF: What factors or qualities are considered paramount for the Ethisphere Institute to designate a company as ethical? AB: More than 70 criteria make up a company’s Ethics Quotient score. Critical factors include: 1. How robust is the corporate compliance and ethics program? Examples include the quality of its code of ethics and related ethics training and communication; effectiveness reporting and whistleblower systems; and tone from the top. 2. Environmental impact, where criteria may vary by industry; sustainability initiatives, reporting and transparency. 3. Industry leadership in ethics, citizenship and responsibility; we are looking for standard setters and early adopters versus followers. 4. Clean legal history, or in case of past violations, evidence of adequate response and significant efforts made to avoid future infractions. BF: Do any specific industries have large numbers of ethical companies? AB: Consumer products and food industries traditionally have been topping the charts for corporate ethics and citizenship, perhaps due to consumer and peer- pressure factors. Some companies were on the forefront of responsible business long before it became an accepted practice. For example, Kellogg’s pioneered recycled packaging in 1906. The technology sector, including computer and electronics manufacturers, software developers, Internet and telecom companies, also is noteworthy for a large number of ethical companies. Many of them are relatively young companies, whose cultures have been shaped or influenced by their founders, many of whom are known supporters of responsible business practices. BF: How can a company with a tight budget improve its ethical standing? AB: Companies should treat spending on ethics as investments into brand equity versus cost to be cut. Many pragmatic steps can be taken without breaking the bank. The cost of creating a best practice code of ethics and related training and communication program is miniscule compared to what some companies spend on brand advertising. While publishing glossy citizenship reports can be expensive, some of them really disappoint by the lack of hard facts. Greater transparency and disclosure don’t really require extra budgets; they require an executive will. Likewise, strong tone from the top needs engaged, visible and committed executives. Finally, walk the talk. World’s Most Ethical Companies The Ethisphere Institute, a think tank dedicated to the best practices in business ethics, recently announced a list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Entries came from more than 100 countries and 35 industries, and 99 companies made the final cut. A sample of honorees from the United States include: Honeywell International, The Aerospace Corporation, Nike, Patagonia, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, Oracle Corporation, Symantec, Mattel, General Electric, […]
From the Desk of the Editor in Chief