Update: Cat effect building momentum

Supplier summit a key milestone

Much has been made about the effect that the Caterpillar advanced manufacturing facility could have on the local economy. One of the most important benefits resides in Caterpillar’s selection of area suppliers and vendors.

As construction moves along on the new facility, the Cat Supplier Summit (scheduled for June 3) is a critical milestone in realizing the deal’s full economic potential. The event is proof, not just of the company’s commitment, but of the broad-reaching benefits that are the result of close collaboration between business and community.

Education and training programs are coming together quickly via Forsyth Technical Community College, and we are close to seeing the first round of jobs coming into the area from Illinois. However, the expansion of related businesses around Caterpillar could turn the Cat win into an even bigger success story.

The Summit is a chance for local suppliers and vendors in a range of categories to learn what Caterpillar expects, what they look for in partners, and how local companies can rise to the top of the list.

The Summit also seems to be the beginning of an important phase for job seekers. According to an article in the  the Winston-Salem Journal, no jobs have been posted for the new facility in Winston-Salem. However, the article quotes Forsyth Technical Community College president, Gary Green, as saying that the college will begin assessing job seekers in June, with most initial openings at the facility being contract jobs.

More information about the Summit is available via the Winston-Salem Journal website.

Winston-Salem makes another Top 10

Winston-Salem makes another Top 10

Why this list just might matter more than most

Southern Business & Development magazine  has recently named Winston-Salem, NC one of the Top Ten Incredibly Pro-Business Communities — Large and Small — Without a Beach. ( article).

While our community is no stranger to making “10 Best” lists, this particular one may have even more substance to it than you might think.

One reason why this recognition is interesting relates to who nominates communities for consideration and who W-S had to beat in order to make the list.

Who nominates cities for SB&D? Site consultants and business leaders — the very people who make the key decisions in business expansion and relocation. And several of these economic development professionals pointed to Winston-Salem as their pick. In addition, think about the competition here. We’re talking about a region that could arguably be considered, in relative terms, the hottest in the U.S. To make the top ten in this region  should be considered quite a feat.

Another reason for paying closer attention to this list is “why.” Why did W-S make  this list? Winston-Salem makes this short list of pro-business communities for the same reason it wins the attention of so many companies looking to expand or relocate — collaboration. Many other factors are important, but you can argue that most of them are “cost-of-entry”, that is, they get you in the discussion.

However, the difference maker seems to be, over and over again, the way community and business leaders, educational institutions, city and county government organizations all work together.

And, apparently, the right people (and businesses) are noticing.

US Airways to add up to 200 new jobs

Good news for our community from US Airways as they announce the expansion of their Winston-Salem reservation center. The move will add as many as 200 new jobs to the Hanes Mall Boulevard facility. Click the link below for more details.

US Airways to Bring More Jobs to Winston-Salem Reservation Center

The return of optimism?

Will the real economic recovery please stand up?

Several months have passed since the word “recovery” was first uttered in reference to the current economic state. At first no one seemed to be buying it, or buying anything else, for that matter. Then phrases like “double-dip” began to surface more often than Seinfeld reruns. Fast forward through the holidays and the predictable January hangover.

Now that Q1 has passed the midway point, has there been a shift in the glass-half-empty versus half-full conundrum? Have people (business leaders and consumers) simply decided that enough is enough? There seems to be growing optimism related to employment and long-term economic health.

Lets look beyond the recent break in the weather for reasons for this apparent new-found positive outlook.

Several indicators are moving in the right direction

We borrowed a Mar. 8 chart from Money-Rates.com to show how the numbers tend to be inching toward growth. And the new home starts numbers just released are even better. Is it enough to constitute economic elation? Certainly not, but it is good news.

Who cares about the indicators?

At least in part because employment lags behind overall economic growth, consumers are not letting the statistics drive their purchase decisions. What matters to people is the tangible — “do I have a paycheck or not?” The result is a consumer base that is still highly cautious about their spending.

Companies are succeeding right here.

Specifically in Winston-Salem and the surrounding Piedmont Triad region, there are many examples that could be used to cite an economy on the rise. We’ve gone on about Cat (with good reason) but other successes may be even more convincing (with a congrats to Jeff Garstka, former-WSBI VP, and his recent success expanding Lowe’s Companies data center operations in Wilkes County).

Fundamentals are in. Aren’t they?

Is the long road to recovery paved with solid fundamentals? Are companies returning to long-term profitability rather than short-term gains that undermine core value? Are consumers actually choosing to save instead of spending what they don’t have? Do they have a choice?

Okay. That last one was more of a question. What do you think? Is there reason to be cautiously optimistic?

 

Hanesbrands to reopen distribution center with 60 jobs

By RICHARD CRAVER
Published: March 08, 2011

Increasing consumer demand for Hanesbrands Inc.’s apparel has led the company to reopen a Winston-Salem distribution center for at least three years.

The distribution center is in West Point Business Park near Stratford Road. The center was closed last summer because of reduced product volume. About 240 employees were affected by the shutdown.

However, an 11 percent increase in sales in 2010 has led to a need for more inventory space, spokesman Matt Hall said Tuesday. The company also has a major distribution center at 521 Northridge Park Drive in Rural Hall.

"We will have approximately 60 total employees at the facility – half permanent employees who will move from the Almondridge center in Rural Hall and half temporary employees," Hall said.

The company expects to hire the temporary employees through employment agencies, Hall said. He did not say whether previous Hanesbrands employees at the center will receive consideration in the hiring process.

Hall said the company will begin shipping men’s underwear and fleece products out of the center in early May. It began moving inventory into the center last week.

Michael Lord, an associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University, said it makes logistical sense to handle a temporary distribution expansion close to its headquarters.

"The closer distribution is to home, often the easier and more flexible it is to control," Lord said. "This is especially true for sudden or unexpected bumps in sales or other quick changes in operations.

"There are people with relevant experience nearby that may be interested and able to do the work, even if it might be only temporary."

The reopening of the center represents a rare local work-force and production expansion since Hanesbrands spun out of Sara Lee Corp. with great fanfare as the city’s third Fortune 500 company in September 2006.

At that time, Hanesbrands had 4,900 employees in Forsyth – nearly 10 percent of its overall work force – and 8,600 in the state.

It now has 2,515 employees in Forsyth County and 3,785 in North Carolina.


rcraver@wsjournal.com

(336) 727-7376

Source: http://www2.journalnow.com