Voice of the Modern Manufacturing Economy Since 2013

New manufacturing places promise to accelerate industry development

Article by Bart Taylor October 9, 2018, 07:56 am MDT

New manufacturing infrastructure is coming online across the U.S. and the timing couldn't be better: Interviews with manufacturing executives in Q3 CompanyWeek profiles indicate that real estate/space is today as pressing a challenge as workforce, a first in our data analysis. 

San Francisco denizens celebrated the opening last week of the Manufacturing Foundry, a four-story 56,000-square-foot structure offering "below-market-rent space to firms that are engaged in production, distribution, and repair," a breath fresh air to early-stage maker companies fighting an ongoing battle for affordable space in the West's booming urban centers. 

Kate Sofis, founder of the industry group SFMade and key mover behind San Francisco's transformative urban redevelopment, exclaimed, "This is the beacon that manufacturing is here to stay in San Francisco. It is built to stand the test of time."

Planners in Montrose and Grand Junction, Colorado are no less effusive and foresee similar outcomes with their own infrastructure investments, in this case outdoor industry-focused developments anchored by OI brands but also featuring lifestyle retail and hospitality tenants -- an industry cluster with important tangential efforts to develop affordable housing for the manufacturing employees of the future.

Montrose's Colorado Outdoors, and Grand Junction's Riverfront at Las Colonias Park promise these communities a similar advantage as the Manufacturing Foundry: an epicenter for industry and manufacturing brands to congregate, to train and tap key business resources, and to collectively recreate what was lost, and what cities and towns now seek: local, energetic business creation in maker and manufacturing industries.

If you believe in manufacturing, these, and others, are brilliant developments. Planners and company executives from Montrose and Grand Junction, along with movers of a third regional development in Golden, Colorado, Yeti's Outdoor Lifestyle Campus, will be in Denver October 18 to discuss the projects in detail, at the 5th annual Apparel & Outdoor Industry Manufacturing Summit. (Register here.)

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The strategic significance of new manufacturing spaces was on full display in CompanyWeek profiles last quarter.

Data from 52 CompanyWeek interviews July through September pointed to real-estate as a business need on par with employees, no surprise given the growth challenges of manufacturers featured during the quarter.

Challenges:

Managing Growth

35%

Competition

21%

Supply Chain

21%

Gov't Regulations     

17%

Market Awareness

17%

Workforce

15%

Needs:  

Real Estate/Space

33%

Workforce/Labor/Employees     

33%

Finance/Funding

21%

Equipment

17%

Marketing

13%

Suppliers/Service Partners

10%

We're here to help: CompanyWeek MFG JOBS will launch formally next week, an employment resource that at once will showcase manufacturing's top companies (through weekly CompanyWeek profiles) to prospective employees and provide a board for companies to post employment opportunities and respondents to reply.

We begin this week, but the official launch is October 17. Post your jobs here this week and on the board next week.

Bart Taylor is publisher of CompanyWeek. Contact him at btaylor@companyweek.com.

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