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Why manufacturing companies thrive in Greater Phoenix

When it comes to Greater Phoenix, manufacturing companies from around the world take advantage of all that our region has to offer.

With more than 2,800 manufacturing companies and over 138,000 employees in the region, Greater Phoenix is a growing hub for manufacturing operations.

In fact, industry leaders like Intel, Boeing, Shamrock Foods, Honeywell, Cardinal IG and Amazon all enjoy the region’s affordable operating environment and market advantages.

To learn more about the robust manufacturing operations in Greater Phoenix, we sat down with GPEC Senior Vice President of Business Development Mitchel Allen.

With more than 2,800 manufacturing companies and over 138,000 employees in the region, Greater Phoenix is a growing hub for manufacturing operations.

What are the three things that drive manufacturing companies to Greater Phoenix?

Workforce availability has been a crucial aspect in the site-selection process for clients. With national unemployment at an all-time low, companies are looking to identify markets that can quickly meet their year one employment numbers, but that can also sustain their year five employment projections. Additionally, we’re seeing human resource teams visit the market to validate it even before real estate executives begin the facility search.

Another component that drives manufacturing companies to our region is the proximity to California, which recently surpassed the United Kingdom to become the 5th largest economy in the world. Many clients are looking to tap into the California buying power without having to deal with the regulations of having their business in the state. With our proximity to California and our region’s ability to access 40 million consumers within a one-day truck drive, businesses in Greater Phoenix are well-positioned to tap into the buying potential.

Greater Phoenix’s infrastructure is modern and dependable. Our electric utility providers are able to supply reliable, uninterrupted power to users that need it most.

What are 5 notable companies that have expanded/relocated here? Can you give a little information on each of them?

Andersen Corporation who manufacturers windows and doors will be hiring 415 people. The company will be building a brand-new half a million square foot, state-of-the-art facility in Goodyear, AZ.

Ball Corporation, which is in the process of completing a half a million square foot facility in Goodyear, AZ, will be manufacturing aluminum cans at their new location. The company plans to hire 120 employees.

King Koil recently signed a lease in Avondale, AZ, where the company manufacturers high-end mattresses and box springs. The company had their ribbon cutting ceremony in May 2018 and have hired over 40 people and are looking to continue to grow.

RJR Technologies announced that it was moving its headquarters from Oakland, CA to Phoenix, AZ. This advanced manufacturer makes high-performance Liquid Crystal Polymer Air Cavity semiconductor packaging. The company plans to hire approximately 100 people.

Prenexus Health recently relocated its headquarters and manufacturing facility to Gilbert, AZ, where it will make a prebiotic ingredient for the food industry. They will produce one of the world’s first organic prebiotic ingredients from high fiber sugarcane for use in foods, beverages and dietary supplements.

Where do you see manufacturing in the next 5-10 years, especially in Greater Phoenix?

Automation and robotics are changing and will continue to evolve the landscape of the industry over the next 5-10 years. Labor compensation has been steadily increasing over the last 20 years, while the average cost to produce an industrial robot has gone down by about half.

As we mature in this industry 4.0 era, I anticipate a decrease in the total number of workers on the manufacturing floor while a significant number of U.S. companies shift to robotics and automation. This doesn’t mean humans will be eliminated altogether, but those who do remain will be highly skilled and supporting the robotic functions.

What educational programs/institutions in Arizona are producing the talent needed to support this industry’s growth?

Arizona Advanced Manufacturing Institutes (AzAMI), under the Maricopa Community College system, is adapting to the needs of this industry. They frequently convene the local manufacturing community to listen to their needs and identify the industries hiring pain points.

AzAMI created a customized curriculum to address those needs often times creating a public-private-partnership, where the company participates in the training by sending instructors or equipment for students to learn on. Many manufacturers in the region have found this to be an extremely successful model leading to a healthier workforce pipeline with higher rates of employee retention.

If someone was interested in the manufacturing industry, what advice would you give them that would support their career?

This is an ever-evolving industry which is seeing more influence from robotics and automation. Employers are looking for people with a more diverse set of skills, including computer programming, general mechanical skills, industrial robotics and above else, someone who’s of the mindset of safety first.

For those interested in entering the manufacturing field, I recommend them to take a wide variety of classes and continue to learn how to use new tools and systems that might be impacting the industry.

For over half a century, the region has attracted companies from across the globe. Their success shows how a pro-business climate can blossom manufacturers of any kind. Is your company read to thrive in Greater Phoenix? Learn more.