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Why manufacturing companies thrive in Greater Phoenix

Manufacturing in Arizona

Updated: 4/2/2021

In 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 about 138,000 employees in the region, Greater Phoenix is a growing hub for manufacturing operations with employment that is expected to increase 4% by 2025.

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

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

 

See Mitchel’s Bio

 

What are the three things that drive manufacturing plants to Arizona?

Workforce availability has been a crucial aspect of the site-selection process for clients. Companies are looking to identify markets that not only quickly meet their year-one employment needs, but sustain their year-five projections. Additionally, we’re seeing human resource teams visit to validate the market even before real estate executives begin the facility search.

Another component that drives manufacturing companies to Phoenix is the proximity to California, the fifth-largest economy in the world. Manufacturers are looking to tap into the California buying power without having to deal with the regulations of operating a business in the state. With our region’s proximity to California and the 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.

 

A graphic reveals that manufacturers choose Greater Phoenix for the workforce availability, modern infrastructure and proximity to California.

 

What are some of the top manufacturers that have recently expanded/relocated to Greater Phoenix?

Align Technology, Inc. established its headquarters in Tempe at the beginning of 2021 and brought 150 jobs for the design and manufacturing of Invisalign.

Anderson Windows broke ground on its Goodyear manufacturing campus in 2019. It plans to invest more than $105 million in the 500,000 square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility and create more than 415 jobs during the first phase of expansion.

Ball Corporation opened a half-million square-foot aluminum can manufacturing plant in Goodyear and has partnered with Red Bull and Rauch Fruit Juices to build another new facility on the Loop 303 “New Frontier District.” This is scheduled to open in 2021.

Benchmark Electronics moved from Texas to Tempe in 2017 and completed construction on its headquarters in 2019. Located in the same city as partner Arizona State University, Benchmark is expected to bring 500 jobs to the region.

ElectraMeccanica, a Canadian electric vehicle designer and manufacturer,  announced in March that it selected Mesa as its U.S. base for the assembly facility and engineering technical center.

Lucid Motors completed construction of its production facility in Casa Grande. At Lucid AMP-1, the first, purpose-built EV manufacturing site in North America, the company will produce its luxury sedans. The second phase is scheduled to break ground at the end of 2021.

Mark Anthony Brewing Co., the manufacturer of White Claw, Mike’s Hard Lemonade and other drinks, completed construction of its 900,000 square-foot plant in less than nine months in 2020. The company will use it for manufacturing operations, shipping and warehousing, engineering and maintenance, research and more.

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 steadily increased 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. That doesn’t mean human employment will be eliminated; instead, workers will be highly skilled and support the robotic functions.

Advanced manufacturers account for 1,606 of the companies in the region and employ more than 145,000 people.

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 and formed public-private-partnerships in which the company participates in the training by sending instructors or equipment for students to learn on. Many manufacturers have found this model to lead to a healthier workforce pipeline with higher rates of employee retention.

ASU’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering has done a terrific job creating a talent pipeline in the region. The school, which has 16,000 students, ranks among the top 20% of engineering programs in a study done by U.S. News & World Report.

What advice would you give someone interested in entering the manufacturing industry?

This is an ever-evolving industry that is seeing more influence from robotics and automation. Employers are looking for people with a diverse set of skills, including computer programming, general mechanical skills and industrial robotics.

For those interested in manufacturing, I recommend taking a wide variety of classes to learn new industry tools and systems.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to connect with local manufacturers and express your interest in the trade. Companies love to offer free tours of their facilities to those interested in entering the field. They’ll often open their doors and provide a wealth of knowledge on how to enter the industry.

 

Hear from companies who made the move

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.

 

Interested in Greater Phoenix?

Is your manufacturing company ready to thrive in Greater Phoenix? Contact us to discuss expanding operations in the region. Or, browse the resources below for more information on Greater Phoenix manufacturing.

Visit the Industry Overview

Access the Ecosystem Report