THE 2015 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE REPORT CATALYZING RESOURCES TO DRIVE ECONOMIC VITALITY IN WEST MICHIGAN

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1 THE 2015 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE REPORT CATALYZING RESOURCES TO DRIVE ECONOMIC VITALITY IN WEST MICHIGAN

2 WHY THE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE REPORT MATTERS The Lakeshore Advantage team meets one-on-one with over 300 area business owners and C-level executives each year. We learn about each company s opportunities and challenges, and how we can support their continued success. The information gathered through the Business Intelligence program equips us to customize our services to support expansion, talent development and recruitment, financing, supply chain management and marketing. The data also provide a snapshot of the region s business environment and serve as a metric for the success of economic development initiatives. The data in this report represent interviews gathered from Jan 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014 by Lakeshore Advantage team members.

3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Area companies continue to grow at a very strong pace. Cultivated by years of consistent investment in research and development, our economic landscape is yielding innovative new products and services. In fact, sales have increased in more than 77 of area businesses. While a majority of companies project continued growth and the development of new products, many have identified talent acquisition as their greatest challenge. Steady growth is driving strong demand for qualified talent in a tightening labor market. The Business Intelligence Report identified this trend several years ago. Working in collaboration with other community organizations, we have deployed innovative programs to begin to meet that demand. However, continued investment and collaboration to provide the needed talent will be critical to ensure the area remains vibrant and competitive for years to come.

4 MAGNA CHANGES THE INDUSTRY AND CREATES JOBS Magna Glass in Holland was looking for a new opportunity when Ford offered a design competition for its 2015 F-150 rear window. Magna was not the incumbent on the project, so they approached the competition with an innovative spirit, rethinking a basic assembly that s been used for years. The result, the PureView Seamless Slider not only won the competition, but also helped the company reopen a previously closed facility, creating 125 new jobs in Holland. By focusing on innovation, Magna Glass has become the market leader in its top three product lines, recently winning an Automotive News PACE Award for innovation.

5 INNOVATION DRIVES NEW PRODUCTS Businesses in our region continue to turn to new products to grow sales and market share. Consistent investment in research and development means more innovations are on the way. COMPANIES SPENDING MORE ON R&D OF COMPANIES INTRODUCED NEW PRODUCTS IN THE LAST 5 YEARS 85 OF COMPANIES WILL INTRODUCE NEW PRODUCTS IN THE NEXT 2 YEARS 2 decreasing 21 no change COMPANIES REPORTING PRIMARY PRODUCT OR SERVICE SALES GROWTH 77 increasing

6 CONTINENTAL DAIRY GROWS INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS Many dairy products consumed every day start with powdered milk from West Michigan. Last year, Continental Dairy earned the 2014 Michigan Ag Exporter of the Year award for their impressive international export growth, innovation and continued pursuit of new markets. The company, based in Coopersville, produces 300,000 lbs of nonfat dry milk daily, distributing it to North Africa, Mexico, Southeast Asia and domestically. Continental has placed a strong focus on innovation to achieve the best quality through sustainable practices, both at their plant and throughout their dairy milk supply chain. The company started producing powdered milk in 2010, and through their co-op partnership with Select Milk Producers and a strategic marketing partnership with Gavelon, a commodities marketer/broker, they have grown international sales significantly in the past two years and now employ 80 team members.

7 INCREASING SALES FUEL EXPANSION PLANS About three out of four businesses interviewed reported increased sales in 2014, setting the stage for continued, healthy investment in capital expansions and new hires. What s more, those businesses marking a decrease in sales dropped four points from COMPANIES WITH INCREASING SALES: COMPANIES WITH DECREASING SALES: COMPANIES WITH INCREASING INTERNATIONAL SALES: COMPANIES WITH EXPANSION PLANS IN THE NEXT 3 YEARS (REAL ESTATE, MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT) PROJECTED NEW JOB CREATION WITH EXPANDING BUSINESSES

8 BUSINESSES PARTNER WITH SCHOOLS TO DEVELOP TALENT futureprep d SM is a collaborative program organized by Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, and originally designed through partnerships with Haworth, Herman Miller, Lakeshore Advantage and the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce. The initiative creates a direct connection between kindergarten through 12th grade students, educators, and over 50 participating businesses and community organizations through immersion experiences, internships, video curriculum and special skills training programs. futureprep d SM equips students with 21st Century skills and engages them with real-world experiences to ensure success with their career-based goals. It also prepares students to be highly motivated, entry-level talent for the future workforce. Ottawa County leads the state in upskilling Leading the state for the second year in a row, Lakeshore Advantage partnered with Ottawa County Michigan Works to secure over $800,000 in Skilled Trades Training Funds. These are competitive awards for employer-driven programs that train employees in new skills and increase retention. Thirtyseven local companies benefited from these funds, training 902 existing and 187 new employees.

9 RAPID GROWTH DEMANDS TALENT Several years of rapid growth and success among Lakeshore businesses have created thousands of new jobs for the community. As a result, we saw a 50 drop in Ottawa County s unemployment rate in 2014 to a level not-seen since COMPANIES EXPERIENCING CHALLENGE WITH RECRUITING TALENT increasing 3 decreasing COMPANIES WITH UNFILLED POSITIONS stabilized OTTAWA COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT RATES US Bureau of Labor and Statistics

10 RETAINING INTERNS Each year, Ottawa County businesses employ nearly 400 interns from around the state, nation and world. Lakeshore Advantage works with an array of partners to help these talented individuals see that West Michigan is the best place to live, work and play through the Smart Coast initiative. With educational events and promotional efforts, Smart Coast exposes interns to our region s most attractive features including community, career opportunities and quality of life.

11 TALENT GAP DRIVES INTERNAL INVESTMENT Participating companies became more concerned about growth challenges in 2014, especially the tightening market for skilled labor. 56 of these companies are concerned about skilled labor supply in COMPANIES CONCERNED THERE ARE BARRIERS TO GROWTH IN OTTAWA COUNTY COMPANIES INCREASING TRAINING SPENDING

12 LAKESHORE ADVANTAGE, BY THE NUMBERS In 2014, Lakeshore Advantage worked on 62 expansion projects, bringing over $10.5 million in value to lakeshore businesses and over $250 million in new private sector investment. 62 $ 10.5 MILLION EXPANSION PROJECTS ASSISTED BY LAKESHORE ADVANTAGE LOCAL, STATE & FEDERAL SUPPORT FOR AREA BUSINESSES $ 250+ MILLION IN NEW PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT 2014

13

14 YOUR RESOURCE Since 2003, Lakeshore Advantage has been fostering success and sustainable growth by catalyzing an array of local, state and federal resources to help area businesses grow and prosper. With the majority of our support from the private sector, we are a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting economic vitality and creating quality career opportunities for the people that live and work in Ottawa and northern Allegan counties. Our service offering focuses on: Business Services Talent Solutions Innovation Regional Marketing & Partnerships

15 HERE TO SERVE We can help you grow. Through our Business Intelligence program, we meet one-on-one with business leaders to discover opportunities for connections, help with writing grants for funding, and gather valuable insight to help customize our services. We can help you connect with talent. We partner with businesses and other non-profit organizations to create an environment that attracts, develops and retains qualified talent in West Michigan. We can help you innovate. We ll help you identify the talent, capital or coaching resources you need to stay competitive or enter the marketplace. We also have the tools and experience to help you commercialize new products. We can help you reach beyond West Michigan. Lakeshore Advantage is your ambassador to the entire Midwest region and beyond. We market our area to businesses and talent who may be interested in moving here, connecting them with relocation resources. We also make strategic connections with area businesses headquartered outside of West Michigan.

16 PEOPLE GROW COMPANIES. WE GIVE THEM AN ADVANTAGE W WASHINGTON AVE. LOFT 410 ZEELAND, MI LAKESHORE ADVANTAGE. YOUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ENGINE. BUILDING STRONG COMMUNITIES Retaining and growing competitive employers who increase the wealth and success of their employees STRENGTHENING THE NEXT GENERATION Educating our future workforce to ensure the lakeshore s vitality for years to come BRINGING DREAMS TO LIFE Cultivating ideas and supporting successful entrepreneurs and start-ups DRAWING IN WORLD-CLASS RESOURCES Extending news of our success to the world to attract more of the best organizations to our community COLLABORATING TO TAKE ACTION Sharing information and stories within public, private and non-profit sectors to plan together for the future. Printing provided by

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