CIRAS has Checklist for Businesses Headed to Higher Ground

Roughly one-third of Iowa’s counties were under a flood watch or warning on Friday morning after massive rainfalls throughout the state – in some areas, up to 9 inches – send rivers higher. More rain is expected throughout the weekend, posing a significant and imminent flooding threat for many Iowa businesses.

CIRAS believes that any company who does not have a flood plan already in place should immediately begin making preparations for trouble.

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Joy Donald

CIRAS Strategy Coach Helps Facilitate Answers, Action

There are countless paths that a company can take in pursuit of growing revenue and increasing profitability. Every decision made along the way tends to matter: Should you invest in equipment upgrades, employee training, new technology, or better marketing? Should you push for better quality or new product features? How different are you, really, from your competitors? How do you identify and successfully navigate your most effective strategic path?

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An April Preventative Controls class at Iowa State University.

Iowa State Seeks to Educate Companies on Looming Food Law

Think of it as an impending explosion in the dark: It’s coming at some point. It may be a time bomb or a firecracker. You don’t know how big, or how close to you,  the eventual bang will be.

You probably ought to find out.

Experts say that’s roughly the current situation in Iowa’s food companies, many of whom can expect within months to feel the first full weight of important new federal safety regulations. A 2011 law called the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) gave the FDA new powers to prevent outbreaks of foodborne disease. But the impact of new rules was largely delayed as authorities constructed complex standards and procedures.

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Mary Zimmerman

Iowa Vendor Conference Answers Questions, Offers Guidance

Mark Baker eventually concluded that government contracting is worth a shot.

No, the CEO of Des Moines-based Endless Supplies Corporation acknowledged, it’s probably not going to be his company’s primary business strategy. Becker still has difficulty reconciling the fast-moving, products-always-changing world of information technology with sometimes-lengthy government procurement processes. But after a full day at the Iowa Events Center spent hopping between educational presentations and asking questions of the speakers, Becker concluded that Endless Supplies ought to at least get certified so his company can show that it’s ready and able to do business with the government.

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Scott Fortune removes a part from Upper Iowa's new #-D printer.

Upper Iowa Tool & Die Adds Innovation — One Layer at a Time

A Cresco tool-and-die maker’s search for diversification has led the company, with CIRAS’ help, to stake out new territory as what may be the first Iowa business of its kind to produce parts for customers via additive manufacturing.

Upper Iowa Tool & Die & Innovations, founded in 1978, purchased a new plastic-based 3-D printer earlier this year after conversations with CIRAS convinced the company to aim higher in its search for a way to differentiate from competitors. Since mid-April, Upper Iowa has been pitching its additive manufacturing capability both to new clients and as an add-on for services to existing customers.

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Third Annual Conference Showcases Opportunities to Grow Through Government Contracting

Want to better understand how to do business in the government sector? The third annual Iowa Vendor Conference on August 23 at Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines is a full-day event that can help you and leaders in your business tap into the wealth of opportunities that federal, state, and local government contracting offers. Through a variety of workshops, you can learn to identify new potential customers, find opportunities called Simplified Ac­quisitions, actually understand the various questions in www.SAM.gov registration, and network with key contracting personnel, buyers, and exhibitors. Key­note speaker Guy Timberlake, chief visionary officer and CEO of The American Small Business Coalition, will discuss “Getting Your Foot in the Door” dur­ing the conference and will provide a free half-day “Competitive Intelligence Bootcamp” on August 24.

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Working on Workforce: What to Measure and What Works Best

Iowa has been working on its workforce for a long time.

The state’s current labor market condi­tions are challenging employers who seek skilled workers. Some define the problem as a skills gap, others call it an overall workforce shortage, and still oth­ers blame current wage levels. Whatever the label, a growing disconnect between Iowa’s workforce supply and employer demands is threatening to weaken the state’s economic growth potential.

So what’s to be done?

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State of the State – by Liesl Eathington

No discussion of Iowa’s workforce is complete without acknowledging the intense competition for workers among Iowa communities. As the state’s industrial structure diversifies, its occupational mix diversifies as well. That translates, in some communities, to a shrinking pool of available workers for manufacturing firms and other companies with specialized needs. Employers in small communities, drawing […]

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