Former Gov. Terry Branstad, Governor Kim Reynolds and a host of other Iowa governmental and business leaders recently unveiled a plan to boost Iowa factories during a “Year of Manufacturing.” The Year of Manufacturing initiative, which was announced in January during Branstad’s Condition of the State address, is designed to be a 12-month, concentrated focus on improving Iowa’s manufacturing Gross Domestic Product. Led by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) and CIRAS, business leaders plan to fan out across the state to visit with companies and make certain that each firm is aware of the resources available to help them improve.
Month: May 2017
Shawn Frey saved everything the speakers handed out at last August’s Iowa Vendor Conference, eventually creating his own training binder filled with various tips and shortcuts for navigating the byzantine world of government contracting. It was valuable stuff. Attending that conference, an annual event sponsored by CIRAS’ Procurement Technical Assistance Program, “definitely was a catalyst for me learning to talk to government entities about tool-kitting,” Frey said. Nearly one year later, Frey, director of business development for Tool Keepers Foam and Etch, a tool kit manufacturing company in Fairfield, has grown more aggressive in pursuing government sales. Subcontract work that used to come in re-actively is now being proactively pursued. Tool Keepers has developed key relationships and made connections that they expect to lead to valuable opportunities in the future.
Since Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, CIRAS wanted to share some of our favorite Iowa-made summer products:
CIRAS' mission is to improve Iowa industry through research-proven best practices. To do that, we have to stay up-to-date on what's out there and what works. Here's a wrap-up of just some of the things we've learned over the past year:
Iowa industry professionals have the chance to get a close-up peak at cutting-edge technology next month when CIRAS hosts a daylong event on “3D Printing’s Current and Future Impacts on Manufacturing.” The June 8 event in Ames is intended to explain how this disruptive technology has evolved from its initial use as a prototyping process and how it’s likely to drive change in your business.
So, how to you feel about the future of Iowa manufacturing? What’s your greatest worry about the future of your industry? Are you ready to meet the challenges ahead? CIRAS will be asking all these questions and more as part of a wide-ranging survey that will launch in June. The survey, along with some in-depth company panel discussions, is part of a regular process CIRAS uses to assess the needs of Iowa manufacturers.
Iowa’s ISO-certified manufacturers face a looming deadline that many aren’t completely ready for, experts say. Remember that change in the ISO certification requirements that you’ve been ignoring for two years? It’s going to become mandatory beginning September 2018 – so now is the time for to start getting serious. “Most Iowa manufacturers have been procrastinating,” said CIRAS project manager Rudy Pruszko. “I don’t know of anybody who’s completely switched over to the 2015 standard, but a lot of them are now working on it.”
CIRAS government contracting specialists know a lot about Iowa businesses. Here are a few questions and answers to help you learn a little more about them:
Mark Baker eventually concluded that government contracting was worth a shot. No, the CEO of Des Moines-based Endless Supplies Corporation acknowledged, it was probably not going to become 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 last fall 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.