GSDC ANNOUNCES 2022 INNOVATION AWARD WINNERS ON NOV. 3
The GSDC’s commitment to fostering, supporting and promoting innovative thinking is highlighted each year when we announce the winners of our annual Innovation Awards, now in their 11th year.
The four deserving recipients were announced Nov. 3 to a packed house at the new Iron Street Distillery and Harvester Square at 539 E. St. Germain Street.
- Impacks, a tech-powered company that simplifies the way parents and educators access critical supplies for students, in the For-Profit (Emerging) category. Click here to view brief video.
- Arbor Hair Studio, a salon that uses green products and approaches, in the For-Profit (Established) category. Click here to view brief video.
- Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity, for its collaboration with St. Cloud Technical & Community College to train area high school students to build homes for low-income families, in the Non-Profit category. Click here to view brief video.
- Central Minnesota Child Advocacy Center, for creating multidisciplinary teams so children don’t have to share painful stories about physical, sexual or emotional abuse more than once, in the Non-Profit category. Click here to view brief video.
A huge thank you to the following award and event sponsors:
SOLUTIONS TO GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN & LOGISTICS CHALLENGES DISCUSSED AT GSDC’S OCT. 26 EXECUTIVE ROUNDTABLE
Our popular series of Executive Roundtable discussions continued October 26 with 22 GSDC investors sharing their concerns and solutions regarding global supply chain and logistics challenges.
Sean O’Neil, Director of Economic Development and Research for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, began the 90-minute session by highlighting findings of a recent Minnesota Chamber survey regarding supply chain realities. He was followed by Tim Nebosis, DeZurik’s Executive Vice President-Municipal, who moderated a lively and informative discussion among participants from a broad cross-section of Greater St. Cloud industries.
O’Neil described six key findings from that Minnesota Chamber survey of over 40 supply chain leaders in Minnesota. They include…
- Survey respondents said supply chain has become significantly more important (61%) or moderately more important (27%) compared to pre-pandemic.
- The top three challenges are delays in getting goods and services, cost increases and lack of inventory/availability of goods and services.
- Rising costs have had either a moderate (49%) or significant (32%) negative impact on profits.
- 54% are restructuring their supply chain footprint.
- 56% are diversifying their supply chain and adding backup suppliers.
- 39% are looking to do more business with suppliers offering sustainable options and 34% said they’re exploring doing more business with Minnesota-based suppliers. However, 33% said supplier options in Minnesota are too expensive. O’Neil said that’s not always a deal breaker, quoting a survey respondent who said: “We’d be willing to pay a little more to work with local suppliers if we can get shorter lead times, especially as shipping costs increase.”
The Minnesota Chamber’s full report on its supply chain survey can be found at www.mnchamber.com/supply-chain-challenges-business-response.
When asked by a GSDC investor about the state’s labor participation rate, meaning the percentage of the population working or actively looking for work, O’Neil said: “Labor participation rates are not expected to ever return to what they were prior to the pandemic, due to the aging demographics of the state. During the pandemic, we saw the rate go from a steady decline to a sharp decline.”
As the Executive Roundtable agenda transitioned to discussions about local realities, DeZurik’s Nebosis found himself in a position moderators prefer. Rather than having to encourage participants to talk, he had to keep track of who wanted to speak next, because so many people had thoughts they wanted to share.
Here are the topics covered and a representative sample of participant comments for each.
What are your current supply chain challenges and what actions have your organization taken to address them?
- “It’s gotten where we say, ‘Whatever you have, send it. It doesn’t matter what the price is.’”
- “Having any amount of predictability is very valuable. Even if there’s a $200,000 increase on a $10 million project, we can’t shut everything else down. So we pay it.”
- “You never know which part of the supply chain is going to break next.”
- “Three years ago, everything was done in-house. Now, it’s out-source, out-source, out-source. For us, the benefit is that it gives us flexibility. We can develop a relationship, but if things slow down we can pull everything back in-house.”
- “The entire supply chain in the country shifted west, where ships were coming in, but the demand was out east.”
- “It takes you about 30 days to figure out there’s a shortage. It only takes one day to figure out it’s over. So how do you plan for that? How do you retract if you need to, so you don’t get stuck with a lot of things you bought at high cost? We have to keep in mind, what’s the next step after we get through this?”
- “It’s hard to get things for police to protect people, and materials for plowing streets. There are things we haven’t gotten that were ordered a year or two ago. Especially in our fleets, we extend how long we’re driving them.”
- “You hear it was put on the truck today, but that it will be there in four months.”
- “Today, we’re still finding new disruptions we didn’t see coming. But in other places, supply chains are going from nine months to 60 days. If you’re always nine months, you can plan for it. But now all our orders get shipped in the same shipment and we get too much at once.”
- “It’s also hitting the board room. Supply chain is now a big part of board discussions.”
- “Trucks we ordered in June 2020 still have not gotten to us. They’re in Mexico, still waiting for a part.”
Are you experiencing domestic supply chain capacity constraints?
- “As soon as the supply chain smooths out with China, I can no longer afford to buy local. If local is available, I’ll buy local. But when the supply chain comes back, I still have to buy the lowest priced, quality materials if there’s an affordable, consistent supply coming from China.”
- “We still offshore for software development. When the Ukraine war broke out, that had a huge impact because people were fleeing the country rather than doing development.”
- “I see the trend of in-sourcing could take 8 to 10 years. Even small to medium businesses are building smaller plants to build here.”
- “Local economies have to think of producing things like tip-up buildings, but in other industries.”
- “Enterprise Minnesota is a great and cost-effective tool we use for many logistics.” (Editor’s Note: Information about Enterprise Minnesota, which has expert consultants to help small and mid-size manufacturers, can be found at www.enterpriseminnesota.org.)
- “Incentives are typically tied to job creation. But with fewer jobs and more innovation, what will new incentives be?”
- “How do we push the state to move from pure job creation to instead be what is the economic impact we’ll have, not how many people will we hire?”
- “Everybody talks about resourcing, but it works slowly and is confusing.”
What are some positives of the supply chain challenges that have been a benefit to your company?
- “Supply chain generated more partnerships. It’s forced people to become partners and figure out how to solve the problem together, versus bouncing from supplier to supplier.”
- “When black paint we used wasn’t available, we couldn’t get an alternate. Then we found a low-cost alternate and asked, does color matter? No, because we paint over it anyway. So we found a lower cost alternative that we otherwise wouldn’t have. We actually saved money by focusing on alternates, rather than just on sources.”
- “As you describe backlog of OEM, people are inclined to repair their car. Those are tailwinds that will continue for next several years. When an F-150 is now $100,000, people will fix their truck.”
- “Another positive, we had to stress test our maintenance schedules. We used to stay to a certain maintenance schedule, but now we can push past that and watch things. They still work.”
- “Everybody is talking to everybody. And customers are more understanding. As a middle person, you’ve become more of a consultant.”
- “There’s a much better working relationship and sharing of information to keep construction timelines on track. Between supplier and customer, it’s become a collective problem. If we’re going to come up with best solution, we’ve got to work together and understand each other’s challenges.”
- “We have weekly meetings with suppliers, where it used to be quarterly. We get to know each other better, which is good.”
- “Now, nobody is hesitant to discuss problems, because everyone’s having them. They were doing everything right, but things still happened. People are rallying around to creatively problem solve as a group.”
- “The positive of all this is that all of our grandmothers and four-year-old children now know what we do. If someone wants toilet paper, we ship it. We’re a big part of the supply chain.”
As we said, it was a lively and informative session! We thank American Heritage National Bank for its hospitality in hosting our Executive Roundtable in their St. Cloud West conference facility. We also thank Sean O’Neil and Tim Nebosis for expertly leading the discussion, and Tom Valenta, Director, Supply Chain for Park Industries, for adding his expertise to our planning of the October 26 session.
The next Executive Roundtable, open to GSDC Corporate Level investors, will cover mental health and wellbeing on January 25, 2023. If you’re interested in participating, please contact GSDC President Patti Gartland at 320-252-5228.
NEW DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS NAMED
The new Downtown Alliance, formed and administered by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, has announced the names of its Advisory Board members. They are:
- Bob Johnson, Paramount Center for the Arts, Chair
- Donella Westphal, Jules’ Bistro, Vice Chair
- Patti, Gartland, Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation
- John Herges, Falcon National Bank
- Joe Hellie, CentraCare
- Mayor Dave Kleis, City of St. Cloud
- John Torgerson, Bernick’s
- Robbyn Wacker, St. Cloud State University
- John Wolak, Arvig
- Michelle Henderson, BadCat Digital, Business Development Action Committee Chair
- Ashley Green, Green Thumb Etc., Event Development Action Committee Chair
- Monica Voth, Mantra Salon and Spa, Community Development Action Committee Chair
The Advisory Board volunteers are not only Chamber members. Most are also investor members of the GSDC. We thank Julie Lunning and her team at the Chamber for taking on this important initiative to help position the downtown for new successes.
MINNESOTA YOUNG AMERICAN LEADERS PROGRAM
Time is running short for young professionals in the Greater St. Cloud region with leadership aspirations to apply for inclusion in a prestigious, multi-day workshop in May 2023 as part of the Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program in Minnesota (MYALP).
The application deadline is Nov. 11.
Click here to learn more.
- Stearns County Courthouse Centennial Celebration – Tuesday, Nov. 15, 4:30 – 7:00 p.m.
- Welcome reception for Dr. Katherina Pattit, new Dean of SCSU’s Herberger Business School – Thursday, Nov. 17, 4:30 – 7:00 p.m., Falcon National Bank Atrium.
- Start.up Connect – St Cloud – Wednesday, Nov. 16, 8:00 – 9:30 a.m., ILT Studios – This meetup is for entrepreneurs, innovators, creatives, and community members to come together and explore the entrepreneurial journey with founders from central MN and beyond. Click here to register.
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