Business Roundtable - Manufacturing Session

Businesses from the Manufacturing industry joined our roundtable discussion on Wednesday, February 1st, 2023. Our Business Roundtable Series is presented in partnership with Mayor Brigette Peterson, Gilbert’s Office of Economic Development, and the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, and through sponsorship support from APS.

Through the Business Roundtable Series, our goal is to promote Business growth and expansion within our community. Hearing directly from our businesses is important to us and helps us understand the emerging trends and disruptors businesses are facing; plans for growth or expansion; workforce successes and challenges; and how the Chamber and Town can assist businesses now and in the future.

The following are key takeaways from the discussion:

When it comes to the manufacturing industry, share with us some current market or industry trends which immediately come to mind?

  • Businesses are experiencing an increase in cost of goods requiring them to find innovative ways to problem solve and negotiate with suppliers.
  • Supply chain challenges continue to be a top concern for many businesses. Business began to stock up on certain items to ensure they were available when needed and are now experiencing overstock in these areas.
  • ASU’s Supply Chain certification program is popular in the industry; however, many students are attending this program then moving to other areas. How can we encourage talent to stay within our community.
  • The industry has also seen many businesses moving to Arizona due to the increased costs and regulations in other nearby states.

Do you have plans to move or expand your operation in the next 1-3 years that would require additional square footage? If yes, do you have any concern with being able to find that space in Gilbert?

  • The vacancies in light industrial is less than 4% in the Town of Gilbert. Businesses expressed concerns about the community approaching build out.
  • There is an increased need for co-working spaces and shared warehousing space for local small business owners. Resources like this would assist these business owners in reaching the next level.
  • A potential barrier to new businesses coming to Gilbert is little to no tenant improvement budgets when leasing new space. Having the ability to make the space fit the needs of the business can assist in attracting more businesses to the community.
  • New buildings also seem to lack in electrical needs, parking options, and internet connectivity.

When hiring or promoting from within, what do you perceive to be the biggest skills gaps between the job requirements and the abilities of applicants?

  • Businesses shared two main areas where they are experiencing skills gaps, including technical skills and soft skills.
  • Additional talent in machine operators and technicians would be helpful.
  • Employers also feel employees could use improvement in leadership and supervisory skills.
  • Cost of housing is a contributor to bringing talent into our community. It has been a challenge to find affordable housing options nearby where employees work.

When it comes to operating your business in our community, what works well? What challenges are you facing?

  • Businesses mentioned being thankful for the support they receive from Town of Gilbert. Their interactions with different departments have been helpful for their business, especially with regard to Gilbert PD and Fire in their efforts to support safety of the businesses in our community.