The state is seeking to assist companies by helping them identify and secure suppliers for the products they need.
“We try to source something locally here in the state first and foremost,” said Preston, noting that if an item is not available within Arkansas, the state will help companies source it from other suppliers throughout the country.
Mike Preston, Secretary, Arkansas Economic Development Commission
“We take it upon ourselves to try to make those connections,” Preston said.
Companies are looking at their supply chains holistically, he said, including potentially sourcing more products and materials domestically if possible. Raw costs might be higher, but once shipping costs and the risk of delays are factored in, it may even out in the end, he said.
Arkansas’ central location, its highway and railway infrastructure, and its access to waterways have made it a prime destination for companies seeking to move their goods within the U.S. and beyond.
“Transportation and logistics make a lot of sense here,” Preston said.
In South Carolina, the state’s Department of Commerce hosts a portfolio of resources and programs known as Service After the Sale, according to Alex Clark, director of marketing and communications at the state agency. This includes a supplier database called SourceSC, where companies with South Carolina operations can list products and services they provide, and/or potential customers can seek services.
The South Carolina Department of Commerce also hosts regular business-to-business events to facilitate connections between companies and suppliers. It also connects companies with consultative resources to enhance their supplier strategy, provide training, and evaluate operational concerns or workforce issues.
Alex Clark, Director of Marketing and Communications, South Carolina Department of Commerce
“All of these services assist companies in diversifying their supplier pool, which allows for flexibility,” said Clark. “These services also help support companies in adjusting to the current environment to maintain as efficient of operations as possible.”
South Carolina also has a dedicated group called SC Logistics, which is part of the SC Council on Competitiveness, that is focused solely on the role of logistics in South Carolina and how that impacts existing and future industry.
The state’s inland ports also help with freight distribution and capacity, Clark added.
G. Subash Alias, CEO of the Missouri Partnership, agreed that the pandemic exposed cracks in the modern supply chain, causing delays that cut into companies’ bottom lines.
A bulk carrier ship located in the port of Charleston, SC. (Photo: adobestock By Joseph Creamer)
He noted that Missouri’s location in the center of the U.S. is a major benefit to companies searching for ways to get products to customers quickly and efficiently.
“Every U.S. Class 1 railroad runs through the state,” said Alias. “There are highways in every direction, putting more than 50% of the U.S. within a day’s drive. Missouri is home to the confluence of the two largest rivers in North America, the Missouri and the Mississippi, and the northernmost ice-free port on the Mississippi. Extensive options for companies to move products makes Missouri an ideal location for businesses opening a new distribution center.”
Kevin Chambers, managing director for logistics and distribution, JobsOhio, said current supply chain issues will take time to resolve, including the shortage of shipping containers and warehouse capacity, congestion at the ports, a shortage of truck drivers, and other issues.
Kevin Chambers, Managing Director, Logistics and Distribution, JobsOhio
In the meantime, JobsOhio will continue to help companies in the state weather the challenges, he said.
“Many Ohio organizations have reached out to the JobsOhio industry experts throughout the course of the pandemic for assistance as they struggled to get raw materials, components or finished products into the state, or in some cases to distribute their manufactured product outside of Ohio,” said Chambers. “By coordinating with state agencies as appropriate and leveraging connections in the rail, seaport and trucking industries, we continue to assist in the development of collaborative relationships and solutions aimed at alleviating the unprecedented supply chain issues.”