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Reducing time-to-market to attract advanced manufacturing

Steve Eckler,

Advanced manufacturing industries are competing in a new global economy. The development of new technologies and smart manufacturing systems is fast-paced and competitive, but brings with it transformative economic opportunity to host communities.

Attracting these opportunities to a specific site on the globe is a competitive process, which requires proactive and creative due diligence, including an understanding of the industry’s “musts and wants,” as well as the site’s attributes and constraints. The successful deal often hinges on the availability, reliability, and balancing of this information, as well as the advancement of regulatory and site preparation processes that reduce the target industry’s overall time-to-market—that critical time between site selection and product availability.

Build-ready sites are essential to successfully attracting advanced manufacturing companies.

Informed decision-making. Advanced manufacturers make informed business decisions based on a set of established criteria—“musts and wants” pertinent to their business strategy and schedule. Working with industry consultants, it is advantageous for host communities to understand and prepare the required land, infrastructure, construction, financial, and labor assets, including plans to eliminate information data gaps and site limiting factors. Reducing time-to-market requires a proactive information-gathering approach, as well as consensus-building conversations with decision-makers and stakeholders.

Obtaining the right-to-build. Construction of advanced manufacturing facilities often requires local, state, and federal permits, approvals, and reviews. Many of these right-to-build processes are discretionary, where review agencies can approve or deny the proposed activity. Poor planning and coordination often preclude a transparent review process, resulting in project delays, increased costs, and potential permit-related obstacles.

To reduce the time-to-market, critical path permits should be identified, coordination with regulatory agencies initiated, and necessary permits obtained. Useful tools to collect information include leveraging synergies between the data needed for informed decision-making and obtaining right-to-build permits, and completing permit processes and environmental reviews. While not all permits can be obtained without a site tenant, a proactive strategy to obtain site preparation and right-to-build permits reduces time-to-market.

Preparing the site. With site information and permits in hand, site preparation can proceed in earnest. Information relative to subsurface conditions and topography can be relied upon to design and implement site preparation activities. Transferring a build-ready site to the targeted tenant can significantly reduce time-to-market and increase the site’s overall marketability.

Case-in-point. The Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises Corporation (EDGE) is the lead regional economic development organization for the Mohawk Valley region of Upstate New York. The backbone of OBG’s long-term relationship with EDGE has been its support in preparing a 400-acre site located in Marcy, NY (Marcy Nanocenter) adjacent to the State University of New York’s Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) for development by nanotechnology-based advanced manufacturing tenants.

Working toward the objective of reducing time-to-market to prepare a marketable build-ready site, the OBG team developed and compiled information relative to site conditions and industry “musts and wants”; prepared and obtained site-preparation related permits and approvals; prepared site preparation-related construction and bid documents; and provided construction management oversight of site preparation activities.

The services reduced time-to-market by nearly two years, which resulted in the global marketing of the Marcy Nanocenter as New York State’s premier build-ready site.

On August 20, New York State Governor Cuomo announced a public-private partnership between EDGE, SUNY Poly, and AMS — a global leader in Advanced Sensor Technologies — to construct a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility on the Marcy Nanocenter site. The project will generate more than 1,000 new jobs.

About Steve Eckler: Steve Eckler, an environmental expert at OBG, has more than 26 years of professional experience in a career that has focused on local, state, and federal right-to-build requirements; environmental regulations and permitting; site assessments; and environmental compliance issues.

Steve Eckler
(315) 956-6421