A new year, a new decade has begun. As we move into 2020, what steps should Georgia and its manufacturing community be taking to continue to move the needle forward?

Georgia continues to be a strong economic leader in the southeast, with scores of manufacturing projects in the queue bringing continued jobs growth to the state. Many factors continue to make Georgia the place to call home for manufacturers. These factors include: the state's access to transportation; talented workforce from technical schools and colleges; the thriving Quick Start program that brings manufacturers in from across the country; and a pro-business growth environment in the state offering financial incentives such as jobs, port activity, project, research and development, among other robust credits.

As manufacturing faces challenges with continued need for workforce and uncertainties from economists and economic indicators projecting difficulties in the industry in 2020, Georgia is positioned to thrive in 2020. Below are trends and strategies that Georgia's manufacturing industry leaders are continuing to implement, enhance and take advantage of in the year to come.

Enhancing Digital Technologies

Georgia continues to be a leader in the nation for advanced manufacturing, from implementation of Artificial Intelligence on the plant floor (robotics) to streamlining and increasing visibility and transparency to enhance opportunities to respond to marketplace demand. Manufacturers are innovating to partner more strategically with their supply chain increasing their flexibility on a larger scale to support their customers locally and globally.

Advanced Workforce Development

Georgia continues to be a center for innovation with the resources available to manufacturers to facilitate new ideas and technologies into products to meet marketplace needs. Advanced degree programs in engineering within Georgia's university system and significant enhancements and program certification additions specializing in advanced technologies continue to be at the forefront of the technical college programs offered in the state. Georgia Quick Start continues to be top ranked in designing and training talent for manufacturers, and the program's new training center will be dedicated to advanced manufacturing, to feed the next generation of talent in the industry.

Right Sizing Investments

Manufacturers are refocusing on their core businesses and moving away from over-diversification. Georgia's M&A environment has focused and is projected to continue to drive towards geographic and product expansion to meet customer needs, driving higher value within transactions to focus on enhancement of core business lines. Manufacturers have seen positive shifts in re-aligning with their core "house" and Georgia is expected to continue to be a strong market for national and international businesses building their right sized presence in the market.

Savings and Incentives

Georgia offers several tax credits for new jobs creation, research and development activity in the state, and rising importing/exporting activity as the Savannah port continues to thrive. Additionally, the state's exemptions on sales and use taxes for energy forms utilized in manufacturing, as well as savings on sales and use tax for equipment, machinery, materials and packaging purchases are additional ways manufacturers in Georgia are finding significant savings to reinvest in their operations.

For additional information contact the author Laura Madajewski, Director of Manufacturing, Distribution and Supply Chain.