Growth opportunities have increased for companies, but what’s preventing NJ companies from growing even more?  Given talent availability and no constraints to plant expansion, manufacturing companies could grow by 40%. This was one of the main takeaways from the Morris County Economic Development Corporation’s Annual Business Growth Forum at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany, NJ on September 22, 2016. However, these opportunities are not just limited to the manufacturing sector. New Jersey industry leaders who spoke on the morning panel discussed how similar opportunities are within reach for both small and mid-sized businesses, and how an implementation of an effective growth strategy can transform these opportunities into successes.

“There are several types of growth strategies that are currently being pursued by NJ privately companies.” says Ed Ahart, Esq. of Schenck, Price, Smith & King, “Some focusing on organic growth and others through acquisitions or outside investments. All present exciting opportunities and have the greatest opportunity for success when supported by careful advance analysis and due diligence.” This was only one statement made throughout the panel. The other panelists at the event include Tom Ripsam from PwC Strategy, and Bill Miley from Arconic (formerly Alcoa). The three of them spoke before more than 100 business professionals, non-profits, and academics from the County and surrounding area to provide diverse perspectives of business growth and long-term sustainability.

In three years, New Jersey’s economy has improved from among the worst in the U.S. to the middle of the pack, according to a new statistical comparison of the states. 1

 

Mr. Ripsam of PwC Strategy contributed a great deal to the discussion, providing businesses in the audience a foolproof approach to creating a solid strategy that is aimed to tackle opportunities as they arise. “On transformation – we in PwC have an approach which is called Fit-for-Growth. The essence of it is that once you have a clearly articulated strategy and strategic priorities, you want to make sure your operating and organization model, costs and investments, capabilities development efforts and culture are aligned with your strategy and priorities.”

Lastly, Bill Miley of Arconic (formerly Alcoa) indicated that the company anticipates growth of the company due to increased demand and capital improvements being made to the plant. Arconic employees hundreds of employees in Morris County, some successive generations, and is both a manufacturer and defense contractor. The current low unemployment rate in Morris County, around 4%, has made it challenging to find available and qualified workers to fill open positions. The manufacturing industry is also evolving to require different skill sets especially as automation is implemented. There are many resources in Morris County to address the employment needs of businesses including job training assistance through the County College of Morris, New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP), the Workforce Development Board “OneStop” Career Center.