Greenville Facing Globalization

One word that we are hearing a lot now days is globalization. When I was growing up (Gah, I hated when my dad started a story / lecture with those words), the economic competitors were mainly seen as the north or other regions. A lot of the prejudice I saw was due to fear of people taking our local jobs. In the south, jobs were hard to come by.  Now the competition is from other countries.

Thomas Friedman’s World is Flat really opened my eyes. It made globalization less something to be feared and more a force to be dealt with. We will be very smart to work with it and not fight it because it is going to / has happened. Now our job is to use it to our advantage.

We raise a cry when a company outsources jobs to another country. I hate to see people lose jobs, but it gives us a chance to review our skills and hopefully find a better use for our skills.  But what do we call it when it is outsourced here? BMW, Michelin, several companies that I can not spell, have built major plants in our area though they originally started overseas. The same thing we condemn in local companies has been a huge benefit for the region, We have a great opportunity to sell our area and people as the great assets they are for any interested companies.  We have the creative and intellectual pool that any company can benefit from.

I was blown away when Friedman opened my eyes to the populations of some of our major competitors. The population of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (thank you very much) was 309.9 million as of 2010. (So if you are one in a million, there are still 309 of you.)That is good enough to be the third largest population in the world. China’s population estimated for 2010, 1.3 BILLION. Over 4 times as large! No wonder they can find the cheap human capital that is useful in manufacturing.  India, which seems to be concentrating on developing as a customer service hub, had 1.1 BILLION.

So how should we look at this? Should we throw our hands up and stick our heads in the sand? The business and entrepreneurial spirit in this region will not let us do this. Plus, there are just too many great opportunities for those who look for them.  Instead of looking at the 2.4+ billion as competitors, though they are, look at them as potential opportunities / customers. How can we reach them? Cheap prices won’t do it. Quality? The American mystique? Making a reputation for our area (The Spirit of the Great Smokies)?

Our region already has been defined. How can we maximize it?

Also, as other economic markets grow, they will be better sources of customers. It should be our goal to help developing nations grow as that will help us grow in turn.

There are three concerns that these opening markets cause. The first is ethics. We are seeing that they often have a different set of rules or principles that they play by. Our desires for equality and rights are not universal. A huge problem that we have had with working with China and others is that they do not protect intellectual property when dealing with foreign entities. This is a basic business foundation to allowing companies to operate within your borders.

Second, human rights. We will not go into that here.

Okay, there are a lot more, Quality control. Finding lead and heavy metals in paint for baby cribs that were shipped to America is a huge cause for concern. Can we really check all the cargo containers that come through our ports?

The flattening of the world can be haunting, exciting, scary, isolating, and a whole host of other emotions. But it is something that our region will have to take hold of and use to continue to grow and be leaders in the world market.

(Populations from worldatlas.com for 2010)

2012 Regional Economic Scoreboard

2012 Scorecard Summary

I want to bring attention to the 2012 Regional Economic Scorecard that was done through the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. They compared Greenville and the Greenville area to other comparable locations. One of the biggest points that the study makes is that Greenville has undergone a large decline in per capita personal income over the past decade.

That our individual incomes have decline is no surprise to anyone. That it declined compared to other regions is a concern that we need to address. It is studies like this that helps us identify what we need to address. Now the concern is do we have leaders that will notice and step up to take the steps that are necessary to help us make up the ground we have lost.

The study estimates that if we were able just to stay even with the national average, we would have an additional $11.1 billion  in spendable income for the local area. that is a lot of peaches and tomatoes.

In 2010, which is the last data available, we did show a small upturn. Now we need to determine what caused it and how to ensure it continues.

thank you Leadership Team who

Welcome to timingreenville

Greenville has gained a great reputation for being a great mid-sized city to work or start a business. Companies move here because they are aware of our diversed and knowledgable workforce with current skills and good work ethics. The people are friendly. And there are several educational institutes in the area.

Greenville has undergone several transformations as the local economy has evolved through different challenges. South Carolina is very pro-business in its mindset and legislation. The local political war-cry is “more jobs.”

Greenville has been blessed with many pioneers with the entrepreneurial spirit. Clemson University (Go Tigers!) is a leader in helping to grow an environment conducive to successful businesses. They are relocating several of their Master programs to the downtown area.

Another new source of development will be in healthcare education. USC (University of South Carolina (Go Cocks!)) is bringing a school for doctors to the upstate. This is really good news for the upstate since there is a fear of a shortage of doctors in the near future. It will be interesting to see the ratio of South Carolina studentscompared to other participants.

One complaint of a local human resource manager that I heard lately is that it is hard to get their employees to relocate to other areas, especially north. Though South Carolina is notorious for low pay, the cost of living seems to make it more palatable. Also, the pace of life and the weather makes the area a good place to “set roots”.

In future posts, we will explore the different projects and job fields that contribute to the local economy. We will also look at different occupations and careers from a local point of view. Like all of the US, Greenville’s economy is undergoing a seismic shift (Yes that big) due to several global forces. These will also be topics for future posts.

This is an exciting, and scary time, and I will try to keep us informed of how it all works together. I look forward to your views and comments to help us all have a better understanding and appreciation of the world around us.