Advancing Iowa’s manufacturing competitiveness and long-term sustainability
A shifting global economy is changing the way business plans are conceptualized and applied to economic development-driven projects. Vandewalle & Associates has been active in developing a number of these Conceptual Business Plans: “working” plans that build unique, viable business concepts and economic development around the assets of a region. In addition to helping structure and test innovative new business models, these plans are essential to the process of building consensus, defining costs, and providing the revenue structures that become touchstones as the concept develops. A conceptual business plan will undergo repeated market testing, adapting to meet market conditions and accommodating new opportunities.
The Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center (I-AM Center) is one such project. Working with the Economic Development Authority, Vandewalle & Associates helped to craft an innovative vision for building collaboration and propelling the state’s vast supply chain of manufacturing employers into global competitiveness.
The Conceptual Business Plan for the I-AM Center aimed to leverage Iowa’s wealth of over 6,000 manufacturing firms and their combined power in R&D, technology, and workforce training to help retool Iowa’s vast supply chain, allowing the state’s Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to adapt and deliver the top quality components needed by their Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) customers in Iowa. The I-AM Center:
- Fosters the advancement of advanced manufacturing processes and cutting-edge technologies
- Creates shared applied research infrastructure to promote non-competitive collaboration
- Leverages partnerships to develop curriculum and deliver skills training
Engages industry to create and promote advanced manufacturing processes
The I-AM Center would be located in Waterloo, Iowa within the TechWorks Campus—a 40-acre Innovation Commons utilizing 300,000 square feet of former John Deere tractor manufacturing and assembly space. (TechWorks itself is another example of V&A’s work developing a Conceptual Business Plan and taking it to fruition.)
Here the I-AM Center helped co-locate a network of industry, technology and applied research partners in a setting and forum designed to grow, focus and deliver the region’s R&D, talent, and investment resources where they are needed most. The I-AM Center further acts as an innovation hub and recruitment tool for the best and brightest makers and young entrepreneurs, as well as for established companies seeking comfortable, flexible space in a collaborative setting.