The Weekly Business-to-Business Forum
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Around the County with the State of Illinois
Kankakee County Trade Summit Promotes Global Commerce and Reverse Trade
Edward Piatt | B2B contributor
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This month I would like to highlight the “Tri-City” Foreign Trade Summit that was held on July 29, 2008. Sixteen community partners, including the Tri-City Mayors—Gael Kent from Bradley, Paul Schore from Bourbonnais, and Don Green from Kankakee, participated in the Summit. The day started off with a community leaders breakfast hosted by Kankakee Community College, followed by a facility tour of Cognis Corporation in Kankakee. Then the group attended Peddinghaus Corporation’s ribbon cutting ceremony, celebrating the addition to Peddinghaus’ manufacturing facility in Bradley. “These trade commissions are designed to equip our companies with the resources they need to be more resourceful, more innovative and more competitive, which is critical in today’s global market,” said DCEO Director Jack Lavin. “By helping to ensure Illinois companies are prospering, we’re helping to preserve the strength of Illinois’ economy and maintaining good jobs in the state. A special luncheon was hosted by Olivet Nazarene University with comments from Olivet’s Dr. Don Daake, DCEO Assistant Director Roxanne Nava, State Senator Debbie Halvorson, and also brief introductions by trade commissioners from: Austria, Belgium,
China, Canada, Great Britain, Hungary, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Pakistan, The Philippines, Poland, Romania, Switzerland and Turkey. After lunch, the commissioners were escorted to the VIP tent at the Chicago Bears training camp and received a special treat. Former Chicago Bear Tom Thayer signed souvenir helmets and posed for pictures with each trade commissioner. The next step in the process is to bring individual trade commissioners back to Kankakee County and hold one-on-one meetings with companies geared to facilitate international business opportunities for local industries, and to bring international businesses to Kankakee County. Anyone interested in the Opportunity Returns program, or if your business is in need of information and/or assistance, please contact me at (312) 636-0739 or email Ed.Piatt@illinois.gov. Until next month, see you around the county…
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698 Armour Rd., Bourbonnais Toll-free: 888-935-2220 (815) 935-7977 • Fax: (815) 935-7974 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site: www.securecareusa.com
Edward S. Piatt is the northeast senior account manager for the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.
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*Publication dates are subject to change. Photo courtesy of Peddinghaus Corp. State and local officials joined with Peddinghaus Corp. President/CEO Anton Peddinghaus (on right, cutting ribbon) to welcome foreign trade commissioners from around the globe to the new Peddinghaus manufacturing facility in Bradley. For more information about any of these Special Sections, contact your Advertising Consultant or call 815.939.6642.
NACM’s Credit Manager’s Index for July 2008 Nudges Up
Rising prices remain a major concern
From Press Release
The seasonally adjusted Credit Manager’s Index, a monthly survey of the business economy from the standpoint of commercial credit and collections, rebounded slightly in July, gaining 0.8 percent as the manufacturing sector index rose 1.6 percent and the service sector index crept up 0.2 percent. All three indexes—combined, manufacturing and service—are hovering just above the crucial 50 value at 50.9, indicating a slight degree of economic expansion. Daniel North, chief economist for credit insurer Euler Hermes ACI, says the report is a mix of good and bad news. “The report actually reflects very closely the state of the business cycle and the Federal Reserve’s dilemma. The Fed faces six straight months (probably seven as of August 2nd) of job losses, but also faces consumer price inflation of 4.9 percent. Given that, either a rate cut or increase could easily be the wrong move. The Fed’s assessment of the economy will probably be the same as those of credit managers as a whole; it’s somewhere right in the middle. And the
best choice for right now might be to sit tight.” The seasonally adjusted manufacturing sector index rose above the 50 percent level in July, gaining 1.6 percent, but four of the 10 components fell and six remain below 50. Comments from survey participants were similarly mixed. The seasonally adjusted service sector index eked out a 0.2 percent gain to the 50.5 percent level, but half of the components fell, and six still remain below 50. “On a seasonally adjusted basis, the year-over-year comparisons show an undeniable downtrend,” said North. “The manufacturing sector has lost 3.2 percent, as all 10 of its components fell. The service sector fell 4.9 percent, as eight of its components fell. Clearly the strength of the economy has fallen over the past year. After all, last August was when the subprime debacle started to really rattle the global credit markets.” A complete index including results from the manufacturing and service sectors, along with the methodology, can be viewed at http://web.nacm.org/ cmi/pdf/CMI_July2008.pdf.
Keeping Key Employees in a Down Market
Reneé Perry | B2B contributor
Business owners are always worried about losing key employees. That stress is compounded when the market is down and you are unable to pay more to keep them. This is the time to kick in your creative side. For the most part, I believe employees stay where they feel wanted and respected. Having said that, there are many simple ways to compensate employees without giving them a pay raise when times are tough. We seldom hire new employees at our business. It’s very expensive and extremely time consuming. Once we have an employee who works well with the other employees, and is integrated into the business, we want to work with them to help keep them content. This can mean different things for different people. We have a couple of employees who really need more flexibility. They have other responsibilities in their lives that require them to be flexible. Therefore, we give them as much flexibility as possible, while keeping the business productive and our customers happy. We have another employee who values over-time. He’s the one we ask first when
over-time is necessary. It’s much more satisfying to work for a business who will work with you. Another way to work with your employees is giving them incentives that may mean something to them, but not take a lot out of your pocket. We allow our employees to buy parts at cost, as long as the parts are for themselves. This doesn’t really cost the business very much, but can be worthwhile for the employees. Of course, this is a monitored process. Maybe you can do something as simple as bringing donuts in once a week. What would your employees value? Now would be a great time to reassess your employee’s benefits.
Reneé Perry is a small business coach and consultant. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
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