Flexibility + Creativity Critical for Businesses and Governments in 2022
During the 2022 Public Policy Issue Forum on Infrastructure, a panel discussed how dollars from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will be impacted by supply chain issues, inflation and talent shortages. I had the opportunity to moderate this discussion with the following panelists:
Todd Ashby, Des Moines Area MPO
- Mark Pierson, HNTB
- Kris Saddoris, Hubbell Realty Company
With so many different issues hitting at the same time — the COVID-19 pandemic, the shutdown in China — and affecting one another, there are a lot of unknowns, and it’s impossible to determine exactly when things might return to a more normal place. Saddoris said they are focusing on value engineering in order to create solutions while also eliminating costs, while also trying to be creative and flexible. Pierson said they are looking at ways to stretch dollars or get by until things calm down. Ashby discussed retooling the Scott Avenue water trails project bid to bring down costs. He said inflation is also impacting transportation projects as they ask whether money allocated to certain projects will be there for those projects later.
Supply Chain Issues
The biggest issue all panelists are seeing with the supply chain is the predictability of when items become available. Saddoris said creativity comes into play here as well. While they might not need flooring until next year, they might purchase now and store until it is needed to ensure it is here on time. Pierson gave an example of this happening recently when furniture arrived three months early and they needed to find a place to store it. If they hadn’t, they might have lost out on the opportunity of having the furniture on time and ended up waiting for it in the future. Steel is hard to come by, Ashby said, along with many other supplies. Having enough of item locally or close by so you can keep transportation costs down can also be a difficulty to overcome.
Lack of talent is also an ongoing issue for all employers. Early training, including high school programs, is an important piece in building skills in future employees. Saddoris said that understanding how a company can find efficiencies to operate with fewer people while also bringing in people to educate are both necessary. Creating opportunities that resonate with the talent the company wants to draw — talent who can accommodate their clients — is what Pierson sees happening more and more. Ashby agreed and said it’s tough finding people and creating the right package for them to join a company and stay.
Watch the entire webinar below:
The next Public Policy Issue Forum on Cybersecurity will be held at Noon on Thursday, Aug. 18.
The Partnership's Public Policy team engages with local, state and federal officials to create public policy that generates economic growth, business prosperity and talent development in Greater Des Moines (DSM). The Partnership is a nonpartisan organization.
Robert Palmer is the General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs for the Iowa League of Cities where he focuses on the legal and legislative challenges that Iowa's cities face.