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HART: Visiting Indiana businesses can feel like a world tour

August 13, 2016

ceo-walker-hart-melanie.jpgTravel across Indiana, and it can feel like you’re on a world tour. Just as rock stars perform at sellout shows in far-off places like Japan, China, Germany or the United Kingdom, Hoosiers are the stars at international companies dominating the landscape of Indiana.

More than 152,000 Hoosiers work for global companies throughout Indiana that have their home base outside the United States, according to a recent report by the Indiana Business Research Center. Break it down to just manufacturing—one of the state’s strongest industries—and you’ll see that one-fifth of Indiana’s manufacturing jobs are supported by international firms.

Businesses headquartered a world away are operating behind the walls of facilities you might drive by daily. At some point, their foreign parent companies evaluated sites around the world and chose to locate that facility in Indiana—a trend that continues to grow. From 2012 to 2014 alone, more than 125 foreign companies committed to investing $4.6 billion into the Hoosier economy and creating another 13,300 Hoosier jobs.

If you step inside one of these locations, you might spot a few clues that you’ve entered an international company. For instance, here at Tsuchiya Group North America, our parent company is based in Nagoya, Japan, and we proudly manufacture plastic interior and exterior automotive parts at TASUS Corp. in Bloomington. Outside, the Japanese flag waves just below the red, white and blue of Old Glory, and inside you will see many of the tenets of Japanese manufacturing practices at work, including visual manufacturing, reduced waste and signs with Japanese terms like “Genchi Genbutsu” (go and see, view it firsthand).

We have been able to marry Hoosier ingenuity and work ethic with Japanese manufacturing practices and long-term thinking, and we aren’t the only company succeeding by forging two cultures.

In Indianapolis, U.K.-based aerospace manufacturer Rolls-Royce celebrated 100 years of operations in our state’s capital city last year. The company also committed to long-term growth here in Indiana, announcing plans to invest nearly $600 million in its Hoosier operations, marking the company’s largest investment in the United States since buying the former Allison Engine Co. in 1995.

And Rolls-Royce isn’t alone. In Speedway, Italy-based OMR Automotive is adding 60 jobs at its North American headquarters, and in Lebanon, Canada-based Skjodt-Barrett Foods is adding 97 jobs at its U.S. headquarters to support its production of baby food, children’s fruit snacks, smoothies, sauces and marinades, as well as caramel and fruit fillings.

Even international tech firms are opening shop in Indiana. Last year, Austria-based Emarsys chose Indianapolis for its North American headquarters, creating 170 jobs. On Monument Circle, South Africa-based iLAB cut the ribbon on a $3.2 million expansion of its North American headquarters, and in Carmel, India-based GyanSys celebrated its new $4.5 million facility.

While job creators from around the world are choosing to grow in Indiana, Japan is perhaps one of our state’s closest partners. Already this summer, Japan’s largest steel producer—Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corp.—announced plans to add a facility in Shelbyville, creating 70 more jobs. And in July, Japan-based auto suppliers Toyota Boshoku and Ryobi Ltd. both committed to investing millions into the Hoosier state, together creating more than 300 jobs.

Today, Indiana is home to more than 260 Japanese business facilities that support more than 53,000 quality Hoosier jobs.

Among all U.S. states, we boast the largest amount of Japanese investment per capita, and we are the only state that is home to three Japanese automotive original equipment manufacturers—Subaru, Toyota and Honda. With one in five Hoosiers working in the manufacturing industry today, these job creators and manufacturers from across the world know that Indiana’s workforce is strong, skilled and ready to fill new jobs.

International executives, particularly the leadership in Japan’s manufacturing industry, genuinely enjoy doing business here in Indiana. They are impressed with the Hoosier work ethic and are so appreciative of Hoosier hospitality. In addition, through my work as president of the Japan-America Society of Indiana, I’ve witnessed our state cut taxes and freeze regulations, making Indiana one of the most affordable options in the United States for doing business.

Next time you see an international flag flying in Indiana, consider the many reasons global job creators are choosing Indiana and know that Hoosiers are an integral part of helping their business succeed.•

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Melanie Walker Hart is CEO of Tsuchiya Group North America and president of the Japan-America Society of Indiana.

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