Why Companies Should Onshore in Dickinson County

Friday, August 21, 2020

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Nearly two-thirds of United States manufacturing companies surveyed by Thomas report business disruptions due to the COVID-19 crisis. As a widespread issue impacting virtually all industries, onshoring is top of mind for business executives who have watched their supply chains be disrupted and product deliveries delayed over the past six months. For four decades, companies have offshored manufacturing operations overseas in order to save costs. COVID-19 has forced companies to ask, “At what cost?” If the cost is an inability to supply customers and fulfil contracts, it may not be worth it. Onshoring is the logical solution to reducing the risk of future disruptions and delays, at least in part. Though companies may not be looking to move their entire operations back to the states, opening U.S. manufacturing facilities as part of their global operations certainly is. In that scenario, Dickinson County certainly has a lot to offer, including a central location in the country’s heartland for manufacturing, agriculture and distribution companies moving raw materials and finished products throughout the country. 

In addition to companies onshoring directly, 28% of suppliers surveyed reported that they are seeking domestic sources. This will create expansion opportunities for current U.S. manufacturers. Dickinson County is uniquely positioned to support that growth and to be a home to growing companies, or those onshoring for the first time. 

Why Companies Should Onshore in Dickinson County 


Dickinson County is located in the country’s heartland, with a robust infrastructure, broadband, affordable real estate costs and a pro-business climate. Access to major metropolitan markets such as Denver, Omaha, Des Moines, Kansas City and Oklahoma City are all within a six-hour drive. This entrepreneurial hub is home to many locally grown businesses that span the manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare and service industries. As such, the county’s economy is strong and diverse, making Dickinson County one of the most affordable places to do business. The low cost of living combined with the business support provided by organizations like the Dickinson County Economic Development Corporation results in the area being one of the best places to start a business in the country.

Transportation Assets

Dickinson County businesses have immediate access to I-70 and are only 20 miles from I-35. In addition, the community has ample access to main railroad infrastructure and has two airports only 45-minutes away. This creates an ease of access that enables Dickinson County businesses to transport raw materials and finished products throughout the country and the world. As a state, Kansas offers excellent transportation and marketing advantages for businesses as well. The state has focused on building and maintaining this infrastructure, resulting in significant economic benefits compared to other regions. 

Available Commercial Sites

Dickinson County has many available commercial properties and buildings ready for prospective business owners. For example, a 127-acre commercial property is currently available along I-70 in Solomon, Kansas, which is ten miles west of Abilene. The land is literally 100 feet south from the off ramp at exit #265. Water, sewer and electric infrastructure is run to the south edge of the property. And a 20,000 square-foot commercial building  is currently available to the north of the I-70 and State Highway 15 intersection. The one-story, former furniture retail store was built in 2004, has had only one tenant and is located in an Incentive Zone.


Dickinson County has a large workforce pool that is skilled, loyal and dedicated. And the presence of several workforce training programs keep those workers at the forefront of technological requirements. Dickinson County is dedicated to helping local employers by providing access to workforce resources and by leveraging partnerships with entities such as Kansas State University, Kansas Works and the Department of Commerce. In addition, Dickinson County is within two hours of three major research universities, creating opportunities for attracting talent and partnering with universities on research or key initiatives.

Reasons to Onshore Now

COVID-19 has demonstrated the scope and scale of the impact a global pandemic can make, but it’s not the only disaster that can disrupt supply chains. Environmental factors are another one. The world has suffered an increase in severe hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, etc. - all things that are unpredictable and cannot be controlled. Unfortunately, many of the same countries where U.S. companies have manufacturing operations have been hardest hit by these disasters and their infrastructure is not secure enough to withstand them. For example, the 2001 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand had crippling effects on the electronics and automotive manufacturing sectors. Put simply - the global supply chain is fragile. Businesses who want to protect themselves must onshore at least part of their operations to protect their interests.

We Can Help

The process of finding a site, obtaining permits, constructing a facility, hiring and training a workforce may seem daunting. We understand and we are here to help. If onshoring is part of your business protection strategy, we can provide assistance throughout the entire process. Contact the Dickinson County Economic Development Corporation to learn more.

Resources and Further Reading 



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