In preparing for a foreign trade zone meeting with various EDA's in the region, I pulled down all the known businesses and highlighted manufacturers. (The 31's to 33's series of NAICS are designated for these types of firms). When looking at the top 5 earning of all firms (by sales), it was not surprising that Polaris headed up the list, with New Flyer (bus manufacturing) and the two American Crystal factories in Polk County took up the third and then the fourth, fifth top earners respectively. Ag manufacturing/processing is certainly known in this area- as is transportation manufacturing- as top in sales.
Now, the second ranked firm in terms of sales volume was in itself not surprising-Marvin Windows; yet Marvin's was not classified by Infogroup as manufacturing, but rather as a building material dealer. Under 444 series NAICS. Incidentally, this firm was the only one in the top five ranked for the most employees which was not coded as a manufacturer. While the company has a home center for local customers at their main factory, there is no doubt to anyone up here that the bulk of the firm's activity at that location is the manufacturing doors and windows from raw materials to finished product. Concerning the number of employees, the next several ranking firms were made up of a Wal-Mart, a single school district, several health care facilities, and several Native owned casinos.
The lesson confirmed is familiar- assigned NAICs from Infogroup may describe a secondary activity, and while being close it may miss designating the main function of a firm. This is not to knock the company compiling the data, but just a reminder that local knowledge of a firm is yet helpful in accurately organizing output information.