Amidst many challenges U.S manufacturers currently face – skills gap, regulatory compliance, cost reduction, foreign competition- are organizations that promise to increase the competitiveness and vitality of manufacturing firms. Every organization has a different business model and unique culture. In some, principals are focused on a ‘boardroom to shop-floor’ approach; in others supply chain management. No two are alike. So what has made the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) appealing to more than 300,000 manufacturing firms? In part, the services they provide; but also the strong connections they build with their clients.
Here are three reasons why manufacturers should work with their local MEP.
MEP tailors services to meet critical needs. The MEP is a national network of centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico created in 1988 to enhance the productivity and technological performance of U.S. manufacturing. Over 1,300 of technical experts – serving as trusted business advisors – work directly with small to medium manufacturers and contribute to the growth of well-paying jobs, dynamic manufacturing communities, and American innovation and global competitiveness. They offer a variety of services, from innovation strategies to process improvements to green manufacturing centered on five critical strategic growth areas: technology acceleration, supplier development, sustainability, workforce and continuous improvement. As a result, MEP places manufacturers in a position to develop new products and customers, expand into global markets, adopt new technology, re-shore production, and more.
MEP has a proven track record. MEP’s goal is to help manufacturers create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money. As a public-private partnership, MEP strives to achieve measurable business results and delivers a high return on investment to taxpayers. For fiscal year 2016 the MEP national network reported the following: For every one dollar of federal investment, MEP generated $17.9 in new sales growth for manufacturers and $27.0 in new client investment. Which translates into $2.3 billion in new sales annually. For every $1,501 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one manufacturing job. MEP has interacted with 25,445 manufacturers, who experienced $9.3 billion in new and retained sales; 86,602 new and retained jobs; $3.5 billion new client investments; and $1.4 billion in cost savings.
MEP leverages partners to maximize service offerings. MEP has partnerships with state and local governments, federal programs, universities, professional societies, economic development organizations, private firms, and trade associations, including the Southeastern Trade Adjustment Center (SETAAC). Similar to the MEP, SETAAC is a U.S. Department of Commerce program designed to increase the competitiveness of manufacturers, but specifically those impacted by low cost imports. What makes the MEP and SETAAC partnership ideal is SETAAC provides cost-share funds to qualifying manufacturers, which can be used to pay for MEP services. Ultimately, MEP’s strategic partnerships provides manufacturers with capabilities that they cannot access alone, which expands the reach and value of the program to the manufacturing industry.
Contact your local MEP Center to learn more how the network helps manufacturers succeed.