Q&A: Maintaining A U.S. Manufacturing Presence
This column originally ran in the May 2013 issue of Food Manufacturing.
Interview with Roger Kilmer, Director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Food Manufacturing spoke with Roger Kilmer of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) about the importance of maintaining a strong manufacturing presence in the United States, and what resources are available to domestic manufacturers.
Q: What is the purpose of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership?
A: The purpose of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) MEP program is to enhance the productivity, technological performance and global competitiveness of small- and medium-sized U.S. based manufacturing firms.
In support of this, NIST MEP funds manufacturing extension centers across the United States. Currently, the MEP national system consists of 60 centers with more than 400 field offices that are positioned to address manufacturers.
Q: What does MEP do to help U.S. manufacturers stay in the U.S?
A: MEP works with U.S. manufacturers to help them create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money. The nationwide network of MEP field staff works directly with local manufacturing companies on a variety of services, from innovation strategies to process improvements to green manufacturing. MEP also works with partners at the state and federal levels on programs that put manufacturers in position to develop new customers, expand into new markets and create new products. Through these partnerships, MEP is able to leverage resources and share opportunities with manufacturers.
Innovation is at the core of what MEP does. Manufacturers that accelerate innovation are far more successful and realize greater opportunities to participate in the global economy. By placing directly in the hands of U.S. manufacturers innovations developed through research at federal laboratories, educational institutions and corporations, MEP serves an essential role sustaining and growing America’s manufacturing base. The program assists manufacturers to achieve new sales, leading to higher tax receipts and new sustainable jobs in the high paying advanced manufacturing sector.