Why is SDMTS being an MEP important to South Dakota Manufacturers?
MEP is built on a nationwide system of centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Each center is a partnership between the federal government and a variety of public or private entities, including state, university, and nonprofit organizations. This diverse network, with more than 588 service locations, has over 1,200 field staff serving as trusted business advisors and technical experts.
Centers tailor services to small and mid-sized manufacturers’ most critical needs, ranging from process improvement and workforce development to business practices, including supply chain integration, innovation, and technology transfer. And because MEP’s foundation is its partnerships, centers are a hub for manufacturers, connecting them with government agencies, trade associations, universities and research laboratories, state and federal initiatives, and a host of other resources to help them realize goals.
MEP centers have helped thousands of manufacturers reinvent themselves, increase profits, create or maintain jobs, and establish a foundation for long-term business growth and productivity.
Why Was MEP Created?
In the 1980s U.S. manufacturing began to lose ground to Japan. In consumer electronics, steel, and other industries, U.S. goods were of lesser quality, production processes were deemed comparatively outdated, and innovation stagnated.
In response, the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 was passed, establishing
… manufacturing extension centers and services… to improve the competitiveness of firms accelerating the usage of appropriate manufacturing technology by smaller U.S. based manufacturing firms…
MEP’s purpose was to “disseminate technical information”. However, centers quickly determined that “expensive, untested, and too complex” technology wasn’t what most small and mid-sized manufacturers (SMEs) wanted. So they shifted to providing expertise, needs assessment, and training related to shop floor improvements, and the system rapidly grew.
Since 1988, the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has been committed to strengthening U.S. manufacturing, continually evolving to meet the changing needs of manufacturers. Through its services and partnerships it has had a profound impact on the growth of well-paying jobs, the development of dynamic manufacturing communities, and the enhancement of American innovation and global competitiveness.
After more than 26 years, MEP continues to innovate, meeting the challenge of developing new programs, services, and partnerships to help manufacturers flourish in the 21st century. MEP is a part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a U.S. Department of Commerce agency.