Surprising that many manufacturers don’t know what an MEP is or how it can help them grow their business. A manufacturing extension partnership (MEP) is a federally subsidized agency within the National Institute for Standards (NIST) designed to help small and midsized manufacturers to grow their business.
There are multiple MEP centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico and surely one near your manufacturing facility. Each year, MEP Centers help more than 25,000 manufacturers driving over $9 billion in sales and nearly $1.5 billion in cost savings with the creation or retention of more than 86,000 manufacturing jobs. You can find your local MEP affiliate on the website by state or by searching the interactive map.
MAGNET, the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network, is the official MEP center serving 21 counties in Northeast Ohio. MAGNET works in tandem with other Ohio MEP Centers offering specialized consulting services to help manufacturers identify new areas of business through research and development and ideation while implementing cost-savings measures such as lean manufacturing, and more. Some of the services available through MAGNET include:
- Operations and Employee Engagement
- Employee Development and Retention
- Product Development
- Process Innovation
- Quality Management (Including ISO Accreditation Prep)
- Sales and Marketing Assistance
- Talent Pipeline
- Marketing & Sales Training
- And more!
The benefit of leveraging an MEP like MAGNET is that consulting rates are subsidized by the government so you can get more value for your investment than working with private sector companies for similar services. Granted, MEP centers don’t do everything and often partner with the private sector but where they offer services – they are incredibly competitive and can save your business a whole lot of money.
MAGNET has helped companies like Sauder to imagine new ways to leverage their existing equipment and labor force to expand into new product lines such as moldings. They’ve helped small businesses to design new and better ways to build their products, and they’ve connected small businesses with larger companies that have the machinery and know-how to produce products that smaller companies can’t. With an in-house machine shop, three dimensional printing, and other capabilities – they can even help you with proof-of-concept prototypes or they can custom-build machinery like they did for Cleveland Whiskey to get your start-up business off the ground.