B
Selected State and Local Programs

Many state programs, such as the Quality Management Consortia program at the University of Texas at Austin, rely largely upon university teaching faculty, with some assistance from students at the graduate or undergraduate level. Others, such as those at the Georgia Institute of Technology or PENNTAP at the Pennsylvania State University, have full-time staff devoted to business and technical assistance; they rely on faculty or students only when appropriate. These three programs are briefly described here to demonstrate the range of models followed by states and universities to assist manufacturers in their states.

QUALITY MANAGEMENT CONSORTIA (QMC)

A somewhat different assistance strategy was recently organized (June 1992) at the University of Texas at Austin. The Quality Management Consortia (QMC) focuses on providing education in, and deployment of, quality principles and programs in smaller manufacturing and high-technology service organizations. The QMC is a joint program of the Graduate School of Business and College of Engineering, and is based on the concept of grouping companies together in a consortium for shared formal learning experiences and for continued sharing of knowledge and experience through networking. Each consortium is a group of 12 to 15 small and medium-sized companies who commit to a two-year program of on-campus education and on-site implementation of total quality management concepts. Every year each company contributes a



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Learning to Change: Opportunities to Improve the Performance of Smaller Manufacturers B Selected State and Local Programs Many state programs, such as the Quality Management Consortia program at the University of Texas at Austin, rely largely upon university teaching faculty, with some assistance from students at the graduate or undergraduate level. Others, such as those at the Georgia Institute of Technology or PENNTAP at the Pennsylvania State University, have full-time staff devoted to business and technical assistance; they rely on faculty or students only when appropriate. These three programs are briefly described here to demonstrate the range of models followed by states and universities to assist manufacturers in their states. QUALITY MANAGEMENT CONSORTIA (QMC) A somewhat different assistance strategy was recently organized (June 1992) at the University of Texas at Austin. The Quality Management Consortia (QMC) focuses on providing education in, and deployment of, quality principles and programs in smaller manufacturing and high-technology service organizations. The QMC is a joint program of the Graduate School of Business and College of Engineering, and is based on the concept of grouping companies together in a consortium for shared formal learning experiences and for continued sharing of knowledge and experience through networking. Each consortium is a group of 12 to 15 small and medium-sized companies who commit to a two-year program of on-campus education and on-site implementation of total quality management concepts. Every year each company contributes a

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Learning to Change: Opportunities to Improve the Performance of Smaller Manufacturers significant amount of funds, based on a formula relating sales and number of employees, to the program. Every month the companies each receive a minimum of 50 hours of implementation assistance by graduate business and engineering students who are paired in teams to provide the assistance. These teams offer a balance of business practice and technology implementation skills to improve the performance of the participating manufacturers. In addition to classroom education and training, and student implementation assistance, each company receives consulting visits by faculty and other professionals. The projects undertaken by the graduate student assistance teams have concentrated on evaluation and analysis of production processes and accompanying management procedures, development of training programs for professional staff, and creation of strategic planning processes. These activities reflect the management emphasis of the program, rather than the traditional engineering type of problems undertaken by university technical assistance programs. GEORGIA TECH INDUSTRIAL EXTENSION SERVICE The Industrial Extension Service (IES) at the Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the oldest programs based on the concepts of industrial extension and technical assistance. Created by the Georgia Assembly in 1960, the IES evolved from several Georgia Tech-based, federal-and state-supported programs. Two such programs were the Engineering Experiment Station (today the Georgia Tech Research Institute) which focused its energies on industrial research projects and development of accompanying technologies, and the Industrial Development Branch which worked to attract industry to Georgia communities by matching the needs of target industries with the resources of specific industrial sites. The first IES field office was opened in 1961, and between 1964 and 1966 an additional six offices were established to bring the ''problem-solving skills of IES much closer to the communities and industries they served.'' Today, IES has a network of twelve field offices from which technical professionals provide industrial problem-solving skills to smaller firms, primarily rural based. In 1988 the industrial extension program provided nearly 1000 firm-specific assists, as well as providing support for community economic development and information requests. About 70 percent of the problems are solved directly by the field staff. For the rest, the field agents help the clients secure the proper expertise or assistance from Georgia Tech, the private

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Learning to Change: Opportunities to Improve the Performance of Smaller Manufacturers sector, or other state or federally funded efforts. The field staff are predominately engineering professionals with business experience and training (Shapira, 1990c). PENNSYLVANIA TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (PENNTAP) Pennsylvania established the PENNTAP industrial technology extension service in 1965 to provide engineering and technical assistance to all types of business and industry (not just manufacturing concerns) throughout the state. It has concentrated, as do most technical assistance programs, on those firms that do not have or cannot financially justify full-time engineers or have the time to resolve technical problems inhouse. The technological designation has been broadly applied to problems of smaller firms: helping them select appropriate technologies for new or upgraded products, suggesting changes to increase process efficiencies, and providing linkages to other economic development assistance providers. PENNTAP does not solicit clients, and its services are provided at no cost to firms throughout Pennsylvania. The number of full-time PENNTAP employees is surprisingly small. One engineer is based at each of four Pennsylvania state universities in the primary manufacturing regions of the state, and two technical specialists and a librarian are located at University Park.

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