Center, the Northeast Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, and the Great Lakes Manufacturing Technology Center.1
Each center has the ability to assess a wide variety of problems, provide technical and business solutions, help SMEs create successful partnerships, and provide seminars and training programs. Combining local expertise with national resources, they have assisted more than 62,000 SMEs with problems, including the following:
locating resources or technologies
determining causes of product defects
modifying plant layouts
establishing employee training programs
increasing sales and improving market share
implementing new technologies or processes
selecting and implementing business and quality management systems
adopting information technology to reduce time to market
identifying and exploiting manufacturing niches
conducting energy audits and reducing energy costs
The MEP network has positioned an organization called Supply America Corporation to act as a single contact point for the MEP in supply chain integration. Supply America focuses MEP resources on delivering value-added supply chain products and services to OEMs and their suppliers to improve overall supply chain performance.
The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI), another sponsor of this study, is a national technical service provider. The institute has four sites in West Virginia and serves portions of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia. Sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, RCBI was established to develop a quality, just-in-time manufacturing supplier base for the U.S. Department of Defense and its prime contractors through ''teaching factories," computer integration, and workforce development. RCBI addresses challenges faced by SMEs such as:
Locations can be obtained by calling 1-800-637-4634 or by visiting the MEP Web site at http://www.mepcenters.nist.gov.