SOURCE: Information request to Center Directors, June-August 2012.
|What strategies and tools do you use to convert touches into clients?||How do you see the “new strategy” being funded?||What are the major challenges that you see over the next three years?|
|Find pain points. Do assessments. Use referrals to motivate action.||New pools of funding are limited, and we have to invest in new strategies before staff can deliver services to generate fees. So we have to tighten budgets and shift existing funds to invest in new strategies.||Reductions in base funding from NIST and state partner. Increased emphasis on reporting metrics to justify/counteract threats to federal and state funding. Slow economic growth limiting the availability of|
|Mostly face to face discovery meetings where we visit with the CEO and discuss their major business pains.||Transformation Center to an Innovation Practice with the adjustments in staffing and development of a|
|Documented sales process and experienced sales staff|
|We build relationships with C level executives and growth oriented companies. We follow a process we refer to as “Value-based relationships”. It is a 10 step guide from first contact through project success and measurement||Maintaining our growth plans which require staff to be more productive.|
|open enrollment continuing education offerings||Shifting focus to technology deployment and product innovation|
|Sandler sales and management system. Sales Logix CRM package. Business Advisors.||Revenue from clients||Too many priorities. funding. Finding the right people to staff the Center. Increasing stick to revenue to offset un stable state and federal funding|
|Follow up personal visits||Increased market penetration will occur with smaller companies. This will require new sources of funding because smaller companies lack the capital to invest in growing their business.|
|Value selling, high level (CEO, COO) partnering of overall growth view.||Client fees C level appointments / meetings|
|-Incentive funding when available -Referrals to satisfied clients -Regular follow-up||-Economic Uncertainty -Maintaining federal commitment to importance of manufacturing -Changes in State priorities and funding (which matches MEP) -developing collaborations that avoid competition for limited funds|
|Intense Innovation workshops, marketing seminars, value-added sales seminars, Lean training, energy audits, Innovation Engineering Leadership Institutes.||Federal Funding Cuts State budget deficits continued slow recession recovery|
|Newsletters, invitation to events, follow up sales calls||Providing additional Growth Services||developing staff skill set to support growth services|
|Follow up contacts. IE Jumpstarts (new)||We see increased state and economic development support as sell as new fee generating opportunities.||Evolving to complete adoption of MEP.
Innovation Practice throughout the state.
|seminars focused on Critical Business Issues. Solution Selling to get into the plants. And then to go thru the discovery phase to find the “pain” of the company & offer a solution.||we need to develop a practice & then promote from inside where possible & hire from outside as needed.||1. Adjusting to NIST - CORE metrics, (specifically getting companies to answer the surveys). Sales to Smm′s 3. Adjusting to mandate of Innovation Engineering as the lead product offering|
|Build a valued relationship with them by providing resources that help them become more competitive and help them to grow through innovation||If NIST MEP does not “fund” the opportunity, we will invest in the opportunity to the point we can cash flow the strategy.||Unquestionably it is 2:1 cost share. 1:1 cost share is reasonable|
|Our base strategy is based on relationships so “personal” invitations work best for conversion.||Eroding funding… no change in base MEP funding for a decade and it is becoming a threat. Also, heavy investment in staff training will be required to meet evolving client needs.|
|We start at the corner office when we can. We want to be a strategic partner first and then the opportunities will come out way.||The biggest is funding. My staff has gone from 23 to 12 in the last 3 years and the State could continue to cut more in the years to come. I need to do a better job in finding new sources of revenue.|
|We do not maintain a sales staff. Companies contact us via field staff and partner referrals.||Transitioning to meet new MEP directives.|
|Low-cost introductory assessments. MEP Success Stories that address the issue uncovered during an initial meeting.||I believe that MEP and other public funding will be needed to launch “new strategy” services until they become self-sufficient from client revenue. The initial “seed capital” for these new services will likely be from federal and state grants, but only until self-sufficiency is reached. This may take 2-4 years, but should be
achievable. Federal and state support will then be used to support “new-new” strategies so that we continuously update our service set to meet changing manufacturer needs and evolving technologies, business models and successful methodologies. Some existing funding will be shifted from existing programs, as they have become (or should by now be) self-sustaining.
|Transition to innovation. Adapting to reduction in state funding. Creating value proposition and calculation ROI for clients.|
|Person follow-up meetings, continuing to send them electronic newsletters and notices of events.||Maintaining talented staff with decreasing state funds. Managing to increasing requirements from MEP for a Cooperative Agreement that is not much money. As state funds are decreased, Centers may need to maintain funding that is not necessarily aligned with the MEP mission such as targeting larger companies that are willing to invest.|
|Counselor sales -relate, discover needs, advocate for solutions (even if the solution source is not within the MEP), and follow up, follow up, follow up. Stay in touch with the client on a regular basis. Provide information that the client might find useful. Invite the client to events. Make business connections for the client.||Lean will continue to be a solid base. Growth or innovation with enhance the C-level conversation. The vast majority of the current staff “get it.” New hires need to already be ready to talk with the C-level.||Regaining state funding or obtaining other sources of funding. The small and mid sized
manufacturers desperately need help and would be hard pressed to get it without the MEP.
appropriately staffed, collecting impacts. There seems to be building resistance to the survey, how
|many times we survey and an unwillingness to share. Also, with the D&B difficulties we are turning small businesses away.|
|CEO entry level, listen, address issues prohibiting growth/profitability||Entry to and buy-in by small to mid size mfg. company CEOs, resources (primarily $) to fund growth activities with smaller clients (less than 100 employees)|
|solution selling||ability to adopt NIST MEP services and new requirements that create add ional administrative or operational burden|
|partner organization, references|
|Assessment tool(CR) In the past, we run about 9.2 proposals for every 10 CR′s.||We have already made the switch to the new strategy. We hired three new agents to help us increase our market share. This is a new goal from the NIST metrics. We let go some positions that the skill set didn′t match our current or future needs. We then hired the current skill set to help us grow.||Potential reduced State and Federal funds. Loss of Manufacturing in the United States.|
|Develop relationships, conduct discovery at companies, draft discovery agreements, reach consensus, draft proposals||New management and new field staff development, potential restructuring|
|Our Field Staff has face-to-face contact with clients.||Less funding and the single focus on Innovation Engineering|
|Personal visits, email||MEP has unfortunately not been increasing funding to Centers despite increased funding at the national level||Growing MEP reporting
requirements. The new CORE system coming on-line October 1 is overkill and nothing more than a system behavior modification project. Too much emphasis on innovation vs. needed core services
|Detailed, multiple conversations addressing all questions and explaining how and where we can help them improve or help them solve a specific problem. FOLLOW UP.||Centers are going to have to develop additional funding sources for some of the new initiatives, banks, state EDA funding,
partnerships, etc. As the success grows. Additional MEP funding should be provided for initial efforts.
|By far the largest challenge for us will be the transition to the NGS from the traditional service offerings. Our client base consist of the types of companies that still require the traditional services. So making that transition and maintaining some balance between the new and old will be a large challenge.|
|What are your plans for the medium and long term? How do you see your Center changing over three years and again further out, in the next 5-8 years?||Recommendations --Assuming that MEP funding levels remain constant, what changes would you recommend be made at the Federal and state levels to make your use of MEP funding more effective?||And if funding were to be increased, what would your priorities be for utilizing additional funding (perhaps also explain what level of additional funding would be required to implement the changes you recommend)|
|Less reliance on federal and state funding. Greater reliance on delivering professional services from contractors. AMEP will move up the hierarchy of companies to work with top tier oilfield services companies.||Maintain and refine balanced scorecard metrics. Apply leverage to solve the myriad problems at Dun & Bradstreet NAICS reporting system.||Apply leverage to solve the myriad problems at Dun & Bradstreet NAICS reporting system. Get funding directly into job creating technology startups. Expand NIST MEP client definitions to include technology & software clients.|
|Much more focus on export||Stronger state support and collaboration in business retention and expansion||$200,000 focus on technology grants for growth and export services to encourage the smaller companies to get|
|We have invested heavily ($2M) in the past four years in new Growth services and consulting staff. In the coming 1-3 years it will be a focus on staff development to take advantage of our investment in new||Communication from MEP to Centers and back. Things are directed to Centers as if they are all alike…they are not.||We would hire more experienced staff with backgrounds in Business Growth consultative sales and delivery of services.|
|Change cost share to 50/50||Technology Adoption and Scouting, and product innovation|
|Focusing more on innovation and long term engagements with clients. Longer term, spending more time on succession issues and possibly creating a family business Center.||refine focus. put as much funding out the Centers as possible. Increase base funding.||Increase market penetration and continue to focus on top line growth and innovation as a way to revitalize American
manufacturing. Add staff in outreach and key delivery areas. Double or triple the base funding amount. THE ROI is extremely high on the program and the funding is a small amount and has been stagnant for a long while.
|3 yrs - Transition from a traditional business model with Project Management generalists assigned to geographic territories to a mix of specialists with a focus on company growth opportunities in industry clusters. 5-8 yrs - Develop and train staff on a full suite of tools to address both top and||Predictability of funding levels at the Federal and state level would make the use of the funds we receive more effective.||Increased funding could be used to assist smaller companies that don′t have the resources to do the improvement projects that they know they need to do.|
|bottom line growth for companies that is responsive to their needs in an evolving global market.|
|Sorry- you′re asking for a strategic plan in a tiny box- this is not realistic. Basically higher level long term engagement vs. point source fixes||Less time in surveys and delete NIST requirement for Duns registration-MAJOR issue for clients||More innovation, deeper assessments as lead in low cost activities|
|1. Moving to longer term engagements with clients as trusted advisor (in contrast to “point solutions” provider) 2. More focus on assisting companies with growth strategies based on innovation 3. Aggressive effort to broaden and diversify funding base.||Align MEP with other new programs such as NNMI and build MEP′s into delivery model to provide access for small-to-mid-sized manufacturers||-More funding support for MEP′s to use in leveraging resources from universities/colleges -Reinstitute TIP (or some variation thereof)|
|More collaboration with strategy More engagement at the highest level of leadership More innovation leadership communities formed||elimination of the match requirements that serve more of a hindrance than a catalyst for success.||More innovation measures and more tools to demonstrate change and success to potential clients.|
|Expanding Technology Acceleration Services Developing Innovation Services||Allow for a predictable NIST funding Cash Flow. Only receive 1/3 of funding within in the fiscal year||We would add addition field staff to cover our expanded new service offerings. Would be looking for a 15%|
|Medium--Have implemented MEP.ms Innovation Practice throughout five MEP.ms Centers and in use in all MEP.ms projects. Long term: MEP.ms is helping proactive companies in Mississippi to grow.||At the Federal Level, maintain at least current support to MEP.ms and lower the cost-share requirement to 50%. At the state level, continue increasing state support for MTA (host) and MEP.ms, particularly in the emerging innovation areas.||Could use additional funding to implement new growth and sustainability areas for MEP.ms such as in E3, Export, and implementation of IE Practice.|
|we are focused on helping companies “transform” working with their “C” management in a advisory roll. Setting Strategic direction and implementing change.||1. Get the money out to the Centers. The Centers are the working with companies. This would allow Centers to work more with companies and increase the penetration NIST/MEP wants.
2. Have Commerce & NIST change the “Match” to 1:1, a majority of the Centers are having difficulty making the match because they have lost state funding 3. have a 3rd party
evaluation done of Innovation engineering to determine the ROI.
|you could require Centers to increase penetration based on additional money. Every Center should receive - or be eligible to receive extra dollars. this way you can gain political support for the program on both sides of the aisle. As a Center you can say I benefited form the additional money. And as a result the MEP system is more effective and reaching more manufacturers. A review of all the Centers should be done on a per capita basis - those who are under funded should get a larger portion of|
|Focus more toward leading companies with Growth Strategies. We will continue to assist companies with helping them to reduce operating costs…but will focus on ways to help them reduce operating costs as part of a strategy for growth.||Reduce Cost share to 1:1.||Increase Staff to serve more manufacturers. NOTE: As it stands now, since cost share is 2:1 and many states cannot get that much cost share, increasing federal funding would not get down to the Centers. Many MEP Centers cannot “draw” down all their program money now due to the cost share issue.|
|Engineers will have to learn to shorten the sales cycle from contact to contract. Both because it will make them more efficient and because clients will need faster engagement and delivery.||Relax match requirement so funds can be used to match other grants. In a similar fashion, if MEP would provide greater subsidies for the training conference and other training events it would help stretch Center funds greatly.||A total of $150,000 per year would allow us to add an engineer which would increase our capacity by 20%. In turn, the effort in client growth and resulting impact would increase more than 20%.|
|We are good in listening to the needs of out customers so the core work we are doing won′t change too much. We have been doing Top line for 6 years and expect to implement Innovation
Engineering very well over the next year. Things change very quickly these days but I have been in manufacturing for 43 years and most of our problems have been around for a long time. I see the basic work we are doing not changing that much because we have been working with the corner office for a long time. Having been a CEO of Manufacturing Companies for years, I know we are doing what they need. It is hard to look out 5 years but as long as we listen to out customers we will continue to be an important part of the growth of Manufacturing.
|Finding talent for Manufacturing companies is the biggest problem our companies have these days and this will only get worse. MEP should lead the fight to help to improve the image of manufacturing in the US.||I wish I could work with more companies and with more money I could add the needed staff to get the job done.|
|Transition to “new strategy” services and efforts to serve “new clients” as defined by NIST MEP. No strategy beyond 5 years.||Change NIST MEP funding process to “block grant” format to reduce extensive overhead associated with current Cooperative Agreement and free up funds for additional deliverables to mfg clients.||50-50 block grant funding scenario.|
|Our plans are to identify the “legacy” services that have achieved self-sufficiency and retain the capability to deliver those services, but shed off those that are not self-sufficient UNLESS they are critical and directly tied to our public mission. Those that do not have a “public mission” fit AND are not self-sustaining financially need to be wound-down. This will free up resources for Next Generation services that are very important to our manufacturers. I suspect that our Center will see a complete
transformation over the long term. We are currently known for LEAN, TRAINING and, to some extent, SUBSIDIES. In 4-6
|I believe that national promotion of the MEP brand is critical to the improvement of all (collective) MEP effectiveness. We need to leverage that we are a network that rivals any “big”
consulting firm, but right-sized for the small and midsized manufacturer. We need branding at a national level.
|MEP program development (new service
development). MEP national branding. MEP leadership development. MEP-funded research on manufacturing topics (industry reports).
|years, we will likely be known for INNOVATION, ROI, CONSULTING and VALUE. This is already happening and will continue.|
|Bolster our third party resources (we are a brokered model) for growth services. This has already begun. Further out we will be more integrated with the State′s entities focused on economic development.||Much less reporting layers for the Centers. Fewer administrative staff at the Federal level. Centers have to produce the result but as Federal staff increases, it seems additional demands are placed on the Centers. Centers are struggling with decreased state funds and how to manage to increasing and changing metrics all the while trying||Marketing support from NIST-MEP National focused down to the State and Center Level. Packaged videos highlighting the national tools available to Centers that can be used with potential funding partners. Increasing Center base awards would sure be appreciated so we add some much needed administrative help to meet the current NIST-MEP|
|to develop new growth services for companies. Something′s got to give!||demands.|
|C-level conversations - a more strategic outlook. Building an MEP that will help small manufacturers grow and think strategically.||Reduce the cost share burden. Modify the definition of cost share. State changes are up to the Center to effect.||It dependents on the structure of the money. I don′t see a use for additional restricted funds.|
|Double the size of our Center in terms of revenue. Become and integral part of the state and local economic development. Integrate further the resources of the University, faculty and students, with the NWMOC.||Reducing Match requirements||Hire additional staff, improve training for staff, and invest in new services. Unsure of the funding required,|
|Our 5 year strategic plan addresses: 1) Client revenue growth ROI and profitability ROI 2) Increasing stakeholder expectations (metrics) by ~3X 3) Attain a self-sustaining financial model of our Center.||1) Eliminate or reduce significantly the matching funds requirement (too much resource required to ensure making) 2) Allow the use of non-MEP funds for projects that support economic sectors that support manufacturing, e.g.||Use the funds to; 1) Create
programs/initiatives that would provide subsidies to the mfg in the 10-100 employee range. They are hard pressed to identify resources (people & money) to address growth opportunities on a consistent basis. 2)
|utilities, distribution, transportation.||Create programs/initiatives that would address market penetration. Made in America & NGR are starts.|
|more partners and third party relationships||NIST MEP -implement the 1;1 match, as the law has intended it to be||Historically NIST MEP doesn′t distribute additional funds to the Centers for the increases they have gotten so this seems unlikely|
|We are working on growing the company over the next four years. Looking at developing different revenue streams outside of the Federal and State money.||We would like to see several MEP′s around the system help create the National NIST MEP Strategy.||Hire more agents to help with market share. Help develop a system to help Inventors grow into decent size companies. Increase the number of Road shows in the state to help educate the manufacturing community on new trends or services. Looking at additional $1,000,000 to do the above. It would help a great deal if we can get the Federal cost share reduced from 2 to 1 to 1 to 1. This would help a lot of MEP Centers.|
|Near: Increased focus on Food and Dairy, and recreation technology sectors with innovation. Medium:
Restructuring team leadership and staff responsibilities. Long: More and more
affiliations/partnershi ps on initiatives addressing key industry sectors, developing/improving state partnerships, sustainable programs with potential to be independent of grant funds.
|Reduce match requirement at the federal level. Work to increase state funding of MEP program.||Additional MEP funding would be used to target the food and dairy sector with additional staff. Approximately 25% ($125,000) would allow us to add two staff to support this critical under-served sector|
|Develop a full innovation strategy which includes Innovation Engineering||Reduce match to 1X||2X current funding. We would do more partner funding|
|More emphasis on growth through innovation. More engagement at the C level of companies. Plan is to respond to the most pressing needs of Vermont SME′s and the priorities of Vermont′s
stakeholder (State of VT) despite MEPs growing, heavy handed approach with all Centers (i.e. always asking for more and more from
|Reduce staff at MEP HQ. Reduce number/frequency of costly Directors meeting. Eliminate MEP Regional Managers. They add little to no value. Fix the Cost Share problem so MEP Centers have enough match to draw down their federal funds.||Increase the base funding of all Centers to enable the addition of at least 2-4 more FTEs (“feet on the street”). Do NOT increase staff levels at MEP HQ any further.|
|Centers without providing any increased funding -despite increases provided at the national level by Congress. MEP field staff has shrunk from about 1600 in 2008 to about 1200-1300 today. MEP HQ has significantly increased its staff. What′s wrong with that picture?|
|The Center has to grow in terms of client fees and staff numbers. We should be adding additional staff over the next 3 years and beyond. We will be shifting expertise and skill sets towards energy work and the Next Generation strategies. Also a much tighter relationship with our university partners and a heavier involvement by our board and other partners in the state to promote the MEP expand the MEP.||Streamline the renewal and review process.||Increases in staff levels|