NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR MAINE MANUFACTURERS IN THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY SUPPLY CHAIN
AUGUSTA, ME - The Maine MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership) announced today a new program designed to provide Maine’s small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) with renewed and expanded access to the supply chains of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and its prime contractors and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). At the same time, the defense industry will benefit by having new pre-qualified sources of supply, close to home and competitively priced.
Through new grant funding appropriated by Congress, administered by the Defense Logistics Agency, and in collaboration with the MEP centers in the other five New England states, Maine MEP is able to offer this service to SMEs and OEMs at no charge. Both Maine Senators Snowe and Collins were enormously supportive of this initiative and their efforts helped the Maine MEP to be in a position to provide these vital new services.
Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins issued this joint statement in support of the announcement: "A healthy manufacturing sector is essential to the preservation of our nation's security as well as the health of our economy. We must end our current trend of becoming increasingly dependent upon other countries for the products we use and rely upon. As the defense industry looks to other lands for the manufacture of parts and systems, it costs us in terms of both jobs and security."
The new initiative, which Maine MEP is calling the New England Manufacturing Supply Chain (NEMSC), will be anchored by a new, proprietary database which will inventory the technical capabilities and available capacity of all SME manufacturers throughout New England, with as much detail about their operations and ability to meet DoD specifications as possible. The database will be used to match suppliers with procurement opportunities presented by DoD and its prime OEM contractors.
“In the past, many Maine manufacturers have simply been too small to be very useful to defense contractors,” Maine MEP President, Rod Rodrigue. “We will help them team with other manufacturers that might have surplus capacity or some unique technology. Other teaming arrangements can enable small manufacturers to more easily meet Department of Defense technical specifications or even workforce diversity objectives which might not be possible on their own. We’re pleased to be able to offer this assistance to all Maine manufacturers, in any field.” Rodrigue went on to say that major defense contractors will also benefit “by having access to a whole new group of potential suppliers, without the need to invest huge sums in the process of identifying and qualifying new sources.”
Part of the grant funding will be used to enable the Maine MEP to contact virtually every SME in the state which might potentially have something to offer DoD or its major suppliers, whether or not they are currently doing business with the defense industry. Manufacturers will be provided the opportunity to submit selected company profile information directly into SupplyPoint™, the database developed specifically for this purpose. As procurement requirements for various projects are announced, participants in the database will have opportunities to augment their data, and MEP engineers will be available to conduct on-site assessments of SME capabilities, at no charge to the manufacturers, to better match individual SMEs to both procurement specifications and to other SMEs – both in Maine and elsewhere throughout New England – with supplementary attributes.
While participation in the NEMSC initiative is limited to SME manufacturers in the six New England states, the expectation is that they will have the opportunity to bid on defense industry opportunities from OEMs located all around the U.S. New England’s smaller suppliers will have a new degree of visibility throughout the defense industry supply chain, nationwide.
Manufacturers interested in participating, as well as those who would simply like more information should call the Maine MEP directly. The Maine MEP is an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the U.S. Department of Commerce. The national MEP system is a network of manufacturing extension centers that provide business and technical assistance to smaller manufacturers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Through MEP, manufacturers have access to more than 2,000 manufacturing and business “coaches” whose job is to help firms make changes that lead to greater productivity, increased profits and enhanced global competitiveness.
For more information, please visit www.mainemep.org, and click on the New England Manufacturing Supply Chain link, or call 207-623-0680.