with Roger Kilmer, Director of the Manufacturing Extension
Partnership, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Food Manufacturing spoke with Roger Kilmer of the
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) about the
importance of maintaining a strong manufacturing
presence in the United States, and what resources are
available to domestic manufacturers.
What is the purpose of the Manufacturing Extension
The purpose of the National Institute of Standards and
Technology’s (NIST) MEP program is to enhance the productivity, technological performance and global competitiveness
of small- and medium-sized U.S. based manufacturing firms.
In support of this, NIST MEP funds manufacturing extension centers across the United States. Currently, the MEP
national system consists of 60 centers with more than 400
field offices that are positioned to address manufacturers.
What does MEP do to help U.S. manufacturers stay in the
MEP works with U.S. manufacturers to help them create
and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money.
The nationwide network of MEP field staff works directly
with local manufacturing companies on a variety of services,
from innovation strategies to process improvements to green
manufacturing. MEP also works with partners at the state and
federal levels on programs that put manufacturers in position
to develop new customers, expand into new markets and create new products. Through these partnerships, MEP is able to
leverage resources and share opportunities with manufacturers.
Innovation is at the core of what MEP does. Manufacturers
that accelerate innovation are far more successful and realize
greater opportunities to participate in the global economy. By
placing directly in the hands of U.S. manufacturers innovations developed through research at federal laboratories, educational institutions and corporations, MEP serves an essential
role sustaining and growing America’s manufacturing base.
The program assists manufacturers to achieve new sales, leading to higher tax receipts and new sustainable jobs in the high
paying advanced manufacturing sector.
Manufacturing is an important sector of our economy. At a
macro-level, manufacturing is a source of productivity, innovation and wealth production, compared to service sector
economic activity focused on wealth consumption. At a more
micro-level, manufacturing is a driver of productivity improvements, business growth and job creation. Manufacturing
accounts for 12 percent of the U.S. economy and about 11
percent of the private-sector workforce. Manufacturers in the
United States employ 12 million people in high-wage, high-skill careers.
Research indicates that each dollar’s worth of manufactured
goods creates another $1.43 of activity in other sectors. Also,
two-thirds of U.S. research and development capacity is concentrated in manufacturing.
Manufacturing and manufacturing competitiveness is more
than reshoring. Providing companies with resources and tools
to help them make better decisions about manufacturing pro-
duction and sourcing decisions is critical. Additionally we
ought to be helping companies:
Home-Shore: To keep R&D, product development and
manufacturing production in the United States
In-Shore: To attract new foreign and domestic investments
Why is it so important for manufacturers to stay in the
What are the benefits to domestic manufacturing as
opposed to off-shoring?