As the catalyst for strengthening American manufacturing, MEP works not only to help manufacturers with problem-solving and survival, but also on developing new sales, new markets and new products. Our growth services focus on harnessing technology and innovation to encourage business growth and rewrite the story of manufacturing.
What are Growth Services?
Profitable business growth and competitiveness is the primary focus for the services provided by MEP Centers going forward – even those associated with the core MEP service areas relating to Continuous Improvement. Specific service offerings exist or are being developed relating to aspects of the five individual components of the MEP Strategic Framework that ultimately result in profitable growth and competitiveness, and these are depicted in the diagram and described herein. In addition, MEP Centers also offer a range of services that are specifically focused on Business Growth.
MEP Business Growth Services address top-line growth for clients, specifically focusing on identifying new sales, developing new products, entering new markets, and deploying new business models. These services have as their goal to provide companies the tools they need to achieve a 20/20 balance: at least 20% growth to their top line, along with at least a 20% decrease in bottom-line costs.
Eureka! Winning Ways® is an example of a series of MEP product offerings in Business Growth Services. The program was developed in partnership with Eureka! Ranch to apply proven methods for large corporations to America’s small and medium sized manufacturers who often have limited resources to focus on growth and idea development. Eureka! Winning Ways® provides manufacturers with a reliable system for more profitable growth. Part workshop, part leadership training program, and part accelerated project management; Eureka! Winning Ways® teaches a scientific system for improving sales and marketing effectiveness, developing new customers and new markets, and creating more profitable products and services. Part of the process for this service involves mining the National Innovation Marketplace for technologies to explore what new products would be created if the right technologies could be found.
Eureka! Winning Ways® is just one example of planning and ideation oriented services offered by MEP Centers tailored specifically toward growth. Other MEP approaches include provision of services focused on strategic and succession planning designed to establish clarity for manufacturers and promote deeper thought and exploration of key business conditions, business differentiators, strategic issues and directions to determine hidden assets, potential strategic relationships, and innovations that can lead to increased sales and profits.
Why Focus on Growth?
Today’s economy is characterized by a shifting U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that continues to see manufacturing remain an enormous and vital component. U.S. Department of Commerce statistics show that in 2008, manufacturing directly accounted for nearly 11.5% of GDP and about $1.6 trillion. U.S. manufacturing firms employ over 13 million people in high-paying jobs with benefits; represent roughly two-thirds of total U.S. research and development expenditures; and account for more than 80 percent of all U.S. exports. A dynamic of today’s manufacturing sector is that certain industry segments like automobiles, for example, are contracting – some segments significantly; while other segments, like wind and solar production, are expanding – again, some significantly.
Market shifts mean that manufacturers, particularly small and mid-sized firms, are facing new, significant challenges. Efficient shop floor operations are a large part of competitive manufacturing, but efficiency alone is not enough in today’s global marketplace. Cost and productivity cannot be the only or even primary measures upon which U.S. manufacturers compete. U.S. manufacturers must also implement business strategies that leverage their unique capabilities and demonstrate their advantages over competitors. Manufacturers must rapidly adopt new technologies and develop innovative products as part of these strategies. Manufacturers must also look for opportunities to be energy efficient with their processes. And manufacturers must do this while still continuing to constantly implement process innovations to improve their efficiency, productivity, and cost competitiveness.
All manufacturing segments are also based upon supply chains, and in some manner, every manufacturer operates as part of a supply chain. And in the complex, just-in-time manufacturing supply chains that dominate today’s world, business success can often be a function of supply chain ebbs and flows even more than individual company performance.
So, in this space in time where manufacturing industry markets are both contracting and expanding, where business success factors are changing, and where manufacturers must establish competitive niches to capture supply chain opportunities – crisis can very often meet opportunity. For manufacturers to seize opportunities in times of crisis, they must have the information they need to posture their businesses as vital parts of supply chains, allowing them to not just survive – but to grow and thrive. And this often means entering new markets as parts of new supply chains.
Manufacturers don’t always know what new, growing industries exist, what kinds of parts those industries need, and whether those parts are a good fit for the hardware and personnel assets they already possess. Even when the fit is right, manufacturers typically can’t transition instantly. Retooling existing equipment (e.g., making gears for wind turbines or aircraft engines instead of automobiles), retraining employees, and even learning whole new product and process technologies can be very challenging and time consuming.
To be competitively positioned to capitalize on the opportunities available in the dynamic markets of today and tomorrow – to not just survive, but to grow and thrive – U.S. manufacturers must address five key critical areas in concert:
The Next Generation MEP deploys a framework that provides manufacturers the ability to address these five critical areas and establish their defendable competitive advantage. Manufacturers’ management and integration of each of these interrelated, interdependent areas will determine their ability to maintain and grow profits and compete in the long term.
MEP will continue to serve on a National scale as the trusted advisor that helps U.S. manufacturers succeed in their profitable growth and competitiveness by deploying a robust system of tools and services that work together.