The Manufacturing Extension Partnership is partnering with the manufacturers and partners to celebrate great "Made in the USA" products while also finding more business opportunities for American manufacturers.
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Since early 2010, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has been putting to work its extensive network of manufacturers and suppliers to help American companies meet the requirements of the Buy America and Buy American standards. This work grew out of MEP’s supplier scouting program focused on finding business opportunities for small manufacturers by matching their capabilities with the supply chain needs of America’s original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). To date, MEP has partnered with the departments of Transportation, Energy, and Defense as well as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to make sure their funding recipients connect with American suppliers.
The Buy American provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 dictates that “none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by the Act may be used for a project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public building or public work unless all the iron, steel, and manufactured goods used are produced in the United States.”
At NIST, MEP was able to identify four potential products for the Net Zero Energy Residential Test Facility, whose construction will be completed in the spring of 2012. One of the energy efficient products have already been purchased. The item, manufactured by Hubbell Electric Heater Company located Stratford, CT, is a water heater that will be installed and be used in the test facility. Without the work of MEP, this product would likely have been purchased from a foreign supplier.
MEP recently helped a Department of Energy funding recipient identify an American source for a seemingly basic product, but one that is very difficult to find made in the U.S. The grantee working on an ARRA project in Bayfield County, Wis., requested a waiver to purchase “stationary storage cylinders” from an overseas company. Within two weeks of MEP centers across the country reaching out to their networks, a supplier had been found. Structural Composites Industries of Los Angeles sold its storage containers to the company running the ARRA project and is now on DOE's list as a U.S. supplier for stationary storage cylinders. To date, this is the only company found to manufacturer this item in the U.S.
“Our field staff indicates that manufacturers are very thankful when they are contacted regarding a Buy American Scouting opportunity,” said James Watson, president and CEO of California Manufacturing Technology Consulting, an MEP affiliate. “Even if they don’t have the capability to handle the request, they comment that very few organizations contact them with potential business.”
MEP has also helped to identify a number of American-made energy-efficient products for DOE. In 2011, DOE referred the Department of Transportation to MEP, and on Oct. 18, 2011, the departments of Commerce and Transportation announced a partnership between MEP and the Federal Railroad Administration that will help to ensure manufacturers meet the DOT’s strict “Buy America” and “Buy American” standards. Read the press release.