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100 Bureau Drive, M/S 4800
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4800

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Next Generation Strategy

Supply Chain

Supply Chain development can be loosely defined as the process of working collaboratively with suppliers to improve or expand their capabilities. An example may be teaching a supplier how to manufacture a type of item that they never manufactured before for the purposes of giving you the option to buy, rather than make, that item.

MEP recognizes and addresses the interdependency between large OEMs and the smaller companies that make up their supply chains. Large companies seek to reduce the risk, including cost, in their supply chains. MEP works with supply chains to increase their flexibility to better meet the needs of their larger customers and to increase and enhance strategic supplier relationships.

Supplier Development

Manufacturing today is a competition among supply chains. Manufacturers that cannot meet the increasing performance requirements of their customers lose their position in those chains—often to low-cost overseas suppliers. To compete, U.S. manufacturers must protect their positions in supply chains by being lean, fast, and innovative.

The MEP system is uniquely positioned to be the resource of choice for increasing the competitiveness of U.S.-based supply chains by offering a network of assistance providers throughout the country, consistent delivery approaches to implementing Lean, Quality, and other performance improvement programs for manufacturers; and the flexibility to customize services and products to meet varying needs. MEP is the only organization whose mission is to improve the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing.

Smaller manufacturers supply to large Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) or their first-tier suppliers. MEP has a long track record of improving the competitiveness of these suppliers through a wide array of services. In addition, MEP works with OEMs and large first-tier suppliers to understand their expectations regarding supplier performance. MEP translates that knowledge into enhanced awareness and performance among suppliers.

Domestic suppliers that are lean are highly valued in supply chains because they are faster, more flexible, cost competitive, and less likely to fail. These attributes provide a competitive advantage when compared to distant low-cost overseas suppliers. MEP is recognized for delivering results in Lean and having Lean experts on staff across the country.

Supply chains cross state boundaries and suppliers support multiple OEMs. An effective national supply chain improvement strategy must support suppliers across the country, deliver consistent services and results, and be capable of customizing services to meet regional and company or location-specific needs. The MEP system is the organization providing consistent Lean services combined with opportunities for growth to suppliers from coast-to-coast.

In today's global economy, U.S. manufacturers’ competitiveness depends on far more than the activities that occur within factories. It depends on the performance of the full value chain. Helping manufacturers meet the growing challenges to their international competitiveness will require MEP to focus not only on expanding service to traditional manufacturers themselves, but also on improving the performance of companies in related sectors that affect the cost of manufacturing and impact the ability of manufacturers to bring their products to world-wide markets.

For more information about Supply Chain Development, contact your local MEP center or NIST MEP:

Dileep Thatte
(301) 975-4588

Supply Chain Optimization

Supply Chain Optimization is a program that equips manufacturers of all sizes with tools to integrate strategy into collaboration across the multiple tiers of their supply chains.  Many manufacturers face supply chain issues every day, from identifing new suppliers and materials through manufacturing transportation and distribution to customers. MEP helps manufacturers use a strategic approach to develop a synchronized plan optimized across the value and supply chains.  This optimized plan reduces risk and volatility, increases collaboration with suppliers, reveals the true total cost of the supply chain, and increases capability to develop and distribute products.  MEP leverages its expertise in resolving the challenges experienced by U.S. manufacturers to create stronger, more connected supply chains. For more information, visit