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Manufacturing Assistance Now Just a Phone Call or Click Away

Whether it's dialing an easy-to-remember telephone number or clicking a mouse to surf the Internet, small and medium-sized manufacturers looking for assistance in solving real-world technical and business problems now have improved access to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program of the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology.

"We're making it as convenient as possible for manufacturers who want to improve and be more competitive to find solutions for the problems they are facing," said Kevin Carr, MEP director.

Dialing 1-800 MEP-4MFG will directly link a smaller manufacturer with the nearest MEP affiliate or to the MEP headquarters office at NIST in Gaithersburg, Md. The MEP is a nationwide network of locally managed centers in 42 states and Puerto Rico offering technical assistance and the newest business practices to smaller manufacturers.

All centers rely on experienced field agents who provide hands-on assistance to address manufacturers' most critical needs. Typical MEP services include helping manufacturers access information on new equipment such as automation systems, find high-quality advice for optimizing manufacturing systems, reduce costs by lowering waste, improve quality, expand markets for products and find financing for modernization efforts.

Those with access to the World Wide Web also can find information on the MEP and its affiliate centers and services through the newly revised MEP home page at Called "The MEP Source," it includes a map highlighting centers and field offices that visitors can learn more about with a click of their "mouse." The source includes information both for smaller manufacturers as well as for those who operate the centers.

While most MEP affiliates have been providing services for only a year or two, results from earlier established centers indicate that MEP's network of manufacturing extension services is fostering significant improvements in manufacturing and business performance. According to a 1994 survey of 610 firms, anticipated benefits totaled $167 million, the cumulative result of sales increases and cost savings attributed to actions undertaken with technical assistance from MEP centers. Benefits per company included 5.6 jobs added or saved and $43,000 savings in labor and material costs.

A non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.

Released April 22, 1996, Updated November 27, 2017