May 3, 2018 by Cara Christopher
Time is money, and that’s no exception for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which is based at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and provides the federal government funding for the MEP National Network™.
Focused on helping small and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy, the MEP National Network is comprised of NIST MEP as well as MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The MEP National Network serves as a unique public-private partnership that utilizes data in the delivery of comprehensive, proven solutions to manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing U.S. manufacturing.
“Having access to granular data in five minutes from a trusted tool has helped in so many facets of our network,” said Nico Thomas, performance analyst for NIST MEP.
Before working with Emsi, NIST MEP struggled to collect detailed data efficiently. It would spend two days creating individual reports by pulling data from the BLS and direct public sources. This is where Emsi came in. Emsi’s detailed labor market research provided NIST MEP with insightful industry data at the push of a button.
“Emsi provides so much data, and so many views of the manufacturing industry, that we couldn’t get anywhere else. This has helped our Centers to become the knowledge experts in their state.” — Nico Thomas
Along with providing time savings and knowledge, Emsi data also empowers the Centers to uncover their unique state needs and tell their communities’ stories. The Centers can pull visual reports and put manufacturing in understandable terms.
A few highlights include:
The MEP National Network spans every manufacturing industry code while also focusing on research & development and industries directly supporting manufacturing. It has found success in being able to identify how many manufacturers, per industry, are in a specific county or ZIP code. With the ability to pull detailed data on custom regions, the Centers have positioned themselves as manufacturing service experts. The Michigan Center recently presented at a national conference to showcase how their deep industry knowledge led to positive results in their state economies.
Regional Supply Chain and Input-Output
Prior to using Emsi, the Centers were blind to expected changes in declining or emerging industries. The Centers now use input-output modeling (another feature in Developer) to understand the ripple effect of changes in the manufacturing industry. In addition, MEP has been focusing on manufacturing supply chains to identify how much money is leaving specific regions. It’s using this analysis to determine where it should be expanding current business or attracting new businesses. The Emsi tools allow Centers to share visual scenarios with state representatives to get buy-in on strategic decisions.
“Emsi has been a really reputable source that our Centers feel confident in using when speaking with stakeholders,” Thomas said.
In FY 2017, 51% of MEP’s manufacturing network reported employee recruitment and retention as a challenge, compared to 19% in 2009. The Centers are uncovering gaps between where skilled workers live and where manufacturing plants are located. The Centers are becoming more sophisticated in how they implement data to make workforce and site selection decisions. For example, Michigan has attracted new businesses to specific areas by having insights on the available workforce and competitive environment.
Improving Outcomes with Industry Knowledge
Overall, Thomas credits Emsi with supporting the Centers in meeting their business goals.
“With Emsi, the data is very clear, which empowers our Centers to weave together an intuitive story of the manufacturing landscape to local and state government,” said Thomas.
In FY 2017, The MEP National Network interacted with 26,313 manufacturers to achieve more than 100,000 created or retained jobs, $12.6 billion new or retained sales, $1.7 billion cost savings, and $3.5 billion new client investments. With Emsi data, MEP can be confident in its industry knowledge and continue to build on its reputation for providing results for manufacturers across the U.S.