President Barack Obama wants to strengthen the manufacturing supply chains of the U.S. Therefore he supports the Supply Chain Innovation Initiative created by the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership. It is a competition aimed at helping small manufacturers in the U.S. implement new technologies and ultimately strengthen the economy. Several companies and groups have joined in to support the initiative.The U.S. has relied heavily on other countries to manufacture products through outsourcing. Small manufacturers in the U.S. have not been able to compete because the cost of labor is much cheaper in other countries, especially when outsourced to third-world countries. The Department of Commerce and Barack Obama are looking to change that with the Supply Chain Innovation Initiative.
The Supply Chain Innovation Initiative competition will span ten states in the five-year pilot program. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has joined in the efforts with a $130 million investment. The competition will take place over five years and give supply chains the tools to build innovative products to market without the use of outsourcing. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to strengthen the U.S. manufacturing supply chains and bring some of the manufacturing jobs back home.
The money invested by the National Institute of Standards and Technology will go towards deploying new tools for small manufacturers in the U.S. to implement advanced technologies and enter new markets. For instance, manufacturers will have access to testbeds found at national research facilities to try out new technologies. Additionally, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership will provide funding and flexibility at research centers across the states.
Small manufacturers looking to participate in the Supply Chain Innovation Initiative can look for a partners in their area through the MEP Manufacturing Extension Partnership website. It is not available in all states yet.