The words “supply chain” didn’t become part of the collective vocabulary of U.S. consumers until the pandemic exposed the weaknesses in domestic supply chains that kept Americans from getting the things they needed when they needed them. But supply chain issues have also had an impact on manufacturing since the pandemic, with manufacturers around the country struggling to find the parts they need to create their products.
Now, thanks to the federal CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, which authorized a $20 million pilot program of awards to manufacturing extension partnerships (MEP) in the 50 states and Puerto Rico, funds are available to develop the national Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network (SCOIN) to make domestic supply chains more resilient and efficient.
As part of the act, the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) received $400,000 from the Hollings MEP, a program of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, to create the processes and underlying database of manufacturers (large and small) to allow Georgia manufacturers to easily source parts from other Georgia manufacturers or, through NIST, from other manufacturers anywhere in the country.
“What they’re trying to do nationally, is create this supply chain intelligence network,” said Dean Hettenbach, senior project manager over supply chain technology for the GaMEP, a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. “It’s a network of domestic manufacturers that can produce whatever needs producing, in order to build up manufacturing here in the U.S.”
The goal is to keep manufacturers from having to go overseas to find the components they need to manufacture their products.
For example, Hettenbach said, “if you’re in California, maybe you need a metal frame, maybe you need a circuit board, and you haven’t found anybody in California that can produce that.
Instead of going overseas, you can tap into this national network and find a manufacturer in Georgia or Texas or Michigan that can provide that part.”
GaMEP will use its funding to expand its resources, develop and manage the database of manufacturers in the state, and respond to queries from manufacturers in Georgia and from around the country in need of specific parts.
“We’re using the grant to establish this network,” Hettenbach said, “and develop the supporting processes to match a manufacturing need with a manufacturing supplier.” This is a free service to Georgia manufacturers, and will only require that the manufacturer go to the GaMEP website, log in and create an account. GaMEP will provide the required support and guidance from that point.
“We can match you with opportunities for your business,” Hettenbach said. “This will cost you nothing, absolutely nothing.”
In addition to doing the matching leg work, another advantage for manufacturers who register is that GaMEP will do some preliminary vetting of potential suppliers, to help ensure they are working businesses, before adding them to the database.
“Ultimately, we can help not only with reshoring manufacturing,” said Hettenbach, “but also with building out a network that can help small and medium-sized manufacturers grow their businesses by connecting with larger manufacturers who need the products they produce.”
For more information on how your business can take advantage of this new service from Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, please fill out this form and a staff member of the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership at Georgia Tech will get in touch with you shortly. If you have questions, please contact Doug Allvine at firstname.lastname@example.org.