US president Barack Obama has unveiled new executive actions to strengthen the functioning of US manufacturing supply chains.
Aimed at fixing what is perceived as “the innovation gap faced by small manufacturers”, the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which serves over 30,000 US manufacturers each year, will build new capabilities at its state-based centres and pilot a competition for $130 million (£81.3 million) over five years across 10 states to help small manufacturers adopt new technologies and bring new products to market.
As part of the Supply Chain Innovation Initiative, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) will deploy new tools to help small manufacturers access advanced technologies, new markets, and growth capital.
These tools will help connect small manufacturers with testbeds housed at national research facilities to test new technologies, helping small manufacturers bring to market novel products and processes. In addition, NIST MEP is committed to providing greater flexibility and funding to its national network of locally-based centres, to allow them to use these new tools and others to better assist small firms in adopting new technologies and innovations.
As an initial investment, NIST MEP is launching a $130 million pilot competition in ten states to give centers the flexibility to adopt supply chain innovation tools and build enhanced capabilities over five years.