WMEP (2)

Services provided by the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) triggered a $130 million economic impact and helped to create and save 1,009 manufacturing jobs, according to results documented by clients.

WMEP, a private, non-profit consulting organization, provides a wide range of services to help small and midsize manufacturers accelerate growth, profitability and global competitiveness.

Results reported by 214 manufacturers during FY 2011 include:

* $83 million in increased and retained sales
* $16 million in cost savings
* $31 million in investment impact
* 355 jobs created and 654 jobs retained

In addition, an analysis of the data projects a $3.8 million tax revenue benefit to the State of Wisconsin as a result of sales and jobs impacts.

“We’re very pleased with the financial gains we’ve been able to help manufacturers achieve, and grateful for the opportunity to partner with them to improve their businesses,” said Buckley Brinkman, WMEP’s executive director and chief executive officer. “We’re especially excited to announce the creation of more than 300 manufacturing jobs at a time when job creation is the most pressing issue facing our state and nation.”

Since 1998, WMEP has helped to generate $1.7 billion in economic impact and create and save 14,000 state manufacturing jobs.

“WMEP is a results-driven organization that delivers a substantial return on investment for manufacturers and the State of Wisconsin,” said Mike Erwin, chair of WMEP’s board of directors and president of Menomonee Falls-based Tailored Label Products, Inc.

The results documented by customers reflect successful projects completed under WMEP’s expanded offering of Next Generation Manufacturing services. Those services are targeted to promote performance excellence in new product innovation, talent management, export development, sustainability, supply chain management and other areas.

“We’re moving toward longer, more strategic engagements that build a strong platform for long-term growth and success,” said Brinkman. Continuous improvement and lean are still an important part of the mix, he notes. But today’s focus is on applying lean strategies enterprise wide and instilling them deeply in a company’s culture and employees, in contrast with smaller projects in the past that were more limited in scope.

To further expand resources and assistance available to manufacturers, WMEP has forged partnerships with several private and public organizations such as SCS BT Squared, Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Rapid Prototyping Center and UW E-Business Institute.

The annual economic impact data is part of a national evaluation conducted by an independent firm for the NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a national network of 59 centers that provide assistance to small and midsize manufacturers. Manufacturers are surveyed six months after the completion of a project.

Wisconsin is home to 9,000 manufacturers, who contribute $47 billion – 19% – to Wisconsin’s economy and employ 448,000 workers.

“Manufacturing is the engine that drives Wisconsin’s economy,” Brinkman said. “Our job is to provide the tools and expertise that allow manufacturers to win in a fast-changing, fiercely competitive global economy. These results move us closer to the goal line and promote a world-class manufacturing sector that creates good jobs and economic prosperity now and in the future.”

WMEP is a private, nonprofit organization committed to the growth and success of Wisconsin manufacturers. WMEP receives financial support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership. WMEP also partners with many public and private organizations to serve Wisconsin manufacturers.

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High-impact strategies to attract, retain and develop skilled and motivated workers are the focus of the May 17 Manufacturing Matters! Conference in Milwaukee.

“The Power of People: Unleashing Breakthrough Business Performance” is the theme of the conference hosted by the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP). The day-long event will be held at the Frontier Airlines Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee.

Talent management has never been more crucial. “The competition for talent to drive growth and innovation is heating up and will only intensify in the future,” said Lee Swindall, WMEP’s acting executive director. A perfect storm of Baby Boomer retirements, global competition, new technologies and a generation of younger workers poses significant challenges for today’s manufacturers.


* Morning keynote David DeLong, co-author of “The Executive Guide to High-Impact Talent Management: Powerful Tools for Leveraging a Changing Workforce,” will show how executives can more effectively lead talent management initiatives at a time of unprecedented demographic and organizational changes. Afternoon keynote Susan Schmitt, senior vice president, Human Resources at Rockwell Automation, will share thought leadership insights the company has to secure, develop and retain skilled and engaged workers and how these strategies apply to smaller firms.

* Prominent industry thought leaders and senior executives from award-winning Wisconsin manufacturing firms will share best practices and insights. Panelists include manufacturing leaders from A & A Manufacturing Company, Inc., New Berlin; Briess Industries, Inc., Chilton; Dickten Masch Plastics, LLC, Nashotah; GenMet, Mequon; HED, Inc., Hartford; Hurd Windows & Doors, Medford; Hydro-Thermal Corp., Waukesha; MEGTEC Systems, Inc., DePere; Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, Inc., Sturtevant; Tailored Label Products, Inc., Menomonee Falls; TLX Technologies, LLC., Waukesha and Wagner Companies, Milwaukee.

* The financial and environmental benefits achieved as a result of participation in the Wisconsin Profitable Sustainability Initiative will be discussed by representatives of AFW Foundry, Inc., Lannon; Cardinal Insulated Glass, Spring Green and Edstrom Industries, Inc., Waterford.

* Eighteen break-out sessions focus on talent management, profitable sustainability, online marketing, business growth, financial analysis and forecasting, lean culture, finance, OSHA compliance, exporting and managing through transition.

* The midsize manufacturers of Germany’s Mittelstand region are an exporting powerhouse and offer valuable lessons for Wisconsin manufacturers. Ram V. Iyer, founder of The Midmarket Institute, will discuss how these mostly family-owned manufacturers have become super competitors, overcoming the challenges of an aging workforce, high labor costs and a tightly regulated labor market.

“We’ve designed this year’s conference to give manufacturers mission-critical knowledge, tools and tactics they can put to work immediately to improve competitiveness and achieve higher performance in talent management,” Swindall said.

Conference sponsors include: PNC Bank; Wisconsin Technical College System; Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce; Insight on Manufacturing; The Business Journal Serving Greater Milwaukee; Bentley World-Packaging, Ltd.; Clifton Gunderson LLP; Guardian Business Solutions, Inc.; LogiServe® Inc. and joint venture partners Wisconsin Department of Commerce; BT Squared, Inc.; Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Rapid Prototyping Center and UW E-Business Institute.

WMEP is a private, nonprofit organization committed to the growth and success of Wisconsin manufacturers. Since 1998, WMEP has helped to create and save more than 13,000 state manufacturing jobs, according to results documented by customers. WMEP receives financial support from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, and partners with many public and private organizations to serve Wisconsin manufacturers.

For more information or to register visit or call 1-877-856-8588.

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