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Competitive Manufacturing Toolkit introduced at WESTEC.

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April 6, 2009 - SME and NIST/MEP have put together toolkit of ideas to help manufacturers innovate, compete, and succeed. Tools available include Open Innovation Center to help exhibitors/attendees learn about how to source and sell innovation, and Merwyn Business Translation to accelerate communication between various manufacturing segments. Also offered are Green Workforce Development Program, USA National Innovation Marketplace, as well as other existing programs included as part of effort.

New Competitive Manufacturing Toolkit Introduced at WESTEC

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1 SME Dr., P.O. Box 930
Dearborn, MI, 48121

Press release date: March 31, 2009

SME and NIST/MEP Help Manufacturers Innovate, Compete and Succeed

LOS ANGELES, March 31, 2009 - Manufacturers struggling through this economy got a glimmer of hope today when the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and the National Institute of Standards & Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST/MEP) announced a new Competitive Manufacturing Toolkit at the annual WESTEC Advanced Productivity Exposition at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

"Manufacturing has been the backbone of our nation's economy for more than a century and we're not going to get out of this economic crisis without a strong, innovative manufacturing sector," said Mark C. Tomlinson, SME's executive director and general manager. "That's why SME and NIST/MEP have put together a 'toolkit' of ideas to help manufacturers innovate, compete and succeed."

The situation facing manufacturers today is not a simple one and it won't be solved by just one idea, which is why the Competitive Manufacturing Toolkit offers a variety of solutions. The tools range from how to create a culture of innovation, to discovering how sustainable processes add to the bottom line, to ensuring there is a skilled workforce to handle the jobs of the 21st century.

Roger Kilmer, director of Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, discussed the Next Generation MEP program, which aims to develop a science-based measurement framework.

"To remain profitable and grow in this global economy, U.S. manufacturers must outperform their competitors by overcoming economic and environmental challenges," said Kilmer. "With multiple constraints, including increased energy and environmental costs and uncertain economic conditions, the industry is being challenged as never before and will need to improve its overall sustainability to maintain profitability and job-creating growth while increasing energy efficiency and reducing environmental burdens."

Some of the tools available to manufacturers include:

SME's first-ever "Open Innovation Center" is helping WESTEC exhibitors and attendees learn more about how to source and sell innovation. The Center represents a unique collaboration between SME, NIST/MEP and the Planet Eureka! USA National Innovation Marketplace.

The USA National Innovation Marketplace connects inventors with those in need of innovation.

The Merwyn Business Translation accelerates connections and communication between innovators, innovation sellers, buyers, investors, developers and distributors.

SME and Purdue University are piloting a Green Workforce Development Program with a body of knowledge, a curriculum and an assessment outcome.

The recently announced NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System will revolutionize education and training for 21st century manufacturing by providing skills assessments, standardized curriculum requirements and portable credentials that validate the attainment of these critical competencies required by industry.

The Lean Enterprise Certification Program is an existing collaboration between SME and MEP providing manufacturers with the knowledge - from classroom training to hands-on activities - necessary to identify and carry out lean improvements in their companies.

Green Suppliers Network, a collaboration between the MEP and the EPA, is focused on helping manufacturers stay competitive and profitable while reducing their impact on the environment.

SME's portfolio of lean-to-green manufacturing resources connects practitioners to each other via webinars, events and technical and social network communities.

"Sustainability is rapidly becoming the overarching business driver for industry," said Kilmer. "Whether it is simply a response to rising energy and resource costs or as a corporate growth strategy, sustainability is a struggle to balance economic, environmental and societal opportunities."

"Manufacturing is vital to America's future and to reversing the economic crisis," adds Tomlinson. "No other segment of our economy can combine things in a way that the value of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. These tools will help us continue to be the world's manufacturing leader, creating highly skilled, well-paying jobs right here in the United States."

About SME:
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is the premier source for manufacturing knowledge, education and networking. Through its many programs, events and activities, SME connects manufacturing practitioners to each other, to the latest technology and the most up-to-date processes spanning all manufacturing industries and disciplines, plus the key areas of aerospace and defense, medical device, motor vehicles, including motorsports, and oil and gas. A 501(c)3 organization, SME has members in more than 70 countries and is supported by a network of technical communities and chapters worldwide.

The National Institute of Standards & Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST/MEP) is a national network with hundreds of specialists who understand the needs of manufacturers. For the past 20 years, MEP has worked with thousands of manufacturers delivering $1.3 billion in cost savings annually and $6.25 billion in increased or retained sales in one year. MEP provides companies with services and access to public and private resources that enhance growth, improve productivity and expand capacity. The MEP program works with companies willing to invest in their future, to make improvements in the short term and position themselves to be stronger long-term competitors both domestically and internationally. NIST/MEP is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) hosts WESTEC 2009 Advanced Productivity Exposition, March 30-April 2, 2009, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The largest annual machine tool and manufacturing event in North America is co-sponsored by the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association and the Association for Manufacturing Technology. In its 45-year history, WESTEC has become the event West Coast manufacturers count on for both technology and professional advancement. More than 20,000 aerospace, defense, medical device and other manufacturing professionals are expected to attend this year's event.

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