Domestic manufacturing, including the industrial sector in Wisconsin, has suffered with the recent and significant loss of military contracts.
It’s imperative for the state’s manufacturers who have relied on federal contracts for a major part of their business to adjust and diversify in order to remain viable.
Strategic diversification is key, said Wil Cox, senior manufacturing specialist with the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
“There is usually no easy direct replacement for a high-volume/low-mix military contract,” Cox said.
Some manufacturers have been able to rebuild their sales with a low-volume/high-mix strategy but now spend more non-productive time on set-ups and change-overs and are struggling to break even, he added.
The WMEP is available to companies that need direct business assistance and supply chain solution consulting, including market diversification strategies like quality improvement processes and other value-add programs, such as: ISO 9100 Quality Management System and AS9100C Aerospace Quality Management System; Supply Chain Optimization; and ExporTech, a proven export expansion process delivering significant new business for companies with limited or no experience selling products outside the United States.
The programs are designed to assist manufacturers struggling with the fallout of lost defense business while preparing them for a future boost in military spending.
“When defense spending comes back, the Department of Defense wants a resilient supply chain,” Cox said.
Other relevant offerings from the WMEP include Rapid and Accurate Quoting, through partner University of Wisconsin-Madison, that is essential for manufacturers of low-volume and custom-engineered products.
“Some companies are used to having a direct conduit to the Defense Department and haven’t had to do much competitive quoting,” Cox said.
Initiatives also have been launched that are aimed at assisting in the growth and expansion of new industry clusters to create an economy more resilient to changes in federal defense contracts; to reach out to and assist workers who have lost their jobs as a result of cuts in defense spending; and to assist regional manufacturers and small businesses affected by reduced defense manufacturing output in Wisconsin.
To learn more about these programs contact Wil Cox at [email protected].