The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a program of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has awarded roughly $400,000 to each of its MEP National Network™ Centers in every state and Puerto Rico. The more than $20 million of total funding will be used to develop programs to make domestic supply chains more resilient and efficient.
The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 authorized a pilot program of awards that would allow MEP centers to provide services focused on resiliency of domestic supply chains, workforce development and adoption of advanced technology upgrades at small and medium-sized manufacturers.
The new awards will support the creation of a database called the national Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network (SCOIN). It will focus on providing supplier scouting services, establishing new service offerings to improve existing supply chain networks, filling gaps in the supply chain by connecting OEMs with small and medium-sized manufacturers, and creating a complete map of U.S. supplier capability and capacity.
“For the first time, the U.S. government is creating a comprehensive end-to-end mapping of the supply chain, which is crucial for the domestic manufacturing industry and resiliency,” said Pravina Raghavan, NIST MEP director. “Supply chain shortages are due to a lack of supply chain capacity. To address this issue, we’re creating an information system that lays out all the suppliers across various industries. This way, we can connect small suppliers to more opportunities in the supply chain.”
This funding opportunity requires each center to dedicate at least one staff member or contractor per year to support these efforts and report on the results to small and medium-sized manufacturers and the MEP National Network. The projects will run for an initial two years and, if successful, may be extended.