WMEP: Strategies to improve competitiveness deliver $215 million to Wis. manufacturers

Contact: Linda Abbott

Phone: 608-826-6215

MADISON, Wis. – For the first time ever, efforts by the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) to improve the competitiveness of the state’s manufacturers have topped the $200 million mark.

“Wisconsin manufacturers are making great strides to meet the challenge of global competition,” said Michael Klonsinski, executive director of WMEP, a non-profit organization that helps small and mid-size manufacturers become more competitive. “They’re investing in strategies to transform and reposition their companies, and the results are impressive.”

Wisconsin manufacturers report that assistance they received from WMEP in FY 2005 resulted in improvements valued at $215 million, including:

$159 million in increased/retained sales
$21 million in cost savings
$35 million in investment in new plant and equipment
2,381 created/retained jobs

In addition, state tax revenues are projected to increase $15.8 million as a result of higher sales and job creation. WMEP provided services to 459 state manufacturers last year.

Many Wisconsin manufacturers are embracing new technology, adopting lean practices, adding new features and services to their product lines, and aggressively going after customers in new industries. “Manufacturing is still the engine that drives Wisconsin’s economy, and we believe it will remain that way for years to come if we continue to invest in change and build on the strengths of our industrial sector,” Klonsinski said.

And although this year’s impact set a record, Klonsinski said there’s no room for complacency. Roughly 80 percent of Wisconsin’s 10,000+ manufacturers have less than 100 employees, and these smaller firms don’t always have the resources to adopt world-class performance strategies. These firms employ thousands, and are a critical link in the state’s supply chains.

In the past three years, WMEP-assisted companies reported a $468 million economic benefit.

The impact data is based on 171 manufacturer surveys completed by WMEP-assisted companies, and independently compiled for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). WMEP is an affiliate of NIST MEP, a network of more than 60 centers across the country that provide assistance to small and mid-size manufacturers.

WMEP provides technical expertise and hands-on business assistance to help small and mid-size manufacturers implement advanced manufacturing technologies and business practices. WMEP is a leader in lean manufacturing, strategic repositioning, quality systems and supplier development. For more information, visit, or call 1-877-856-8588.