Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership: Wins National Innovator Of The Year Award


Contact: Linda Abbott 608-826-6215

OEM/Supplier Development Initiative hailed as model for nation

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) has garnered a national award for its efforts to improve the performance of Wisconsin suppliers to large manufacturers.

WMEP received the Innovator of the Year Award for its OEM/Supplier Development Initiative from the National Institute of Standards & Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership ((NIST MEP). NIST MEP is a national network of resources to help small and mid-size manufacturers become more competitive. NIST is an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Technology Administration.

“This award recognizes WMEP’s outstanding leadership to develop performance driven strategies to revitalize the nation’s industrial base,” said Roger Kilmer, director of NIST MEP. In bestowing the award, Kilmer said that WMEP’s supplier development model can be deployed in other states and regions to strengthen domestic supply chains.

WMEP award recipients are: Michael Klonsinski, executive director, WMEP; Roxanne Baumann, director, OEM initiative; and Michael Hablewitz, director, supply chain group. All are members of WMEP’s OEM supply chain team and have been actively engaged in developing and executing the initiative, which IndustryWeek Magazine has hailed as a model for the nation.

WMEP’s approach uses lean manufacturing techniques to identify and then address areas of improvement in the amount of time it takes for order fulfillment. In the first year of a pilot project, 16 Wisconsin-based suppliers reduced lead times an average of 53 percent.

Founding OEM participants are Deere & Company.; Oshkosh Truck Corp.; and Harley-Davidson Motor Company. WMEP will target services to 100 suppliers in 2006, and more OEMs are coming on board to participate.

“We’re excited to have this program recognized nationally,” said Klonsinski. “We’re also grateful for the strong support we’ve received from Wisconsin manufacturers, the Governor and the State Legislature.”

Klonsinski noted that suppliers – typically small to midsize firms that supply parts and components to large manufacturers – are the foundation of Wisconsin’s $47 billion industrial sector. Efforts to improve their competitiveness will help keep jobs and billions of dollars worth of business in Wisconsin.

Madison-based 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 innovation, quality systems and supplier development. Last year WMEP-assisted manufacturers reported a $215 million economic benefit with 2,381 jobs created/retained. For more information, visit http://www.wmep.org, or call 1-877-856-8588.