WMEP-led effort to strengthen U.S. suppliers focus of panel at

Accelerate initiative brings OEMs and suppliers together to create

performance-driven supply chains


WMEP, Oshkosh Corp. and D&S Manufacturing share perspectives, results


MILWAUKEE Mike Hablewitz of the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) will discuss WMEP’s successful initiative to strengthen domestic supply chains at IndustryWeek’s Best Plants Conference April 3 in Milwaukee. 


In his presentation he’ll provide an overview of Accelerate, a collaborative approach between suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to speed up the process of producing goods and help U.S. suppliers gain a competitive advantage.  To date, WMEP has completed more than 250 projects with suppliers for 20 major OEMs and rolled out the program to Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers in 21 states. 


Hablewitz, director of WMEP’s supply chain group, has more than 30 years of experience in operations and quality management.  He received the U.S. Department of Commerce NIST MEP Innovator of the Year award in 2006 for his work on Accelerate.


 U.S. suppliers who are lean, fast and flexible have a competitive advantage over low-cost offshore competitors,” Hablewitz said.   


Sean Ketter, manager, enterprise supplier development, Oshkosh Corp., and Mike Dougherty, president, Black River Falls-based D&S Manufacturing, will share their perspectives on Accelerate from the OEM and supplier viewpoints.


Hablewitz will discuss how Accelerate can eliminate a wide range of issues confronting OEMs as they develop global supply chains.  “Many large manufacturers are finding the allure of a lower piece part from an offshore firm needs to be weighed against many other issues, including longer lead times, less flexibility, quality, disruptions in supply chains, port gridlock and other hidden costs,” he said.


More than 200 suppliers participating in Accelerate have reported a 50% reduction in Manufacturing Critical Path Time (MCT), a key metric used to determine “lean-ness,” Hablewitz said.



WMEP is a private, nonprofit organization committed to the growth and success of Wisconsin manufacturers.  Since 1996, WMEP’s experts have helped more than 2,500 small and midsize manufacturers improve profitability and productivity.  WMEP is a leader in lean manufacturing, growth services, strategic business planning, quality systems and supplier development.  During the past five years, WMEP-assisted manufacturers reported economic impact of $839 million with more than 8,000 jobs created/retained.  WMEP receives financial support from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, and partners with many public and private organizations to serve Wisconsin manufacturers. For more information, visit or call 1-877-856-8588.