What to Know About the Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network

• The CHIPS and Science Act

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With this initiative, each center is required to engage with large manufacturers to gain more understanding of their needs and expectations, from components to certifications and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. The frameworks of ESG are used to assess the effect of a company’s sustainable and ethical practices on its financial performance and operations.

• A supply chain operations team—This is a community of more than 51 practitioners who will meet regularly to share best practices and what they’ve learned.

The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) was a key stakeholder in developing an assessment of the impacts of electrification transition on Illinois’ automotive industry. The report includes a risk assessment for the state’s automotive supply base, and it includes opportunities, concerns, and recommendations for Illinois stakeholders.

Some MEP centers have already done similar mapping work with encouraging results. For example:

• Strengthen and revitalize regional manufacturing ecosystems.

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• The Advanced Manufacturing Job Sprint (Investing in America Workforce Initiatives)

The supply chain mapping element is a significant opportunity for MEP centers and OEMs to align wants and needs. This will help centers make further inroads and increase awareness with OEMs that are upstream from their primary client base of small- and medium-sized companies.

The federal government has recognized the need to ease supply chain bottlenecks and ensure domestic production of products that are critical to national and economic security. This has led to investments that include direct funding and tax incentives for public and private manufacturing construction, such as:

2) Mapping and understanding supply chains and supplier capabilities, from OEMs to tier 1–4 suppliers.

The centers also will be learning about the supply chains in strategic or emerging industries, such as semiconductors, electric vehicles, energy, and biomanufacturing—where these key industries are going, and the opportunities and challenges for SMMs in those industries. This information will better equip them to advise local manufacturers.

1) Dedicated resources for staffing in supply chain management and/or supplier scouting to help companies identify domestic suppliers.

• The Inflation Reduction Act

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 by SMMs. As a first step, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) MEP, under the SCOIN initiative, awarded roughly $400,000 to each of the 51 local MEP centers to kick-start these supply chain efforts.

What is the Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network?

(NIST: Gaithersburg, MD) — The 51 Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers that make up the MEP National Network work to enhance the competitiveness of small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) within the United States. Although each MEP center operates independently and caters to the needs of its local manufacturing community, they share a common mission: assisting manufacturers, in various ways, to improve and succeed in today’s dynamic business environment.

3) Identifying, engaging, and learning the needs of key OEMs.

The events of the past few years, most notably the business disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the cascading effects that followed, have highlighted the importance of domestic supply chains.

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• A national strategic team—These are leaders from various areas, such as center directors, the NIST MEP national program office, and the MEP Advisory Board. This group will focus on strategy and outcomes. The strategic team also will be seeking to build focus groups of companies in key industries for additional feedback and accountability.

• Industry mapping is key for increasing engagement with large companies.

By leveraging the expertise and knowledge of each MEP center, SCOIN will facilitate the expansion of local manufacturing ecosystems. This means that the network will not only focus on individual suppliers but also consider the broader context of regional manufacturing clusters and their interdependencies.

• Enhance resilience and reduce supply chain vulnerabilities for manufacturers.

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• Scale up and enhance the impact of supplier scouting services that help organizations source domestic products and expand their capabilities.

Officially launched on June 1, 2023, the Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network (SCOIN) expands the MEP National Network’s scope from working primarily with individual companies to taking a more comprehensive approach to manufacturing supply chains. The initiative will help establish new MEP service offerings to provide manufacturers with what they need to improve existing supply chain networks and fill gaps in the supply chain. SCOIN will:

The structure of the SCOIN should result in a dramatic increase in the data collected and shared across the MEP National Network. Stakeholders expect there also will be significant learning opportunities about business-to-business relationships and partnerships (such as between tier 3 and 4 suppliers in a specific supply chain), an increase in supplier scouting, and a big opportunity to develop business around emerging industries that align with requirements for the Build America, Buy America initiative.

There is a new kind of energy behind the SCOIN Initiative

Operations

What to Know About the Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network

SCOIN expands MEP National Network for a more comprehensive approach

New Jersey MEP (NJMEP) has been part of a statewide offshore wind initiative, the largest of its kind in the United States. NJMEP completed an assessment of current workforce capabilities and development needs and conducted a supplier-identification project that found that 1,464 of the state’s 11,000 manufacturers could supply parts or services to the initiative.

SCOIN calls for a more systematic and inclusive network approach that includes all 51 centers, as well as:

• The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (with its Build America, Buy America requirements)

SCOIN goes beyond simply connecting organizations with domestic suppliers. The initiative will enable a more rigorous assessment and analysis of domestic manufacturing capabilities, allowing for a deeper understanding of the strengths, capacities, and potential areas of improvement within the U.S. supply base.

Published: Monday, January 22, 2024 – 12:01

Reach out to your local MEP center for help with supply chain issues or more information on the benefits SCOIN can provide to your manufacturing facility.