IMEC Launches Next Generation Manufacturing Study

Study will benchmark state's manufacturers on world-class manufacturing practices and strategies State's manufacturers urged to participate

PEORIA, Ill., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- A ground breaking research study to assess the progress of state's manufacturers in adopting strategies to win in the global economy was launched today by IMEC. The study is part of a national survey being sponsored by the American Small Manufacturers Coalition as a first step in a long-term effort to help Illinois and all U.S. manufacturers to weather today's recession and improve manufacturing competitiveness over the next decade. The web-based Next Generation Manufacturing Study questionnaire can be accessed at http://www.NGMStudy-Illinois.com.

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Any manufacturing owner, CEO or senior level executive is eligible to participate. Participation in the study is confidential and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. Responses can also be anonymous. Deadline for participation is March 15, 2009. Study participants will receive a customized benchmarking report comparing their progress to the overall results as well as to other respondents of similar revenue and number of employees.

The study asks manufacturers to rank their progress toward the world-class performance benchmarks of Next Generation Manufacturing, a framework of strategies that will drive manufacturing growth and profitability in the 21st century. The elements of Next Generation Manufacturing include customer- focused innovation, systemic continuous improvement, advanced talent management, global engagement, extended enterprise management and sustainable products and processes.

"What we see here in the U.S. and around the globe is that the adoption of these strategies aligns with better business performance," said John Brandt, CEO of the Manufacturing Performance Institute (MPI), a global research firm that is conducting the study. Brandt noted that a recent Wisconsin study of more than 500 manufacturers confirmed the strong correlation between next generation strategies and readiness to compete globally.

"Especially in tough economic conditions, progressive manufacturers are looking for new approaches to differentiate themselves and win market share," said Lachlan Perks, Vice President of Rockford-based Eclipse, and Chairman of IMEC's Board of Directors. "One important step in the growth process is to assess where your company stands against companies which have implemented leading-edge business strategies. The Next Generation Manufacturing Study will give us this comparison and I strongly encourage manufacturing leaders in Illinois to participate."

The study results will provide a wealth of valuable data for manufacturers, business leaders and state and national policymakers. Manufacturers can see how they rank against world-class performance benchmarks, and target improvements where needed. The results will also provide information for use by IMEC and Illinois economic development policymakers strengthen and improve programs and services supporting manufacturers.

"The study results will provide a scorecard that will enable manufacturers to compare their operations and strategies with other companies in Illinois and throughout the U.S.," said Bob Weinstein, IMEC President.

The study is part of a coordinated multi-state effort that will include manufacturers throughout the country. "It's an opportunity to strengthen and improve the Illinois' manufacturing base and achieve a long-term competitive advantage across all industries and sectors," continued Weinstein. "With the change in administration and attention focused on industry, manufacturers in this state who participate in the survey will have an unprecedented opportunity to shape programs that will provide them with the resources and support that they truly need to accelerate their success."

Currently manufacturing is the single largest contributing sector to the state's economy at roughly 13 percent of state GDP. Illinois is the nation's 4th largest industrial state, with Value Added manufacturing reaching $94.1 billion.

Partners for the study include the State of Illinois, Employers Association, the Peoria Area Economic Development Council's Manufacturing Strategy Team, the Rockford Manufacturers Council, Illinois Manufacturers' Association, and the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association. For more information on the Next Generation Manufacturing Study, call Tucker Kennedy, at 309-677-4633.

About IMEC

Globalization has created a fiercely competitive environment for domestic manufacturers. Firms of all sizes, and particularly smaller firms in particular are challenged by a fast-paced market with high demands for quality, cost and delivery. Since 1996, IMEC (the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center) has helped Illinois' manufacturers meet these challenges and many more. IMEC's team of 32 manufacturing specialists assists more than 400 manufacturers each year. Major solutions include operating cost reduction, quality improvement, continuous improvement (Lean/6 sigma), technology & innovation, and growth strategies. IMEC is a non-profit corporation with 10 office locations throughout Illinois. IMEC is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership, with over 1,400 manufacturing specialists throughout the U.S. IMEC's headquarters is located in Peoria at Bradley University.

Web site: http://www.imec1.org/




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