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Friday, July 28, 2023

Mississippi Manufacturers Association’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Receives $400,000 Federal Grant Award to Boost U.S. Supply Chain

JACKSON – The Mississippi Manufacturers Association’s (MMA) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MMA-MEP), in partnership with Mississippi State University’s (MSU) Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems Extension (CAVS-E), an affiliate MEP Center, received $400,000 in federal grant funds to create a more robust supply chain network to improve the connectivity of companies with domestic suppliers. This initiative aligns with the national mission to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and resiliency of U.S. supply chains and enhance manufacturing competitiveness.

As part of this grant initiative, MMA-MEP recently launched Connex™ Mississippi, an online platform that connects manufacturers’ and suppliers’ data into a single, accurate, searchable supply-chain solution. This platform offers Mississippi manufacturers a new source to find, discover, connect, and engage companies within the state and with other manufacturers across the nation.

This grant is funded through a pilot program under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. The National Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network (SCOIN) program has the overarching objective of establishing a robust nationwide network of suppliers and businesses creating “information that can be utilized to identify gaps and weakness and develop strategies and programs to build larger domestic manufacturing supply chain for critical industry sectors.”

“We are always looking for ways to help Mississippi manufacturers achieve their goals and CONNEX™ Mississippi is another example of our commitment to provide them with access to resources that ensure a productive, efficient, and resilient manufacturing community,” MMA-MEP Executive Director Sandy Crist said.

CAVS-E is an engineering outreach unit of Mississippi State University that has a 20-year history of working with manufacturers across the state by providing professional development training, on-site technical assistance, and supplier scouting.  As part of this effort, MSU CAVS-E will conduct supply chain assessments with strategic original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), map current supplier ecosystems to analyze domestic manufacturing capabilities, and assist with supplier scouting services to match suppliers that have the capability and capacity to provide domestically produced items needed by manufacturers.

“We are excited to be part of an effort focused on addressing our domestic supply chain challenges and strengthening our manufacturing resilience,” MSU CAVS-E Director Tonya McCall said.  “Historically, CAVS-E has served as a resource for connecting manufacturers with suppliers through our network of companies. However, this grant establishes a formal supply chain program available to all companies within the state allowing them to efficiently communicate their capabilities and extend their reach outside of the state, thus increasing the opportunities for economic growth and promoting domestic competitiveness.”

The MMA-MEP is part of the NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership network. MEP centers are in each of the 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, with a common goal of working with small- and medium-sized manufacturers to facilitate their expansion and growth.

“We are excited to be part of the CONNEX™ Mississippi implementation,” CONNEX™ Marketplace President & CEO Alan Davis said. “This dynamic platform will help connect and lift Mississippi’s manufacturing ecosystem, align local, state, and national manufacturing goals, increase collaboration across all state manufacturing organizations, and better connect large and small manufacturers across the state with new business opportunities.”