Montana State University

MSU center continues valued service to manufacturers, report finds

May 9, 2017 -- MSU News Service

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BOZEMAN - The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center at Montana State University helped Montana manufacturers create or retain 405 jobs and $64.7 million in sales in 2016, according to a report by the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

MMEC works with manufacturers to make their operations more efficient, expand their markets and make their businesses more profitable. BBER has evaluated MMEC’s performance each year since 2009 according to criteria developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which provides about $500,000 in funding each year to MMEC.

The evaluation is based on a survey of 52 of MMEC’s clients in 2016. Clients were surveyed six months after receiving services from MMEC and asked about their satisfaction with those services, as well as the resulting economic impacts.

Also according to the report:

  • When respondents were asked whether they would recommend MMEC to other potential clients (on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most likely), 72 percent chose 10.
  • When asked to select the top two reasons why they chose MMEC, the greatest number of respondents (69 percent) selected “staff expertise,” followed by “reputation for results” (29 percent) and “fair and unbiased advice/services” (29 percent) and others.
  • When asked to identify the impact of MMEC’s services to their business from a list of 10 outcomes, respondents selected “increased investment in plant/equipment” at the greatest rate (50 percent), followed by “increased investment in workforce or employee skills” (48 percent) and “cost savings realized” (48 percent).
  • An average quantitative measure of client satisfaction called the Net Promoter Score was calculated to be 86, the second highest since calculations began in 2009.

Additionally, BBER calculated that the total return on investment for all respondents was nearly 24 to 1; respondents paid MMEC roughly $510,000 for its services and reaped a net gain of more than $12 million. The return on investment for the State of Montana, which partially funds MMEC, was determined to be 6.5 to 1; MMEC generated an estimated $2.1 million in additional income taxes and received $325,000 in state funding.

MMEC, which is housed in MSU’s College of Engineering, includes five field offices across the state, in Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Kalispell and Missoula.

The full report can be viewed online at: http://www.montana.edu/mmec/documents/2016-MMEC-Evaluation.pdf.

Contact: Paddy Fleming, pfleming@montana.edu, (406) 994-3812.