Montana State University

MMEC launches 2011 Next Generation Manufacturing Study

May 27, 2011 -- MSU News Service

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Bozeman -- A manufacturing study first conducted in 2009 was re-launched May 27 across Montana by the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) to reassess state manufacturers on strategies that win in the global economy.

The "2011 Next Generation Manufacturing Study" provides a framework for understanding Next Generation Manufacturing (NGM) by identifying competitive performances and corporate best practices for achieving world-class status in the 21st century. The strategies explored by the NGM Study are customer-focused innovation, superior processes/improvement focus, human-capital management, supply-chain management and collaboration, sustainability, and global engagement.

The study, a web-based questionnaire, can be accessed at Any manufacturing owner, CEO or senior-level executive is eligible and invited to participate. The study is being rolled out nationally through the American Small Manufacturers Coalition (ASMC), the sponsoring organization composed of all of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers in America, which includes MMEC.

Participation in the study is confidential or can be anonymous and takes 20-25 minutes to complete. Deadline for participation is June 21, 2011. Study participants who participate confidentially (but not anonymously) will receive a comprehensive Next Generation Performance Report showing how their organization compares to other manufacturers (all participants as well as groups of manufacturers similar to their organization) in the key strategic areas. The analysis will address these questions:

How does my company's performance stack up vs. our competitors?

What do I need to do differently to catch up -- or stay ahead?

What's the latest innovation in manufacturing management -- and am I ready to adopt it?

Do I have the talent and tools to compete in 2011? In 2015?

This report can help companies manage operations for Next Generation Manufacturing competitiveness and success.

"A focus on the six Next Generation Manufacturing strategies strongly correlated with success in the first version of this study," said John Brandt, CEO of the Manufacturing Performance Institute (MPI). "Two years later, we're interested in finding out what's changed for U.S. manufacturers in a post-recession economy."

The MPI -- a global research firm that specializes in manufacturing issues -- is conducting the study and compiling the reports.

"We are encouraging all manufacturers and job shops in the state to participate as the
study results will provide a wealth of valuable data for manufacturers, business leaders and state and national policymakers," said MMEC Director Steve Holland. "The full report will be available in the fall, and identifying critical needs will help strengthen and improve programs and services that support manufacturers."

For more information on the Next Generation Manufacturing Study, call Holland at (406) 994-3812 or email Deborah Nash at

MMEC is an outreach and assistance center at Montana State University, the state's Land Grant Institution. MMEC field staff work directly with manufacturing company leaders and their staffs to find the right solutions to fit their goals and budget. MMEC has helped more than 650 Montana manufacturers from Alzada to Eureka and Corvallis to Opheim to increase profits by improving business processes and planning for growth. Learn more at

Evelyn Boswell at (406) 994-5135 or