Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
February 2006
Governor Doyle Unveils Manufacturing Initiative in State-of-State

Secretary Burke Details Initiative During Visit to Jor-Mac Company in Grafton, WI

MADISON - In his fourth State-of-the-State address, Governor Jim Doyle announced plans to fund a new initiative to help small and medium-sized manufacturers that supply large Wisconsin companies identify and capture opportunities to improve their performance.

"We're going to upgrade, modernize, train and retrain, but we're not going to walk away from manufacturing," Governor Doyle said. "I'm funding an effort to strengthen more than 100 small manufacturers in our state that supply big Wisconsin companies like Harley Davidson, John Deere, and Oshkosh Truck."

The initiative will focus on assisting the Wisconsin suppliers to large manufacturers, typically referred to as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Technical assistance will be provided to 100 suppliers through the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) and the Northwest Manufacturing Outreach Center (NWMOC). The initiative expands a successful pilot developed by WMEP that resulted in an average reduction in order-to-delivery times of 53 percent for 16 participating Wisconsin manufacturers. Governor Doyle is directing the Wisconsin Department of Commerce to fund 50% of the cost for 100 companies.

Mary Burke, Secretary of the Department of Commerce, detailed the initiative today during a visit to the Jor-Mac Company in Grafton, Wisconsin. Jor-Mac is a client of the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

"We are helping small and medium-sized manufacturers compete more effectively in the global economy," which Burke said. "Because this initiative also benefits the large Wisconsin manufacturers that buy from these suppliers, it will strengthen entire supply chains."

Supply chains are the interconnected networks of companies that manufacture components of the finished products produced by Original Equipment Manufacturers.

Last year, WMEP released a study called The Wisconsin Manufacturing Study, which assessed Wisconsin's manufacturing economy. Strengthening the supply chains in critical industries was one of the study's key recommendations.

"This initiative will benefit manufacturers of all sizes across Wisconsin," said WMEP Executive Director Mike Klonsinski. "Large manufacturers increasingly require improved performance from their suppliers. By working with smaller companies to meet these higher standards, WMEP has actually been able to help companies reclaim orders that had been sent to China."

WMEP and NWMOC are nonprofit consulting firms that provide technical expertise and hands-on implementation assistance to small and midsize manufacturing firms on advanced manufacturing technologies and business practices. More information is available at www.wmep.org and nwmoc.uwstout.edu.

-- Tony Hozeny and Linda Abbott

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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