Industry Spotlight - Manufacturing & Distribution
The outsourcing of manufacturing jobs has been a heated topic during this presidential election. The loss of these jobs to other countries has proven tough to prevent as employers find that it’s rarely affordable not to outsource. However, engineers at the University of Utah have provided a solution that gives local manufacturers more tools and technologies that help them “spur innovation” and “utilize technology” to help us as a country remain competitive to manufacturers overseas.
On October 1, the University of Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center will start serving small- and medium-sized manufacturing companies by providing expertise in:
• How to use data to identify products and markets that are growing and provide resources for the prototyping of new products.
• How to implement advanced manufacturing equipment and technology.
• How to develop and educate the business’ workforce to use these new technologies.
• Helping businesses connect with investors and secure government grants to increase funding.
• Teaching businesses how to make their operations more efficient to maximize profits.
Colby Cooley, a Business Development Manager here at EDCUtah, says that this development “is focused around maintaining jobs here in Utah.” Overall, this decision is helping Utah stay competitive so that it remains a viable option against manufacturers overseas. “This serves as one more resource to the community,” says Cooley, “in that it strengthens Utah’s abilities around job retention and recruitment. Driving down operational costs, and increasing efficiencies provides Utah manufacturers with additional options, rather than being forced to offshore functions.”
The funding for this project will be provided by the U.S. commerce department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), along with private investors. In total, the center will receive $16 million in funding. According to Utah Business Magazine, there are more than 3,300 manufacturing companies in Utah, ranging in areas from chemical products and computer and electronic products to metals, aerospace equipment and food products.
Businesses in these industries will benefit greatly from the development of this new center, which is directed under the university’s College of Engineering headquartered on the University of Utah campus. Employing at least a dozen consultants and industry professionals and university staff at this location, with plans to open satellite offices in Cache and Utah counties in addition to having consultants in based in eastern Utah and Cedar City.