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Strategic Plan

Manufacturing Extension Partnership Strategic Plan 

With a constant pressure to cut costs, improve quality, meet environmental and international standards, and get to market faster with new and improved products, manufacturers continue to face significant challenges and major opportunities. As manufacturers work to keep pace with accelerating changes, MEP's mission is critical to individual manufacturing firms, industrial communities, and the American manufacturing sector as a whole.

Over the past 25 years, MEP has proven its value to manufacturers as demonstrated by the resulting impact on jobs and the economies of all 50 States and the U.S. as a whole. MEP continues to build on these experiences to expand the capacity and capabilities of the MEP nationwide network to address the challenges and opportunities facing manufacturers. 

In 2014, NIST MEP undertook a strategic planning effort focused on identifying programmatic strengths and outlining major strategic goals needed to support the program's mission and increase the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.

Our Mission

To enhance the productivity and technological performance of U.S. Manufacturing.

Our Role

MEP’s state and regional centers facilitate and accelerate the transfer of manufacturing technology in partnership with industry, universities and educational institutions, state government, and NIST and other federal research laboratories and agencies.

Programmatic Strengths

National ProgramNational Program with at least one center in every state
PartnershipsFederal/State, public-private partnership with local flexibility
Cost ShareCost share policy that matches federal investment with state and private sector investments
Market DrivenMarket Driven program that responds to the needs of private sector manufacturers
Leverage ResourcesLeverage partnering expertise as strategic advantage
Access to MFG Local knowledge of, focus on, and access to manufacturers


Download MEP Strategic Plan Brochure

Download MEP Strategic Plan

Summary of Strategic Goals

Enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturers, with particular focus on small and medium-sized companies.

Champion Manufacturing

Support national, state, and regional manufacturing, eco-systems and partnerships.
Serve as a voice to and a voice for manufacturing and manufacturers in engaging policy makers, stakeholders, and clients.
Develop MEP’s capabilities as a learning organization and high performance system.

Enhance Competitiveness

Enhance the Economic Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturers

Strategic Objectives
Deliver services that create value for all manufacturers, particularly focusing on small and mid-sized manufacturers (“SMEs”).

  • Increase focus on very small, rural, emergent, and under-served SMEs.

Enhance competitive position through both Top-Line and Bottom-Line approaches.

  • Identify best mix of programs, products, and services to meet client needs at the center-level.
  • Identify and disseminate emerging needs of SMEs through proactive technology forecasting.

Enable centers to make new manufacturing technology, techniques, and processes usable by U.S. based small and medium-sized companies.

  • Improve working relationships with federal research facilities and educational institutions (including but not limited to NIST).
  • Support research and development consortia such as Manufacturing Innovation Institutions.
  • Develop resources to serve non-traditional segments (e.g. “Maker Movement”).
  • Utilize technology road mapping.

Support PartnershipsServe as a Voice to and Voice for Manufacturers

Strategic Objectives
Champion the importance of SMEs and ensure their inclusion in the economic competitiveness policies and programs of the U.S. government.

  • Communicate the role of production in innovation.
  • Strengthen and enhance supply chains through work with national organizations, OEMs and SMEs.
  • Inform discussions on disruptive technologies.
  • Support workforce and human capital development efforts through strategic partners that address the needs of SMEs, including those focused on an improved image of manufacturing.

Increase Role of National and Center Boards.

  • Increase connectivity between national/center Boards.
  • Ensure Board members serve as manufacturing advocates.
  • Educate stakeholders on the need for cost share adjustment and adequate system funding
  • Strengthen Board governance and accountability.

Develop “Data as a Service” for Competitive Advantage.

  • Utilize various communication channels including, NIST to Centers, Centers to NIST, Centers to Clients, NIST and Centers to Policy Makers/Stakeholders, to turn MEP data into strategic knowledge.
  • Produce "Emerging Trends in Brief”, short white papers to inform Centers and clients on the emerging topics of the day.
  • Ensure the use of MEP Data in decisions about both client service delivery and national/state policy discussions.

Champion ManufacturingSupport National, State, and Regional, Manufacturing Eco-Systems and Partnerships

Strategic Objectives
Provide Centers with local flexibility and adaptability to operate based on regional priorities and client needs.

  • Permit local choice on decisions to incorporate and deliver on the full range of MEP programs and services.
  • Ensure the continued ability of MEP to communicate successes and impacts across the entirety of the system at a national level.

Inform the development of federal and state strategies, and align those strategies to the needs of MEP Centers and manufacturers.

Support national policy goals.

  • Align program strategies to Administration/DOC/NIST strategies
  • Participate in Federal inter-agency collaborations.
  • Support workforce development and human capital through partnerships with existing organizations.

Develop CapabilitiesDevelop MEP's Capabilities as a Learning Organization and High Performance System

Strategic Objectives
Promote System Learning.

  • Conduct organizational learning through identification and communication of best practices, information exchange, peer learning groups, and national conferences and system meetings.
  • Develop an Employee Exchange program between NIST and Centers.
  • Accelerate succession planning at NIST MEP and Center levels.

Evolve MEP Performance System.

  • Continue to monitor system performance through directly reported client impacts.
  • Supplement the understanding of system performance by developing measures of regional value creation and contributions to regional manufacturing eco-systems.
  • Provide opportunity for center-specific metrics Continue administrative reforms.
  • Reduce Center reporting burden and Increase operational understanding and efficiency.
  • Maintain the program’s strong accountability to financial stewardship and serving the public mission.
  • Improve internal processes within the management of MEP as well as in partnership with “Business of NIST” units including legal, human resources, grants, and contractual services.

Refresh the performance of the MEP system and Centers by initiating a carefully planned, systematic, multi-year re-competition of the Centers.

  • Align national strategies with the MEP Center and with the state's policy priorities and strategies in economic development.
  • Rebalance Center funding to ensure adequate and appropriate $/SME funding ratios across the system.