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100 Bureau Drive, M/S 4800
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4800

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  Supply Chain

Supplier Scouting

Download Supplier Scouting Brochure

About Supplier Scouting

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and government agencies often struggle to find suppliers that meet specific criteria. MEP Supplier Scouting effectively identifies domestic manufacturers that meet specifications and connects them with the supply chains of large companies and federal agencies. 

The MEP Network -consisting of at least one center in every state and in Puerto Rico- has extensive connections to individual manufacturers and a deep knowledge of their capabilities.

Through Supplier Scouting, MEP identifies U.S. manufacturers who can make specific products and who have:

  • technical capabilities and production capacities that match procurement needs
  • desired/required demographic attributes.


Supplier Scouting Video






MEP has partnered with 15 government and non-government organizations to identify American suppliers for difficult-to-source procurement needs. MEP Supplier Scouting facilitates the interaction between federal agencies and U.S. manufacturers to help agencies comply with Buy America and Buy American provisions, which specify domestic content for procurements. 

Since 2010, MEP Supplier Scouting has responded to several hundred requests for waivers of the Buy America and Buy American provisions from agencies who could not locate domestic sources of supply. Working with these agencies, MEP distributed information about their procurement needs to U.S. manufacturers throughout its nationwide network. The result of this collaboration has been the identification of hundreds of domestic suppliers representing tens of millions of procurement dollars kept in the U.S.

In some cases, MEP Supplier Scouting has also helped agencies to locate suppliers with specific demographic attributes, such as veteran-owned or service disabled veteran-owned small businesses. 

Sample agencies that MEP has partnered with include: 

  • U.S. Department of Transportation: Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration (intra-city public transportation systems), Federal Highway Administration, and Maritime Administration
  • U.S. Department of Energy: including alternative and renewable energy technologies
  • U.S. Department of Commerce: National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • U.S. Department of Defense: Defense Logistics Agency, Naval Air Systems Command   

For non-government entities, MEP Supplier Scouting has been applied to a diverse set of commercial supply chain needs.  Scouting approaches are tailored to the specific needs of customers – from “small makers’” to more established companies – resulting in the delivery of interested and capable domestic manufacturers to solve the most challenging supply chain needs.  MEP Supplier Scouting for private organizations can identify U.S. manufacturers with technical capabilities and production capacities that match particular supply needs, whatever they might be.  MEP Supplier Scouting can identify domestic manufacturers with capabilities and capacities to produce certain products or items, as well as companies with defined process capabilities, or even demographic attributes.  And MEP Supplier Scouting also identifies manufacturers that don’t just match a particular need, but who are interested in the business of capitalizing on opportunities.

Partners have included organizations that operate in industries relating to electric utilities, rail transportation, and a wide variety of consumer products.

Next Generation Transportation Supply Chain

Next Generation Transportation Supply Chain is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Transportation and MEP  to leverage agency capabilities to encourage the creation of domestic manufacturing jobs and opportunities for U.S. suppliers through transportation investments in the United States.

Many large OEMs, both domestic and foreign, have committed to focus on identifying and developing a more robust domestic supply base to support public transit in the U.S. Providing forums to manufacturers like the Next Generation Supply Chain Connectivity forums will help companies connect with large OEMs and find out what supply chain opportunities they could be part of. To learn more click here.

Contact us

To learn more about supplier scouting opportunities, contact your Local MEP Center or contact, or contact NIST MEP David Stieren or Samm Bowman.