The Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance is doing its part to ensure that manufacturing remains one of the state’s key economic drivers.
Using variables such as employment, new sales, retained sales, cost reductions and investment avoided, the Manufacturing Alliance yielded a $9.5 million impact for manufacturers in Creek, Logan, Noble, Payne and Pawnee counties for 2015.
Pat Crane, the Oklahoma Manufacturing Extension Agent for this region, is housed in the Business and Industry Services division at Meridian Technology Center and is a strategic partner for manufacturers in the Meridian district.
“My job is to help manufacturers become better at what they do,” Crane said. “The Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance is really in the economic development business, much like Meridian. When we do our jobs, more Oklahomans can do theirs.”
The Alliance’s strength is its statewide network of manufacturing extension agents and application engineers who assist manufacturers as they streamline their operations, explore ideas for the future and improve their performance with new technologies. Agents like Crane work with manufacturing companies with employees ranging from five to 500.
“The only true criteria for working with the Manufacturing Alliance is that the company must be involved in some type of manufacturing and have a North American Industry Classification manufacturing code,” he explained.
Oklahoma’s Manufacturing Alliance does not charge for its services. Because of strategic partnerships with agencies such as the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, Oklahoma Department of Commerce and CareerTech, the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance is able to connect the dots between higher education, government support and business growth.
Assistance from the Alliance’s Extension Agents can include company-wide assessments, lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, engineering and technical assistance, problem-solving resources, business-to-business collaborations, export assistance and new markets, new product development and innovation engineering.
“With this job, you never know exactly what it’s going to be that will help a company,” Crane said about the influence he and the other Extension Agents have on the manufacturing industry across the state. “We do know that what we’re doing is helping people, helping manufacturers and helping Oklahoma’s economy grow.”
In 2015, statewide the Alliance helped 314 manufacturers on 430 individual projects. It is estimated that the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance’s efforts resulted in saving businesses $67.5 million in labor, materials and overhead. Additionally, during that same period, the Manufacturing Alliance helped create 1,492 jobs and assisted companies in making $115.2 million new capital investments.
The National Association of Manufacturers reports that the manufacturing industry accounts for 10.7 percent of the total output of the states, employing more than 8 percent of the workforce. Additionally, it is estimated that for every 100 new high-wage manufacturing jobs, 240 additional jobs are created.
The Business and Industry Services division at Meridian Technology Center provides comprehensive services to assist businesses and organizations. In the areas of computer training, health care, industrial training, management and staff development, and safety, Meridian serves as a strategic partner to assist organizations in maximizing potential and achieving their goals.