Most manufacturers and CPAs that meet with our advisors are unfamiliar with their state's Manufacturing Extension Program (MEP), making MEPs like a "best kept secret." Every state has a MEP, which are federal funded, nonprofit organizations established to help manufacturers with almost every aspect of business, making them a tremendous resource.
When a manufacturer engages with their state's MEP, they usually begin by performing a comprehensive assessment of the manufacturer to identify areas of weakness and potential improvement. This is similar to assessments for Company Retirement Plans and Employee Benefits performed by Wealth Enhancement advisors, but broader in scope. After identifying areas for improvement and recommendations, MEPs can help manufacturers with everything from attracting and retaining employees to provide training for employers in areas such as business operations to help grow, innovate and enhance profits. Additionally, they can help manufacturers better understand regulatory and compliance matters, and provide comprehensive business assessments to deliver a road map to improve competitiveness, performance and the ever-so-important bottom line.
Some areas of your state’s MEP expertise likely includes:
- Supply chain optimization
- Facility design enhancement
- Organizational structure development
- Business valuation
- ISO certifications and registration
- OSHA compliance
- and so much more!
Some states have more than one MEP, so it’s important to get to know the organizations and resources available to your company. The New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP), for example, is backed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and enables organizations to enhance their productivity and efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve employee performance. For more than 20 years, NJMEP has used its extensive network of connections to help manufacturers adapt to the latest innovative technologies and best practices to realize more than $3.4 billion in value. With the influence of CEO John W. Kennedy, Ph.D, NJMEP helps improve the efficiency, profitability and competitiveness of the state’s manufacturers. In New Jersey, the NJMEP interacts directly with over 3,500 employers through project engagements, training services and events.
New Jersey has roughly 11,000 manufacturers! They range from small machine shops and small food preparations businesses like bakeries; to traditional large pharmaceutical and industrial companies. Interestingly, many more businesses are considered manufacturers than you might think, such as certain technology companies. Even someone who owns and operates a cement truck is considered to be driving a manufacturing facility on wheels.
NJMEP’s focus on attracting and retaining workers was fueled by shocking statistics in how manufacturers have been adversely affected by a lack of training and guidance in these areas. According to NJMEP’s 2019 State of New Jersey Manufacturing Industry Report, 28.4% of manufacturers had turned down new business due to the inability to attract and retain workers, 33.2% held off plans to expand or create new jobs, and 45.4% had cited this as the biggest threat facing their business.
NJMEP responded by providing more workforce development, training and certification programs aimed at combating the convergence of workforce challenges facing manufacturers—and understood the need to partner with educators, the public, legislators and specialized practices to increase awareness and support creating career pathways in an effort to solve industry challenges. MEPs are also typically very active at your state capital and lobby to defend and promote the manufacturing industry.
The Warren, NJ office of Wealth Enhancement Group is an affiliate member of the NJMEP working with manufacturers to establish and manage employee benefits, including pension, 401k plans, group employee benefits, benefits consulting, and more. Learn more about the services offered by Wealth Enhancement Group to help you feel more confident when it comes to managing your company’s retirement plan and employee benefits.
Steven joined Wealth Enhancement Group through the partnership with AEPG Wealth Strategies, where he served as CEO and Founder for nearly 40 years. He is a nationally recognized thought leader in the investment management industry and has been interviewed by the financial press, trade journals, newspapers and dozens of television news programs like the Today Show and CNBC’s The Money Club.