Finding the Right Fit

The Weekly Report – December 11, 2023
Enterprise Minnesota connects American OEMs with Minnesota suppliers, boosting their business and reducing the risk of future supply chain shocks.

Using a grant we earned from our national partner, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), Enterprise Minnesota is ramping up efforts to connect Minnesota manufacturers with OEMs in search of suppliers. By identifying a network of qualified suppliers in Minnesota, we can help American manufacturers find sources closer to home and reduce the risk of future supply chain shocks.

It’s an exciting effort that requires data analysis, marketing, and a solid understanding of manufacturing. And we’ve found an ideal person to spearhead the project.

Research analyst and supply chain specialist Amanda Baumgart has been working closely with MEP’s Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network (SCOIN) since she joined our staff in September. Requests from manufacturers in the U.S. in need of parts, products, resources, or information are sent through SCOIN to state-based MEP partners such as Enterprise Minnesota.

Manufacturers that produce parts for OEMs comprise 70% of Enterprise Minnesota’s clients. Connecting OEMs with Minnesota manufacturers is a natural win-win, but often OEM requests aren’t detailed enough to match them with specific suppliers. It’s hardly surprising when vague language such as “company seeks coconut fiber fabric for natural biodegradable erosion control” generates few or no responses from potential suppliers.

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Amanda has been working to incorporate the specific needs of OEMs–from product specifications and pricing to certifications and shipping methods–into a relevant database. She’s improving our own database of Minnesota companies, enabling her to quickly recognize when one of our state’s manufacturers might be a good match for an OEM’s needs.

The MEP has encouraged state partners such as Enterprise Minnesota to help facilitate connections between OEMs and manufacturers for some time. But until we hired Amanda–who dedicates 100% of her time to this effort–the results were inconsistent. Amanda’s full-time focus, combined with her professional qualifications make her a perfect fit for the position. She’s an outstanding and experienced data analyst with marketing experience and an outgoing personality.

By accessing databases and working with our field staff, Amanda has already matched up two Minnesota companies with American OEMs in need. As she becomes more familiar with the databases, the OEM needs, and the capabilities of Minnesota manufacturers, I expect she’ll be connecting more and more OEMs with suppliers across the state. “I like the challenge of finding the right fit,” Amanda says. “It’s like solving a puzzle, and I love puzzles.”

Our initiative is well-timed for Minnesota manufacturers who are seeing demand settle down to more normal levels and might soon have excess production capacity. Last year, 43% of State of Manufacturing respondents said they weren’t having trouble keeping up with demand. In this year’s survey, that number rose to 73%.

To learn how your company can benefit from this project – either as a supplier or as an OEM – please contact Amanda here.

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