MEP Best Practices Conference: Lessons Learned

In September, leaders and subject matter experts from around the MEP National NetworkTM gathered in Kansas City for our biennial best practices conference. Why is this a big deal?  The 300 or so manufacturing experts in attendance brought back lessons learned from working with more than 26,000 U.S. manufacturers in the last year alone. In addition to sharing operational practices that make us successful, this was an opportunity to get a pulse on American manufacturing.

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Writen by: Mike O’Donnell
CIRAS Program Manager

So, what’s going on in American manufacturing these days?

  • It’s all about the people. Rural or urban, east coast, west coast, and everywhere in between, the top point of discussion is the need for more people in manufacturing.
  • Manufacturing is thriving, but there is a lot of variation and uncertainty due to tariffs. Some industries are being hurt, others helped, and there is no clear winner yet.
  • Industry 4.0 is here. Manufacturers of all sizes are beginning to implement next generation technologies that will redefine manufacturing as we know it.
  • The fundamentals still matter. Despite all the change, the best manufacturers are continuing to invest in understanding customer needs, controlling their processes, and developing their people.

Our team at CIRAS returned enthused and excited to help Iowa manufacturers continue their journey.

Stay tuned in the coming months.

Mike O’Donnell can be reached at or 515-294-1588.