CIRAS Supplier Scouting Program: A Year of Reflection

During the past couple of years, we have seen major disruptions and changes in how we conduct business. It’s not a stretch to claim that all of us have experienced some impact from supply chain disruptions, whether professionally or personally.

In 2020, during the early stages of the pandemic, CIRAS and other Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers across the nation, leveraged their relationships with manufacturers across the nation to identify sources of supply for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face masks, hospital gowns, rubber gloves, and hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. Thus, Supplier Scouting was informally created.

As businesses worked through the post-pandemic “new normal” the need for continued support for our nation’s manufacturers became apparent.

Nearly one year ago, CIRAS Supplier Scouting as a service to Iowa businesses was born.

The Supplier Scouting program helps connect Iowa companies to solutions for their supply chain needs. This includes commodities, services and capabilities. Learn more about supplier scouting services. 

During the past year, we have worked to identify best practices in scouting new sources for Iowa businesses for the supplies and services they require, in order to streamline the process of facilitating those connections.

We have received over 60 requests from Iowa businesses for Supplier Scouting support since July 2021. Businesses who were successfully matched to new sources or solutions for their problems reported business impacts from $2K-$3M.

Not every scouting effort ends in a successful match up; but in nearly all cases, it links companies to new business opportunities to consider; and it plays a critical role in building awareness of the businesses and capabilities in the US manufacturing network. One CIRAS client stated: “The Supplier Scouting program does bring companies together and helps build networks which can only help down the road.”  Senad Salkic, American Athletic Inc.

Another client shared, “I really appreciate your help and support via this process, having you leading the ship helped me get more focus and engaged on the search.” Henry Imberti, Percival Scientific Inc.

As part of the MEP nationwide network, centers like CIRAS across the country are working with manufacturers in their states to connect them to similar opportunities and services. And we are all working together to link companies like yours to these nationwide opportunities.

CIRAS Supplier Scouting would like your help to get these opportunities into your INBOX, so that you can self-nominate or share these with your counterparts who may have the solution for someone else’s problem.

Beginning October 1, CIRAS will begin sharing these nationwide and local opportunities via bi-weekly emails. Sign up to subscribe.  

By opting in, you are agreeing to receive twice weekly emails summarizing manufacturer’s needs across the country. You may opt out at any time.

For more information, contact Melissa Burant at or 563-726-9958.