MxD and NIST MEP partner to boost small manufacturers' digital adoption and cybersecurity preparedness

Oct. 19, 2023
Digital manufacturing institute and extension partnership engage on five-year collaboration

MxD, the digital manufacturing and cybersecurity institute, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) have partnered to advance digital adoption by small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs). The five-year collaboration is designed to strengthen America’s manufacturing base and increase competitiveness by delivering tailored support to SMMs to accelerate digital adoption initiatives, including cybersecurity preparedness, and securing funding opportunities that directly benefit SMMs.

“As the backbone of U.S. manufacturing, SMMs make up over 98% of the market, and over 75% have fewer than 20 employees,” said MxD CEO Berardino Baratta. “MxD is committed to developing solutions that meet the needs of SMMs. The partnership with NIST MEP is critical in expanding reach. By working together, we can have a bigger impact on U.S. manufacturing.” Engaging in partnerships that proactively contribute to the success of SMMs is a central tenet of the MEP program, said MEP Director Pravina Raghavan. “Through this partnership, we will further empower U.S. manufacturers of all sizes to embrace productivity-enhancing, innovative manufacturing technologies,” she explained. MxD and NIST MEP bring unique strengths to the partnership. Both organizations share a focus and commitment to support workforce development, build resilient supply chains and advance technology adoption.

MxD provides a set of digital manufacturing resources, including an emphasis on workforce development, to ensure that talent has the necessary skills to accelerate technology adoption. In addition, MxD supports the NIST Cybersecurity Framework with assessments, workshops and preparedness training. And with ongoing input from its member ecosystem, MxD responds to market needs with specific projects that bring together industry, academia and government partners. For 35 years, MEP centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico have been dedicated to serving SMMs. The MEP National Network is a public-private partnership that delivers ideas to U.S. manufacturers to fuel growth and advance U.S. manufacturing.

More than 1,450 advisors and experts at approximately 430 MEP service locations provide any U.S. manufacturer with access to resources. In fiscal year 2022, MEP centers interacted with more than 33,500 manufacturers, leading to $18.8 billion in sales, $2.5 billion in cost savings and $6.4 billion in new client investments, and they helped to create or retain more than 116,700 jobs. “NIST’s Manufacturing USA and Manufacturing Extension Partnership programs are both vital to the nation’s efforts to rebuild U.S. manufacturing and strengthen domestic supply chains,” said Mojdeh Bahar, NIST associate director for innovation and industry services. “The programs complement each other, and this opportunity for extended collaboration will have broader impacts, helping small manufacturers embrace technologies that improve their competitiveness.” MxD and NIST MEP will work closely to define specific initiatives and impact measures through ongoing mutual participation in working groups and future state-level MEP collaborations.