Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions Helps Lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution

 July 12, 2018

Revolution is a powerful word. Historically, it’s only been after a revolution has concluded that the impact is realized. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is the fourth major industrial era since the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, and we’re witnessing it in real time. Characterized by the fusing of the physical, digital and biological worlds, it’s having an impact on all industries.

4IR is marked by emerging technology breakthroughs in a number of fields, including robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, The Internet of Things, 3D printing and autonomous vehicles. These technologies are improving lives, creating new jobs and making goods cheaper and better.

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Globalization, technology and an ever-changing world create both significant challenges and opportunities for Arkansas’ 2,682 manufacturers, who must adapt and innovate to succeed and thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Arkansas Economic Development Commission Manufacturing Solutions (AEDC-MS) was established in 1995 to provide hands-on business advice and technical assistance to make Arkansas’ industries more competitive. AEDC-MS is an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

The MEP National Network is a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to U.S. manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing U.S. manufacturing. The MEP helps small- and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy. Through its collaborations at the federal, state and local level, MEP Centers work with manufacturers to develop new products and customers, expand and diversify markets, adopt new technology and enhance value within supply chains. The Network comprises the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and has MEP Centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions has one goal: bottom-line results for your business. AEDC-MS has achieved a return on investment that ranks the program as one of the top MEP centers in the U.S. The program trains and consults with more than 200 Arkansas manufacturers each year and provides project assistance in Growth & Innovation, Operational Excellence, Leadership Development, Six Sigma, Environmental Health and Safety and Information Technology.

In 2017 Manufacturing Solutions helped Arkansas manufacturers: 

  • $914.3 million in increased and retained sales
  • $60.6 million in cost savings
  • $22.6 million in client capital investment
  • 2,063 jobs created and retained

Manufacturing Solutions works closely with many public and private organizations to bring world-class resources to Arkansas manufacturers. AEDC-MS has formal partnership agreements with four state universities, the state economic development agency and a nonprofit quality organization. In addition, the program works with community colleges and local economic development organizations to ensure local resources are used in delivering assistance to manufacturers.

AEDC-MS also works with some of the largest manufacturers to improve performance of those suppliers and keep jobs and dollars in Arkansas. It is able to leverage the expertise of a field of 2,000 manufacturing advisors from over 400 MEP Centers.

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