Manufacturing On My Mind

November 21, 2012

Manufacturing is on my mind this week. It may be on my mind because I am developing a presentation for the NC Community College System Economic Development Conference and the conference topic is manufacturing. Or, it could be on mind because I will do my best to deplete inventories of manufactured goods on Black Friday.

Whatever the reason it is on my mind, manufacturing is on the minds of many. NC State University’s Emerging Issues Forum will be on manufacturing in February. The NCEDA fall conference theme was manufacturing. Abbeville County, SC announced an EDA grant award to fund a manufacturing incubator. Danville, VA is studying space needs for start-up manufacturers. Since this is a best practices blog, I want to share with you a best practice in supporting local manufacturing.

At the NCEDA fall conference, Nathan Huret, Existing Industry Coordinator, Catawba County EDC, made a presentation about ManufacturedNC.com. It is a website designed to offer local, small manufacturers a global presence.

Some stats he used during the presentation are remarkable:

  • 90% of all industrial buyers go online to search, qualify and evaluate suppliers
  • 50% of industrial suppliers are chosen based solely on the supplier’s website
  • $4k – $12k is the estimated cost to create a small website for a manufacturer

Nathan gave examples of web searches for manufacturing suppliers in his area. Even when the searcher typed in “plastic components, Hickory, NC,” the search came back with foreign firms at the top of the list. I tried it later by searching for different manufacturing components in my home town and the results were similar. Often the top listings were for companies not even in the state. How are companies to be found on the internet? And, if they are not found on the internet, how are they going to survive?

Nathan led a team of economic development organizations (four county ED offices and NC State University Industrial Extension Service) to develop a website that will bring North Carolina manufacturers to the top of search lists. ManufacturedNC.com is more than an online manufacturer’s directory. The site is designed to level the playing field by highlighting individual company capabilities, providing a loud and clear sales voice, and getting the company noticed on the internet.

Oh, and the site is provided to manufacturers for FREE – thanks to a grant from the NC Rural Development Center.

It you want to learn more about this best practice, view Nathan’s presentation at http://www.nceda.org/pdfs/Nathan-Huret-Manufactured-in-North-Carolina.ppt.

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