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  The NIST Manufacturing Extension Program for Kentucky

Advantage KY News

AKA is Kentucky’s MEP, But What is That?

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP), which as part of NIST within the U.S. Department of Commerce has interacted with over 25,000 manufacturers in fiscal year 2016 alone.  During this time, the MEP system reported:

$9.3 Billion

New and Retained Sales due to MEP Projects


New Jobs due to MEP Projects

$3.5 Billion

New Client Investment from MEP Projects

$1.4 Billion

Cost Savings due to MEP Project Efficiencies

 $9.3 billion in new and retained sales, 86,602 new jobs, $3.5 billion in new client investments, and $1.4 billion in cost savings.   These national numbers were reported by NIST MEP at the following location:

As a public-private partnership, MEP delivers a high return on investment to taxpayers. For every one dollar of federal investment, the MEP national network generates $17.9 in new sales growth for manufacturers and $27.0 in new client investment. This translates into $2.3 billion in new sales annually. And, for every $1,501 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one

manufacturing job.

How much of that growth or cost savings was from your company?  If your answer is nothing, then you might reasonably ask, “how do I get in on that action?”

Advantage Kentucky alliance is the NIST MEP partner for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. What does that mean?  Let’s look closer at NIST and its Manufacturing Extension Partnership program first.

“NIST MEP Graphic

NIST is the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and it was founded in 1901.  It is now part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST Standards allow technology to work seamlessly and establish trust so that markets can operate smoothly. The tools, information, and training provided by NIST, and the contributions and results produced by its staff, lead to advancements in research and technological innovation that foster the drivers of the U.S. economy: invention, improvement, and commercialization.

Since 1988, the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has worked to strengthen U.S. manufacturing. MEP is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a U.S. Department of Commerce agency. Through its collaborations at the federal, state and local level, MEP centers in every state work with manufacturers to develop new products and customers, expand and diversify markets, adopt new technologies, and enhance value within supply chains.  As can be seen by the numbers mentioned above, The U.S. Department of Commerce’s NIST MEP program has been a great program for the U.S. and its economy. But, these numbers may be too grandiose to comprehend, especially if you are a small to mid-sized manufacturer in a smaller state from the heartland.

“KY Map Graphic

These numbers may sound too big to comprehend for small and midsized manufacturers in the state of Kentucky, so you may ask, what has been the performance of Kentucky’s MEP, Advantage Kentucky Alliance?

As of September of this year, AKA’s clients reported that AKA projects in the previous 12 month period had provided:

$30 Million

New and Retained Sales due to Kentucky Projects


New Jobs due to Kentucky Projects

$43 Million

New Client Investment from Kentucky Projects

$11.3 Million

Cost Savings due to Kentucky Project Efficiencies

Keep in mind that these numbers were all reported by our clients and were directly related to our AKA project efforts. 

Here is just one example of how we helped a manufacturer in Kentucky:

“Decisions Graphic

The Creative Packaging Company, located in Shelbyville, KY, has been providing custom designed solutions products for the protective packaging, construction, pharmaceutical distribution and temperature sensitive distribution markets for more than 20 years. 

Although the Company had a quality management system in place, it did not follow any

standardized system as robust as the ISO 9001 standard that outlines a process approach to implementing and supporting a quality management system that allows management to

review data from the quality management system to ensure goals are met and continual improvement is achieved.  In addition, the Company operates a manufacturing facility that includes manufacturing for pharmaceutical distribution which is an industry that has placed more emphasis on operating with an established quality system.


Management sought guidance in achieving ISO 9001 certification with the assistance of the

Advantage Kentucky Alliance (AKA) Team. AKA worked with their team to use ISO 9001 as a framework to operate and change their culture to "data-driven" decision making. In doing so, they established objectives (goals) for each key process and included systems that graphically show how the processes performed with reasons that objectives were not being achieved as planned. Through the guidance and experience provided by the AKA team, they were provided the tools needed in taking ownership with their processes from a quality assurance approach. Implementation of their quality standards was introduced to their manufacturing team through training and communication; and records were created in collecting data from their various processes. They identified their weaknesses and implemented quality standards which changed their culture and quality environment.


Because of these efforts, Creative Packaging Company retained sales of $1 million and increased their investment in their plant and equipment by $500k.  They also experienced net cost savings of $350K and saved /created 22 jobs.  Click here to see the full success story.

To see more details of these and other AKA success stories, you can click here

What challenges are facing you right now? You owe it to yourself to check us out and see what we can do for you. Put AKA and its network of experts and partners to work for your company.  Grab your piece of the MEP pie!  Contact Kurt Felten, our marketing specialist, and have him set up a time for you to meet with one of our experts.  Kurt can be reached at 606-620-0076 or via email at You can also see our AKA website for more information.  Just go to

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