Conference to Help Illinois Manufacturers Grow and Diversify

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May 11 event will connect smaller manufacturers with buyers from growing sectors such as aerospace, alternative energy, and medical devices and equipment.

Helping small and mid-sized manufacturers develop strategies to win business in fast-growing industries is the focus of a one-day Supply Chain Growth conference on May 11th at the University of Illinois-Chicago. The event will feature purchasing leaders from companies in the aerospace & rail transportation, renewable energy, and medical device sectors who will share background on their companies and offer information on how companies can become successful suppliers to these industries.

“Many Illinois companies have the capabilities to provide components and services to these growing sectors and many others,” said Bob Weinstein, President Emeritus of the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center (IMEC), a co-organizer of the conference. “What they need most is to identify the opportunities that match with their manufacturing capabilities, to make connections with companies that are looking to add to their supply base, and to learn what it takes to be successful in these sectors. The Chicago Supply Chain Growth Conference will address these needs.”

Conference Highlights:

Aerospace & Rail Transportation Technology
Purchasing representatives from Electro-Motive Diesels, Siemens, and Hamilton Sundstrand will discuss expectations for supplier performance and needed capabilities for aerospace and rail transportation.

Medical Devices and Equipment
Rick Paddock, Med Tech Director for the U.S. Department of Commerce, will talk about industry trends and opportunities for growth in this fast growing sector. Purchasing reps from Chicago area medical manufacturing companies are expected to participate.

Renewable Energy
Representatives from Acciona Wind Energy and Broadwind energy will provide an overview of the requirements for breaking into the wind energy sector. Industry experts from Illinois State University’s Center for Renewable Energy will provide an overview of the renewable energy industry including, in particular, wind power.

Other topics will focus on diversification and go-to-market strategies. Steve Barnhart, a Business Growth Director at IMEC, will map the diversification process and discuss key operational issues or industry requirements that must be met. He will also highlight examples of companies that have successfully sold to the three targeted sectors.

“Many area manufacturers are still recovering from the recession,” said Dylan Tuttle, Project Manager for Jane Addams Resource Corporation, which is partnering with IMEC to host the Conference. “As business picks up, it’s the right time for manufacturers to examine their business models and lessen their exposure to future downturns. Diversifying and securing new customers in new sectors is an important part of that equation.”

The event is being co-sponsored and supported by many of the Chicago land’s premier business and trade organizations, local governments, and educational institutions.

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