Federal Grant for RI Manufacturers Will Strengthen and Expand Local Supply Chain

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by | Aug 22, 2023

by | Aug 22, 2023

$400K Grant for RI Manufacturers Will Strengthen and Expand Local Supply Chain

Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center Polaris MEP will administer $400,000 federal grant with mandate to make domestic supply chain more efficient and resilient

Providence, RI – August 22, 2023 – Polaris MEP has been awarded a $400,000 federal grant to help Rhode Island’s manufacturers transform and strengthen their supply chains. The non-profit consulting group has selected Kayla Viveiros to lead grant administration and act as Program Manager of the Supply Chain Solutions portfolio.

“This funding makes it possible for Polaris MEP to introduce an expanded and more robust suite of Supply Chain Solutions for Rhode Island manufacturers,” said Matt Watson, Polaris MEP Center Director. “We’ll link Rhode Island manufacturers to even more resources for reducing the cost, friction and risk in their supply chain.”

Polaris MEP is one of 51 non-profit Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers that make up the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) Hollings MEP National Network.

In June, each of the centers was awarded $400,000 through funding authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. Each was challenged to develop a plan for expanding their supply chain services and to support a new national Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network (SCOIN).

“With this dedicated funding, Polaris MEP will begin to fast-track the expansion of the Center’s supply chain services,” said Viveiros. “Solutions are being specifically designed with the input of our state’s smaller manufacturers. We want every manufacturing company in RI, no matter how large or small, to be able to transform their supply chain and thrive.”

Polaris MEP Supply Chain Solutions to be rolled out over the coming months include:

  • Expanded matchmaking, tapping into an established NIST MEP “Supplier Scouting” platform
  • Technology scouting, acceleration and deployment support to improve production
  • Education, awareness and resources for identifying, validating and incorporating alternative or advanced materials

Viveiros has been with Polaris MEP for more than five years, starting as a project manager. She most recently served as the Program Manager of the Center’s specialist network. Viveiros is a graduate of the NIST MEP Tab Wilkins Emerging Leaders Program and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Supply Chain.

In a statement, NIST noted that the CHIPS and Science Act funding also will help develop the Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network (SCOIN), a national database designed to support the coordination of supplier scouting services.

“Supply chain shortages are due to a lack of supply chain capacity. To address this issue, we’re creating an information system that lays out all the suppliers across various industries. This way, we can connect small suppliers to more opportunities in the supply chain,” said Pravina Raghavan, director of the NIST MEP program.

Viveiros said Polaris MEP will leverage SCOIN in efforts to connect original equipment manufacturers from across the U.S. with small and medium-sized manufacturers in the Ocean State.

“Solving supply chain challenges and promoting localized sourcing is critical to keeping high-skilled, well-paying manufacturing jobs in the U.S.,” said Watson, adding that he believes Polaris MEP is uniquely qualified to generate the most impact on Rhode Island’s economy with the new grant. “Polaris MEP is extremely well-connected locally and in the region.”

Click here to read more about Polaris MEP Supply Chain Solutions.

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About Polaris MEP

Polaris MEP provides competitive business improvement programs to grow Rhode Island’s manufacturing industry. Polaris MEP is a statewide nonprofit organization. An affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), the consultancy is a business unit of the URI Research Foundation. www.PolarisMEP.org

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