Polaris MEP’s Rocket Program Rolls On with All Access Bus Tour of Manufacturers

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by | Sep 21, 2015

Governor Proclaims Manufacturing Week RI at the Event

PROVIDENCE, RI – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership), a division of the URI Research Foundation, continues its roll out of the Rocket Program introduced last month with the launch of their All Access Bus Tours.

The first All Access Bus Tours will kick off on September 29th during a ceremony marking the start of Manufacturing Week. This first tour will enable participants to take a behind the scenes look at two successful, growing manufacturing companies, WestRock of Slatersville (Formerly Polytop) and Spectrum Thermal Processing of Cranston. The tours will provide small manufacturing businesses with the opportunity to evaluate tools that can be used to help them grow.

Following a lively round table with members of the manufacturing and supply community Governor Gina M. Raimondo will sign a proclamation to declare September 28 – October 2, 2015 as Manufacturing Week in Rhode Island. In accordance with the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Day, it is an effort to raise awareness about manufacturing and the available opportunities in this growing sector of the economy.

“Rhode Island is home to more than 1,600 manufacturing companies that employ more than 41,000 people in good-paying jobs – we can’t get Rhode Island moving again without supporting growth and innovation in this important industry,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “With my jobs plan, I’m focused on making our state an easier place to do business and training our workers so that companies have the talent they need to succeed in a 21st century economy. But everyone has to pitch in for our comeback to be successful, and Polaris MEP’s Rocket Program is a great example.”

Participants have the opportunity to hear from company executives and see how they’ve executed strategies on lean efficiency, innovation and growth. They will see continuous improvement and lean strategies in action. They will also get a feel for how employee innovation drives efficiency and profitability gains.

“Our success is a direct result of the commitment that our employees have shown toward ongoing continuous improvement,” said Spectrum Thermal Processing’s Richard Houghton. “We are proud to share what we’ve learned with our colleagues in the industry.”

The All Access Bus Tours are one component of Polaris MEP’s new state-backed Rocket Program, which has a mission to help Rhode Island’s small manufacturers hit new levels of profitability, job growth and efficiency.

“Advanced manufacturing is crucial to Rhode Island’s ability to break new ground and lead in a number of high-margin sectors which produce value added goods and create quality jobs. Manufacturing in Rhode Island continues to demonstrate a diversity and responsiveness which will help spur new economic activity, investment, and business and job growth,” said Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. “Governor Raimondo’s jobs plan includes bold initiatives to position advanced industries for success through collaborative problem solving as well as technology and talent sharing. As part of this effort, the Chamber successfully advocated for funding for Polaris MEP to help manufacturers thrive. The Rocket Program is one innovative way that those resources are being used to help our manufacturers attain higher profitability and employment.”

The program has 3 other components: Manufacturing Consortia, Acceleration Seminars, and Launch Pad Pricing. The Manufacturing Consortia is made up of two separate member driven groups, the RI Family Owned Manufacturing Consortium and the RI Lean Consortium. The Rocket Program Acceleration Seminars will be led by nationally recognized experts on entrepreneurship and leadership and feature interesting twists such as a tour of Rhode Island aboard a C-130 aircraft from Quonset. The Rocket Program Launch Pad Pricing adjusts Polaris MEP’s project fee structure and makes programs accessible to small manufacturers.

About Polaris MEP
Polaris MEP is a statewide non-profit organization that provides competitive manufacturing business improvement programs to grow RI’s manufacturing industry. Polaris is an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Program (NIST MEP) and a business unit of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation. Since 1996 Polaris has delivered improvement solutions to over 750 Rhode Island manufacturers to help them achieve sustainable and profitable growth.

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