Supplier Scouting with OMEP
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Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy and create two-thirds of net new jobs that drive U.S. innovation and competitiveness.

During this difficult time, manufacturers are looking for any opportunity to not only support their bottom line but also ramp up production of critically needed items. Enter the MEP National Network™. In FY 2019, the MEP National Network completed projects with 8,900 unique clients and interacted with 28,213 manufacturers, particularly small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs). One of the ways the Network has assisted these SMMs is through Supplier Scouting.

What is Supplier Scouting?

Supplier Scouting within the MEP National Network is a formal process to provide viable business opportunities to U.S. manufacturers and to connect those that have relevant production capacities and capabilities to aid current market and societal needs. The end result is the delivery of necessary products.

Supplier Scouting was developed in 2009 to assist federal agencies in locating Made in America items, components, and assemblies to satisfy Buy America requirements. Having already developed this “scouting” process, the MEP National Network was able to quickly mobilize and relaunch Supplier Scouting services in response to the current health situation.

What separates the Network’s Supplier Scouting efforts from other supplier matching networks and agencies?

The vast technical and manufacturing expertise that is available, but most important, it’s the personal touch that only comes from the Network. MEP Centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico maintain relationships with the SMMs and local organizations with whom they have worked. As of today, the Network has 2,123 active partner organizations. Of those, 1,023 have formal contracts. The Supplier Scouting service is one of the many tools that the Network has to connect small manufacturers with local, made in America supply chains.

Locating Difficult-to-Source Needs

The MEP National Network’s Supplier Scouting assistance can be applied on a national, regional or local scale. By leveraging extensive relationships and knowledge of U.S. manufacturer capabilities, MEP National Network is able to identify manufacturers’ production and technical capabilities and connect them with supply chains of larger companies and government agencies.

The MEP National Network works with public and private organizations to identify U.S. suppliers for difficult-to-source needs. Supplier Scouting facilitates the interaction between top-of-supply chain companies and government agencies, with U.S. Small and medium-sized manufacturers to help identify new suppliers who can produce hard-to-source items.

OMEP, through the power of the MEP National Network can support your vendor, materials or technical search by identifying:

  • Technical and process capabilities
  • Production capacities
  • Ability to make products
  • Manufacturers to pivot production to critical supplies

If you would like assistance finding suppliers to meet state or local critical domestic production, reach out to OMEP. We draw on our partnerships with Business Oregon and other local economic development agencies to find local sources.

If you have a Supplier Scouting need or opportunity at the national level, let us know and we can connect to the MEP National Network. 


Portions of this article were originally published on the Manufacturing Matters blog.

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  • Jasmine Agnor

    Jasmine Agnor, OMEP’s Senior Marketing and Events Manager, has more than ten years of experience supporting strategic marketing initiatives for both large and small businesses and organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest. Her background includes strategic communications, corporate branding, event planning and execution, campaign management, and print and web design. Before joining the OMEP team, Jasmine helped facilitate marketing and internal communications efforts for a seismic engineering firm as well as a safety consulting company.

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