Published in Manufacturing

New database connects Michigan manufacturers with suppliers, producers

BY Sunday, February 13, 2022 06:10pm

With supply chain pressures continuing to disrupt their industry, local manufacturers have been eager to try every avenue for sourcing products and processes.

They now have a new tool at their disposal.

Terry Hossink

Late last month, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) announced the launch of a tool called CONNEX Michigan, which is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership program and rolled out by a combination of industry groups, economic development organizations and state leaders.

CONNEX Michigan is a database and connectivity platform for manufacturers, providing them with a no-cost avenue for sourcing suppliers and production capabilities.

“(Manufacturers) are still struggling — it has not let up. Supplies are short, transportation is short,” said Terry Hossink, vice president of manufacturing services at economic development organization The Right Place Inc., which houses a regional office for The Center.

“They’re looking for any advantage they can get. This CONNEX program was born out of the COVID pandemic and helps everyone find closer suppliers because it will really be a national network when we are done,” Hossink said.

Through the end of April, manufacturers statewide can sign up for CONNEX Michigan for free. After this promotional period, the resource costs $500 a year.

Michigan is one of six states to roll out the CONNEX platform, which is designed to eventually reach into all 50 states and become a national networking tool.

The CONNEX platform has also been deployed in Missouri, Kansas, Florida, Oklahoma and Utah.

Hossink, who has spent time using CONNEX Michigan, said much of the success of the resource hinges on the volume of manufacturers that sign up to participate with the program.

“This has the potential to be a long-term resource for them as they go out and look for products and look for other forms of help,” he said. “It’s just how much they use it that will be key to its longevity. It has some amazing tools on it.”

The CONNEX database catalogs a manufacturer’s assets, certifications, equipment, material types and other relevant information and makes the data searchable through a number of customizable filters.

CONNEX makes it possible to post business needs and find opportunities to provide supplies and services, both in Michigan and in other states that are active on the platform.

The digital tool not only allows manufacturers to build a larger pool of suppliers, but it also provides a way to find new suppliers that might be in their own backyards.

“In today’s logistics world, finding close (suppliers) is really good,” Hossink said. “Price will win, as well, but closer is always better.”

For now, Hossink and executives at other manufacturing organizations are focusing on outreach and getting manufacturers plugged into the platform.

“They’re excited,” Hossink said of some of the manufacturers that have already explored the CONNEX tool. “There is always the question of how much work it’s going to take to get in there, but it can make their jobs easier. Right now, I feel sorry for the supply chain people. They’re exhausted. They’re frustrated. Any type of assistance they’re happy with.”

Manufacturers interested in signing up for CONNEX Michigan can do so at the-center.org/connex. 

Read 2288 times Last modified on Friday, 11 February 2022 11:56