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December 10, 2015

Maine manufacturing partnership led to $7 million in investments

Work done by the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership in 2014 led to the creation or retention of more than 400 jobs and saved 48 companies more than $10.1 million, according to a recent study of the the federal- and state-supported business consulting program.

The study surveyed 48 Maine manufacturers between January and November 2015, roughly one year after a completion of a project with Maine MEP. It found that the work led to the creation of 121 jobs, the retention of 292 jobs, $6.99 million in new investments and the increase or retention of $43.2 million in sales.

The study, released by Maine MEP this week, was conducted by an independent survey company.

Work completed in 2014 included configuring Coffee By Design's new roastery on Diamond Street in Portland, improving operations at electronics hand tool manufacturer Xuron Corp.'s Saco factory and helping Saco ropemaker Yale Cordage secure a quality standards certification, said Larry Robinson, center director for Maine MEP.

At Coffee By Design, the consulting program worked to reduce the amount of time and movement wasted in the manufacturing process. By bringing packing materials closer to the roaster operation, the company was able to cut roasting-to-packing time from two hours at its previous Washington Avenue facility to 15 minutes at its new location, Robinson said.

Maine MEP works with small- and medium-sized manufacturers who typically don't have specific employees to do the tasks.

For instance, a larger company would likely have people on staff to develop the quality control plan needed to get the International Organization for Standardization certification Maine MEP helped Yale Cordage obtain, Robinson said.

The national MEP network has centers in all 50 states. In Maine, it is funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce, the state Department of Economic and Community Development and through fees charged to the companies for the work, Robinson said.

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