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October 2020


The Manufacturing Update is a bi-monthly electronic newsletter from Industry Expansion Solutions with up-to-date manufacturing news. Below you can view past issues.

Lead Stories

Services Funding Available for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

Through recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) funding, the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) has launched the Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) to provide grant funded services that support manufacturers’ ability to respond to the coronavirus and improve their competitiveness as the market adapts to the disruption. To determine your eligibility for the funding and to connect to an NCMEP representative, you must complete an Assessment and Eligibility Survey.

Take the Survey »


Manufacturing Day With ShopBot Tools

On Friday, October 2, NCMEP hosted a Manufacturing Day virtual tour with one of the largest producers of digital fabrication equipment for small-to-mid sized manufacturing, ShopBot Tools. We heard about the origins of the Durham company from founder Ted Hall and then got an inside look at the way their tools are built, how they’ve put Lean manufacturing principles to work and how they are constantly working on innovating their tools to help their customers succeed.

Watch the virtual tour and hear their story »


Committing to Virtual Success

The pandemic has required everyone at IES to be more flexible in contributing to the organization and our clients. With the Governor’s stay at home orders and the university’s guidelines for working remotely and travel restrictions, our staff’s ability to perform onsite projects has been impacted since the beginning of the pandemic. Despite the temporary travel concerns and customer restrictions related to protecting their workforce, our team has successfully converted and delivered many of our courses and coaching sessions into a virtual setting. These courses available include ISO 9001 Internal Auditor Training, Practical Project Management, and Quality Core Tools (PPAP, APQP, and FMEA). 

We have also transitioned to offering remote audits for ISO 9001 and AS9100. Our clients have remarked that our virtual instructor-led training (VILT) courses are engaging and that the transition to remote auditing has been smooth and, in some ways, has been the preferred method to those conducted onsite.

Contact IES today to learn more about our virtual courses and audits »


2020 Coolest Thing Made in NC Winner

On October 2, the NC Chamber announced Thomas Built Buses Saf-T-Liner® C2 Jouley™ electric bus the winner of the 2020 Coolest Thing Made in NC contest. Sponsored by the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the 2020 Coolest Thing Made in NC contest garnered 50,000 votes in the span of four week. Thank you to all who participated and congratulations to Thomas Built Buses! View the winner’s profile »  

New Episode of Clocking In—Voices of NC Manufacturing

In the August episode of Clocking In, NCMEP’s Phil Mintz talked with Geoff Foster, CEO, president and founder of Core Technology Molding about the founding of Core Technology, how the company has found a way to expand in spite of the pandemic, how the company’s supply chain has been affected by the pandemic, how Foster, being an adjunct professor at NC A & T State University, has given his organization a pipeline to talented, young professionals.

Listen Now »

In the latest September episode, Mintz talks to the vice president and general manager of Electroswitch, Kyle Martin. Martin discusses how the pandemic has affected the production at Electroswitch Electronic Products, the variety of their products, the importance of electrical switches and how Kyle’s background has prepared him for the leadership role at Electroswitch.

Listen Now »


EDPNC Transforms Their Workshops into Webinars

Are you interested in learning more about exporting? The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) maintains the recordings of previously held webinars ranging in topics such as: “How U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Can Benefit NC Manufacturers” to “Doing Business in Canada” and more. All of the webinars have been saved so you can watch them on-demand.

Listen Now »


Preparing for Cybersecurity Requirements

Cybersecurity measures should be a top priority when working within the DoD supply chain. In the near future, DoD contracts will require the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). If you are working within an advanced manufacturing supply chain, you will be required to help protect information that is shared digitally.

Read more about how you can prepare for cybersecurity requirements »


This survey confidentially assesses the impact Covid-19 has had on your business and serves as input for future NCMEP grant needs or new services that may be developed across the MEP National Network. This is a dashboard metric that we, at NCMEP, are using to improve our support and we appreciate your help in completing the survey. If you missed the first CARES webinar, we will repeat the webinar on October 13.

Register for the webinar »


mfgCON 2021

This year has been a long one for manufacturing. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a downward pressure on demand, production and revenues as well as a disruption in supply chains, resulting in layoffs for many. Next year, the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership seeks to bring back our event where we can network, learn from each other’s lessons learned, celebrate each other’s triumphs and strive to become better manufacturers. Join us for North Carolina’s premier manufacturing conference, mfgCON. mfgCON 2021 will be held on May 4–5, 2021 at the Durham Convention Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Learn More »

If you would like to be a speaker at mfgCON 2021, the submission deadline is January 31, 2021. Speaker topics include: Workforce Excellence, Operational Excellence, Leadership and Culture, and Technology, Innovation and Strategic Growth.

Apply to become a speaker »


Virtual mfgCON Pre-Conference

We may not be able to gather for mfgCON this year, but that doesn’t mean manufacturing knowledge vital to you can’t be shared. NCMEP will be hosting a virtual mfgCON pre-conference on Thursday, November 5. Join us for the half-day webinar where experts will discuss: the future of manufacturing, international supply chains and policy considerations for manufacturing.

Register Now »

NCMEP Partner Helps Brick Manufacturer Archive Safety Milestone

Learn how NCMEP partner, Industry Expansion Solutions (IES), assisted Triangle Brick in cultivating a safer work environment that contributed to approximately $100K in economic impact from cost savings, to improved productivity, reduced downtime and better throughput.

Read the Success Story »


Medical Devices—Developing A Market Expansion Strategy

Missed the first two webinars of the “Medical DevicesDeveloping A Market Expansion Strategy” webinar series? No sweat. You can watch the EUA has expired…what next and explanation of the 510(k) process and How can I implement an ISO 13485 based QMS?” webinar on-demand. 

Catch the last webinar of the series titled, “I want to sell my medical device outside of the US. What do I need to know?” on Monday, October 19. Darren Reeves, president of DP Distribution and Consulting, will discuss the requirements needed to export medical devices across borders including: what quality system is required, what an authorized representative is, how to obtain a certification mark and more.

Register for the webinar »


Leadership Essentials for Frontline Leaders Certificate Program

There’s a saying that “employees don’t leave organizations, they leave supervisors.” According to a study done by Randstad US, it’s true. 60% of US workers quit a job because of their supervisor. Poor leadership is driving talented individuals away and costing organizations. 

IES has a plan to change that. We’ve created the Leadership Essentials for Frontline Leaders certificate program to develop leaders that inspire, coach and motivate employees to reach their fullest potential. 

The format of this program has changed since we first announced it and will now be conducted through virtual led instruction. Upon completion, you will receive a digital certificate.

Register for the certificate program »


Why Food Safety Culture Is Good Business for Food Manufacturers

According to Food Tech Safety, recalls due to foodborne illnesses cost food manufacturers in the US millions every year. Appropriate food manufacturing safety measures can help to retain customers, save money and boost the brand.

Learn more about safety in food manufacturing »



We engineer success for manufacturing businesses one solution at a time by understanding our clients’ needs and then crafting meaningful and sustainable solutions to address their business requirements. Through our tailored programs and research-based, time-tested methodologies, we provide solutions to assist in strategic direction, improve performance and processes and address top line growth. We collaborate with clients to develop and implement comprehensive services and solutions across:

Upcoming Courses

ISO 9001:2015 Internal Auditor Training

November 11 | Virtual Course

Upcoming Webinars

Medical Devices—Developing A Market Expansion Strategy Series


I want to sell my medical device outside of the US. What do I need to know?

October 19 | 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST

Register for the webinar »


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