The Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub, an initiative of the Quad Cities Chamber supported by the Illinois Defense Industry Adjustment Program, has been busy helping area manufacturers and others in the defense supply chain grow, diversify, and stay competitive during the past year. Including its Tech Roadmap Preview in December 2016, the Hub has hosted nearly 1,300 attendees at 55 separate events to help educate attendees on ways to improve their business, learn about key technologies impacting manufacturing, and provide opportunities for networking and collaboration.
But the Hub’s impact reaches far beyond events. They’ve also funded intensive training for 32 area companies with the sole purpose of helping them diversify their current business portfolio of products and customers. Topics included market intelligence, internet marketing strategies, and export development.
The program also facilitated assistance to companies for materials sourcing, marketing mentoring, and work toward ISO certification. Thanks to the Hub, seven defense contractors also received scholarships for one-on-one assistance from an individual consultant trained in new federal DoD cybersecurity requirements to guide them on their path to compliance.
The Hub has served as a conduit to connect 15 regional suppliers with a federal prime contractor on a one-on-one basis to help them build future business relationships. They also launched the Regional Capabilities Catalog, an online supplier directory to help businesses raise their profile to others as well as source more business locally.
Before the end of the year the Hub will begin to debut technology playbooks, online “how-to” guides that help companies make the business case for and outline steps toward implementing emerging technologies crucial for future success. In addition, 2018 will see the unveiling of a proprietary supply chain mapping software to assist economic development efforts. The market intelligence-gathering tool will enable the team to assess both contracting opportunities that suppliers within our service area could fulfill, as well as any threats to existing businesses when market forces change.
The Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub serves as a pilot market for the statewide activities of the Illinois Defense Industry Adjustment Program, which supports the state’s defense and manufacturing industries by delivering resources and providing new insights that help companies and communities grow, diversify, and become more resilient. The Illinois DIA Program covers five communities considered to be at high risk to market force changes due to their ties to the defense industry, a high concentration of manufacturers or both. Other areas in addition to the Quad Cities include Rockford, Northeastern Illinois, Peoria and Southwestern Illinois.