Polaris MEP's Manufacturing Innovation Challenge accepting applications


The application period for the next cohort of Polaris MEP’s Manufacturing Innovation Challenge opened on Oct. 21. Applications will be accepted until Nov. 20 and reviewed on a rolling basis.

The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge matches companies with a multi-disciplinary team with deep industry knowledge who collaborate with the company’s leadership to conduct a “whole company” review of the business. Company leadership meet with the team twice, for a total of six hours, to review strategy, marketing and sales, finance, production and delivery, and receive an evaluation of their company and recommendations for next steps.

“Taking stock of what you’re doing brings greater visibility to a company’s strengths and challenges,” said Christian Cowan, center director of Polaris MEP. “The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge team has worked with more than 50 companies and can rapidly illuminate the hidden barriers to success.”

The program demonstrated a 14:1 ROI across 30 Rhode Island companies in the Department of Defense supply chain, when it was operated by Polaris MEP with funding through the Office of Economic Adjustment through the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge is now available to companies across Rhode Island, regardless of sector.

The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge team is led by Mary Johnson of Polaris MEP, and includes Megan Boyaval, Bowstring Group (marketing); Alan Schinazi, Solution Nexus (industrial design, manufacturing and strategy); Tom Stocker, Owner’s Edge (finance, operations); and Brian Trahan (leadership communications and employee engagement).

“The Polaris MEP Manufacturing Innovation Challenge team bring value to companies that are determined to remain competitive in the quickly-changing manufacturing landscape, facing customer risk or going through a leadership transition,” Johnson said. “It’s an opportunity for companies that are interested in fresh perspective and setting a course toward the future.”

Rhode Island manufacturers can apply for the program through the Polaris MEP website, polarismep.org/services/manufacturing-innovation-challenge. Up to 10 will be chosen to participate on a rolling review process.

The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge is delivered by a team of private-sector consultants who specialize in manufacturing and are experts in strategy, marketing, design, engineering, operations and organizational leadership.


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