Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center services help manufacturers increase their top-line revenue, improve their profitability and enhance their competitiveness and long-term viability. President and CEO Eric J. Esoda has been with NEPIRC for nearly two decades and has a wealth of experience in manufacturing consulting, financial management and more. In this interview he highlights NEPIRC’s economic impact and future goals.
How does NEPIRC impact economic growth in the state?
ESODA: NEPIRC is a not-for-profit member of Pennsylvania’s economic development community that specializes in providing technical and consultative services to small and mid-sized manufacturers in areas such as continuous improvement, quality systems, innovation and growth management, strategic planning and execution, supply chain management and leadership development. NEPIRC is funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development and is a member of the national Manufacturing Extension Partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. NEPIRC also receives financial support from its clients in the form of engagement fees that are practical for manufacturers within the 11-county region of northeastern Pennsylvania that it serves.
NEPIRC’s services help manufacturers increase their top-line revenue, improve their profitability and enhance their competitiveness and long-term viability. Over the past year, NEPIRC clients voluntarily reported over $175.4 million of increased revenue and more than $18.3 million in cost savings as a result of their engagements with NEPIRC.
These results facilitated their investment of more than $28.9 million in regional expansion and enabled them to retain 1,386 manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise been lost, while also creating 205 NEW manufacturing jobs within their companies.
In what way does NEPIRC support manufacturing?
ESODA: NEPIRC supports manufacturing in a number of ways. While the provision of specialized consultative services to our manufacturing clients has always been, and will continue to be, our primary focus, we undertake a number of efforts that support our regional manufacturing industry in a broader way.
Across its 11-county service region, NEPIRC offers no-cost seminars during which manufacturing leaders can learn more about the latest manufacturing technology, techniques and best practices. In recent months, NEPIRC has held workshops on Additive Manufacturing, the 2015 revision of the ISO Standard, the R&D Tax Credit, Innovation Management, Managing Millennials, Leadership and similar contemporary topics.
NEPIRC also offers benchmarking and best practice assessments to any interested manufacturer at no cost. Manufacturers can utilize the expertise of one of NEPIRC’s Certified Lean Specialists, Certified ISO Auditor, Certified Global Business Professional, SHRM Professional or Electrical/Mechanical Engineers to evaluate their operations and provide recommendations for improvement.
Companies can then implement those improvements with NEPIRC’s assistance or can utilize another consultant or internal resources if they so desire.
NEPIRC also supports manufacturing by raising awareness of the importance of the industry, which accounts for more than 12 percent of total employment across the 11 counties it serves. NEPIRC provides in-school presentations about careers in manufacturing to regional high schools, trade schools and community colleges.
What are some recent accomplishments and future goals for NEPIRC?
ESODA: NEPIRC’s staff and its Board of Directors are particularly proud of the engagement impact that its clients voluntarily reported to the U.S. Department of Commerce over the past year. The fact that NEPIRC’s projects enabled manufacturers to create and maintain a total of more than 1,500 manufacturing jobs and invest nearly $29 million into plant expansion, new technology and new products is both rewarding and motivating. NEPIRC is also glad to have partnered with other regional economic development organizations in ways that generated additional impact to its manufacturing community. NEPIRC partnered with the NEPA Alliance, regional SBDCs and other organizations to secure an Office of Economic Assistance grant that continues to provide financial assistance to Department of Defense suppliers that are feeling the pinch of recent defense spending cuts.
In the months ahead, with appropriate public and industry support, NEPIRC looks forward to the launch of its own Innovation Lab, which will host additive manufacturing, robotics, advanced materials and 3D imaging equipment and related training.