From business strategy to lean techniques, this office serves businesses of all sizes

Article from February 5th, 2018’s edition of SiouxFalls.Business 

Here’s the first thing to know about South Dakota Manufacturing & Technology Solutions: It’s not just for manufacturers.

“That’s probably one of our biggest challenges is getting companies to know what we are and what we do, and we continue to work on that,” center director Wes Kelly said.

From an office at the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship, MTS offers a variety of services to startups up to large organizations.

“We always like to start at the top with strategic planning or strategic business mapping, and that’s really about setting the goals of the company,” Kelly said. “But we have a lot of different offerings, so it really depends on where the company is at in maturity and what they need at the time.”

Take a look at the full range of services:

MTS, which also has offices in Aberdeen, Rapid City and Watertown, has served almost 200 clients in the past 12 months.

It was established in 2010 in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and is affiliated with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, or MEP. This nationwide network consists of 60 centers across the United States with more than 1,200 consultants to make sure the solution provided is the best one.

The staff members in Sioux Falls “probably have about 120 years of experience combined, most of it in manufacturing,” Kelly said. “We have a mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, mereological engineer and an MBA on staff.”

The trend among businesses is finding ways to do more with the workforce they have, as hiring challenges make expansion difficult.

“Many are not able to grow because they can’t find the workforce. Some is a skill gap and some is just that the labor pool isn’t there to pull from,” Kelly said. “So we help them take the waste out and improve efficiency of operations, whether it’s in front-end or production. That’s really our bread-and-butter.”

While it applies to manufacturing, the same principles can support added efficiency in many industries, he said.

“We don’t turn anybody away wanting help,” Kelly said. “We are state-funded, and we don’t turn anyone away. Banking comes to mind and even retail. We also have startups that walk in here all the time.”

Clients pay on a sliding scale based on the size of the company and the duration of each project.

Next month, MTS will host two events of interest to many businesses. This Lean Certification course starts March 6th and runs for eight weeks and includes 32 classroom hours, several simulations and 24 practical hours apply training and identifying opportunities for improvement within participants’ businesses.

Another course March 27-28 allows participants to gain the knowledge and skills they need to audit their quality system to the ISO 9001:2015 standard. To learn more, click here.

“We invite anyone in business to learn more about our services,” Kelly said. “We’re here to be a resource, to share our expertise and to support the overall growth of our economy. We’re proud to have helped many businesses improve their operations and look forward to helping many more.”

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