New association aims to help Michigan manufacturers

NOW: New association aims to help Michigan manufacturers

BRIDGMAN, Mich. -- A new association hopes to help small manufacturing companies in Michigan find the resources they need. 

The Michigan Manufacturing and Technology Association is a partnership between seven already-existing statewide industry groups. 

Duane Berger, the executive director of MMTA, says the group will connect small manufacturers in the state to experts that can provide the services needed to grow their companies. 

“Most of the manufacturers that are that 100 or less, smaller, they’re limited on resources,” said Berger. “They are brilliant people who start companies and they’re great makers but they aren’t always strong in the business world. They don’t have time to look for the resources that will help them grow and be stronger and more competitive.” 

Berger also serves as the director for Benton Harbor-based Kinexus Group. Kinexus is one of MMTA’s partners. Other partners include Small Business Association of Michigan, Edward Lowe Foundation, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, American Society of Employers, Midwest Strategy Group, Upskill Enterprise, and Change Agents Consulting. 

Members can call or email MMTA seeking help for services that they may need but may not have time to look for like technical training, cyber security, leadership training, legal assistance, etc. 

“The more we can make it competitive, not just within Michigan but nationally, the more we can attract business, new jobs, revenues, and ultimately taxes,” said Berger. “Michigan benefits with this type of growth cause we can make each individual company stronger, bigger, and better.” 

Since MMTA launched at the end of November, Berger says 11 manufacturers have already joined including two in southwest Michigan. 

“I already made a call to the MMTA and inquired about IT solutions,” said Steve Jackson. 

Jackson is the plant manager at Great Lakes Metal Stamping, one of MMTA’s newest members. 

Each day, he makes sure the company and its 52 employees supply the automotive industry with the parts they need but says as one of Michigan’s estimated 10,000 manufacturers with less than 100 employees, it’s hard to dedicate time to anything other than daily operation. 

“If we identify a need and we’re able to immediately enlist a consultant or a service from the MMTA that fills that need,” said Jackson.

Jackson has already called and asked MMTA for help with its IT system. He believes MMTA will help Great Lakes grow its profitability and efficiency. 

“As we grow, we need to advance the abilities of our associates to handle certain problems,” said Jackson. “I think there’s going to be mid-level managers that go through leadership training that will be able to learn how to handle certain situations for the people they’re managing. I think that our quality system will improve because of the training that we can take on.” 

MMTA hopes for more than 100 manufacturers to join within its first year. 

Interested companies can learn more about MMTA or apply here

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