Frequently Asked Questions
What is Dakota MEP?
Dakota MEP is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping build the next generation of business today. We provide companies expertise and access to public and private resources that enhance growth, improve productivity, and expand capacity. We work with companies willing to invest in their future, to make improvements in the short term, and to position themselves to be long-term competitors both domestically and internationally.
Are you a state or federal agency?
No. We are an independent, non-profit organization, governed by a board of directors made up of manufacturers. We are supported by funds from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Manufacturing Extension Partnership system, to provide assistance in North Dakota. Additionally, the North Dakota Department of Commerce sponsors the program.
Why do you charge for services when you receive government subsidies?
The purpose of the government subsidies is not to eliminate all costs for our clients, but to enable us to keep the costs to clients affordable; providing greater accessibility to resources and expertise. The average length of client projects is 80-140 hours, this requires a commitment of people and money resources by the client, and helps to ensure sustainable success.
How much do you charge for your services?
We have no set rate for our services. In concert with your staff, an assessment will be completed. From that, a customized improvement plan and cost of services will be developed. We guarantee a return on your investment and work with you until you achieve the expected results.
Is there financial assistance available?
Beyond the government subsidies, other options may be available based on the type of project. Our knowledgeable staff will assist you with any resources currently available.
How are you different than for-profit consultants?
We are local and accountable for our results with our clients, providing an objective approach to evaluating and resolving your company issues and concerns. Together with your employees, we plan for and focus on quantifiable benefits and impacts from the services that we provide. We spend time with you doing an assessment to enable us to estimate the benefits and impacts your company will receive, and then guarantee the results.
How does Dakota MEP measure success?
We measure our success through your success. Over the last four quarters, we have helped our clients achieve over $60M in impacts—these numbers are independently and confidentially provided by our clients through a survey process. Companies that have worked with us generate an average of $1.4 million in benefits and impacts—this far outweighs their investment.
Who have you worked with?
We have worked with hundreds of manufacturers in the Dakotas, many of which are featured as success stories on our website. Upon review, if you are interested in others, please contact us and we can get you more.
You are the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, yet you work with non-manufacturers—why?
The problems you're experiencing probably aren't unique to the manufacturing industry. Many of the tools and processes that work well in manufacturing are being rapidly adopted by non-manufacturers. Our core strength is identifying and reducing wastes, which occur in any industry. We have knowledge of and experience in implementing best practices in many different industries.
You provide a lot of different services. How can you do this successfully?
We use a combination of staff and carefully selected third-party experts to meet the needs of companies we serve. Using a standard business approach, we provide customized solutions to every company; which may include a combination of assessment, training, technical assistance and follow-up services.
Why should I use Dakota MEP? I have my own staff.
Think of us as an extension of your staff. We bring a fresh set of experienced eyes and provide a systematic approach to continuous improvement. As part of a nationwide organization of 60 centers and 1700 employees, we are able to use this resource and draw on their experts as needed.
Where am I supposed to find the time to make improvements? All of my people are stretched to the max.
We recognize time is always a factor in making any improvement. We can help you identify and implement some quick-hitting kaizens to improve your time utilization. This frees up additional time allowing you to focus on longer term improvement projects.
How do we get started? How does the process work?
- Schedule a free assessment visit: During this visit we will assess your current state and talk about your desired future state with you and your employees.
- Discuss the results of the assessment and develop next steps: We will meet with you and your staff to discuss the results of the assessment and identify and prioritize areas for improvement.
- Develop a proposal: Based on your identified & prioritized needs, a scope of work will be developed including services, cost, measurable metrics, goals, and estimated return on investment.