Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010
NATION'S FIRST GREAT LAKES WIND NETWORK CENTER OF EXCELLENCE AT K-STATE'S ADVANCED MANUFACTURING INSTITUTE
MANHATTAN -- Great Lakes WIND Network, an international supply chain network and advisory group, has named the Advanced Manufacturing Institute at Kansas State University as its first-in-the-nation Center of Excellence to expand the network's supply chain development efforts across the state of Kansas.
As wind energy original equipment manufacturers and component suppliers continue to expand across the U.S. market, there is a growing need to develop the component supply chain in order to increase industry capacity, reduce logistic costs and increase U.S. manufactured content. The Great Lakes WIND Network has established a worldwide reputation in working with original equipment manufacturers to assess readiness and capabilities of prospective component suppliers who wish to enter the wind industry's manufacturing supply chain. The organization also serves as a valuable resource to industry original equipment manufacturers by connecting them with competitive component suppliers across the United States.
In an effort to respond to these rapidly growing needs, the organization has announced the development of its Great Lakes WIND Network Centers of Excellence strategic initiative.
"Across the nation, demand for GLWN services has been increasing at an amazing rate," said Ed Weston, Great Lakes WIND Network director. "Our leadership team decided the most effective and industry responsive growth model for our organization is to develop strong partnerships with proven regional technical resources that can not only co-deliver our services, but also provide much deeper insights into a region's manufacturing capabilities. AMI was identified as the technical resource that had taken the lead on developing the supply chain effort across Kansas and would serve as the exemplary extension of GLWN."
The Great Lakes WIND Network expects to establish a limited number of designated Centers of Excellence that serve key regions of the country where the wind industry is actively making new manufacturing investments and/or existing manufacturers are actively pursuing industry participation.
The Advanced Manufacturing Institute is part of K-State's College of Engineering and provides engineering and business services to manufacturers and entrepreneurs.
The institute's engineering staff will work directly with Great Lakes WIND Network staff to provide site assessments for manufacturers wishing to enter the wind industry supply chain; make recommendations on possible components to be supplied; and assess the organizations overall production system.
Additionally, the partnership will enable companies who have met suitable criteria to participate in the Great Lakes WIND Network Wind Alert System which informs potential suppliers when an original equipment manufacturer or upper-tier supplier is sourcing a specific component that they are capable of producing.
"Kansas is uniquely positioned to take advantage of its extensive manufacturing industry and abundant natural wind resources. This partnership will support our existing manufacturers and help them enter this growing industry and exemplify the state's commitment to prospective future manufacturers," said Steve Kelly, deputy secretary, Kansas Department of Commerce. "We are extremely pleased that GLWN has selected AMI as its launch partner to expand its supply chain development efforts for the wind industry."
In addition to conducting on-site evaluations, the partnership will facilitate workshops across the state for manufacturers who are interested in entering the wind industry to become better informed regarding the opportunities and hurdles posed by the industry.
Great Lakes WIND Network is part of WIRE-Net, which is a nonprofit, economic development organization based in Cleveland, Ohio, that develops networks and provides technical support to help manufacturers strengthen their businesses, to create healthy communities, and fuel economic growth. Formed by WIRE-Net in 2007, the Great Lakes WIND Network is as an international wind energy supply chain network and advisory group with a focus on increasing the domestic content of North America's wind turbines. The network consists of more than 1,000 manufacturers and supporting organizations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico serving or emerging in the wind industry to support business expansion, investment and new jobs in the wind sector.