The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded $1.6 million to a Purdue University program. The Purdue Center for Regional Development and the Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership are teaming up with the University of Michigan and Ohio State University to further develop the group’s Defense Manufacturing Assistance Program.
The Purdue DMAP, piloted over the past two years, has helped around 24 defense-related industries in Indiana.
The program was created as a result of the severe cutbacks in defense contracts given to Indiana-based companies. The number of awarded contract related activities from the Department of Defense decreased by 44 percent over a six year period for Indiana firms. The numbers dropped from around $7.8 billion in 2008 to $4.4 billion in 2014. Purdue is supplying technical help and targeted programs to help the affected companies succeed in the new economic environment.
"The benefit to companies is enhanced business diversification to offset the losses experienced as a result of the national defense drawdown and sequestration," said MEP director David Snow. "To date, Purdue’s MEP (through DMAP) has assessed and made lean manufacturing, quality system and/or market diversification recommendations to 20 Indiana companies, comprising 31 total projects."
The Purdue MEP team has already assisted Wirth Machine secure special certification, and as a result helping to create new market opportunities. during the programs pilot phase. The Evansville based custom machining company survived from a 30 percent loss in revenue with help from DMAP and is now on track for a 50 percent growth in the coming year.
PCRD director Bo Beaulieu said, "The Purdue team has helped communities develop plans to stabilize and position the community through in-depth regional industry/occupational cluster analyses, business retention and expansion programs, talent retention/attraction activities and other innovative economic enhancement strategies."
The awarded funds will support the DMAP project for an additional two-and-a-half years. The intended result is to create action plans and projects for the industries to survive the economic climate caused by the cut back of the nation’s military.