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Iowa State University Extension

It’s about parts -- and increasing competitiveness of Iowa manufacturers

Jim Black

What do Deere & Company, Harley Davidson and Oshkosh Trucks have in common? They’re original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and they need parts -- parts that often are made by small and medium sized companies. Iowa State University Extension’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) works with many companies that provide parts and equipment used by Iowa OEMs. Thanks to this program, suppliers of parts for some of Iowa’s major industries are getting a boost in their global competitiveness, according to Jim Black, CIRAS industrial specialist.

The process benefits both the suppliers and the OEMs by increasing productivity, decreasing the time from customer order receipt to order delivery on customer premises and building trust -- all key elements in keeping U.S. products competitive, Black said.

Deere & Company, an Iowa OEM, has been a primary user of the service; CIRAS has worked with several of its suppliers. Bob Smola, Deere & Company supplier development lead engineer, said, “The value to Deere is the development of globally competitive suppliers in Iowa that allows us to support our build-to-demand strategies. We’ve used CIRAS for supply chain improvement projects since 2005 and plan to target additional work in 2008.”

For more information, see the related story in the Extension Connection newsletter.

This article appeared in August 2007 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter