Skip to main content

Innovation and Growth Services

Innovative Growth

The innovation and product development program breathes new life into companies who have found comfort in "business as usual."

Companies are beginning to realize that innovation is synonymous with growing revenue and profit. Nine separate studies by the Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership and Georgia Tech found that companies with a primary focus on innovation realize 50-100 percent greater growth and profit over a three-year period.

So how do you increase the speed of your development cycle without increasing the cost associated with development? One way is to focus your efforts on the right ideas: the ideas that will grow market share, while increasing profit, and strengthening your bottom line.

Our innovation and product development process begins with generating new ideas necessary for growth. We then dig deeper to give ideas life. We teach you how to not only identify risks and roadblocks that can stop an idea dead in its tracks, but also show you how to validate the potential monetary impacts generated by new ideas. This allows you to focus resources on the best of the best.

Once you've identified the best ideas for your company, we'll continue to help you develop those ideas into products and get them to market.

  • Idea creation
  • Idea definition
  • Idea discovery
  • Product design and development
  • Idea to market
  • Process design

To learn more contact:
David Carrick
412.327.9119
david.carrick@mail.wvu.edu

Global Business Training

Export Readiness
Do you often get inquiries from foreign customers but you’re not sure how to move forward? We can help you create procedures to effectively screen inquiries so you can confidently deliver product overseas and get paid!

The Export Process
There are various documents and procedures involved in exporting that do not apply in domestic business. We can train your team on the essential documents and take you through the entire process including, common sales practices and costs and risks associated with the transportation and delivery of goods.

Market Entry Strategies
Are you considering doing business overseas but are concerned about the cost and commitment of attending a foreign trade show? We specialize in helping clients select markets and create entry strategies based on empirical evidence. We will also help you develop your digital media strategy so that you are connecting with your target customers and generating new inquiries.

Export Controls
Also, with our knowledge EAR, ITAR and other U.S. Government Controls, our trainers can review your existing export management and control program to ensure you comply with important regulations.

To learn more contact:
Jerry Biser
304.290.8425
gerald.biser@mail.wvu.edu

Marketing Plans and Strategies

Marketing plans and strategies will help you define what sets you apart from your competition and make sure your customers know that.

How do you know if you are going after the correct market segment? What if there is a niche for your product that you have not found? Do you want to increase sales but are not sure where to start? Are you aware of what your core values are and how to leverage those into increased market share?

We focus on delivering strategic marketing services to small- and medium-sized companies, because we understand the challenges you face and what it takes for you to be successful. We understand that success is based on a multifaceted marketing strategy, with a clear direction and purpose that will articulate the core organizational values of your company.

We will begin by helping you identify your strategy in relation to your competition. We will then help you to craft your value proposition in the form of a diagram so your customers can clearly see the benefits and advantages of doing business with you. This will provide the framework to craft a statement of values that you feel are important to communicate to your customers. Lastly, we will help you construct a tactical launch plan that puts all the pieces to work and places you where you should be in your market!

  • S.W.O.T. analysis
  • Marketing strategy
  • Positioning statement
  • Value proposition
  • Differentiating advantages
  • Brand strategy
  • Launch plan

To learn more contact:
Jerry Biser
304.290.8425
gerald.biser@mail.wvu.edu

Make it in America

Industrial extension is working with the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy.

In the current economic expansion, we have witnessed a welcome resurgence in the U.S. manufacturing sector. More than half a million manufacturing jobs have been created, many undoubtedly because domestic and foreign firms have realized the low costs and risks associated with locating in the United States.

The Make it in America Challenge seeks to encourage foreign and domestic businesses to build and/or expand their operations in the United States. Up to 15 awards will be made to accelerate job creation by encouraging re-shoring of productive activity by U.S. firms, fostering increased foreign direct investment, encouraging U.S. companies to keep or expand their businesses – and jobs – here at home, and training local workers to meet the needs of those businesses.

To learn more contact:
David Carrick
412.327.9119
david.carrick@mail.wvu.edu

Next Generation Transportation

Industrial extension supports national programs directed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Commerce formed a partnership to encourage the creation of domestic manufacturing jobs and opportunities for U.S. suppliers through transportation investments, which has been named the Next Generation Transportation Supply Chain.

Many large original equipment manufacturers, both domestic and foreign, have committed to focusing on identifying and developing a domestic supply base to support public transit in the United States, specifically, in conjunction with the implementation of domestic buying preference requirements and grant programs operating in all agencies of the DOT.

Providing forums like the Next Generation Supply Chain Connectivity to manufacturers will help them connect with large OEMs and learn more about what opportunities are available to small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the United States, and to see how they could be part of the domestic supply chain for U.S. transportation.

Participating agencies include:

  • Federal Railroad Administration
  • Federal Transit Administration
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • Maritime Administration

To learn more contact:
David Carrick
412.327.9119
david.carrick@mail.wvu.edu

Product Design Assistance

Industrial extension's product design assistance program will help you develop a successful product that is ready for the market and the manufacturing floor.

How do you identify tradeoffs between features, functions, and cost? Will the design require expensive tooling that might break the bank? What could stand in the way of success? What about your competition? How is your product different and does that difference make it better? Are you meeting a market need?

Successful product design can be a very tricky task. There are a number of factors that will affect the success of your product including design, sales, marketing, competition, and need. A successful product takes these areas into account during the design phase, breaking down silos to create cross functional success.

Our team has years of experience in both designing and manufacturing a wide variety of products. We have the tools at our disposal to help you determine if your product will survive in the market place. We can not only help you design your product, but can also help you in designing the process for manufacturing success as well.

Our team will work with you on a confidential basis to ensure you understand all the nuances of product design and how they will affect your product idea.

  • Product design review
  • Design for manufacturer
  • Three dimensional solid modeling
  • Computer aided drafting and design 
  • Data and market mining
  • Cost and potential sales
  • Obstacles to success

To learn more contact:
David Carrick
412.327.9119
david.carrick@mail.wvu.edu

Process Optimization

Industrial extension process optimization services will help you to improve processes allowing for increased production and reduced costs.

Do you have a production line or process that is not performing the way you think it should? Have you always done things the same way? Are you interested in continuous improvement opportunities? Would you like to increase capacity, but aren't sure how? Is the maintenance cost of a process eating away at profits?

Manufacturing is no different than anything else in life. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh set of eyes or a different perspective to find a solution that has always been right in front of you. The same theory applies to your internal processes. Whether it be a front office paper trail or a shop floor headache, we can help you to identify improvement opportunities that allow you to work smarter, more efficiently, and more effectively.

Our team has decades of experience in a variety of manufacturing environments. Our process utilizes the "plan, do, check, act" cycle. We will work with you to understand your process, and identify continuous improvement areas that will have a positive impact on your bottom line. Once we've identified these opportunities, we will work with you, hands on, to implement the changes, review the improvements, and continue the cycle until we've achieved your goal.

  • Value stream mapping 
  • Shop floor material flow
  • Material handling assessment
  • Continuous improvement training and implementation 
  • Standard operating procedures
  • Work instructions 
  • Job instructions

To learn more contact:
David Carrick
412.327.9119
david.carrick@mail.wvu.edu

Time Study/Process Evaluation

A WVU Industrial Extension Time Study / Process Evaluation will help to increase efficiency and reduce costs by assessing cycle times, processes, time management, equipment downtime, labor utilization, and more.

Do you know how much non-value added time is in your process? Does it appear at times that certain production activities or processes take longer than they should? Do key production lines run out of material or parts in the middle of production? Do some employees run out of things to do while others appear to be covered up?

Time studies are a great tool to use to help identify and reduce unnecessary steps, equipment issues, and “bottleneck” areas of production. A time study shows exactly the amount of time spent on individual steps in the production process, as well as any non-value added time such as waiting or material handling. Once performed, these times can contribute to process improvement initiatives and also assist in setting attainable performance metrics or a standardized process moving forward. Our team can evaluate the entire production cycle from start to finish. We will work with you to understand all aspects of your process. Our team will next complete time studies, then evaluate the material handling, floor management process, supply staging, and employee utilization to provide recommendations for improvement.

Our highly skilled team can help you become more efficient and productive while at the same time both decreasing costs and increasing profitability.

  • Cycle time analysis
  • Down time analysis
  • Floor management
  • Material handling
  • Work standardization
  • Employee utilization
  • Product staging

To learn more contact:
Sharon Lancaster
304.784.0156
shannon.lancaster@mail.wvu.edu