ABOVE: Geoffrey Smith is co-chair of the Chamber’s Manufacturing Committee.
BY BENJAMIN FANG
On Tuesday, June 12, from 6 to 8 p.m., local Queens manufacturers will meet in the first-ever consortium at Boyce Technologies in Long Island City.
The goal of the event, organized by the Queens Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturing Committee, is to form a network of manufacturers, facilitate stronger connections and eventually, create new business partnerships.
“We want to understand who’s out there and give them a facility for being able to leverage each other’s business,” said Geoffrey Smith, co-chair of the Chamber’s Manufacturing Committee.
Smith explained that when it comes to “crunch time” for manufacturers, whether they need to acquire materials for a project or put together a product for a client, there is always a need for collaboration.
But rather than outsourcing to manufacturers in Pennsylvania, Texas or elsewhere, as he has seen many companies do, Smith said businesses don’t have to search far.
“Why not do it in your backyards?” he said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”
The consortium won’t have any panels or guest speakers. Instead, the event will focus on the manufacturers themselves, giving them a space to network and express their thoughts about connectivity.
Smith envisions groups eventually forming based on needs and skills. For example, tool and die manufacturers may break off to talk about their particular set of issues.
The event will be a jumping-off point for the network that the committee seeks to engage. Smith hopes that it will lead to the formation of a database of businesses and information that manufacturers can access for any project.
“As the evolution of this goes forward, what we’re looking to do is open this up so that people who are buying these goods can go onto the same platform and use this as a resource,” he said.
He noted that there are already organizations doing similar types of work, including Manufacturing Extension Partnerships, which are nonprofit organizations that support all kinds of manufacturers. The New York City chapter is called the Industrial and Technology Assistance Corporation, or ITAC.
Their strength is training, working with businesses on optimization, prioritization and skills development. Smith said he hopes the chamber can work with these MEPs to help manufacturers across the borough.
After the consortium, the Manufacturing Committee will review the event and see how much manufacturers are willing to engage. Smith said from talking to manufacturers, he definitely sees an interest in this type of network.
“Once we have a clear value chain of expression of what this is and build the network, then I think the adoption will quickly escalate,” he said. “There’s no harm, no foul on this whatsoever.”
The closed event is for manufacturers only. But Smith still has a message for those who cannot attend: get connected.
“It will only help you in the long run. You’ll know more about your immediate value chain that’s close to your operations,” he said. “You’ll have a direct connection with those people who can support your business.”