Do you want to make a positive impact on the State of Utah? How about on your neighbor’s livelihood? At the start of 2015, The Utah Manufacturers Association (UMA) introduced a “Made in Utah” initiative to support the consumption of Utah-made products. This initiative along with UMA’s project the Utah Capabilities Assessment Network (Utah CAN), aims to increase revenue for in-state business and, ultimately, your neighbor. The goal of these projects is to increase awareness of employment opportunities available in the manufacturing industry.
“There have been a lot of campaigns helping consumers connect with local companies,” said Matthew Holton, director of operations at the Utah Manufacturers Association. “We thought, with so many things that are made in Utah—from ICBM missiles down to donuts—this would be a great initiative to increase awareness. A lot of people don’t know these products are made in Utah by their neighbors—right in their own backyard. We want to help companies get out there because Utahns are very proud of this state and who we are as a people.”
The UMA initiative includes a branding campaign to support local products. UMA will start out by placing stickers in local storefronts. Businesses will receive “Made in Utah” stickers to place in their storefronts. UMA will distribute digital versions of the logo for use in letterhead, company websites and social media.
The initiative will also tell the story of Utah’s manufacturing industry, its impact and its people. Utah’s manufacturing industry provides employment to more than 130,000 Utahns, and the total industry payroll exceeds $6.1 billion. With more than 3,800 manufacturers in the state, the initiative will put a face to these companies and their employees while make manufacturing jobs more appealing to the future workforce.
“The success of these companies will depend on people choosing to buy Utah products,” Holton said. “Future success of these companies will also depend on how well kids connect to that product and say ‘this really cool gadget —that I love—is made in my backyard. Maybe making something like that is what I want to do when I grow up.’ Then, we as a state are better off.”
Holton said that businesses can support this initiative by not only purchasing Utah-made products, but also getting involved in social media. For example, posting a picture of a company product and using the hashtag #madeinutah can help connect the diverse range of local products while engaging younger audiences.
Participating businesses are also invited to offer their Utah-made products at a discounted price during this year’s Manufacturing Week, which will take place in October. In addition to the “Made in Utah” initiative, UMA also strengthens business through The Utah Capabilities Assessment Network (Utah CAN). The network connects Utah manufacturers to Utah businesses with a goal to reduce supply chain costs, increase manufacturing revenues and increase the number of jobs in Utah.
The network identifies the full range of manufacturing information for in-state companies and can perform searches by certifications, capacity, industrial codes, products and more. Businesses participating in Utah CAN have the ability to upload bids, communicate with other manufacturers and manage and track the bidding and supply chain process.
Utah CAN has already proven successful, according to Holton. One large manufacturer complained about the lack of a local supplier of defense-related antenna rays. The manufacturing company was outsourcing to the northeast of the U.S., which cost extra money and staff travel time. Utah CAN connected the company to a local structure steel company that could meet the manufacturer’s needs, resulting in a $70 million in-state contract.
Both the “Made in Utah” Initiative and Utah CAN are set up to improve Utah’s manufacturing industry, keep existing jobs in Utah and bring new jobs to the state.
“The Utah Manufacturers Association is just so proud of the opportunity to promote local products, and we’re grateful for the other Utah product awareness efforts that are out there,” Holton said. “We want to put forth the same effort when it comes to manufacturing. Manufacturing is producing your quality of life. Everything you use from the beginning of your day to the end—someone made that product. What Utah makes, makes Utah. And that’s something we’re proud to support.”
For more information on the “Made in Utah” initiative, visit umaweb.org. For more information on the Utah Capabilities Assessment Network, visit utahcan.net.