The Greening of Montana
The World of E-Commerce
Business to Business
From Bench to Business
Rocky Mountain Global
Business to Business
by Caroline Lupfer Kurtz
Youll probably look in the Minneapolis or Seattle phone book first, even though theres a little company right in Cut Bank that has that capability, says Bob Campbell, director of Montana Business Connections at UM. Its just hard to find it in a state as big as Montana.
Campbell and colleagues at the Universitys Bureau of Business and Economic Research are working to change this situation with a new online directory of manufacturing in Montana.
If you live in a big, urban area, its a lot easier to find the someone or something necessary to do a small, specialized job than if you are out in Glendive, he says.
But with the Montana Manufacturers Information System, business people can first do a thorough in-state search for sources or markets. Campbell is compiling lists of companies in each county or multicounty area from existing directories and studies of various manufacturing sectors. He will send those lists to area chambers of commerce and development authorities to fill in any missing pieces. He will then post the companies on the Internet in a database that will be ongoing, easy to update and free of charge.
A step beyond
Chuck Keegan and Krista Gebert at the BBER currently are surveying the industry sector by sector to help Campbell prepare his initial database. Manufacturing categories included in these surveys are wood, paper and furniture products; printing and publishing; machinery, equipment and instruments; food and kindred products; chemicals and allied products; stone, clay, glass; primary metals; petroleum and coal products; and miscellaneous manufacturing, which includes light manufacturing such as sporting goods, musical instruments, games, toys and jewelry, as well as other fabricated metals. Campbell expects that MMIS will be up and running by late fall.
MMIS is supported by the U.S. Department of Commerces Technology Opportunities Program and Economic Development Administration in cooperation with the Montana Department of Commerce, the Montana World Trade Center and the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center of Montana State University. Kreg Worrest is an MSU engineer based at UM to provide technical assistance to manufacturers in the western part of the state. His work makes him a resource for MMIS, Campbell says, and in turn the directory will be hugely helpful to extension engineers across the state because it will provide a better reference source for their clients.
The bottom line, Campbell says, is that MMIS is a way for manufacturers to get together, learn about each other and better market their products.
Theyre waiting for it, he says.