"We want to make it easier for companies of all sizes to get exposure for what they're doing," said Linda Adams, director of marketing for Impact Washington.
More than 7,000 manufacturers, with an estimated 250,000 workers, account for more than 11 percent of the state's total output of products, according to Impact Washington statistics.
Manufacturing companies are encouraged to join the program by visiting Impact Washington's website, www.impactwashington.org, to fill out an information form telling about their company, products and contact information.
Free registration on Impact Washington's website provides participants with a company profile Web page to showcase information about the business and its products, plus a Made in Washington logo for the company's website, a Made in Washington certificate to display at the firm's facility and a free subscription to Seattle Business Magazine.
Registration also provides access to Impact Washington's Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, where companies can research questions about becoming more competitive and profitable and network with other businesses. From the list of registered companies, Impact Washington will select a business to feature each week on its website and social media sites.
The goal of the program is to get more exposure for Washington state's manufacturers to prospective buyers and the general public.
A key component is an online directory built by state manufacturers as they join the Impact Washington program, providing a central reference to research the state's manufacturers, their products and websites.
"Basically, it's a way for us to communicate with a larger number of manufacturers with minimal time invested," said Adams. "There are 7,500 manufacturers in Washington so this program enables us to create a central directory online for people to find out about them. It also helps us make the state's manufacturing sector more visible and accessible."
Also, the Made in Washington program introduces Impact Washington to manufacturers who could benefit from the organization's other programs. For many years, until February 2010, Impact Washington was known as Washington Manufacturing Services. The name has changed but its services continue to focus on programs to help industries of all sizes, but particularly smaller manufacturers.
"Impact Washington tells more about what we really do," Adams said. "When someone pays us $10 they want to see measurable results. We're judged by our impact, such as lowering their cost of manufacturing or improving marketing or showing them how they can do things more efficiently. We often spend two to three years working with clients, helping them improve continually and getting to know them, their operation and their markets."
Impact Washington also partners with the state Department of Commerce, various business associations, community colleges and other business and manufacturing resources. Eventually the Made in Washington roster will be linked with the national Made in America program, she said.
The group is well known for programs such as its Small Business Consulting Program, aimed at the state's smallest manufacturers with fewer than 10 employees or less than $1 million in annual revenue. Impact Washington's experienced staff provides a site visit, business assessment and printed report detailing findings and recommendations for growth and market improvement.
The first 12 hours of consulting services are free, enabling consultants and businesses to get to know each other well enough to offer guidance for growth and improved operational efficiency. Additional consulting is available through a fee schedule that fits the budgets of small businesses.
Impact Washington has worked with small manufacturers for years, helping them to understand new ways to grow, streamline operations and avoid mistakes many small businesses make as they move to the next level of production.
Impact Washington offers assistance with marketing and sales, expansion strategies, website development, workforce training, inventory control and lean manufacturing skills.
"We make an impact by using our years of experience to help them build innovation into their company, creating new products and ideas to help them grow," she said.
One company Impact Washington worked with was a Bellingham firm, TransOcean, that had produced one product for 100 years: imitation crab.
"With help from Impact Washington in examining their product, markets and options, the business now has 12 successful products," she said. "Dave Green, the company's vice president and general manager, was so impressed he joined the board of directors of Impact Washington."
Impact Washington sponsors a variety of conferences, including its upcoming Innovation Engineering Leadership retreat at Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, Oct. 15-17 for $1,995 per person. Call Impact Washington at 425-438-1146, ext. 107, to get a discount code and registration information.
For more information, go to www.impactwashington.org; visit the office at 8227 44th Ave. W., Suite D, Mukilteo; or call 425-438-1146.