Florida. Manufacturing. Those two words are not often put together.
And yet there are more than 21,500 manufacturers in Florida, delivering products in almost every industry, from aerospace to medicine to recreation and everything in between.
Fueling the strength of Florida’s manufacturing is a coordinated network of assistance. Spread across the state are 14 regional manufacturing associations known as RMAs. Their goal is to pro-mote, service and support local manufacturers.
All of the RMAs are under the umbrella of FloridaMakes, which is part of the manufacturing ex-tension partnership network, a nationally funded program to help manufacturers become more competitive.
Still, only 4% of Florida manufacturing companies take advantage of the benefits these organizations provide. That’s a problem not just for the 96% of manufacturers who are missing out, but for everyone, because manufacturing and the economy are inextricably linked.
Manufacturing creates jobs and the products to generate the revenue necessary to create them. A stimulated economy from manufacturing benefits the entire community. The manufacturing sector in Southwest Florida employs 13,023 people and generates more than $4.785 billion dollars in sales annually, according to data provided by Chmura Economics
The Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association, or SRMA for short, is the conduit that brings Southwest Florida manufacturers and the needed resources together to help them to thrive in the areas of economic development, state of the art technology, and maintaining a highly skilled workforce. If you need resources, we at the SRMA are here to provide them.
The SRMA regularly offers training, continuing education and networking, and it links manufacturers to even more. Our website, SRMA.net, shows you where to go to learn about tax breaks for machinery, existing machinery, property taxes, sales tax and more. We can connect you with opportunities for employee training grants, import-export training, compliance training, information about best practices, and assistance with human resources and recruiting.
Every month, we have a roundtable discussion, usually with a keynote speaker from a leading regional or state-level manufacturer. We also regularly arrange tours of local manufacturing plants that allow our members to see cutting-edge practices up close. And, we do after hours social events to facilitate networking.
Membership in the SRMA is an indispensable part of being a manufacturer in SWFL. It’s easy to join, too. Our secure portal on SRMA.net allows you to pay and instantly become a member, and we have a pay-by-check option as well. The cost is based on the size of your business, so you’re never too big or too small to get the most out of our service.
Dozens of Southwest Florida manufacturers are already plugged in and taking advantage of re-sources that put them at the cutting edge. Don’t fall behind. Join the SRMA now.
Neil Kagan is the executive director of the SRMA. With nearly 30 years of manufacturing experience, he is an efficiency expert who often works with companies on process improvement efforts such as Lean Manufacturing and quality systems like ISO 9001. To schedule a consultation, call (239) 560-0052 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.