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In Illinois, Playbooks Help Manufacturers Implement Emerging Technologies

CHICAGO–Companies in the defense and manufacturing supply chain now have a new tool to use as they evaluate and adopt new technology. The Illinois Defense Industry Adjustment (DIA) Program and the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce have partnered to release a series of technology playbooks to help manufacturers and defense suppliers implement emerging technologies.

The emerging technologies include additive manufacturing, augmented reality/virtual reality, CAD/CAM, cybersecurity, data analytics, digital b2b platforms, enterprise resource planning (ERP), robotics, and automation.

"Manufacturing and defense are vital to Illinois' economy. We are thrilled to join with our partners at the Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub to help companies prepare for the technological changes that are coming," said Joey Mak, Illinois DIA Program Director. "By transferring knowledge and insights from one region to another, we can strengthen Illinois' industrial base and the local businesses that comprise it."

The playbooks are digital how-to guides for implementing key technologies that were identified as critical for small and medium-sized companies to compete globally.

Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense and operated by the University of Illinois System, the Illinois DIA Program supports the state's defense and manufacturing industries by delivering new resources and insights. Home to the Rock Island Arsenal, the Quad Cities region has deep ties to both defense and manufacturing. In 2015, the Quad Cities Chamber launched its Manufacturing Innovation Hub (the "Hub") to create a network of resources for its local industrial base.

Through the Hub, the Quad Cities Chamber partnered with the Illinois DIA Program to identify which technologies will have the greatest potential impact on local manufacturers and defense suppliers.

The Illinois DIA Program (http://illinoisdefense.org/companies) supports the state's defense and manufacturing industries by delivering resources and providing new insights that help companies and communities grow, diversify, and become more resilient. Each playbook provides an overview of the current technological landscape, shares best practices, identifies opportunities for use, builds the business case for, and outlines steps toward implementation. They also contain links to expert resources and partners for training, education, integration, and other support.

"The Hub is dedicated to helping area manufacturers and others in the defense supply chain connect and collaborate as part of an ecosystem focused on growth, business diversification, and remaining competitive as market forces change," said Kristin Glass, Quad Cities Chamber Interim President and CEO. "One such way we can do this is by providing a teaching tool–developed with the help of industry leaders with their fingers on the pulse of emerging technologies–to assist area companies in learning about the changes that will transform the face of the manufacturing and defense industries. Manufacturing and defense play a vital role in our regional economy, and both are facing changes. By working together, we can make our region stronger."

The Illinois DIA Program works with communities across Illinois that have clear links to the defense industry based on the presence of key military assets, a high concentration of manufacturers, or both. These communities include the Quad Cities, Rockford, Northeastern Illinois, Peoria, and Southwestern Illinois.

With funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), the program is executed through a partnership between the University of Illinois System, the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, and the Voorhees Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

To access the technology playbooks, go to http://quadcitieschamber.com/playbooks. To learn more about the Illinois DIA Program, please visit www.illinoisdia.org.

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