The Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC) exists to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the region develop strategic expansion plans, increase exports, and compete in the Philadelphia area and around the world. But not enough businesses are taking advantage of the help that DVIRC could provide.
On Thursday August 12, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) visited a Quakertown manufacturing company, Fabric Development, to highlight the work that DVIRC does and how companies can learn about and use their services. He also announced that the $185,000 in federal funding he is working to get for DVIRC has cleared a key legislative hurdle toward becoming law.
"To propel our economy out of the recession, we need to focus on making things in America again," Murphy said. "I'm committed to connecting small businesses with the resources that will help them succeed, grow, and hire new workers. DVIRC is a key resource, and I'm proud to partner with them to support domestic manufacturing here in Southeastern Pennsylvania."
Among other things, DVIRC puts together strategic plans for manufacturing companies looking to expand, improve the efficiency of their operations, or take advantage of new export opportunities. DVIRC will meet with business owners and put together a specific proposal for that company. If the company accepts the proposal, DVIRC will serve as their consultant and help them carry out the expansion plan.
"Patrick Murphy's support allows us to help Bucks County manufacturers operate more efficiently and create jobs, even in today's difficult economic climate," said Tony Girifalco, Executive VP of DVIRC. "Many of our clients have been able to avoid layoffs or even hire new workers during the recession because of the improvements they've made to their operations."
"Patrick Murphy understands the needs of small businesses," said Mary Shafer, General Manager of Fabric Development. "By supporting organizations like DVIRC, he is helping local manufacturers from the ground up, giving us the tools to increase our competitiveness and retain or hire new workers."
Fabric Development, a fabric and textile manufacturer with 91 employees, is one of dozens of companies in the region that have benefitted from DVIRC's services. On Thursday, Shafer addressed the changes her company has made as a result of their partnership. She said the company has adopted new "lean manufacturing techniques" to become more competitive and retain jobs. Shafer credited DVIRC's strategic plan for the company as a main reason why they have gotten through the economic downturn without having to lay off a single employee.
To help DVIRC serve more companies, Patrick Murphy is fighting for $185,000 in federal funding that DVIRC will be use to help more small and medium-sized manufacturers develop growth strategies. That funding has been passed by the Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee, the first major step toward becoming law. DVIRC would use the funding to develop an Emerging Manufacturing Initiative, a program designed specifically for smaller manufacturers to help them develop growth strategies for their businesses and to become leaders in our regional economy.
In the past, Murphy has fought for full funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce. DVIRC is part of the national MEP network.