If Cash-Strapped Suppliers Want New opportunities outside the auto industry, the federal Manufacturing Extension Partnership can help.

The non-profit partnership helps companies find public and private resources to improve productivity, expand capacity and explore new technology. The MEP is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The organization has helped thousands of manufacturers achieve $1.4 billion in annual cost savings. The network has 440 locations across the U.S. and a nationwide staff of 1,600 people.

MEP Director Roger Kilmer says at MBS last year his organization worked with 32,000 manufacturing companies and completed 8,000 projects.