Manufacturing ‘game changer’: Oklahoma commerce officials tout portal

Published: Friday, November 6, 2020 By: Steve Metzer Source: The Journal Record

An online “supply chain portal” to be launched soon by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce should help manufacturers make connections and possibly land new contracts with others in commerce in the state and around the globe.

Commerce officials offered an update on the portal as part of a virtual forum held this week with business leaders and others. They said it could amount to a “game changer” for companies seeking to establish new relationships or make investments. It will leverage emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, to assist companies with data mining and analysis in an online “vendor discovery” process designed especially to advance state business interests.

According to Executive Director of Commerce Brent Kisling, a major goal is to connect manufacturers, service providers and other related businesses – and especially those that might have experienced supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic. Some Oklahoma companies may be in prime position to benefit from others interested in “shortening” supply chains to better ensure sustainability of operations. The portal should benefit companies both “upstream and downstream” in turning out finished products.

“I really want to hammer home that this is a game changer for us in Oklahoma,” Kisling said. “It is a way for you as a manufacturer in Oklahoma to see what else is being made here in the state and also to amplify what you make and hopefully land more customers. I think it is probably the biggest thing coming out of the pandemic that we learned and are going to be able to do better than any other state.”

Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Rowland said the portal could become a valuable tool for manufacturers and others looking for new opportunities.

“I think it’s going to be exciting for manufacturers and we’re looking forward to rolling that out after the first of the year,” he said.

The portal should be useful to companies involved in aerospace, automotive, agriculture, energy and a range of other industries, including medical research. It also will support wider-scale economic development, strategy development and out-of-state and foreign company recruitment, commerce officials said. It will be designed to consolidate spreadsheets and disparate information provided by vendors into a single-source, comprehensive, easy-to-access database.

Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development Sean Kouplen said the department also has launched a new initiative to encourage economic development by staging regular online meetings between entrepreneurs and capital investors. The first featured Cortado Ventures, a new private equity firm in Oklahoma City

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