Strengthening Manufacturing by Accelerating Research and Technology (SMART) has been renamed FourFront Colorado. FourFront Colorado is a public-private partnership focused on accelerating the growth and resiliency of manufacturers across Colorado’s Advanced Industries, with a particular focus on advancing and assisting all businesses within Colorado’s defense sector. This initiative is funded through a federal planning grant awarded to the State of Colorado by the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) to support and strengthen the Advanced Industries cluster. The program is being implemented through a partnership between the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (CAMA) and the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).
Creating Colorado’s Manufacturing Commons.
FourFront will digitally connect four regional Manufacturing Advancement Centers that will collaborate, train, develop business opportunities and share B2B information state and nationwide. These centers will be located in the North, West, South and Metro regions of Colorado. The goal is to connect manufacturers with manufacturers, industry with industry, while connecting these businesses to Colorado and national research and training institutions in order to truly create a manufacturing commons.
Connecting Colorado Manufacturing Commons to National Institutes.
It is our goal for each Manufacturing Advancement Center to be Colorado Manufacturers’ gateway to the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) institutes located throughout the nation.
The FourFront Manufacturing Advancement Centers will be Colorado’s Manufacturing Commons providing shared benefit and services through existing intermediaries across Four quadrants: Research and Development, Workforce Development and Training, Market Diversification and Business Growth and Advancement
Advancing: Research and Development
The FourFront Commons will be supported by a single Application Center, connected digitally and personally to each of the Manufacturing Advancement Centers. This Application Center will be responsible for developing and deploying new technologies that enable companies to bridge the gap between R&D and manufacturing implementation. Through the Application Center, managed by EWI, the FourFront Manufacturing Advancement Centers will serve as the conduit to existing research and development activities across the state and the nation. See Project 7
Making our Workforce: Workforce Development and Training
The FourFront Project is developing and implementing a systematic program that entrenches industry in the education system. Through this effort known now as BASIC (Business and Schools in Collaboration), our manufacturing facilities, our offices, our laboratories, become classrooms for future workers by providing the skills and the practice required. FourFront will create “Certified Centers of Learning” within Colorado manufacturing companies. A Certified Center of Learning (CCOL) is a business or facility that provides onsite, experienced-based learning with specific curriculum. CCOLs are committed to giving students the opportunity to explore various careers and provide real-world training experiences to help students find their career paths and graduate work ready. See Project 9
The FourFront Centers training will also include the deployment of cutting edge technologies to Colorado manufacturers providing unique opportunities for continued advancement. As such each Manufacturing Advancement Center will include a Technology Deployment Program (an innovative, revolutionary 4 step program). It is the goal for the first Program to deploy digital technologies developed or enhanced through the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII). See Project 3
Growing: Business Growth and Advancement
The FourFront Manufacturing Advancement Centers will act as a single point of connection and services distribution to help manufacturers by providing access to a statewide data base being built that will capture and organize the support services and resources for continued advancement. Examples include:
- Operational Support Services (accounting, marketing, legal, technical writing, FSO consultation)
- Strategic and Business Consulting
- Certification Guidance such as ISO System Certification, specific industry certifications through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or other regulatory agencies.
- Market Intelligence such as Market Research, Technology Driven Market Intelligence®
- Commercialization Assistance
- Business Growth Services (Web Design & SEO, Supplier Scouting Services, Risk Management Analysis, Value Chain Optimization)Production Services (Prototype Development, Contract Manufacturing, Specialty Machining services, Manufacturing Software services)
Diversifying: Market Diversification
The FourFront Manufacturing Advancement Centers will be a focal point for market diversification, helping businesses increase profitability through greater sales from new products and new markets. Diversification will focus on all industries, with a main focus on defense diversification. As such, each Manufacturing Advancement Center will include a Defense Diversification Program with the first program being deployed in Southern Colorado. See Project 6