University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services Brings Supply Chain Support to Manufacturers

The University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services (UT CIS) is introducing CONNEX™ Tennessee, a new program launching June 22, which is designed to strengthen the local and domestic manufacturing supply chain.

CONNEX™ Tennessee is a powerful online manufacturer database and connectivity platform provided as a no-cost resource for Tennessee manufacturers. It’s designed to help manufacturers connect with each other, find local and domestic suppliers, explore production capabilities, and manage their supply chain such as identifying single supplier risks and finding opportunities for diversification.

“The UT Center for Industrial Services is always looking for ways to help Tennessee manufacturers achieve their goals,” explains UT CIS Executive Director Paul Jennings. “We see CONNEX™ Tennessee as a great resource to help our state’s manufacturers mitigate supply chain risks, become stronger and grow.” 

CONNEX™ Tennessee is also supported by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry whose President and CEO Bradley Jackson said, “For manufacturers, the pandemic demonstrated just how vulnerable supply chains are. Many manufacturers are now searching for ways to domestically or locally develop supply chains to protect their operations from additional supply chain disruptions.  We hope that Tennessee manufacturers will be a part of the CONNEX™ Tennessee program which can help solve some of these problems.”

To help manufacturers develop more reliable supply chains and find alternate suppliers, the CONNEX Tennessee platform will help manufacturers identify potential suppliers within the state based on their capabilities, not just current production. Results can then be filtered using hundreds of unique criteria such as equipment, processes, materials, certifications and more to meet a manufacturer’s specific needs.

In addition, disruptions to existing supply chains have resulted in shortages of materials and inputs to manufacturing processes, which is hampering the productivity and profitability of Tennessee manufacturers. CONNEX Tennessee will offer manufacturers the ability to post requests for information (RFIs) and requests for quotes (RFQs) for such items in the platform’s B2B Exchange Center to which qualified suppliers may directly respond to the post with their capabilities and availability. These platform features will help Tennessee manufacturers quickly find the materials and inputs they need to meet their productivity and profitability objectives while improving supply chain robustness for downstream manufacturers as well. 

The CONNEX Marketplace technology was developed several years ago by i5 Services to connect the U.S. manufacturing supply chain. It’s now being used by manufacturers and suppliers across the country to connect with each other and find new business opportunities.  Tennessee is the seventh state to roll out the CONNEX Marketplace™ platform, joining Missouri, Kansas, Florida, Oklahoma, Michigan and Utah. In each state, the platform is managed by a MEP center to provide a coordinated approach to outreach and direction for users.

“We are thrilled to have UT CIS and the Tennessee Chamber sponsor and support CONNEX Tennessee,” said President and CEO of i5 Services Alan Davis.. “It’s a sign of their strong leadership and commitment to the Tennessee manufacturing industry which is one of the pillars of the Tennessee economy.”

Free registration for Tennessee manufacturers and suppliers will begin on June 22 when the platform officially launches. In the meantime, more information can be found at: 

About the University of Tennessee’s Center for Industrial Services

UT CIS, an agency of the UT Institute for Public Services, is a member of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) National Network™. The MEP National Network is a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to U.S. manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing U.S. manufacturing. It’s focused on helping small and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy.

About Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry

As the Tennessee affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Chemistry Council, the Tennessee Chamber works today with its national and state business allies to maintain a strong, healthy business climate in Tennessee for companies to grow, to profit, to expand and to hire.

About CONNEX Marketplace by i5 Services

Founded in 2009, i5 Services develops solutions to significantly improve complex technical processes in various industries. They are working to connect the U.S. and global manufacturing supply chain into a single platform, which will solve many of the world’s supply chain issues. Called CONNEX Marketplace, this online platform connects manufacturers and suppliers to an accurate, searchable supply-chain database allowing Primes, OEMs and governments to post their needs and quickly find suppliers based on deep data such as equipment, certifications, capabilities and more. For more information, visit: