A unique South Carolina resource, with a little help from an old Pig, has catapulted a local company and begun creating jobs in North Charleston.
The South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP) is a private, non-profit group that serves as a resource to South Carolina businesses, providing them with a range of helpful strategies and solutions.
SCMEP offers a series of certification programs at the Lowcountry Graduate Center, including LEAN Manufacturing, Quality Audits, ISO 9001 and Statistical Process Controls.
SCMEP’s success with one manufacturer was documented in this space a year-and-a-half ago. At the time it engaged SCMEP’s help, Nanoscreen was teetering, with declining revenues and a fifth CEO in four years.
Nanoscreen manufactures and distributes automated liquid handling processes for the life sciences industry.
Back then, SCMEP helped the company achieve ISO-9001-2008 certification, critical in its segment of the life sciences industry. In addition to, SCMEP aided Nanoscreen in developing a customer database and CRM processes. It began to turn the company around.
Now, a year-and-half later, Nanoscreen has made quantum leaps and is beginning to re-engage SCMEP for further sales/marketing support.
After sinking to $1.15 million in revenues and seven employees in 2016, Nanoscreen bounced back to $1.75 million and ten employees last year. It has relocated to the old Piggly Wiggly headquarters off Rivers Avenue and has now begun recruiting other life sciences operations into the campus to form a life sciences incubator of sorts.
The new site is more accessible to interstates and the airport than the old Hanahan headquarters, says Nanoscreen President, Dean Sproles.
The return on SCMEP’s investment has been jobs created and retained here in South Carolina. “Having had the experience of starting companies in Seattle and here, the support offered by SCMEP is invaluable,” says Sproles. You don’t get that in any other state.”
SCMEP claims an economic impact of $2.45 billion in 2017, creating or retaining more than 7,300 jobs. One of its charges this year will be to help Nanoscreen maintain its ISO certification and hone its sales and marketing strategies.
Sproles is confident in the success of the venture. He forecasts sales are topping $6 million by 2021. As for being headquartered on Piggly Wiggly Drive, he’s thinking about petitioning for a name change.
“People laugh at the name,” he admits. “But it hasn’t stopped anyone from doing business with us.”