A technological improvement program most of it paid by Brazil's government utilizing specialized technicians has already benefited 73 companies in the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.
The program has the experts visit enrolled companies, make a diagnosis of their management system, of their product qualification status, and manufacturing processes, and then it suggests actions such as cost reduction and productivity increase.
The Technological Extension program is developed by the Brazilian Machinery Manufacturers Association (Abimaq) through the Institute for Research and Development of the Machinery Industry (IPD-Maq).
In Rio Grande do Sul, the project was implemented in partnership with the local branch of the National Service of Industrial Education (Senai).
The program has the support of the Ministry of Science and Technology and has already been implemented in the states of São Paulo, Santa Catarina, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, and Paraíba, in 2006.
"This year, we hope to reach the Brazilian states of Rio de Janeiro, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais and Paraná," said the president of Abimaq, Newton de Mello.
After each company has been diagnosed, interested parties contact the program's regional partner (Senai Rio Grande do Sul, for instance) for an estimate of how much the program implementation would cost. The Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology funds 80% of the budget, with the remaining 20% paid for by the benefited company.