I’m hearing from more and more manufacturers that their business has bounced back from the “Great Recession” and in a lot of instances, is even booming.
Some of these manufacturers have put initiatives they were working on when times were slow on the back burner as they try to manage their new-found growth, including diversifying into other markets/industries. While these companies are focused on the “now,” there are some companies who realize that if they are going to “win the future,” now is the time to work on, build and implement key strategies which will position them for long-term success. Here are some examples of forward thinking manufacturers, who, while navigating through rough waters, have their eye firmly fixed on the horizon:
A medium sized manufacturer who worked with MAGNET to develop and implement a Strategic Plan which had a key strategy to diversify into new markets during the “Great Recession” has just enjoyed a $1-million increase in sales over the past year and has made in-roads into several new markets. Business looks to be up another 25% this year. So what are they doing now? Stepping back to enjoy and manage their success? No. They are re-doing their Strategic Plan to focus on the “new normal” and gearing up to find additional new markets for key products.
A small manufacturer that does a lot of work for the Oil and Gas industry started looking at the Aerospace market during the “Great Recession.” He attended key conferences, met with key customers and invested in equipment and AS9100 certification (the Aerospace ISO standard) to position himself to penetrate this market space. He hasn’t been successful yet in securing new business in this market segment and his own business has come roaring back. So what is he doing now? He’s investing again in his market diversification efforts by upgrading his AS9100 certification to AS9100C to ensure he stays compliant with the standard so he can make that market in-road when the opportunity presents itself.
A medium-sized manufacturer has enjoyed double digit growth for the past two years. At the end of January, their business was up 72% over the previous month. So what are they doing now? Looking at acquiring a company with complimentary product lines that would move them into new markets.
What do all of these companies have in common? In good times and bad, they have not lost their strategic focus. They recognize that market diversification is not just a survival tactic, but a key strategic growth initiative which will position their companies to stay strong during any economic cycle and enjoy long term success.
So what are you doing now? Leave a comment and tell us about it, or e-mail me! We’re interested.
HEADLINE The survey definitively shows that product innovation leads to more growth, while “grow your own workforce” strategies will be needed to fill the major labor shortages hampering small manufacturer growth. Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and digital manufacturing are beginning to enhance innovation and productivity, but still have significant room for adoption amongst Ohio’s small manufacturing businesses. ABOUT THE SURVEY Under the direction of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP), MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network conducted a thorough survey of Ohio’s manufacturing base. Contributing approximately 20% of Ohio’s jobs (and driving in some regions up to 50% of Ohio’s economy), and generating a disproportionate amount of export revenues and Gross Regional Product, manufacturing is critical to Ohio. Greater than 95% of Ohio’s manufacturers are small (under 500 employees), and these manufacturers need to remain competitive both nationally and internationally to ensure our economy’s health. Ohio’s Development Services Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which runs the MEP, recognizes the importance of this sector and fuels MAGNET and the Ohio MEP program to directly serve and support innovation, efficiency, and growth in small and medium manufacturers. What manufacturers need
How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Can Help Keep Our Engineers Safe and Our Manufacturing Strong Recall how difficult it was to put together complex LEGO creations when you were a child or helping a child. Now, picture assembling a fighter plane from a room full of parts. Even highly trained engineers can benefit from technology to help improve consistency and quality. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are making near-perfect assembly a possibility in the manufacturing space. By wearing AR glasses that use cameras, depth sensors and motion sensors to overlay images onto the real working environment, engineers and factory workers can visualize the exact bolts, parts, part numbers and instructions on how to assemble a particular component correctly. Lockheed Martin began using AR goggles and improved F-35 assembly time by 30 percent, in addition to increasing accuracy to 96 percent. In order to remain competitive, businesses should consider the ways VR and AR can improve efficiency and supply chain productivity. According to a recent BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report, AR platforms can provide companies up to 25 percent in cost savings on installation of equipment. Here are four ways VR/AR is disrupting the mid-market manufacturing space:
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