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Diversify or Die

03 November 2017

Some sectors in manufacturing seem to be having a turbulent time right now. The global economy is impacting on Britain’s producers, especially USA policy, and Brexit continues to create a feeling of uncertainty. The oil and gas industry is still in the doldrums and not likely to recover fully any time soon, and although there is still a lot of growth in the aerospace sector, there have been some events lately that have knocked the supply chain a little off kilter. There’s the issue of American trade tariffs and the collapse of Monarch, which has impacted on companies within our network here in the Midlands.

 

Manufacturers have always had a lot to contend with navigating their way through the ups and downs, and those that seem to do well and come out the other side stronger have done so largely because they have kept an eye on both their business and on the markets. Sometimes, it seems as though these businesses have a crystal ball which guides them to change direction or chart a new course whenever they spot potential problems up ahead.

 

So what is the key to this?

There are several factors, from having a strong brand, products that are high in demand, and customer satisfaction levels that keep them coming back for more. Crucially, having a phenomenal marketing machine that creates the demand for products and services in the first place.

Most importantly however, is diversification. When markets take a nosedive, or technological advances become major disruptors in your marketplace, the future can start to look a little bleak.  But if you have a good business model; one that allows for new product development or the ability to explore and break into new markets, then you may have a new opportunity for growth.

If it’s a case of diversify or die, then there are a few things you will need to consider. And for manufacturers this may come under the heading of Supply Chain Readiness. It’s not a case of simply developing a new product or breaking into a new market. If only life were that easy. In addition to these fundamental considerations, you will also need to make sure that your business is operationally fit, have the appropriate quality standards in place so you can be trusted in new markets, and have the right marketing strategy so your new prospects know who you are.

 

Operational Fitness

Whether you’re diversifying through new product development or entering new markets, you need to ensure that your resources are all in place and at optimum levels. Do you need to invest in any new machines and tooling? What about skills and staffing levels? Do you have the right suppliers in place? This list goes on, but you get the idea.

 

Quality Standards

There are standards that most manufacturers may already have, but if you are diversifying is this going to be enough, especially if you are looking to break into new sectors and industries? And although the implementation process for quality standards may be similar for rail, automotive, defence and nuclear industries, there will be different standards that will apply to each of these different sectors. For example, in aerospace AS9001 Rev C will be required, while in automotive TS16949 is the required standard. It can be a minefield understanding what is required let alone then implementing the standards. Another key question is: are you making the most of your quality standard to maintain your competitive edge and perhaps even propel your business higher up the supply chain?

 

Marketing Strategy and Communications

This is one area where manufacturing tends to fall down. Unlike B2C companies, B2B manufacturers often pay little attention to marketing strategy and comms throughout the whole process of MRLs and TRLs. I often wonder how painful that valley of death would really be if more time and effort was spent getting the right marketing strategy in place from the outset. 

 

Supply Chain Readiness Workshop

Bridge is running a half day workshop in 14th December 2017 at the EEF’s Woodland Grange in Leamington Spa. We will be covering these three key areas of Diversification and Supply Chain Readiness. The workshop costs a mere £15 plus VAT and that includes a buffet breakfast and as much tea and coffee as you can drink. You will also have the opportunity to network with other manufacturers. The sessions will also be practical, case study led and delivered by experts in their field. 

To find out more visit: www.bridgepr.co.uk/diversification_workshop.aspx or book directly at: https://scr-diversify-workshop.eventbrite.co.uk

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