1 November 2001
Open minds will open more wallets
By Greg Hale
In an office down the hall, strategy sessions continue, now that budgets have seemingly been set for next year. The major theme of the meetings: “How in the world are we going to increase revenues next year? How can we make ourselves as lean, efficient, and profitable as possible?”
Here it is November, and no one really knows when the economic rain cloud pouring red ink on manufacturing industries will blow away. Before the 11 September attack, most industry watchers predicted a strong turnaround would occur about the third quarter next year. Now when you ask, they just shrug their shoulders and say, “Your guess is as good as mine.”
Now is the time to take matters into your own hands and start earning positive cash flow to serve your customers better than you ever have before.
A couple of huge industry players understand what they have to do. Just ask General Electric. The megacompany’s Automation Services division just acquired a Tennessee-based systems integrator and set up shop for parts of the Southeast. The company knows that establishing regional offices will pay off handsomely. This latest deal brings the total of branch offices to 11.
Or take a look at Emerson. It just signed a $5 million deal with BASF Petronas Chemicals to support maintenance of process controls and instrumentation for a new chemical plant in Kuantan, Malaysia.
You get the picture: These industry players are winning big—not from pure product sales but instead with huge services offerings. They know that in an open environment, where a product from Company A works with a product from Company B, services end up being the great equalizer—and money maker.
If the bosses at your company want to make money again, they have to open their eyes and mind and embrace new business ideas. Just making a product isn’t enough anymore. Your company does not succeed on the products it produces but rather on how you go about producing them. Engineers are an incredibly bright and gifted bunch, with a vast knowledge base to share. That means your company has to leverage that brainpower to its (and your) advantage.
Companies talk about offering complete solutions to their product lines; it’s time now to perform and pony up your expertise.
Start thinking and acting on these changes now because when the times get better—and they will sooner than you think—your company had better hit the ground running.
Talk to me: firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 990-9275.