Keep your eye on the ball
By Gregory Hale, InTech, Editor
It could be a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting: A father showing his son how to hit a baseball on a bright sunny spring day. The scene could show the father holding the ball, voicing some words of encouragement to his son standing in the batter’s box waiting to swing his bat and send the ball over the fence.
It is the typical father-son scene played out on empty lots and ball fields all over the world. The advice the father is giving is to just keep your eye on the ball and swing away. Do not let anything else going on around you distract you; just keep your eyes open, and watch the ball hit your bat. After a few swings and misses, the son makes some contact and sends the ball across the field. He then understands just what his father is saying.
“Just keep your eye on the ball.”
Taking a quick scan across the automation industry; it is easy to find the companies keeping an eye on the ball. They understand what it is like to struggle through the down economy beleaguering the industry.
These down times offer a great opportunity to tighten up inside processes and work on new ideas that will surely help the company grow once business starts ramping up again. Cancelled or delayed projects cannot stay cancelled or delayed forever. Is there a new way you can work the project so the costs can be lower and the yields higher so it can become a front burner item once again?
It is easy to complain that this economic hit means “things will never be the same again.” Well, of course not. Anybody can see that.
Instead, why not say, “Things will never be the same again, and here is how we can do even better. Let’s position ourselves to grow coming out of this downturn, and when we hit the ground so fast, the competition’s head will be spinning.” Why not swing and hit the ball, instead of watching it go by.
Just take a look at some of the traditional petroleum companies. They are not just sitting around dealing with the future of oil and gas. Yes, that is their bread and butter, but they are getting more heavily involved in energy alternatives—wind, solar, anything bio. Oil goes away, and bam, they are fully diversified into a true energy portfolio.
How about the auto companies? The public is growing more wary of paying $2.50 plus for a gallon of gas, and fearing fuel will rise to $4 or higher a gallon. So, electric cars are now on the front burner. Just about every major automaker is touting they will have an electric car hitting the streets over the next few years. They are swinging for the fences, making sure they get their new technology on board to ensure a profitable future.
These next six months will be very important for the future of automation companies—big and small. Plans should be near ready to go. Then comes the hard part: Executing. This is no time for the weak of heart to pass the buck and wait for someone else to make the move. Do not be thrown off by all the smokescreens going on about you. Just keep your eye on the ball.
Have a plan; know your plan; communicate the plan; and enact the plan. If you keep your eye on the ball, it will be a home run.
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