Manufacturers that continually invest in growth – even during a down economy – are likely to have a serious advantage over competitors when it comes to maintaining and improving the bottom line, as well as in being able to keep pace with customer needs, marketplace changes and any number of other factors that influence success.
Of course, remaining competitive requires very careful and strategic thinking about what will be your next best growth move.
Here are 15 strategic growth questions to assist you and your team in considering options for achieving your company’s long- and short-term growth goals:
15 Strategic Growth Questions for Forward-Focused Manufacturers
1. Is our current investment in innovation enough to deliver a real and timely ROI?
2. What type of innovation would give us the greatest return?
- Product innovation?
- Process innovation?
- Service innovation?
- Marketing and sales innovation?
3. Are we getting the business intelligence (data) we need to make smart growth decisions? If not, what’s missing?
4. What will our customers want and need next? Are we listening to our customers?
5. What is our competition doing? What can we learn from manufacturers outside our own sector?
6. What equipment reliability issues/challenges are we seeing? What impact are these having on our bottom line and ability to grow?
- Are operating costs escalating because of outdated or malfunctioning equipment?
- Is there poor support from vendors on outdated equipment?
- Is there limited spare part availability for outdated equipment?
- What impact would updating product ID and inspection equipment have on our bottom line?
7. How long has it been since we performed full-scale audits of:
- Overall operational efficiency?
- Energy use?
- Specific processes and systems?
- Safety and security?
- Educational programs?
8. Are we paying too much for energy? Are there ways to reduce energy costs that we haven’t considered yet? (e.g. government programs, rebates, etc.)
9. Is our sales process as effective as it could be? How many sales calls does it take to close a sale, and how long does it take?
10. How close are our current, actual processes to the flow chart ideal? What would be the bottom line impact of closing specific gaps identified?
11. What is our project failure rate? At what point in the process do the bulk of failures occur?
12. How accurate is our cost estimating?
13. Are we satisfied with meeting last year’s performance? Is this year’s operating plan aligned with our growth goals?
14. Do our facilities and location align with our growth strategy? How close are important resources? Is it time for expansion? Do we need to move?
15. Are we too busy putting out fires to put attention toward real bottom line improvement? Should we be outsourcing process improvement or even innovation? How much would an outside perspective on growth strategy fast-forward goal achievement?
Should you wish to tap into our wide-ranging industry experience in helping manufactures make profit- and growth-driven improvement decisions, schedule a complimentary conversation by contacting Jim Solich at email@example.com.