Where Should We Invest Now for Future Success? 15 Strategic Growth Questions for Forward Focused Manufacturers

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  • Are operating costs escalating because of outdated or malfunctioning equipment?
  • Is there poor support from vendors on outdated equipment?
  • Is there limited spare part availability for outdated equipment?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?
  • Waste?
  • 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 jsolich@jims26.sg-host.com.




We hired EFI Group to help us figure out a project and scope it, and I felt confident they would keep a keen eye on it. They had to deliver quickly and they did it well. They are especially good at project management when you don’t have the resources to do it internally. Reliability is the word I would use to describe EFI Group.
— Coatings Industry Professional
EFI Group is timely. We’ve had a lot of situations when we’ve been in a time crunch and they’ve responded very quickly. They are detail oriented and efficient. They’re a good group of people who also have a lot of strength in pre-engineering — the thought process to get to preliminary design and making sure we’ve investigated all the potential asks of a project to ensure we didn’t miss anything. They have great attention to detail up front which is very important to any project because having that detail-oriented deep dive into the pre-engineering phase sets the stage for the success of the rest of the project, making the process smoother and making it much easier to keep the project on schedule and on budget.
— Mike Quigley, Engineering & Maintenance Manager, Food Industry
I’ve worked with EFI Group for a while, so I know they have a good, knowledgeable staff. We know we’re going to get the results from them we expect. From my interactions with all the different EFI team members I’ve worked with, I know they have knowledge across many industries. Equally, I never have to follow up with EFI Group and, in some cases, they keep me on track.
— Ryan Fredsall, General Manager, Pacer Minerals LLC
We view EFI Group as a team that can dimensionalize our capability to execute projects. We can articulate what it is we want to do and they can take that input and run with it without much intervention from us. They’re able to move a project along independently and only engage us when it’s time to bring us up to speed or get more input to drive a project to conclusion. That’s one of the reasons I view them as an excellent contractor.
— Environmental Engineering Industry Professional
EFI Group has good engineers and good customer service. We know when we get an EFI engineer on a project, we’re going to a get a good job from them and it’s been a productive relationship for both of us — I genuinely like the people.
— Corporate Director, Project Management in Food & Flavors Industry
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