Katie Rapp, NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership

In an Industry Week webinar late last year, ‘The 7 Essential Traits of a Resilient Growth Strategy’, Chris Scafario and Sylvia Wower from the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC), part of the Pennsylvania MEP along with NWIRC, shared insights from their experience helping companies innovate, market, and grow their businesses successfully. Their insights and tips are especially important now and can be adapted by any manufacturer in any industry. What do resilient companies do differently?

1. Astute Situational Awareness

Too many companies are oblivious to changes around them while an equal number become frozen because they don’t know how to adapt. Business leaders should be aware, alert and engaged. This means talking to suppliers in the market segments they serve. Constant awareness of what’s coming helps companies avoid being blindsided.

2. Leverage Organizational Competencies

Why do companies buy from you instead of other suppliers? Your strengths are important, but they shouldn’t be all you think about. Resting on your strengths can be profitable but can lead to stagnation. Companies that need to reboot and recapture the spirit of innovation can find a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) helpful.

3. Growth Strategy Should Be as Unique as the Business It Serves

What do you do to keep the business going and keep people employed? The Doblin Model is a tool that helps companies think through the core elements of how they add value. It can enrich existing and new products and makes it easy to spot missing dimensions that will strengthen a product. The Doblin Model can also create insights about your competition. Recognizing core elements and envisioning complementary products and services can help a company diversify.

4. Take Thoughtful Actions That Are Measured and Managed

SMART Goals graphicSet key performance indicators that keep your company on track and moving forward. SMART goals help you grow by putting you on a path to selling or marketing to carefully identified target audiences.

5. Connecting Individuals With Opportunities

Make connections that lead to growth. Imagine new markets and new audiences and go a step further to identify the individuals that you hold in high regard in those markets.

6. Adapt Quickly to Changing Conditions

This is sort of a cousin to situational awareness. Markets can change quickly. Customers find other suppliers. Market scouting is a process that helps you face adversity with structure. You take a hypothesis and test it to see if it’s the best way forward. Market scouting involves getting your ideas in front of the people you think will benefit from them, and then tracking data from these interviews to identify opportunities.

7. A Resilient Growth Strategy Energizes the Culture of a Workplace

Companies that succeed have a culture of success. Yes, the saying is true: success breeds success. If people in your organization love what they do, they will do their best. If they see your company is innovative, they’ll be innovative. The path of continuous improvement is contagious, and it makes your company a very desirable place to work.


Original Source: https://www.nist.gov/blogs/manufacturing-innovation-blog/7-essential-traits-build-resilient-growth-strategy

Side Note: NWIRC is partnering with DVIRC to offer, ‘Manufacturing Growth 101: A Learn & Apply Growth Program for Small Business Leaders’. This is a 10-week course of 90-minute, weekly virtual sessions where small teams from noncompeting manufacturers adopt a Plan, Do, Check, Act approach toward growth. The program begins on March 23. See more details at: www.nwirc.org/events.