by Bob Zaruta, President/CEO, NWIRC

Well, it’s the start of another new year. In late December (sitting by a cozy fire, head tilted, looking up slightly, and stroking my chin), New Year’s resolutions came flashing through my mind with the question, “should I make them or not?” I recall reading that only 8% of people achieve their resolutions, but also that a person is 10 times more likely to achieve their targeted improvements compared to those who don’t explicitly make resolutions at all. I decided to do it. But rather than the usual focus on self-improvement, I looked towards improvements from an organizational perspective. After all, in addition to providing consulting and training services aimed at improving the business of our clients, the NWIRC is a business too. Our organization shares some of the same goals and improvement objectives as the small and mid-sized manufacturers in northwest Pennsylvania that we serve.

So, with all of our businesses in my mind, I offer the following New Year’s Resolutions or perhaps better referred to as Best Practices for 2017:

1. Recalibrate the Revenue Engine

As we look to drive higher value through existing and new offerings, have greater impact on client’s business, and improve financial viability, we need to continuously recalibrate our revenue engine. We can do this by staying in front of the client’s existing and future needs and problems. All parts of our business development functions need to be in alignment. Our messaging, value propositions, and differentiating capabilities need to be expressed clearly, concisely, and consistently. Our process to build client relationships as trusted advisors must be formally defined while incorporating proven best practices, milestones, verifiable outcomes, and execution tools.

2. Greater focus on leveraging technology to improve processes and transform our business

Look to expand the use of various information technologies (IT) including cloud-based applications and hosting, analytics, mobility, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Improve use of the Client Relationship Management (CRM) system to enhance outreach and business development efforts, improve efficiencies, and better serve clients.

3. Provide a continuous learning environment for staff professional development

Our single greatest asset is our people. Strategic investments in their professional development will enable the organization to grow, expand service offerings, increase market penetration, and enhance the outcome of engagements and client satisfaction.

Emphasis on these key resolutions in the New Year will enable us to be trusted advisors, thought leaders, and agents for change as physical and digital manufacturing merge and Industry 4.0 (the fourth industrial revolution)
evolves in the years to come.