Friday, July 19, 2013

Increasing Competitiveness through Innovation



There was a really great article published in Industry Week this month called, “Innovation: One Size Fits One.” The article relayed quotes and stories from industry experts about the importance of innovation in the manufacturing field.

One of the main points of the article was conveyed by Patricia Verduin, CTO of Colgate-Palmolive. Verduin expressed how there is a cultural shift in our society and that the “very nature of manufactured goods has changed.” She remarked, “Everybody was buying the same things — the wealthy people, the less wealthy people, they all had the same appliances; they all had the same curtains."

Now, it’s all about individualism. “Today’s customers want more…they want things that are specific to them and their culture…today’s consumers will no longer accept one-size-fits-all…it’s mass customization” she said.

This shift is a challenge, but a huge benefit for Michigan’s manufacturers. Foreign competitors can sometimes out-do us on price, but no one does quality better than the U.S.A. (and specifically Michigan if you ask us!)

Michigan’s businesses have the ability to better serve customers through innovation. We can develop new products and parts to address the specific needs of our clients. We can introduce new processes or operations to deliver products at quicker rates or manage customer concerns. By innovating our products and operations, we can provide a unique experience for our customers. Verduin referred to it as ways to “wow” the customer on an individual level. This is the key to increasing sales and becoming more competitive in today’s rapidly changing environment.

Innovation can be a general term… I mean, how does one simply go about being more innovative? MMTC has two programs that help Michigan’s manufacturers embrace innovation – with a strict emphasis on achieving results:

1)   Leadership-in-Action Innovative Strategic Planning: This is a 3-day executive level hands-on workshop focused on leading change. MMTC focuses on organizational importance and creating a culture of improvement and innovation. For more information, click here.

2)   Innovation Leadership: This program provides a step-by-step approach for manufacturers looking to create, communicate and commercialize new ideas and opportunities. MMTC offers the tools and processes needed for manufacturers to successfully manage a growth pipeline. For more information, click here.

Don’t sit on the sidelines. Innovation helps manufacturers grow sales and remain competitive in the long run. Click here to read about how a Michigan manufacturer, Omega Plastics, used innovation to obtain new customers and sales. Click here to read about how a different manufacturer, Vantage Plastics, used innovation to become more profitable.

For more information on how you can become more innovative, contact us at 888-414-6682 or via email at inquiry@mmtc.org.


Image credit: Richard Wiseman, IndustryWeek

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