Friday, October 18, 2013

Benchmarking and Planning: Partners in Driving Growth (Part 1 of 2)

Can you believe it’s already fourth business quarter? The year has flown by quicker than a witch on her broomstick. (Wow, we’re at that point of the year where Halloween puns are timely.) Anyway, the point I’m making is that the end of 2013 is rapidly approaching and 2014 will be here before you’re done saying “Trick or Treat.” (I promise that’s the last Halloween reference.)

With the New Year not too far around the corner, Michigan’s manufacturers need to start focusing on 2014 goals. At the top of everyone’s mind should be growth. Developing new products, entering new markets and increasing sales is the key to remaining competitive in today’s economy.

While virtually every manufacturer would like to grow (who doesn’t want new sales?), many businesses overlook the importance of setting the groundwork for growth initiatives.

Benchmarking

If you don’t really know how you’re doing, how can you improve? Yes, evaluating profit and loss statements and assessing balance sheets gives you important insights about your expenses, sales and profits, but understanding your company’s specific strengths and weaknesses is critical. Are on-time deliveries your biggest strength? Is employee turnover leading to high recruiting costs and talent retention issues? If you don’t have specific metrics to outline your biggest strengths and weaknesses, you won’t know where to invest resources to make improvements.

Benchmarking goes beyond just evaluating how you are doing. The key question is: how are you doing in comparison to others in your industry? Are your strengths similar to other manufacturers in your field? If not, you may be able to tout your strength(s) as a distinct competitive advantage. Are your weaknesses the same as other companies in the industry? If not, you may be missing out on business because you are being outperformed by your competitors.

At the end of the day, you can’t set improvement targets and plan to grow if you don’t know this crucial information first!

Possible Solution: MMTC offers a Performance Benchmarking Service. You fill out a questionnaire and within a matter of a few days, we provide you with a comprehensive report. The report relays the performance of small and medium-sized manufacturers in your industry and provides industry-specific data comparing companies on more than 60 metrics. Please note: this is confidential: your company specific responses aren’t shared unless you provide written consent.
performance benchmarking


Understanding important benchmarking data goes hand-in-hand with transformation planning, a future topic on our blog! Be on the lookout for Part 2. Remember, 2014 is all about growth!

For more information about the Performance Benchmarking Service, click here or contact us at inquiry@mmtc.org.


Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org

Friday, October 11, 2013

Michigan Manufacturers in the News

As you probably know by now, we’re pretty excited about manufacturing, particularly Michigan manufacturers. More and more attention is being focused on the industry between the most recent Manufacturing Day events from last week, to the latest Oakland County survey of manufacturers to identify needed skills.

We couldn’t resist replaying some of our favorite news feeds from the last ten days or so. Member Company and MMTC client Total Door hosted a best practice tour on October 1st. Guests were treated to a behind the scenes look at the Waterford facility. Total Door’s dedication to innovation and investment in advance manufacturing processes has uniquely positioned them to gain ground in an industry overtaken by imports. Most of the independent American manufacturers have been absorbed by two large foreign conglomerates with over 85% of the industry controlled by these two firms. Total Door’s commitment to Oakland County and local sourcing has helped it to achieve an incredible 98% of local sourced materials, including 25% recycled steel, 80% post-consumer content and 20% post-industrial recycled materials.

Another Member company, Kremin Inc., was identified as one of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies by Inc. Magazine, and reported by MLive.com. Kremin is preparing for its 30th anniversary in November and is ready to expand and double its staff in the next two years. As a precision machine shop serving the aerospace, defense and automotive industry, Kremin has really diversified its customer base, leading to its recent growth surge. Inc. editor, Eric Shurenberg said, “They are the hidden champions of job growth and innovation, the real muscle of the American economy.”

Member Company, Perceptron, recently had its Helix Gauging System, a laser vision inspection unit, featured in GM’s corvette news release. While the corvette is built in Bowling Green, KY, Perceptron’s Helix Gauging System plays a key role in monitoring critical build features. Use of the new system has helped GM’s KY plant improve its tolerance targets by at least 25%.

And yet another Michigan manufacturer and Proud to Manufacture in Michigan program member, Dematic is helping its customers prepare for Halloween season. As a supplier of logistics systems for distribution centers and warehouses, Dematic’s RapidPick solution is helping retailers to pick smarter, faster, and more accurately. Bring on those costumes and accessories!

Dynamic Conveyor, another Proud to Manufacture in Michigan Member Company, was recently selected for the 2013 Michigan Excellence Award, by its peers and competitors, through a business survey conducted by the Small Business Institute for Excellence in Commerce (SBIEC). Recognized as having enhanced the commitment and contribution of small businesses through service to its customers and community, Dynamic is reinforcing Michigan’s positive reputation for being consumer driven. Dynamic’s innovative custom conveyor systems have been well received and are ideal for food, pharmaceutical and other applications where cleanliness and sanitation are required.

Member Company, Burr Oak Tool, held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new state-of-the-art facility in Sturgis. Pictures from the event can be found on its Facebook page. Be sure to ‘Like’ them. The ceremony was Tuesday, October 8th. We’re excited to see the growth and expansion, and soon to hear about the new jobs for Michigan.

Are you a Michigan manufacturer? We’d love to add you to the program. Are you making great products in the great lakes region? Making headlines? If you have news to share, please send us a link at kknapp@mmtc.org and you may see it here in the coming weeks.


Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Importance of Business Continuity Planning (Part 2 of 2)


In a previous blog entry, we discussed the importance of business continuity planning. To recap, business continuity planning is the act of creating an organizational plan that outlines the actions a company should take during crises or disasters. The plan gives a company a roadmap on how to move forward with regards to internal operations and external communication.

Having a business continuity plan has many benefits:

·       Gives your team direct actions during possible crises, emphasizing the importance of safety
·       Promotes the importance of teamwork and responsibility
·       Limits the costs of damage and waste and reduces the loss of revenue
·       Creates a “pro-active” image to your clients and general public.

There is a key area of business planning that many manufacturers overlook: business succession planning. If handled incorrectly, transitioning the ownership of a company can end up being a disaster… and that’s not an exaggeration. This is often the scenario in family businesses when the ownership of the company is being transitioned to a sibling, child or other family member.

The president, CEO or principal of a company is very influential both internally and externally. His or her personal style and leadership skills leaves a mark on the team and make an impression on your clients. Strong leaders spend an incredible amount of time and effort, and in many cases a lifetime, building the foundation of a company and leading it to success. Owners have to navigate businesses through difficult times in our economy and make tough calls to keep the company moving. So what happens when he or she retires? Is out on extended leave, personal, medical, or otherwise unable to continue in the business?  

Unexpected issues aside, all business owners will retire at some point. If there isn’t a structured plan on how to move forward, it can negatively and significantly impact a company. Even when the “incoming president” is intelligent and familiar with the company and operations, some of the issues that may occur include:

·       Disruption of business operations
·       Loss of employee morale
·       Confusion regarding new leadership

These aren’t minor issues to take lightly. In some cases, a failure in succession planning ultimately leads to a significant loss of clients and revenue and even costly litigation. In some cases, the company is left with no option other than to close its doors.

If you are a business owner and are considering retiring, then you should look into business succession planning – especially if the business is “staying with the family.” MMTC offers Family Business Advisor services which focuses on:

MMTC Family Business Advisor·       Strategy planning
·       Succession planning
·       Transition strategy
·       Family councils
·       Training needs analysis
·       Trusts
·       Operation agreements
·       Financial planning
·       Buy/sell agreements
·       “Key man” insurance
·       Business valuation

For more information on this important topic,
click here or contact us at inquiry@mmtc.org.

Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org