Friday, August 15, 2014

The Strategic Importance of Technology Roadmapping (Part 1 of 2)

How much time do you spend on strategic planning for your organization? In manufacturing, it’s very easy to get caught up in the daily grind…and understandably so! You have to worry about maintaining production levels, serving clients, adhering to safety standards, marketing your products, and so on and so on. When you have to mark so many things off of the “to-do” list in a given day, there’s seldom time for strategy.

If you’ve been procrastinating developing an official strategic plan for your company, use this as a call-to-action: plan NOW! As Charles Dickens more eloquently put it, “My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.”

Small and Large Manufacturers Benefit from Roadmapping

A great way to organize a strategic plan for your company is through roadmapping. Roadmapping is something you should know about (and consider) especially if your manufacturing firm wants to grow. It’s particularly useful because roadmapping concerns technology… and as you know… technology always seems to be changing. Every time you turn on the TV or go to a networking meeting, you hear about new software / hardware or an invention that you need to put on the radar.

So what is roadmapping? It’s a strong management technique for planning a company’s technological capabilities to ensure that they meet strategic goals. These maps are effective because they give organizations a way to visualize this alignment. Their “graphical nature” makes it easier to have a conversation about how products and processes should be developed and connected.

Road maps are first introduced to a manufacturer in the form of charts which contain bars or graphs. Then, after finding the technique useful, companies graduate to using standard software or even customized software for road mapping. (FYI - there are a lot of vendors for this out there at all price levels.)

In addition to helping your company plan the right technology required for new product developments, roadmapping typically includes the recording of expenses to help you stay within your set budget.

How Motorola Benefited from Roadmapping

how motorola benefited from roadmapping
Roadmapping was developed in the 1970s, and Motorola was one of the first major companies to use the process. The company created road maps for its business and once institutionalized, Motorola reported saving over $500 million as a result.

Roadmapping isn’t for every company. But if technology is a part of your processes and your company is prioritizing growth, it’s a great way to test out various scenarios and see whether or not a certain product or line of business fit into your business strategy.

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll give you more information on how to create a road map. Stay tuned!

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.


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