This access creates a wide range of opportunities to improve decision-making in many areas of manufacturing, including improved business processes and operations, predictive maintenance, competitive intelligence, sales forecasting, and on and on.
The bottom line is that if we know where the money is going, what processes are the most efficient (or inefficient) or where there are opportunities for growth, we can manage the business from an informed position of strength rather than guessing or gut reactions.
The technological advances related to digitization clearly offer even small manufacturers beneficial data and insights, but that’s a topic that deserves its own blog post (coming soon!).
Recently, we came across an incredibly comprehensive and valuable set of resources for manufacturers. This list was compiled by Stacy Crawley, who handles sales and marketing for Novo Solutions, a provider of highly flexible, web and mobile information management software. Stacy organized 111 websites into eight categories, including:
- Associations, Organizations, & Sites
- Publications & Have-it-All Websites
- Blogs to Subscribe (we’re honored to be included here)
- Workforce Challenges & Education
- Forms, Tips, Calculators, and Tools
- Best Practices & Benchmarking
- Compliance, Standards, Safety
You can view the resources here, and you will want to bookmark the page for future reference.
Another approach is in-depth or customized research conducted by a third party that is very specific to your organization. As an example, The Center’s Research Services team has access to a variety of private data sources that enable Michigan manufacturers to answer critical questions, implement data-driven tactics and make strategic business decisions. In this case, there are three key areas: Market research, competitive intelligence and supplier scouting.
Market research has come a long way from being something only large corporations with big budgets could undertake. Today, market research is an organized effort and systematic approach to collect and interpret information about business and industry environments, customers and competitors for the purposes of decision-making.
For many companies, competitive intelligence is needed now more than ever due to rapidly changing technology and the nature of manufacturing in general. This business-specific process involves aggregating information from industry reports, news and trade media, company profiles, government statistics, and other resources to create an accurate portrait of the competitive landscape.
Manufacturers seeking to improve or expand their supply chains increasingly are turning to supplier scouting as a way to connect to companies that offer a tailor-fit solution. With support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), we have access to a unique set of databases and the ability to leverage our statewide network of experts to construct a prioritized list of Michigan companies that match the request of manufacturers of all sizes and all stages of growth.
Clearly, there is no shortage of data that can benefit today’s manufacturer, regardless of size or specialty. The companies that tap into these readily available resources will be those that are better positioned to compete, grow and prosper in an ever-changing environment in the days ahead.