Strategic Planning. Training. Market Positioning.

Happy New Year

Like many folks who consult in the marketing realm, I put client needs ahead of my own marketing efforts (hence, my habit of clustering blog updates a few times a year). That said, I have kept up with writing and publishing articles over the last few months, so there are several new posts that link to those articles.

I’m proud to say that I kept all my New Year’s Resolutions in 2016. One particularly challenging one was participating in every challenge my Concept2 Rower manufacturer ran that year. I’ve logged over a million meters keeping that one and am in much better shape for having done it. That said, this year my resolutions are back to a business focus. The most relevant one being post more frequently in this blog (ideally a few times per month rather than once a quarter). So, if you enjoy the articles, expect to see new material much more frequently and feel free to add comments on topics you’d like to see covered.

What is your stretch goal for the New Year?

My January 2016 article in Circuits Assembly looks at the Trump Effect and Manufacturing. The correct link is provided, but right now it appears to navigate to CA’s home page so look for the article on the left side of that page, if the link doesn’t take you to directly to the article. I look forward to a year of breaking paradigms and from what I’ve heard in conversations, a lot of EMS CEOs are hoping for the same thing. Read the full article: The Trump Effect and Manufacturing

My December 2016 article in Circuits Assembly looks at another management challenge: managing generationally, and asks the question: are generational differences impacting your program management team’s performance? Read the full article: Better with Age

My October 2016 article in SMT Magazine looked at the ways four different electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers marketed and sold their services. The common thread in their strategies is listening to their customers and adapting their business model in ways that address those customer needs. However, the differences in their business models and the way they are sold demonstrates there is definitely more than one way to sell EMS. Read the full article: Choose Your Marketing Strategy.

One of the challenges of our shift to a service economy is that a lot of people have never been inside a factory. My October 2016 article in Circuits Assembly magazine looks at the challenges manufacturers encounter in recruiting and training people with no manufacturing experience. Interesting enough, this particular article seems to have hit a nerve, as I have gotten more unsolicited, positive feedback on it than on any article I wrote in 2016. Read the full article: The Service Economy: Today’s Training Challenge.

In October 2016, I looked at the challenge of effectively managing and working within cross cultural teams. As someone who grew up living in multiple countries and working multi-nationally as a adult, I think it is very important to recognize the value of understanding the cultural overlays of your team members and adjusting management and communications styles to accommodate those differences. Here is the full article: Building Bridges With Cross Cultural Teams

My article in the August issue of Circuits Assembly magazine looks at the question: Can market research help investment decisions?

Electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers vary widely in the effort put into strategic planning. Some have dedicated strategic planning functions that develop internal reports and presentations on changing market dynamics and purchase market research for specific industries as part of the company’s overall strategic planning efforts. Others buy packaged market research studies or outsource specific research needs prior to developing strategic plans. Some companies center on trends within their internal customer and prospect base, focusing planning on the likely needs of the market they know best. And a few just go with the flow, reacting to customer requests but otherwise not engaging in any form of strategic planning.

Based on my experience, the right answer is somewhere in the middle. I’ve worked in companies so fixated on studying the market they grew more slowly than they would have had those resources been allocated to sales and marketing activities. In some cases, “studying things” actually became a way to avoid making hard decisions. I’ve also seen companies that failed to do any strategic planning surprised by market or technology shifts.

One thing to remember:

If you are not positioning your company, the market trends or your closest competitor will be.

You can read the full article here.

We’ll also be exploring strategic planning and EMS trends in much greater detail in PMCI’s half day workshop at SMTAI:

Identifying EMS Market Trends: Learn to Predict the Future and Help Your Company Lead the Pack

SMTA International, Rosemont, IL
Sunday, September 25 | 1:30pm — 5:00pm

Topics Covered Include:

  • Typical cycles which repeat in the EMS industry
  • Key events likely to trigger changes in demand
  • Useful strategic planning tools
  • Creating business models which can readily adapt to changing markets.

The early bird deadline for registration is Aug. 26. Register here.



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