Process or Vision: What’s More Important for Product Innovation Success?

right-left-brainListen closely and you realize there is a lively debate between those who believe process is most important in innovation and others who contend that vision and creativity are what leads to success. The truth is that both are equally important and organizations interested in improving their ability to innovate must do both well.  Continue reading

The Dirty Little Secret: It’s Not About Your Product

BlindersManufacturing firms tend to focus on their products. In fact, we often fall in love with them. It consumes most of our time at work, and for many in the business, much of their time away from the office as well. We celebrate big orders and naively assume the good times will last forever. Elaborate marketing campaigns tout the benefits of our product vs. competitive offerings. We obsess on how to continually improve the product to out-do our competition. So what’s the problem, you ask?  Continue reading

Software Development Challenges for Traditionally Hardware Oriented Manufacturing Companies

softwareFor manufacturing companies software is an increasingly important aspect of their product’s value proposition. From consumer to industrial products, nearly every industry is affected. Incorporating software presents greater challenges to companies whose products have traditionally been hardware oriented. Continue reading

Small to Mid-Sized Manufacturing Firms: Unique Innovation Challenges

SMEIf you operate a small to mid-sized manufacturing enterprise (SME), how are you going to grow revenue and earnings? Every company relies on organic growth of their core products. For most that is typically not enough to sustain the business long term. Geographic expansion and acquisitions can help in some circumstances but long-term, a company must innovate or the business will stagnate and be eclipsed by competitive forces. This is especially true in today’s hyper-competitive environment (1).  Continue reading

Your Innovation Coach: A Unique Subscription Service

Brands IC LogoThere are many paths to grow a company’s revenue and earnings. That topic typically consumes the majority of management bandwidth. Organic market growth, geographic expansion and acquisitions are all viable strategies. But are you ignoring the role of innovation? Continue reading

A 5-Step Approach to Reduce Time-to-Market

faster

This is a reprint of an article that originally appeared in South Carolina Manufacturing

Getting products to market faster is a common objective for every company. While the motivation varies, there are clear benefits including capturing more sales, beating competition to market, providing market flexibility and maintaining a leadership position. Reducing time-to-market can also be a focal point for improving the overall innovation management process (1).  Continue reading

Ignoring the Role of Innovation: A Disturbing Trend?

There are many paths to grow a company’s revenue and earnings. That topic typically consumes the majority of management bandwidth. Organic market growth, geographic expansion and acquisitions are all viable strategies. But are you ignoring the role of innovation? Surprisingly, a recent survey suggests many are.  Continue reading

Rethinking Your Company’s Purpose Benefits the Bottom Line

PointThe traditional management model has existed for more than a hundred years and the basic tenants are still fundamental to how businesses are managed. Concepts such as hierarchy, standardization, specialization, goal alignment and the use of extrinsic rewards to motivate behavior are key components. Above all, efficiency and financial performance are emphasized. If you ask most CEO’s, presidents or owners of companies what’s the “purpose” of their business, they might look at you with a confused expression, and simply say “we are in business to make a profit”. But is that really true? Are there other reasons for a business to exist and by rethinking your company’s purpose, can you achieve stronger and more sustainable financial success?  Continue reading

Aligning Manufacturing and R&D in New Product Development (NPD)

New product development (NPD) is about creating knowledge resulting in new products that drive revenue and earnings growth. It is arguably the most important business process and one of the most difficult to manage (1). Why? Because it encompasses a series of workflow, information and decision flow across the entire organization. It is unique as well since every other process in the business can be driven to maximum efficiency. NPD is not just about efficiency, which often is the focus.  The real concern should be how to make it more effective.  Continue reading

Disrupting the Management Model

Long Term SuccessDo you expect your company to prosper for the next year, five years and well into the future? For any CEO or business owner, that question is always on your mind. So, how exactly are you going to adapt to your changing environment and re-invent your company multiple times to stay ahead of the competition? That question cuts to the core of your culture and how the business is managed. It’s the essence of your management model.  Continue reading