Over the last several days, we’ve talked about questions around productivity and growth when production is down.  We’ve also talked about tools that you can put together to increase the communication of your team.  It’s critical for you to spend building your productivity and efficiency.  While the business may be “sleeping” the general is awake, planning the coming war.

What is your plan for the time that you are spending out of the office? 

How are you going to move your business forward when you are not there?  It’s very possible.  You can learn new skills.  You can work on your current list of to dos.  But there are ways to move yourself forward during this time.  Retrench and take a different path. 

Let’s talk about your industry first.  The industry you are in is defined by those you compete against.  Change your messaging, change your industry.  Are you getting traction?  If not, or if not enough, talk about yourself differently to compete against a different segment of the companies that provide products like you or adjacent to what you do. 

People who have expertise in business strategy may define this by having a conversation about purpose.  They talk about identifying what your “why” is.  Simon Sinek explains the Golden Circle.  The outer circle is What you do.  Dig a little deeper and you get to How you do it.  At the center of the Golden Circle is your Why.  The premise is if you can explain Why you do something, people will believe in it – both your customer and your employees – and will be incentivized, even driven, to buy your products and services.  They buy what they believe in.

Knowing Why you do something is critical to knowing your industry.  There are 5 questions to ask here.  We’ll start with just the first one, as it’s currently shifting dramatically. 

How difficult is it to break into the industry that you are in?  Is it expensive or does it take an incredibly long time to build up a business to compete with yours?  Chances are, if you are in manufacturing, it’s almost impossible.  Setting up manufacturing is a long and expensive process.  How would you do it?  It is important to know how to enter the industry that you’re in so that you can build the right case for your own business. 

One of the things that has changed in this last few weeks and months is that we’ve learned that manufacturing can change.  The Big 3 auto manufacturers have already started conversations around retooling to build Personal Protective Equipment or PPE.  They have the equipment and the ability to work 24x7 shifts on repetitive work with high quality.  They are a new competitor in the field of PPE, although they won’t stay there.  This was almost unthinkable for PPE manufacturers last month.  Auto manufacturers just weren’t competition for them.  Now they are.

Think through this.  Who is not currently competing against you that could set up their processes differently to do what you do?  Anyone?  Everyone? 

There has to be something that you do that makes you different.  Perhaps there is a process you use or a series of steps that makes your production (whether that’s in hard goods or not) more difficult to compete against.  If there isn’t, should you think about what you are really good at and what you might be able to do that no one else can?  Change what you’re doing to make yourself more “bullet proof.” 

It’s time to make yourself un-copy-able.  (No, it’s not a word.) 

The harder you make it for someone to do what you do and the way you do it, the more difficult the barrier to entry.  This is something that you can do while your production is not in full swing.  Make the downtime work for you.  Make yourself stronger, even remotely.  

Tomorrow, we will talk further about the industrial model and consider who has the power in what you produce and how to reduce or enhance it for yourself and make yourself again, more competitive.  All good reminders in this time of uncertainty and change. 


In 2020, we are rolling out meaningful tools for manufacturers that are affordable, on-target and competitive.  We are also expanding our educational offerings.      

We believe in the critical importance of manufacturing right here in North America and we work hard to keep you working.  Ask us questions; you will find that we are far more reachable than other software providers you may partner with.  We are here to help you find the right tools and use them, whether it's a Google doc, an Excel sheet or a Production Control system.  To learn more about meeting your targets for 2020 or just getting a question answered, visit us at www.cimx.com.