This year has demonstrated incredible - dare we say agile - capabilities expansion across many sectors of the manufacturing industry … which got us thinking, “How have our clients known when to increase their capabilities?” More specifically, when company leaders give the green light to strategize and expand capabilities, what does that decision process look like, regardless of sector, or company dynamics?
We reached out to a number of our clients to gain insight into their decision-making process as they expand capabilities, and here's what they shared with us:
"When we expand capabilities or search for new opportunities, it usually is a result of a specific need from a customer--or a specific project process with a customer. When one of our customers comes to us with a specific need, it is our priority and our job to find a solution for them, even if one doesn’t necessarily exist yet within our array of products/services. Through providing these solutions, we gain an understanding of what we CAN do, what we can provide to OTHER customers, and what that might mean for other industries.
At Torque, when we actively think of expanding capabilities, we explore two trains of thought:
‘From scratch’ mentality--which is really just thinking of what might be an unexplored opportunity in our market which would serve our customers and then
‘Synergistic’ mentality--which is more of a true expansion of our existing product
“I’ve pondered expanding our services for quite some time but, honestly, it was this recent pandemic and state of our country that really pushed me to make the final decision. It might sound counterintuitive to some people to go out and spend money on new equipment at a time like this, but I see it differently. I really believe in this country and in our industry and I think that this experience is going to change things - and I think it will change them for the good. I believe that we are going to see a resurgence in American manufacturing. I believe this so strongly that I felt I needed to do anything I could to help our team get ready for what’s coming. That means investing in newer equipment that is faster and more accurate. It means expanding our capabilities with more advanced equipment. It means providing additional training for our staff to ensure that they are ready to meet the new demand. It means cleaning, organizing and making things more physically efficient. It also means taking a hard look at our processes and tweaking/altering/abandoning/replacing as needed. During this time, we’ve also started making more steps toward obtaining ISO certification and we’ve started bidding on government work for the first time in our company’s 50+ year history.”
“A lot of the credit goes to Jean, our CEO, who is constantly reading and learning to stay ahead of new industry trends and to identify key opportunities. When new ideas are presented to the team, our culture of trust at ACE allows us to be generally open minded to explore different options. As a team, we dig into a potential new opportunity or new capability to see if it would make sense for us as a company, and if it does, we are able to commit quickly. I think this rapid response and adaptability has allowed ACE to capitalize on some really key opportunities - an example being the K-Cup industry. When that first hit, we had no idea if it would really stick, but we had all the right tools and capabilities to bring value to customers in that market, so we jumped in really before most people. That timeliness served us well, as, clearly, K-cups and coffee in general have become a sizable part of the market.”
According to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, manufacturers believe the sometimes painful challenges of this year have forced a more agile, flexible industry. However, only 32% of manufacturing leaders felt confident in their company’s ability to identify revenue generating opportunities upon returning to a stable workplace. Based on this report and insights from these conversations, we’ve learned that increasing capabilities can be daunting, difficult, time consuming, but most importantly, REWARDING.