Foreseeable business trends for 2023 are set to center around accelerated digital transformation, inflation, supply chain security, continued talent challenges, and sustainability – to name a few.
“As we’ve learned in the recent past, the future is anything but predictable. This makes it extremely important to stop ‘guessing’ and instead, start ’strategizing‘ for productive results,” advises Justin Mentele, manufacturing market leader for Pinion. Mentele recommends that you start by asking yourself some simple questions: What’s ahead for your business this year? Next year? And further down the road?
The most frequent questions manufacturers are asking right now center around:
1.) How should I capitalize on the good times now, and
2.) How can I prepare for the next inevitable downturn?
“You’re not a meteorologist in the business of predictions, and you don’t need to be,” says Mentele. “Building a solid business strategy will prepare for both good and bad times. The key to this is strategic planning.”
Best practices to transform strategic planning into action
Start on the right path. Understand that strategic planning is not strategic problem solving. There is nothing wrong with problem solving, but it is a different process. The key difference to remember is that strategic planning has to do with company wide direction and initiatives. If it starts going trails of specific, day-to-day issues, that trails into problem solving which can be handled at another time.
Top level leaders must be on board. For the process to be fruitful, owners and executives must be supportive and willing to be held accountable. Include them early in the process to voice their support and encourage involvement. If you are the owner, be vocal about your support and encourage your team’s involvement.
Use an outside facilitator. An outside, unbiased voice brings accountability to everyone involved, including top-level leaders. Since the facilitators job is not at risk, it allows them to speak openly and honestly. Facilitators can also help draw out people who are quieter or less likely to vocalize their ideas.
Call it your “team” or “group” or “taskforce”. Set the tone for the group by calling it something other than “committee”.
Follow a documented process. There are many good, valuable processes out there to keep you on the path. This is key to keeping the group engaged, excited, and informed about next steps and expectations. Find a process and document it from the very beginning, then stay in the process and don’t skip steps.
“A good strategic plan is a road map to success for your business. Taking the time to do it right will light a lamp on the horizon, pointing the way to your vision,” says Pinion business advisor Marc Johnson.
Want to dive deeper into this topic? Watch our full webinar on strategic planning for manufacturers.
If you have questions about strategic planning or need an experienced facilitator to guide your process, connect with a Pinion manufacturing advisor.