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Planning Vs. Execution: Part 2– Adapting to a Changing Landscape

February 28, 2013

In our last blog we talked about the importance of grooming the right horse for the race—and having a backup contender ready just in case. But what happens when it’s not the horse that changes, but the race track? In manufacturing, the environment is always shifting. Some industries grow while others shrink, and unforeseen events like Hurricane Sandy can literally change the landscape.

This is a position many of our customers have found themselves in recently. Many of their own customers are involved in the post Hurricane Sandy reconstruction efforts. That means that orders have been pouring in at volumes they simply weren’t expecting. In times like these the same principle that we discussed last time applies: You get the job done. Those plans you had for 2013? The ones that involved shutting down and revamping part of your production process? They need to be put on the back burner. Because benefits that will take effect later are no use to customers who need products now.

And while in our last scenario you had to put in your backup horse because your champion stallion was benched, in this scenario it’s not a matter of simply picking the only horse you have, but rather choosing the right horse for the race. If your prime contender is no good on a wet track and it pours the day of the race, you put in your mudder instead. If your specialty is stamping, but your customer needs molded parts, you turn on your injection molding machine and get to work.

At the end of the day it comes down to getting a horse on the line, and coming through for your customer. Every good business plans for the foreseeable future. But a great business can adapt those plans to the challenges of the present.

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