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Running with the big dogs, larger than life, boxing above your weight.  Bottom line, if you are trying to grow a small manufacturing company, you are going have to play the game better than the “big dogs”, but with a lot less resources.  When you think about potential break-through events in the life of your company, the game-changers that could put you on a path to the success that you dream about, what do they look like?  Maybe it’s a contract with Walmart, Best Buy, Carrefour, Metro AG, Tesco, or Macy’s.  And what do they ask for?  Deliver on time, with the right quantities, to the right store, at the best price.  Pretty easy to say, not so easy to do.  And if you can’t guarantee this, you will get another shot, in five years.

Welcome to my first blog.  This blog is all about you, the small manufacturer that has great ideas, great products, and is far nimbler than the competition.  But you don’t know what you don’t know when it comes to manufacturing software solutions that will transport you from where you are today, to where you need to go.   Over the next year I want to have a discussion about how to run with the big dogs.  The goal when the dust settles is to ensure that not only do you have a sustainable competitive advantage with your products and services, but the way you run your company is a competitive advantage as well.  That way, no matter whom you are competing with, large company or small, when opportunities come your way, you win.

I encourage you to participate.  I have been around manufacturing my entire career, and that is a long time, so I do have some insight into what works, and what usually doesn’t.  But I don’t claim to have all the answers.    My belief is that as a group, we can come up with strategies that position smaller companies for success in a very complex 21st century.  I want to talk about macro topics like what strategies work best when building a company, how to control global operations, or what are best practices for outsourcing.  I have always been a big fan of change management because that is all about getting people comfortable with new ideas and approaches, so that needs to be a key topic.   We should discuss functional challenges like how a small company manages their supply-demand network more effectively, improves customer service, or builds new products faster, globally.   I want to have a conversation about some of the new technologies that are going mainstream.  There are a lot of IT capabilities that used to be available only to companies with a lot of money, and now they are available to everyone.  Lastly, as a wine collector for the last 30 years, I want to have some fun talking about wine, as it relates to manufacturing, of course.  

So here is my offer.  Join me for a year, and at the end of that year we will publish a book based on our discussions.  A guide to running with the big dogs, even when you aren’t one, yet.

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4 Comments

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  1. Christian Horak
    Hi Mike,
    thanks for getting started with this. Good idea to crowd source in SCN and put a book together on how to run better as a smaller company in the manufacturing space. This space has gone through a lot of change and will see even more change as the trends around lean, sustainability, global business networks and realtime will impact even the smallest shops on the planet
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  2. David Sweetman
    I like your blog.  At the end of the day not all big dogs bite if you play nice with them and don’t look scared. I am looking forward to your insights of how to get and stay on their right side.
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  3. Martin Ohlidal
    I was engaged on the project for “Support of SME suppliers to Multinationals” in Czech Republic and later in Serbia. In those time 2001 -2005 we used EFQM famework to show SMEs where they can get an inspiration to become good supplier and reliable partner to their big client. It was about 150 Czech and maybe 40 Serbian manufacturing firms. I will be keen to read your blog and maybe we can find how this might be applied in real life. They would deserve it. Martin
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