Author and speaker Mike Collins is on a mission. He wants to change the tone and tenor of the conversation manufacturers are having about their future in the United States. Too many manufacturers, he says in his new book, Saving American Manufacturing (MPC Management), have become "defender" organizations, locked in a "less-is-more" mindset by depending on the internally focused strategies of cost-cutting and process improvement. Other manufacturers have turned to the government to fix policies that they say hinder their global competitiveness.
While these are worthy efforts with significant pay-offs, Collins asserts that, to succeed in the 21st century global economy, manufacturers must do more-and more important-things. They must become "prospector" companies focused externally, on finding new customers and profitable growth. And his book shows them how, step-by-step, to make the transition.
In Saving American Manufacturing, Collins provides a framework for action that guides executives of small- and mid-size manufacturing companies as they implement the changes necessary to shift their focus toward profitable growth. It offers managers tips for how to:
- Profile the best customers,
- Find new markets,
- Select the best sales channels,
- Develop new products,
- Offer new services, and
- Become an organization that will continuously find new opportunities in today's fast-changing global economy.
The strategies Collins presents are not downsized versions of what successful big companies do. Rather, they are "roll-up-your-sleeves" strategies that companies can implement without a big staff, without spending a fortune and unnecessary time, and without creating huge business plans that will sit, unused, on the bookshelf. Further, the strategies are presented as a series of "building-blocks" that executives can implement individually and in any order, rather than as a big, expensive, time-consuming initiative. Together, the strategies provide a growth plan that can be use to turnaround a struggling business or to refocus a healthy company toward more profitable growth.
The book is based on Collins' own success turning around two different divisions of a mid-size company over the last seven years, as well as on in-depth research of other successful small- and mid-size manufacturing companies.