In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted supply and demand. Manufacturers across Arizona experienced disruptions in their supply chain and may have lost customers. The crisis amplified vulnerabilities for many companies including a lack of diversification in supply chain and customer base. While companies are taking precautions to keep their employees and customers healthy and safe, a strategic plan helps a company stay healthy by providing the opportunity to examine and correct vulnerabilities, recover faster, and be more resilient in the next crisis.
How Did We Get Here? How Do We Move Forward?
In normal times, growing sales, increasing profitability, and building value in the company are top objectives for most companies. In 2020, manufacturers added two unforeseen goals: recovering from lower demand for products and overcoming a disrupted supply of materials, equipment, and manpower.
These goals should be part of a strategic planning process that examines the company’s current situation, past performance and aims at a future state by:
- Defining objectives to grow, turnaround, survive or exit
- Maximizing performance by driving functions, tactics, and alignment
- Addressing uncertainty, unpredictability, and change
- Turning decisions from reactive to proactive
What is Holding Us Back?
Once objectives are defined, a company can start addressing demand-side challenges by asking “Where is our business coming from?” and “How can we use our capabilities in other applications or markets?” For the supply side, a company can start by asking “Do I have capabilities to satisfy demand?” and “How can we improve our capabilities?” The analysis of objectives, demand, and supply will expose vulnerabilities and gaps that require action by the company.
What is a Strategic Plan?
A strategic plan is a document that defines the company’s vision and objectives, is future-focused and defines how the company will advance from the current situation to the future state. It is not a business plan, business model, sales forecast, financial plan or operating plan, although these are tools that should align with and support the strategic plan.
Where to Start
Arizona Commerce Authority's Arizona Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Arizona MEP) has a team of strategic planning experts with extensive manufacturing experience to work hand-in-hand with companies to develop and implement strategic plans that work. A strategy will help manufacturers identify vulnerabilities and gaps, plan corrective steps to reduce those vulnerabilities, speed recovery and be in a better position to tackle the next crisis. Take action today by contacting AZ MEP at (602) 845-1256, email [email protected], or visit us at www.azmep.org.