Creating a strategic plan is a huge first step in the right direction, but distributors should plan to review and adjust their plans frequently. Customer wants and needs, and distributors' understanding of those needs, can change quickly in today’s business environment, says Bob Cuthbertson, president of the 2013 MDM Market Mover Machinery Tooling & Supply.
For the Schaumburg, IL-based distributor, the ability to tweak goals and initiatives is part of what has made the company’s strategic planning so successful. “It’s important, because things change. Look at just how much the market’s changed in the last four years,” Cuthbertson says.
For example, manufacturing customers’ focus on competing more effectively with China has lessened as U.S. operations have become more cost-competitive. Cuthbertson says customers are now competing much more effectively in the global economy.
An annual reworking of the company’s five-year plan has helped leaders to better understand customer needs. One such session, for example, helped them to see that customers needed an easier way to buy from them, leading them to take steps to improve the purchasing process. Learn how Machinery Tooling & Supply grew sales 129 percent through initiatives developed during strategic planning.