W/S Prepares to Fight a More Effective Battle
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Wilbraham, MA
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    Many have asked, in this Forum since it was started, in private messages through the Forum, and in other ways, how W/S could have let itself be a victim of competition, both foreign and domestic.

    I believe that I can help with that question by telling about some steps that the company took back in the early 1980's to help itself prepare for times ahead.

    For example, in 1981 it began to formulate a Strategic Plan for the years 1981 through 1985, Market Outlook and Order Forecast. It involved a definition of the current business and products, served markets and customers, pricing policy, competitive comparisons in those two regards, major threats from competition, W/S strength and weakness definitions.

    Each major product line was examined, and its future outlook and life cycle was discussed. Future product development and plans to defend the product line and protect our market share were analyzed in detail.

    As you can imagine from the above brief overview, this type of thinking and planning was being given new emphais because it had now become apparent to all that we could no longer continue on the same path: new factors were at work that were causing us to lose a lot of business, and sending valued customers in new directions for the turning eqjuipment.

    At this time, the STRAP Intelligence Committee was formed, consisting of a good mixture of Engineering and Senior Field people, to help in the gathering of important information about certain of our domestic and foreign competitiors. The current data was to help in making a good and current assessment of the firms involved.

    My personal involvement with STRAP was the providing of information about four companies. These were: Bullard, New Britiain, Jones and Lamson and GW Industries. Any information we could pick up from the field, in trade papers and magazines, newspapers, and from talking with our contacts was quickly written up and sent into HQ. Focus was on any changes which we detected in the ways the studied firms were doing their business. For example, New Britain was forming a close relationship with Gildemeister they way we had already done with EMAG, and would also be building many of the Gildemeister machines here in the US, the way we built EMAG units in our Nashville operation.

    The above in intended to make you feel that the company WAS making efforts to keep up with trends and to forsee what the future might hold for us and for our business. I can only speculate that perhaps we waited too long for this type of serious research, and had ignored some of signs that were so visible to us out in the field.


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