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What we hope to learn from MHEDA 2011

There are very specific times when we need to take a step back and take a good look at ourselves. This is just as relevant in business, as it is in our personal lives.

At Bluff Manufacturing, as we’re packing our gear and heading towards Phoenix for this year’s MHEDA convention, we’re going to be doing just that – looking inwards and reviewing our business strategy.

We’ve been through quite a bit in the last few years. A rough economy has forced us to make many changes; some good and others not so good. We’ve been forced to get out of our comfort zone, woken up from complacency, and given a good shake. We’ve had to make some changes, maybe even a lot of changes to survive and come this far.

In Marketing, we refer to this change as re-positioning. And the last couple of years, we’ve all re-positioned our companies and our brands. We became lean and mean as competition got tough, sales dwindled, and we were forced to take drastic steps to re-invent ourselves and position ourselves as market leaders, industry experts, quality providers, low-price leaders and whatever other such avatars we needed to assume to distinguish ourselves from the competition. The American manufacturing sector has seen its fair share of ups and downs and knows only too well what it means to completely change its business model and adapt to the situation at hand. The American auto industry has been given a complete makeover and companies like Ford and General Motors now actually enjoy a great reputation and an equally great market share even with fierce global competition! Their world was turned upside down, but they changed their strategy, operations, re-positioned themselves and came out on top. The rest of the country watched with bated breath not knowing the final outcome.

This year’s MHEDA convention will cover topics similar to these recent, real-world situations. In the material-handling world, how we position ourselves in terms of our customers, competition, and a still evolving economy will make or break us. We are standing at the brink of a new world order where American manufacturing has been burnt before but is now experiencing a turn-around, finally starting to see and experience growth and positive numbers. Does this mean we proceed with cautious optimism or forge ahead with reckless enthusiasm? What does this mean for our customers and our competitors (both domestic and global)?

Hopefully, our interaction with industry folks and time spent at the MHEDA convention will open our eyes to all the possibilities we can expect to look forward to in the coming year and the obstacles that we need to overcome or avoid. See you in Phoenix this weekend!