I thought it might be interesting to brainstorm top strategic priorities commonplace today for manufacturers and distributors.

  1. Speed – More and more, I’m seeing speed enter the contest as a key strategic priority. How do you set up your organization to be in front of your competition in terms of speed?
  2. Service – Since the recession and with the widespread use of Amazon, suddenly customers are demanding more for less – and faster than ever before. Yet even that isn’t enough if you don’t stand out from the crowd in terms of the complete service experience.
  3. Collaboration – How effectively do you collaborate with your supply chain partners? Those who value collaboration seem to generate more business at better margins than the rest.
  4. Marketing – One of my consulting colleagues and friends talks about your marketing “sweet spot”. I’m seeing a renewed focus on R&D, product development, thinking strategically about market positioning, etc. If you are interested in increasing profitability, it cannot be overlooked.

  5. Technology – Technology for technology’s sake is a waste yet it can also be a competitive advantage. I’m seeing an increase in executives interested in how to leverage technology to improve key business processes and productivity.