New Investments Signaling Healthier Economy
(as featured in MiBiz)
August 3, 2011
Source: Nathan Peck
The following is an excerpt from the original article on the MiBiz website.
WEST MICHIGAN - New products are the lifeblood of manufacturers.
As manufacturers feel more confident about a slowly growing economy, new product innovations are starting to shift into high gear.
Bill Small, MMTC West regional director and VP of technical services at The Right Place Inc., is fielding more calls from mid-sized manufacturers for assistance bringing new products to market. Many manufacturers cut product development in the midst of the recession in an effort to help stanch the bleeding.
"They have stabilized. They aren't chasing the current business to stay alive. They felt the turnaround which is not large, but they've felt it," Small told MiBiz. "Of the services we offer people, a good half of the services that people are asking for are market diversification, website development and enhancement."
Companies that were forced to get lean to deal with the economic downturn are now seeing their profits bounce back as the economy improved. Businesses who at one point were concerned about staying open day-to-day can now take a longer view and are more aware of the particular skills they bring to the marketplace.
"We are seeing more and more people who have survived and have gotten much more efficient and are looking at both ways to increase their business with current customers but more, strategically looking at where they can grow their businesses," Small said. "Rather than going out and talking with everyone at trade shows, they are identifying what their core competency is, what they bring to people, and then bring that to customers. They are looking to break into another industry. They don't want to be where they're back to commodity pricing."
Dave Baum, president of Hastings Fiber Glass Products Inc., said that the company had to keep bringing new products to market in part because it can take two years or more to get a product from ideation through to a patentable product to bring to market.