Getting Lightning to Strike: Don’t be a victim

Here is Chris’s presentation from last week provided courtesy of Food Engineering …

Client news, “We have made six contacts with national accounts and closed all six with no stocking allowances … because we were first to market in our category with a ‘specific to market’ meaningful innovation. There is real value in getting past our usual incremental work.”

We know how to win in New Products. We know how to manage a balanced portfolio delivering both incremental and disruptive innovation along a value chain – consumer, retailer, logistics, you and your supplier. We can do it consistently… over time. I’ll bet that we even have a better hit ratio than our sales teams.  And if we do our job right, our sales teams will have a much better shot.

What we can’t do is turn product innovation on and off. If you turn it off, or even down a notch… it can take months, years, even decades to get back up to speed. What we can’t do is skip steps any more than our production line can. What we can’t do is win every time. What we can’t do is deliver strong sales results without an equally strong commitment to doing “meaningfully differentiated work”. This means:

  • An absolute devotion to your customer…doing what sales says they want
  • A solid strategy for growth with a budget that proves the commitment
  • A process with an experienced cross functional team
  • An organization-wide commitment to do what it takes
  • A willingness to do fewer, bigger projects

I believe that all of you reading this know this story. You know how to get lightning to strike. Last week I had the good fortune to speak to Food Engineering’s annual Automation and Manufacturing conference. Listening to the other speakers, I am convinced that the new tools, knowledge sources and materials coming our way are going to allow a continual flow of new and exciting ways to serve our customers.  The good news is that we are better than we think we are at creating profitable disruptive opportunities for our companies. The bad news is that it takes hard work, and intense desire to be good at it.


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