The Economic Winds of Change

April 22, 2019

by Dean Simmons

If the financial news pundits are accurate, there could be some economic growth headwinds facing our country within the next year or two. Doesn’t sound like we’ll have another recession similar to the last one but a slowdown into “sluggish” territory is entirely possible.

In fact, in his annual letter to investors in April 2019, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said, “there are economic risks on the horizon that will demand our attention.” That’s a fairly broad statement but one that should not be taken lightly.

Connecticut still has not fully recovered from the Great Recession of 2008 in terms of jobs and prosperity, making it even more imperative to take steps to prevent any further erosion to our economic progress. Click To Tweet

Protecting and sustaining the value of your business during a period of decline is possible if the right measures are put in place. It’s a good time to ensure everything is in alignment and that you’ll be able to weather whatever business challenges come your way.

In the event of an economic slowdown, small to medium-sized manufacturers may want to consider some of these steps:

1)    Become more cognizant of anything that has been recession prone in the past and possibly scale back from them. Explore specialized markets and supply chains with needs that align better with your capabilities.

2)    Assess your relationship with critical suppliers and key customers. Having an ongoing dialogue and effective collaboration with them will yield mutual benefits in addressing less than desirable business conditions.

3)    Build up your reserves to be better prepared for any cash flow issues. Keep the communication lines open with your bank who can advise on economic forecasts and market trends. And evaluate your capital investments to ensure you are properly positioned and protected.

4)    Develop your workforce plan, being as transparent as possible with your employees, about the health of your business, preparations to handle any anticipated downturns, and actions to initiate in response.

5)    Review your three-to-five year business plan by making updates where needed and ensuring it still reflects your perception of the future state of your business. This includes financials, sales and marketing, operations, assumptions and projections.

Taking an objective assessment of your business and its inherent value may also be a smart idea right about now.

The Value Builder System is a free and confidential assessment tool designed to identify areas of your business to work on in order to increase its value and to position it at a premium if you ever decide to sell. And make your business less dependent on you, the owner, in the process while driving up its value and giving you more options for your future.

Economic slowdowns can present opportunities such as stepping back and conducting an honest reexamination of your business, your facility and equipment, your competitors, your customers, and your workforce.

Preparation is the key to weather any stormy headwinds and keep your business going in the right direction.

CONNSTEP solved a huge problem for us and helped us bring our delivery rate to 100%. As a direct result of that, we have been awarded with an increase in business which, ultimately, will also benefit (our supplier) Har-Conn.”

CT manufacturer Pegaasus

Chris DePentima

CEO, Pegasus Manufacturing Inc.

“I see great value in the new experiences and perspectives CONNSTEP brings to our business, at reasonable prices. They’re not like consultants, they’re like partners in the business – willing to roll up their sleeves and help.”

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Mark Burzynski

President, Arthur G Russell Co

“CONNSTEP has proved to be a tremendous resource for ESI. CONNSTEP has helped us to adapt to today’s marketplace and remain a quality minded, competitive global player. Our ISO/TS16949 implementation process was efficient and rewarding. I look forward to our future projects with CONNSTEP.”

esi CT manufacturer

Ron Delfini

President, Engineering Specialties Inc.

“CONNSTEP worked with FuelCell Energy to educate and facilitate Lean initiatives and to help meet our needs to establish an overall production improvement plan. This plan has been utilized over a period of time as a ‘guiding light’ to spur numerous improvements that dramatically reduced our product cost.”

Tom Lucas

Manager, Fuel Cell Energy

“CONNSTEP is a valuable partner to Hologic, providing the expertise and ‘outside eyes’ everyone needs to keep their continuous improvement on track. We are now well-positioned on a dynamic growth path and look forward to a long-term relationship with CONNSTEP.”

Greg Safarik

VP Manufacturing Operations, Hologic

“Our experience working with CONNSTEP has brought us benefits we never expected. It’s a great team to work with!”

Bruce Wheeler

VP of Operations, Metal Finishing Technologies Inc.

“The goals of the team were to reduce manufacturing lead-time, reduce floor space utilized, and increase worker productivity. All the goals were met. CONNSTEP helped us to better compete.”

Tornik CT manufacturer

Dan Rubbo

General Manager, Tornik LLC

“The Business Growth Program is working well for us. We enhanced our website following the meetings to improve our SEO and become more visible to search engines. The segment on negotiating …  promoted changes in our thinking and improved how we interact with customers. The mentoring between sessions was helpful in boosting our progress.”

CT manufacturer Colonial Spring

Bill Lathrop

President, Colonial Spring Co.

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