classic | mobile
 

Search...

 

The Jim Pinto Column: Swim upstream in a down market and 2011 prognostications
1st Quarter 2011, News & events


Swim upstream in a down market

Many companies think of an economic downturn as a time to tighten belts and safeguard cash reserves. The mindset becomes survival, not growth – the bunker mentality. The irony is that this leaves a company in a vulnerable position, organisationally and commercially.

The time to develop significant competitive advantage and increase market share is while the competition is struggling. During lean times, advertising budgets are often the first to be cut back.

The fact is that advertising is important for growth. While competitors tighten their belts and cut marketing dollars, winners gain more mind share for their money by maintaining, or even increasing, media advertising.

Research and development budgets are usually reduced to just sustaining support for old products. Buck the trend by ramping up R&D, to enable growth in new areas and yield strong advantages in coming years.

Look for adaptations of core technology strengths for applications in new markets. Stimulate out of the box thinking and creativity. Develop and promote new features and functions using iPad, iPhone and Droid apps.

Stay away from price wars. Confidence and value perception are far more important than price. It is important to keep a balanced products and services portfolio. Do not simply be forced into the strait-jacket of current pricing, margins and volume – look for new products in markets with higher volumes.

Provide extra support for good customers during bad times; this creates a bond that is hard to break. Do not waste resources on unprofitable customers. Look for competitors’ customers, particularly those with attractive growth prospects and strong balance sheets. Develop tactics to win their business.

Weak competitors often lay off good employees, and the remaining good people are often disenchanted. Capitalise on the opportunity to identify and attract talented employees.

The path to success in a down-market is to swim upstream.

2011 prognostications

After the global downturn, most automation companies are growing again, primarily through international markets where new factories and plants are being built.

In US and European markets, the installed base of automation systems reaching the end of their useful lives represents a big opportunity. Automation suppliers have expanded their offerings for upgrades, these in some cases being plug-in replacements for competitors’ systems.

Here are my picks for automation technology that will make an impact this year.

Control Systems Security: After the July 2010 Stuxnet attack, automation systems security has become a critical issue. Security chips will now be in every switch port. Expect lots of new security-related offerings.

Industrial wireless: Some of the automation majors report sizeable wireless-related revenues, but these include accessories and support products and services; no large coups to brag about. Hopefully, the initial success will stimulate wider usage in larger projects this year.

Cloud-computing: This new arena is burgeoning in business environments. Even in industrial environments, growth is starting to emerge because of the growing burden of technology obsolescence, plus continuing support for rapidly changing software. All but the most critical components will be run ‘in the cloud’.

Diagnostics: Embedded operating information and diagnostics will be included in more new automation products and systems. Self-diagnostics will migrate into lower cost products, and will become an expected standard feature.

Consumer Technology Adaptations: In a down market, with tight budgets, companies will look for adaptations beyond the same-old, same-old tweaks and extensions. iPad, iPhone and Droid apps will appear as new features and functions in many automation products. More diagnostics and service functions will be accessible via mobile phones.

The sleeping giants – robotics, vision, complex adaptive systems – continue to doze, with discernable, but still only incremental advances.

Jim Pinto is an industry analyst and commentator, writer, technology futurist and angel investor. His popular e-mail newsletter, JimPinto.com eNews, is widely read (with direct circulation of about 7000 and web-readership of two to three times that number). His areas of interest are technology futures, marketing and business strategies for a fast-changing environment and industrial automation with a slant towards technology trends.

www.jimpinto.com


Share via email     Print this page  

Further reading:

  • An evolution not a revolution
    3rd Quarter 2016, Technews Publishing, News & events
    Welcome to another bumper issue of Motion Control. Interest in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), or more specifically Industry 4.0, is growing exponentially. The total amount of data worldwide ...
  • SEW-Eurodrive is ready
    3rd Quarter 2016, SEW-Eurodrive, News & events
    Interview with Raymond Obermeyer, MD of SEW-Eurodrive.
  • Axiom has moved
    3rd Quarter 2016, Axiom Hydraulics, News & events
    Hydraulics specialist, Axiom Hydraulics recently moved to new headquarters in Wadeville, Germiston on the corner of Bergvlei and Stellenberg roads. The phone number remains the same. The 3000 m² facility ...
  • New service centre for BMG
    3rd Quarter 2016, Bearing Man Group t/a BMG, News & events
    BMG has recently opened a regional service centre (RSC) in Riverhorse Valley, one of Durban’s rapidly growing industrial hubs. “The consolidation of BMG’s KZN workshop facilities and field services into ...
  • SMC local production operational by July
    3rd Quarter 2016, SMC Pneumatics (South Africa), News & events
    As head of production for SMC Pneumatics UK, Pete Austin has been tasked with setting up the South African production facility. Austin will steer this state-of-the-art production facility to ensure global ...
  • SEW-Eurodrive and Eureka Construction partnership
    3rd Quarter 2016, SEW-Eurodrive, News & events
    For more than three decades, milling industries across Africa have relied on dependable equipment manufactured by Eureka Construction which has been making use of motors since being established in 1980. ...
  • South Africa’s supercomputing excellence
    3rd Quarter 2016, This Week's Editor's Pick, News & events
    The Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) has taken the top prize in the international Student Cluster Competition held at the International Supercomputing Conference in Germany. The CHPC is no ...
  • Robot cars excite and inspire
    3rd Quarter 2016, News & events
    The Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering at the University of Pretoria (UP) recently held the fourth autonomous robot vehicle (ARV) race. The race involves small ARVs that are ...
  • Lapp strengthens commitment in South Africa
    3rd Quarter 2016, News & events
    The Lapp Group, a leading international provider of industrial connectivity solutions, has recently completed the acquisition of all shares in Lapp Southern Africa. Founded in 1957, the family-owned company ...
  • Kutting Hydraulics and Kenja Group merge
    3rd Quarter 2016, Kenja Group, News & events
    Kutting Hydraulics has merged with Kenja Group. Situated in Jetpark, Boksburg, the merged entity is now trading as Kenja Group. With stronger technical skills and increased capacity, Kenja is able to ...
  • Trends in industrial automation
    3rd Quarter 2016, Festo, News & events
    Festo recently held a series of business breakfasts countrywide to introduce its customers to the latest trends in industrial automation and present its value proposition. Festo MD, Brett Wallace explained ...
  • Rockwell strengthens its roots in Africa
    3rd Quarter 2016, Rockwell Automation, News & events
    Industrial automation specialist, Rockwell Automation is strengthening its roots in Africa. At the inauguration of the company’s new premises in Johannesburg, managing director Barry Elliott also announced ...

 
 
         
Contact:
Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Other
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual





 

         
    classic | mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.