Posted on 4/29/2015

The time to diversify is now

The Great Recession of 2008-2009 was a major wakeup call for the business world, especially for us here in Michigan, where we saw the bankruptcy filings of auto giants General Motors and Chrysler. If we learned anything from that financial crisis it was the importance of business diversification. 

Our state has made significant strides toward recovery and businesses in this region are once again thriving. Our unemployment rate is finally back to the national average, albeit at a lower total employment. That means now is the time to diversify. Business diversification is best attempted when you’re doing well. You can afford the time and money now to look beyond current customers and industry sectors.

This is at the core of what I do at Automation Alley. Our defense and manufacturing team located in Sterling Heights offers assistance to local companies looking to diversify into the defense industry. Our relationships with defense industry leaders provide multiple access points for companies to approach the industry spanning new technologies to spare parts. We can help you determine where to focus your efforts to get results, whether that is with the Department of Defense, defense-sector OEMs or elsewhere. And we’re always providing opportunities for key players in the manufacturing industry to network and discuss best practices through the Automation Alley Manufacturing Committee and regional networking events.

One shining example of a local company that diversified its business model is Pratt & Miller Engineering & Fabrication in New Hudson, Mich. We first met the management team at Pratt & Miller about seven years ago. Already a strong engineering force in automotive racing at the time, with our guidance and their strong leadership, they were able to make defense engineering and prototyping services a significant portion of their business.

How can your company have similar success? First, have a realistic timeline expectation for getting new government business – two or three years is not uncommon. But the time and effort will pay off in the long run for your business. Next, if you haven’t done business with any branch of the government, you need to contact your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) representative and take an introductory course. And, depending on your specific location and company profile, we can recommend participation in various Automation Alley committees and other community organizations. 

To request a meeting to discuss your next steps in the defense industry, including presenting your ground vehicle technology to TARDEC, contact us today.

About the Author

Dan Raubinger | Automation Alley


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