A Publication of WTVP

For many area manufacturers, growth is hard to generate and even harder to sustain. In fact, research finds that eight out of 10 companies need ideas for growing their top-line sales.

To help Illinois manufacturers make growth choices that will generate profit, we are proud to announce a partnership with the Eureka! Ranch—a leading innovation group that has helped manufacturers like Nike, American Express and Walt Disney to generate business-building ideas. In concert with IMEC’s Business Advisors, these same concepts will now be offered to small and mid-sized manufacturers who need to grow their top-line sales.

“Explosive growth is no longer only within reach of America’s largest companies,” says Eureka! Ranch founder Doug Hall, former Master Marketing Inventor for Procter & Gamble and author of the Jump Start Your Brain business books. “Smaller businesses— particularly manufacturers—can leverage processes and methodology that up until now have only been accessible by large corporations.”

Recently, an IMEC colleague and I attended a Eureka! Winning Ways boot camp hosted by Hall at the Cincinnati Eureka! Ranch. We were very energized by the concepts we learned and believe they have the potential to be powerful solutions for Illinois manufacturers who need to create new value streams, differentiate their products and enter new markets.

At the boot camp, we observed as two actual companies went through Hall’s patented idea generation process. One was a publicly traded tube bender/assembler. This company makes parts to print for a single aerospace customer (representing 80 percent of their sales). Using Hall’s system, the group developed several actionable ideas for diversifying their customer base. The CEO of this company was very encouraged about the experience and believes that they can follow through and make these new growth ideas a reality.

The IMEC/Eureka Ranch! approach will include a one-day “Growth Summit,” in which employees from a manufacturing company are guided to develop up to 50 growth ideas. The ideas can be as simple as changing the parameters of a product design, to more complex decisions such as entering new markets. We will then take the top ideas and use Hall’s system to scientifically filter out one or two that benchmark data suggests will be most likely to succeed. From there, we will work with the manufacturer to develop a 30-day action plan to research and test the top ideas. At the conclusion of the project, the company will have a regimented plan to implement their idea(s) and realize results quickly.

Why is growth management important?

Production of goods overseas is easier, cheaper and more profitable than it was just a few years ago. Developing a culture of flexibility, adaptation and innovation requires a long, hard look in the mirror for U.S. manufacturers.

IMEC is committed to helping manufacturers sustain their competitiveness by identifying potential products and services that fit their competencies and by developing new products, new services and new markets. By taking stock in what a company does well and thinking creatively, we hope to spark companies to discard their limitations and discover new opportunities for growth. IBI