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How to keep up with industry trends

In order to stay competitive, your manufacturing company must keep up with industry trends. While some companies are looking for ways to improve their productivity and design new products, your company can be ahead of the game by owning the right equipment that offers a faster turn-around. In order to know what types of equipment and products you need, you have to know what the latest industry trends are.

If you want to keep up with industry trends, follow some of these simple tips:

Tip # 1 - Sign up for mailing lists.
You need to be known in the manufacturing world. Sign up for multiple mailing lists with your suppliers and other companies that are in your industry. Being on your competitor's mailing list will help you keep up with them or it can help you stay one step ahead of them. The more exposure you can get for your company, the better. Sign up for email mailing lists also. If you are worried about spam mail, use a separate email account for all of your mailing lists.

Tip # 2 - Trend spotting.

Have your staff members get into the habit of looking for industry trends. Each day, dedicate some time to dig around for new industry trends. Industry is changing each day so it is important to stay on top of it. If you cannot dedicate time each day to search for the latest industry trends, assign some staff members to do it.

Use Google Alerts to find out when a new story or article is published with wording pertaining to your industry. The alerts will also help you determine if the lead is credible because you can evaluate the authors that publish them.

Tip # 3 - Keep an eye on your competitors.

Everyone has heard the phrase "keep your friends close and your enemies closer." One of the biggest ways to keep up with industry trends is to know what your competitors are up to. Build relationships with some of the employees at the other company and maintain communication with them. Depending upon the wording you choose, they could give you more information than they wanted to. The more you know about your competitors, the easier it is for you to meet or beat them with a new product. If you are already beating your competitors, have weekly brainstorming meetings to help you stay ahead. Look for ways to renovate your existing products that will keep customers coming back for more.

Tip # 4 - Attend conferences and seminars
Another important way to keep up with industry trends is to attend conferences and seminars that pertain to your industry. If you cannot attend the conference, send 2 or 3 of your staff members. Tell them to look for new products and innovations that pertain to your industry. Make sure they keep an eye out for your competitors and tell them not to reveal too much information about your company. Many of these conferences and seminars will offer certification exams that can help you determine where the industry is headed. The certification exams often are full of new information that is "hot off the press" and it can give you a good idea as to where you need to start putting more time and money.

Tip # 5 - Forecast.
Another important part of keeping up with the industry trends is to forecast. Make sure you plan for the future demands of the company. Determine what types of employees you will need and which ones will be in high demand. Forecasting also helps you set aside enough money to pay for new equipment if you need it in the future.

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