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Strategic Planning and Leadership Support

Managing a manufacturing company's daily challenges doesn’t always leave time for strategizing. However, the CEO and leadership team's effectiveness in navigating change and developing sound strategies is critical to success. The MEP National Network assists manufacturing industry leaders in strategic planning and other leadership support services. Unlike other resources, the focus is exclusively on the unique challenges of manufacturing, and MEP Center experts have decades of experience in manufacturing environments.

Strategic planning positions a company for success by developing an actionable blueprint to achieve an envisioned future state. Without a strategic planning process, leaders can fall into the trap of focusing on what is urgent (“fighting fires”) rather than what is important. With a planning process, manufacturers can maintain a proactive focus on their objectives and achieve superior business results – whether defined as revenue growth, profitability, sustainability, business value, efficiency, and/or employee engagement and satisfaction. The process also creates the space for leadership to consider priorities, respond to emerging market trends, determine how to outmaneuver the competition and improve the manufacturer’s resiliency in response to an unpredictable environment.

Equally important, a strategic planning process aligns the leadership team with manufacturing operations and helps to ensure that a consistent vision and direction are communicated throughout the company. Clarity of this vision can be critical in motivating staff and helping them to understand their role in achieving it. Finally, the plan enables faster decision-making – critical given the pace of change in today’s markets – by providing a roadmap and set of priorities that inform each new decision.

Methodology and Processes 

Each MEP Center tailors their services to the needs of its market, but typically strategic planning provided by the MEP National Network involves the key components below:

Mission, Vision, and Objectives

The strategic planning process looks beyond the short term to define a future state vision and long-term business objectives and goals. These goals will generally include revenue targets and financial goals, but they could also include business sustainability, employee satisfaction, or the eventual sale of the company.

Assessment of Current State, Risks, Customers and Markets

MEP National Network strategic planning services help companies assess external market trends, competitive forces, and emerging threats that shape their industry, as well as internal organizational strengths and weaknesses. Often referred to as a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis, this framework is used to evaluate the company's competitive position and to aid in strategic planning development.This step usually involves an examination of the current revenue and cash streams, major product lines, and the most profitable segments of the business. It also will identify key risks that the business must manage. 

Where and How to Compete

The current state assessment will help you grapple with key decisions about strategic direction, such as:

  • Determining how to position and differentiate your products and services in the market
  • Focusing growth strategy and planning on the target customers, markets, and products with the greatest opportunity
  • Identifying new market opportunities and responding to potential threats

Strategic Initiatives, Milestones, and Key Performance Indicators

MEP Center experts have practical experience in manufacturing, so they are ideally positioned to help you develop a concrete plan of action that flows out of the goals and high-level strategies. The strategic planning process identifies key initiatives that will drive the company to meet its long-term objectives and also builds consensus on what can be accomplished in the near term. The process identifies priorities, ownership of key initiatives, milestones, critical path items, and key performance indicators (KPIs).

Reviewed Regularly

Strategic plans must be continually revisited and re-assessed and should not be viewed as a single annual event. Course corrections must be made as conditions change or when implementation goes off track.

Other Planning and Leadership Services

MEP Centers offer strategy development and planning tailored to the specific needs of leaders in the C-suite which comprises all the executives that run a company. Services offered may include strategies and planning processes to develop a roadmap for growth. MEP Centers also recognize the needs of family-owned businesses and offer succession planning support as one generation transfers ownership and leadership to a new generation. Individual executive coaching to assist with the challenges of being in a leadership role, and facilitated peer groups where executives can share experiences, best practices and provide support to each other are other services provided.

If you need help to determine and achieve your long-term goals and develop a strategic plan, contact your local MEP Center for a consultation.

The Nebraska MEP with Matt Allmand’s experience, helped us to identify the right strategies, allowing us work together to become a much more efficient and profitable operation. 

—Doug Huffaker, Sales Executive, Wilson Case
Read the Success Story

Heroes of American Manufacturing Series: PFM Manufacturing Inc.
Heroes of American Manufacturing Series: PFM Manufacturing Inc.
PFM Manufacturing is a small, Montana company featured in the Heroes of American Manufacturing video series. Check out their story and how they launched a revolutionary new product - the Land Tamer an amphibious remote access vehicle which is now sold all over the world.



Manufacturing Reports

Marc Jarsulic

There are two major challenges facing U.S. manufacturing. The first is building competitiveness with global manufacturers, especially for small- and medium-sized U.S. enterprises (SMEs), and the second is overcoming strategic risks to health care, national defense, and other areas where the United States depends on global supply chains.

IndustryWeek, OnRamp Manufacturing Conference

The findings in this research report demonstrate opportunities for more strategic alliances, including third-party investments and partnerships. This is particularly true for smaller firms and startups as they try to keep pace with larger competitors in 2021 and beyond.

For more information or assistance with strategic planning and leadership support, please contact your local MEP Center.

If you would like someone to contact you about strategic planning and leadership support, please complete the form below.

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Created June 2, 2020, Updated June 17, 2024