How to Gain a Competitive Advantage in a Tough Economy

Jim Huntzinger
Tags: continuous improvement, business management, lean manufacturing

With the current economic environment, there is always the tendency to hunker down and try to ride the storm out, but is that the best strategy? Probably not. While there is most certainly a need to watch budgets closely — even very closely — and tighten up on extra activity, now is the time to take advantage of developing your current employees to help improve your operation and, in fact, all business activities.

A growing number of companies have been actively implementing and even working to accelerate training within industry (TWI) into their everyday business practices and operations. The program is designed to enable improvements every day by everyone, create a more functional relationship between employees and their supervisor (which is translated into solving issues before they become a problem), and getting workers properly trained in record time. To summarize: Save money, leverage and enhance tribal knowledge, and make the entire business enterprise more competitive.

TWI has a long history of success in this area. It also continues to have success with firms today. In the Midwest location where I live, a growing number of companies are effectively using TWI to meet this need. It is giving them a competitive advantage during this critical economic slowdown. These same firms are steadfast in their belief that deploying TWI skills will put them at a significant advantage when the economy picks up. They plan to be well ahead of the game, and they know it.

It is typical that the businesses that did not just hunker down but put into action a plan to develop and improve themselves are the firms that not only survive through difficult periods but thrive when better times return. Many organizations are doing this right now, and my guess is that they will be reaping the rewards in the months ahead as business improves.


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