In manufacturing, sticking with what’s working is an easy and understandable approach. After all, innovation takes time, effort, and capital, all three of which are often in short supply. So, in the short term, the folksy advice that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” makes good sense.
However, most successful manufacturers—and successful companies in general—take a more long-term view. Their motto is more like, “if there’s a way to improve it, let’s make it better.” These organizations understand that enhancing the performance of an item is about more than being able to take a better product to market.
Small Improvements Can Deliver Big Benefits
The term “innovation” covers a wide range of activities, from minor tweaks to major overhauls. But even slight modifications can have a significant impact on a manufacturing business. The benefits of being proactive about product innovation include:
Making customers happier. The fact that consumers don’t currently voice any complaints about a company’s products doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be thrilled if those items were enhanced. So, if there’s an opportunity to improve a product’s performance or develop an entirely new solution to customer pain points, it’s probably worth pursuing.
Increasing sales. Whether it’s existing customers upgrading or prospects who decide to become customers, innovative products generate interest, and more interest translates to higher revenues.
Lowering costs. It’s not uncommon for innovations to improve product performance and simplify the manufacturing process, saving the company money in the process.
Developing a reputation as a thought leader. Companies that continually find ways to improve their products or create new ones get noticed. Not only do consumers hear about product innovations “through the grapevine,” but publications, influencers, and others with large audiences are always interested in sharing news about product advances.
Attracting investors. For companies seeking funding, nothing is more enticing to investors than a history of product improvement and an unwillingness to “leave well enough alone.” That’s because, with each successful innovation, a company’s valuation tends to increase.
Creating an innovation culture. You might say that innovation begets innovation. There are financial and emotional rewards that come from improving an existing product or creating a new one. Once development teams get a taste of them, they’re typically hungry for more and eager to explore new territory.
Taking the Risk Out of Innovation
Innovation is inherently risky. A company might make a sizable investment in a particular product improvement only to discover that it’s more difficult to achieve than they thought, that the market isn’t happy with the change, etc. For this reason, many manufacturers are reluctant to consider new designs or modify their processes.
For those considering coating an item in chromium to improve any number of its functional characteristics, the Armoloy Innovation Center greatly reduces their risk. Working with Armoloy’s coatings experts, they can learn about the many options available, including their chemical properties, feasibility for a specific project, and the benefits they can provide. Armoloy team members can also collaborate with engineers and designers to incorporate a coating into product specifications.
And when it comes to innovations that get noticed, few generate more attention than one that significantly increases the strength, durability, and lifespan of a part, tool, or device. Companies find that chromium protection, vetted in the Armoloy Innovation Center, is a low-cost, low-risk, high-reward improvement to their products.