Material handling professionals must be prepared to address the factors impacting their organizations today and in the coming year. MHEDA’s Board of Directors develops Critical Impact Factors each year and MHEDA creates programming and services around these trends and challenges. Members are encouraged to share and discuss these factors with key managers to develop their own organizational goals and action steps. If you have any questions or comments about this process or what is listed below, please contact the MHEDA office.
1. Members must have performance metrics in place that support when and how to respond to economic and market fluctuations.
2. Economic uncertainty still exists, with predictions of a flat economy or slow growth ahead. It’s important to identify viable market opportunities and target growth segments.
3. Debt structure and cash flow is of vital importance to participate in growth opportunities and be well positioned during a downturn.
4. Investments must be made to recruit, develop and retain top salespeople who understand and embrace the concept that sales strategies need to be solutions-focused and economically justifiable to the customer.
5. Continued margin pressure requires lean operations such as outsourcing and a deeper understanding of your core competencies to identify and take advantage of emerging opportunities including but not limited to energy efficiency, safety and green initiatives.
6. It is critical to identify and retain all high performing employees. There are more job opportunities today and, therefore, a higher risk of losing key personnel.
7. It is critical for members to hire top candidates, but increasingly difficult to identify prospective employees from the existing labor pool. This problem will worsen as employees retire.
8. Members must understand and be prepared for the implementation of health care reform.
9. Customers are reducing their supplier base working with distributors that provide value added services and a wide variety of product offerings. Members need to research and understand the customers’ needs.
10. Customers are demanding electronic interaction and distributors must make the investment in technology and software to meet these demands.
11. The distributor’s brand identity is becoming more solutions focused. The manufacturer must build a cost effective product that solves the customer’s problem and rely on the distributor to deliver the solution.
12. The cost of labor is one factor that is leading to more automation and companies relocating to where labor costs are low.
13. Members need to understand and be educated on how to utilize, implement and measure the benefits of online marketing, web technologies and social media as a business development tool.