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As anyone in manufacturing knows supply chain disruption has been a constant theme of the last few years. From COVID-19 to the war in Ukraine to raw material shortages, it has been a challenge to make sure all of the parts of your supply chain are running smoothly.
Not only that, but increasing Environmental, Social, and Governance legislation make imperative that manufacturers do their due diligence to ensure that all their partners are compliant with regulation--avoiding any other disruption due to lawsuits, fines, or other consequences.
Fortunately, you can mitigate the impact of these manufacturing industry trends with the right research methods and market intelligence tools. In this article, we'll explain why market intelligence is necessary for manufacturers, how to put research into action, and the tools you need to make sure you stay ahead of any possible pitfalls.
Market intelligence captures a panoramic view of the business landscape. It consists of critical business intelligence on external forces at work, such as the marketplace, influential economic and trade factors, and emerging trends. In addition, market intelligence assesses the competitive backdrop against which your company operates—current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats posed by organizations in your industry, as well as potential disruptors from other industries. Where should you start?
Market intelligence research needs to be conducted within a well-informed framework. So, before settling down to research, talk with decision makers from all departments of the business. Manufacturing business strategy has different intelligence needs than Sales. Product Development has different intelligence needs than Marketing. And the C-suite wants to see the big picture to understand the decisions being made across the organization. By understanding the specific intelligence needs of different departments, you’re better positioned to conduct well-focused research that yields actionable insights that keeps everyone working to the company's goals.
Once you’ve determined the goals across your business, your research can begin. To avoid stopgaps in your production or shipment timeline, it's important to keep on top of industry trends. This includes an potential events that could cause disruption throughout the industry (like a pandemic or war) or intelligence on your key players or potential third-party partners. You'll also want to see how your competition is preparing. Good research will signal whether your competition is prepping to make an acquisition, if a key executive is making a move, or if your competition is trying to beat you to market.
Conducting analysis of your findings and synthesizing those results into meaningful market intelligence is a crucial next step. Analysis helps you identify significant patterns and trends, unlock unique market or industry insights, or uncover unforeseen relationships that could pose a threat or an opportunity.
Steps 2 and 3 aren’t necessarily sequential. Your analysis may lead to additional questions that require more data (which means more research). During the process, however, beware of research creep that sends you down a time-consuming path without delivering actionable intelligence.
You’ve done the work; now get the word out. When preparing market intelligence for distribution, keep your audience in mind. Some of your colleagues may prefer deep dive reports; others may want a quick summary of the essential facts. If you're prepared with research and analysis, you should be able to put together a report to answer the needs of the stakeholders with the most detailed of questions--and to give a high-level summary to those who just need the highlights.
No matter how you share your findings, this is a crucial step to make sure your entire team is on board so you can keep your engine running smoothly.
MORE: Minimize market disruptions with business intelligence research
All of this research, analysis, and presentation takes time and energy to put together--which is at a premium for any researcher. That's why the tools you use to gather information really make a difference.
With an open web search engine takes you down a time-consuming path littered with dead-ends, paywalls, and questionable content provenance. You may be able to get the information you need, but there's not telling that it's current or correct.
In contrast, the Nexis® research platform connects you to an unmatched universe of critical sources—print, broadcast, and web media; detailed company and industry reports; government, legal and patents data. And the value doesn’t end there. You can quickly narrow search results to the most relevant content with powerful filtering based on topic, date, publication and more. That way you have the time you need to make the business decisions to help your company weather any storm.
See how Nexis® for Manufacturing helps you uncover critical market intelligence.