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Gearing Up for Challenging Times: Why Manufacturing Needs Competitive Intelligence Now More than Ever

June 04, 2020

“Production stopped, other than to make hand sanitizer for those in need.” “Thirty-percent decrease for April due to COVID-19 impact on both customers and suppliers.”  “Dealing with the effects of coronavirus and having 65 percent of our operations down.” Those are just a few of the statements gathered by the Institute for Supply Management for its April “Manufacturing” edition of the ISM® Report on Business®.  Clearly, manufacturing organizations—from chemical production facilities to furniture factories— face a rocky road ahead as the world adjusts to the new normal of social distancing restrictions and a depressed global economy. And the pandemic was already coming on the heels of a production decline through the second half of 2019 due to the trade battle with China and slowing global growth. Take note, research professionals, because your ability to conduct competitive intelligence research will be in high demand.

Finding new opportunities for growth in a changing landscape

Earlier this year, Forbes wrote that “With competitive landscapes becoming more dynamic, it is imperative for companies to seize a knowledge advantage. This advantage can be leveraged to increase revenue, market share and brand equity.” Where do you start, especially when the entire world feels like its been disrupted?  Let’s look at the types of competitive intelligence (CI) that are most valued and how Nexis® for Manufacturing makes it easier to find the information you need.

  1. Market & Industry Data—Nexis may be known for its news (and we’ll get to that further down), but our world-leading content universe also includes market research reports, industry-specific journals, industry analyst reports, and thought-leader blogs so you can capture a top-down view of your market and industry—as well as those that are tangentially related—to better understand what you’re up against and where opportunities may lie. And it couldn’t be simpler. The Market Insight tab takes you to a search form designed to help you optimize your search query for relevant results.
  2. M&A Activity—It may sound counter-intuitive, but mergers and acquisitions during a recession can deliver real value. Capital may be tight, but M&A can still deliver positive returns. PWC’s report, Succeeding through M&A in uncertain economic times, notes, “Although M&A declined during the dot-com bust, a PwC analysis found that companies that made deals during the downturn ultimately saw higher shareholder returns than others in their industries. Nexis makes it simple to stay alert to M&A deals—from proposed to closed—with access to a variety of sources, including the Mergerstat® M&A Database. Even if you aren’t deal-hunting, keeping tabs on M&A activity can help you spot emerging opportunities or threats to inform your company’s strategy.
  3. SWOT Analysis—Nexis can also provide a convenient connection to Nexis® Dossier, so you can quickly generate company reports and determine your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Plus, you can also stay up to date on executives of interest—because changes in leadership can be important signals for understanding what’s happening with your competitors or an opportunity to snap up a great candidate for your own organization. Our extensive company and executive information doesn’t end there. You can review LexisNexis® Corporate Affiliations™ corporate hierarchies, which unravel complex corporate families of competitors. This can help you understand the relationship between competitors and their subsidiaries, joint ventures, divisions, and other affiliated organizations—even when the names are different.
  4. Patents & Legal Data—If you want to know what’s happening in your industry, research into patents, court cases and other legal information can provide valuable insights. With Nexis, you can research patents, explore competitors’ litigation histories, or investigate verdicts and jury settlements—in a single search
  5. News—Nexis features an extensive news database, featuring sources from around the world and spanning print, broadcast, and web news from national, regional, and local publishers. This enables you to gain a global perspective with local insights. In addition, Nexis maintains a deep news archive, allowing you to research your industry from a historical perspective to see how it has rebounded during past economic upheaval.

The Forbes article we mentioned above was written prior to the coronavirus pandemic taking full effect, but it’s conclusion still rings true, “Competitive intelligence is integral for ensuring a company’s success. It should not be thought of as a nice-to-have or complementary aspect of business strategy. Instead, it should form the basis of the strategy.” And with an uncertain future ahead, competitive intelligence research will help ensure your strategy remains agile throughout the ups and down.

Keep exploring:

  1. Download our Nexis® for Manufacturing brochure.
  2. Read about the 8 phases of Competitive Intelligence research in our eBook.
  3. Share this blog with your colleagues and connections to keep the conversation going.