4 Ways Industrial Manufacturing Companies Can Recover from COVID-19

PB 31 Chief logo 400

July 15, 2020

By Atul Minocha, Dawn Werry, and Kimberly Miller

When the pandemic first hit, the industrial manufacturing sector was changing daily. Now, at the start of the recovery phase, the whole industry is adapting. Some companies have had to find completely new markets for their products, while others have started making completely new products. Across the board, supply chains have been disrupted. Buyer behaviors have changed and go-to-market strategies have had to adjust in order to keep business moving. Here are the 4 ways industrial manufacturing companies can recover from COVID-19:

1. Respond to Customer Needs

Even in the face of this disruption, some companies have refocused on what was not impacted and moved in a new direction. Many proactively asked how their customers’ businesses were impacted, what new products or components might be needed, and how they could respond as soon as activity picked up again.

In this environment, it’s very important for a company to understand the needs of their customers. It’s equally important for customers to believe that their suppliers care about them and that they are interested in understanding and improving changing situations. Manufacturers have been forced to move from a position of, “We sell these products” to “What are the needs of my marketplace?” 

2. Get New Suppliers

Prior to the disruption caused by the pandemic, industrial companies in the U.S. were heavily reliant on overseas suppliers. Many companies had ruled out buying from domestic vendors because they could get products from an overseas supplier at a better price. This is no longer a valid assumption as these supply chains have broken and the overseas reliance has shifted.

This creates an opportunity for U.S.-based component manufacturers that previously were not able to compete. Buyers are now starting to consider domestic suppliers as a back-up, or even a preference, to those overseas.

3. Evolve Your Go-to-Market Strategies

As changes unfold in the manufacturing space, go-to-market strategies have to adapt. Some companies have repurposed their salesforce, others are re-tooling their processes to adapt their products for new applications. This is opening up new markets, whether they are complementary, supplemental, or brand new.

Big changes to marketing strategy also necessitate changes to value propositions. If a company starts making new products, supplying different customers with U.S.-built components, or selling into a brand-new market, their messaging and value propositions need to be updated to reflect changes.

Additionally, buyers in the industrial manufacturing sector have changed their behavior. They’re not going to trade shows. They’re not allowing a salesperson in the door. Without events and sales calls, companies have to consider alternative ways to engage buyers and suppliers.

Many industrial manufacturers have been slow to adopt modern marketing practices and may only have a basic web presence. This current situation has revealed the importance of digital marketing. Websites are now crucial to clearly communicate a company’s message and value propositions. The website is a substitute for trade shows, product research, education, video demonstrations. Without the ability to meet face-to-face, customers that respond to outbound messaging, advertising, virtual events, and educational videos are all funneled back to the website. It is a key tool for engaging and sharing with customers and prospects. As such, a digitally enabled website should be a priority going forward.

4. Have Agility, Not Prediction

Manufacturing CEOs should steer conversations away from guesses about what will happen or when. Instead they must focus on preparing the organization to flex and switch quickly. Windows of opportunity could be missed if CEOs waste time and money trying to predict what’s coming. The future is unknowable. Success in this climate is more about agility and less about prediction.

Now is the time for manufacturers to become receptive to new ideas. This is the moment to pull teams together and say, “All right, let’s look at this business differently. Let’s build a plan. Let’s figure out what levers to pull, when to pull them, and how hard to pull.”

If manufacturers build agility into their organizations going forward, they’ll have a better chance of flexing new strategies into action quickly. What was done in the past may not be adaptable to the new way of doing business, but positive steps taken today will equip businesses to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

Atul Minocha (Partner), Dawn Werry (Partner), and Kimberly Miller are CMOs with Chief Outsiders, the nation’s leading fractional CMO firm focused on mid-size company growth. They work with global industrial goods companies to solve seemingly inextricable growth challenges. More information at www.chiefoutsiders.com

Related Articles


Changing Scene


Sponsored Content
The Easy Way to the Industrial IoT

The way to the Industrial IoT does not have to be complicated. Whether access to valuable data is required or new, data-driven services are to be generated, Weidmuller enables its customers to go from data to value the easy way. Weidmuller’s comprehensive and cutting-edge IIoT portfolio applies to greenfield and brownfield applications. Weidmuller offers components and solutions from data acquisition, data pre-processing, data communication and data analysis.

Visit Weidmuller’s Industrial IoT Portfolio.


ADVANCED Motion Controls Takes Servo Drives to New Heights (and Depths) with FlexPro Extended Environment Product Line

Advanced Motion Controls is proud to announce the addition of six new CANopen servo drives with Extended Environment capabilities to their FlexPro line. These new drives join AMC’s existing EtherCAT Extended Environment FlexPro drives, making the FlexPro line the go-to solution for motion control applications in harsh environments.

Many motion control applications take place in conditions that are less than ideal, such as extreme temperatures, high and low pressures, shocks and vibrations, and contamination. Electronics, including servo drives, can malfunction or sustain permanent damage in these conditions.

Read More


Service Wire Co. Announces New Titles for Key Executives

Bruce Kesler and Mark Gatewood have been given new titles and responsibilities for Service Wire Co.

Bruce Kesler has assumed the role of Senior Director – Business Development. Bruce will be responsible for Service Wire’s largest strategic accounts and our growing Strategic Accounts Team.

Mark Gatewood has been promoted to the role of Vice President – Sales & Marketing. In this role, Gatewood will lead the efforts of Service Wire Company’s entire sales and marketing organization in all market verticals.

Read More


Tri-Mach Announces the Purchase of an Additional 45,000 sq ft. Facility

Tri-Mach Elmira Facility

Recently, Tri-Mach Inc. was thrilled to announce the addition of a new 45,000 sq ft. facility. Located at 285 Union St., Elmira, ON, this facility expands Tri-Mach’s capabilities, allowing them to better serve the growing needs of their customers.

Positioning for growth, this additional facility will allow Tri-Mach to continue taking on large-scale projects, enhance product performance testing, and provide equipment storage for their customers. The building will also be the new home to their Skilled Trades Centre of Excellence.

Read More


JMP Parent Company, CONVERGIX Acquires AGR Automation, Expanding Global Reach

Convergix Automation Solutions has completed the acquisition of AGR Automation (“AGR”), a UK-based provider of custom, high-performance automation design and systems integration primarily to the life sciences industry.

Following Convergix’s acquisitions of JMP Solutions in August 2021 and Classic Design in February 2022, AGR marks the third investment in Crestview’s strategy to build Convergix into a diversified automation solutions provider targeting the global $500+ billion market, with a particular focus on the $70 billion global systems integration and connectivity segments. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Read More


Latest Articles

  • M12 Cables: Enhancing Connectivity Across Industries

    M12 Cables: Enhancing Connectivity Across Industries

    Delivery, reliability, and selection; are three criteria that best describe Proax’s commitment to offering optimal options for in-stock connectivity. In partnership with Phoenix Contact, customers can expect a large range of solutions designed for the safe transmission of signals and power. M12 cables are a type of circular connectors commonly used in industrial automation, ethernet networking, fieldbus… Read More…

  • Record-Breaking Automate 2024 Event Highlights Industry’s Rapid Growth and Innovation

    Record-Breaking Automate 2024 Event Highlights Industry’s Rapid Growth and Innovation

    The largest robotics and automation trade show in North America, Automate, achieved unprecedented success last week with record-breaking attendance and exhibitor participation. 42,895 registrants from around the globe convened at Chicago’s McCormick Place from May 6-9, 2024, to explore the latest advancements in robotics, artificial intelligence and automation technologies. Read More…