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Honor role in a bad economy

Honor role in a bad economy

For all the bad that comes from a falling economy, there is at least some good. For example, tight economic times can reveal something of a company's character. Some companies pull in the reins when times are tough, cutting expenses for everything from fax paper to telephone usage. They think they can scrimp and save their way to better times, and that their customers will understand. And, quite subconsciously, they forget about the product quality and service that attracted prospects and turned them into customers in the first place.

Other companies take a different tack during a slow economy, and it's those companies I want to tell you about. They use their down time to invest in their own products, improving them and adding to their product mix so when the economy turns up they'll be ready to meet-no, exceed-customer expectations.

Here are a few (I'll mention more at a later time):

Pacific Bearing has actually increased its research and development budget during this slump in the hope that it will have several new products to offer when times get better. "We're using this period to re-focus on our customers," President Bob Schroeder says.

Following the same strategy are Enidine, manufacturer of shock, vibration, isolation, and motion control products; Omron; Ormec; Schneeberger; Schneider Electric; and Torrington.

Motors and drives manufacturer Baldor is likewise investing in its own products, as is Rockwell Automation. Both companies, along with Regal-Beloit, are expending resources ensuring the energy efficiency of their products, among other enhancements.

Miniature pneumatics manufacturer Clippard Instruments, too, is using a down economy to invest in new products and product enhancements, as are DuPont and 3M.

And software companies, including Alibre, ANSYS, Algor, CoCreate, MSC.Software, PTC, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, and UGS are all focusing on product enhancement rather than market retrenchment. MSC's Richard Bush expresses the spirit of that company this way: "We're continuing to develop new products even as the economy has softened, and as a result we're continuing to experience strong growth."

Sounds like Business 101! Every company should act the same.

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