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Be flexible - Prepare for tougher times in Engineered Products business

2008

Engineered products companies suffer from two widely recognized problems: high volatility and the cyclical nature of the business. The question that companies must answer is how to manage these challenges effectively. The current situation on the market is such that many companies need to take urgent action. To help them in this task, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants has produced a new report. The report is based on a total of 300 interviews with experts from the European engineered products industry. They identify the key drivers and strategies that can help companies master the next industry downturn. The key to success? Simple: flexibility. Companies that react quicker to changes in the market are able to stay solidly in the black even during a downturn. And the best companies actually act against the cycle, using their competitors' weaknesses to strengthen their own position.

The biggest risks in the engineered products industry remain susceptibility to industry cycles and increasing factor costs. But most of the experts interviewed in the study also recognize a number of opportunities: new customer requirements, technological shifts and changes in the structure of regional markets, for example. "The findings show that many companies already have a strong customer orientation. At the same time, some companies seem to give up the game when it comes to adapting flexibly to industry cycles" says Thomas Ring, author of the reports and a Partner in Roland Berger's Operations Strategy Competence Center.

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