I’ll be at the NGKF Industrial conference this week in Chicago. I miss the time I used to spend in the industrial sector (it used to be everything I did). The most amazing thing to me though, is the more I leave the industrial sector behind, the more I find myself using the approaches and theories in all other spaces. Industrial is often ahead of the curve.
This shouldn’t be all that surprising. Businesses have to get their industrial decisions right because those decisions impact the cost basis of their entire product line. Back offices and headquarters are cost centers and as such are simply business decisions around a budget for them. But shipping costs (and therefore the location of warehouses relative to customers and suppliers) can make or break product costs, customer service levels, inventory levels and labor costs which then impact organizational margins and balance sheets.
Help a client improve their margins by 5% and you can bet you will have the inside track on their headquarters deal. Help a client open up new markets without increasing organizational risk and you’ll have a reference to blow any other out of the water.
Industrial is the way to a company’s heart. It is strategic differentiation.