Though its exact origination is unknown, written references to the game of golf can be traced back to 1457 Scotland. At its roots, this beloved, centuries-old sport is based on pure strategy, in which the player with the best vision, the right set of tools and most accurate implementation wins.
Here, the game’s progression will be used as an analogical comparison as we dive into the benefits of contract manufacturers (CMs) and why partnering with the right one is necessary to find growth in today’s highly competitive and continually evolving global supply chain.
Threats of a trade war loom, the electronics component shortage is upon us and technology is evolving at an unparalleled pace. For these reasons and more, the need for strategic methodology in product development, while daunting, is quickly becoming the difference between success or failure. Buying into the notion that your company may require added support and expert knowledge is more imperative than ever to keep growth in an upswing.
For those who may be unfamiliar with CMs and the role they play, think of your business as a golfer and your industry as the US Open. Much like in a major tournament where players are competing against countless other professionals with the hope that their names will top the leaderboard, so too are companies battling with one another to perform at their optimum level in order to generate the most sales and highest revenue.
While professional golfers possess a natural gift for the game and undoubtedly clock countless hours of practice, one critical yet often overlooked tool that can take these players from contenders to champions is their caddie. A caddie must be able to quickly and confidently select the proper club, navigate the course’s terrain and, at times, serve as a personal psychiatrist in order to set the player up to complete a successful shot. They provide confidence that they have the right club, know the exact distance to the pin and have factored in all variables such a wind and elevation change.
Congruently, the right manufacturing partner is continuously analyzing the landscape of their global supply chain, informing customers of any critical information that may change desired outcomes, such as component availability or on-time delivery, as well as ensuring the right tools are selected to improve the product’s chance of success. High quality CMs are also available to consult with should any concerns arise during the manufacturing process, including design engineering, production and logistics. The elite, the Masters Tournament caliber, understand location is not a one-size-fits-all solution. They will confidently determine where in the world is the best place to make your product.
In golf, caddies can appear to be a dime a dozen. Sure, you could hire the neighbor kid who is home for the summer and only requires payment in the form of pizza and beer. He will show up around the time you asked him to, but it is unlikely you will see your game improve because he will hand you the exact club you have asked for without thinking twice that you are requesting a putter while you are still at the tee box.
Don't be fooled by those rare exceptions to the rule. After all, if you've seen the movie "The Greatest Game Ever Played," you know Francis Ouimet, as an amateur, won the 1913 US Open at Brookline using his 10 year old friend as his caddie. The best caddies, like the best CMs, require more than free pizza, but the benefits in return are the difference between wearing that coveted Master’s Champion green jacket and watching the tournament from your home.