For a manufacturing business like Harbec, innovation lies between delivering a value that the customer wants and creating operational value through efficiency and waste reduction. Top line growth for a manufacturing business is generated by accessing and growing new customers. Bottom line growth is enhanced by operating with precision efficiency so that no raw material or natural resource is wasted. Innovation in manufacturing is optimized when the organization can continue to differentiate a value to its customer while doing more with less over time.
While achieving both ends may seem impossible, that is where innovation comes in. Innovative organizations don’t look at their challenges and cower in fear. Rather, innovative organizations are driven by their values and a conviction for challenging conventional practices.
Harbec has been fortunate to have, since its founding in 1977, a strong discipline in innovation. Harbec has earned a reputation as a precision custom injection molder that delivers innovative solutions for its customers. Getting there has been journey marked by notable advancements in its operations, management systems, and impact on energy and the environment. The visual below presents a sample of the innovations that have taken place at Harbec.
Innovative organizations have an innate ability to scan the horizon for changes which impact the business environment, and translate their findings into business solutions. Such organizations listen to their customers as they look broadly at shifts in technology, and develop new capabilities which enable them to go beyond with a solution that differentiates their offering to customers. Innovation is all about being able to sense change, and staying two steps ahead. Achieving innovation or becoming “innovative” is not something that happens exclusively with a “Eureka” moment. Although many inventions have resulted from flashes of inspiration from entrepreneurs, the backstory to most examples of invention and innovation are grounded in hard work, discipline, and even failures.
There is an art and science to innovation, and both disciplines achieve breakthroughs through the determination, grit, and endless pursuit of excellence by those that pursue them. Many people have an image of innovation shaped by flashy marketing and products like the iPhone. The most undervalued aspect of innovation is the disciplined process which yields novel ideas, products, and solutions. Over time, the process of innovation builds a culture, and that becomes the predominant force for business resiliency, competitiveness, and sustainability.