President's Message: When in Doubt, Get More Information

President's Message

President's Message: When in Doubt, Get More Information

Diversity can be a blessing and a challenge. When you look at our entire industry, there are many business models to choose from, and no one way has proven to be the “best” way to operate. While every component manufacturer (CM) is producing the same basic products, no two CMs will design and manufacture the exact same components even when given the same set of drawings. That flexibility allows us many opportunities to differentiate and compete successfully.

This diversity also makes our industry strong because it means there is an almost infinite number of examples to turn to when looking for a solution to a particular problem. Whether it is related to design, production, or handling, one of the greatest strengths of SBCA and its many chapters is the ability to bring CMs together to share their experiences and differing perspectives. 

However, it’s clear there is also some downside to all this diversity. Sometimes the best path forward to solve a particular industry issue is not very clear. That lack of clarity can generate a lot of discussion without yielding a result everyone is convinced is the right one. We all face this in our businesses. We know the end goal we want to achieve but the steps to get there aren’t always readily apparent. So what do you do?

Typically, the most effective next step for a company is to put off the decision and gather more information. In production, if we want to change something on the line we talk to our production crews and get their input. We seek their opinions and suggestions, and in doing so we not only gather the additional information we need, we also help establish their buy-in, which makes the change easier to implement.

Within SBCA, it really isn’t any different and the “unified data standard” project is a perfect example. The end goal is clear: production equipment by different manufacturers should be able to transfer data efficiently between the software and the machine used by the industry. How to get there isn’t so obvious. SBCA’s IT Committee did excellent work developing a recommendation on what a unified data file format should look like but the software developers, who need to implement it, suggested that it was prudent to put off the decision and gather more information. 

That’s fair. Anything we do as an industry has to accommodate its great diversity and recognize there is a lot of intellectual property that must be protected. To that end, TPI’s cross-platform initiative intends to build upon the work already done, collect more information from the software developers and equipment manufacturers, and arrive at a solution that serves the best interest of the whole industry. The SBCA board is eager to see what the TPI group comes up with to achieve the end goal. 

This whole process also underscores the importance of participation. If you’re sitting on the sidelines, you can’t be part of the solution. If you feel passionately about some aspect of the industry, we need to hear from you. Lend a constructive voice to the conversation and help us find a solution that will benefit the entire industry. What better place to accomplish that than our next Open Quarterly Meeting in Savannah, Georgia!