“It takes 20 year to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”.- Warren Buffet
Any business owner can tell you the importance of trust is in building a business. It starts with establishing a reputation, and ends with competitive advantage. Manufacturing is no different. Regardless the size of your company, if you haven’t established a level of trust across each of your company’s key stakeholders, your future is limited, at best.
For the purpose of this post, I’ll define trust as “relying upon information sent and received about uncertain manufacturing processes and the accompanying outcome.” This concept differs slightly from a value proposition, which might then be used to decide if a purchase makes sense. In both scenarios, trust or integrity is an underlying requirement for effective communication.
Manufacturers characterized by complex, global operations within highly regulated environments face many risks when it comes to ensuring trust is maintained between suppliers, partners, regulators and customers. Here are just a few examples of how trust plays an important role in several industries:
- The Medical Device industry – adhering to regulatory compliance programs during the manufacturing process helps to ensure that a certain medical device like a heart stent will not endanger human life
- The Automotive industry – brake or airbag components have to meet zero defect criteria to ensure vehicles are safe to operate
- The Aerospace & Defense industry – whether an airplane is being built for the military or the private sector, there are huge issues if a production process is not strictly adhered to, with the potential for a catastrophic loss of life or freedom, should a product not be built right
Today, trust must also be “earned” when placing an increasing reliance on capturing, managing and leveraging Big Data for decision support on any device. There is a risk of betraying this trust if a security breach should occur.
Given how reputation and trust are such pivotal elements in today’s manufacturing relationships, I would propose that it is at a level that corresponds to the importance of your brand and the equity that is associated with that brand. It is helpful to take a deeper look at what is involved in building a brand, as a way to help prevent a loss of integrity in how you manage your business. According to Brand.com, an online reputation management company, the building of a credible brand name encompasses the following:
- Trust established through consistent, straightforward, ethical, predictable and honest business practices
- Authenticity expressed by a clear statement of values, vision and mission
- Transparency which allows customers to find pertinent information about the company, their suppliers, business partners, business and manufacturing processes
- Responsiveness ensured by an excellent customer support and service team
- Consistency and reliability in manufacturing high quality products on a global scale
Credibility and trust are driving forces that global manufacturers are mindful in order to sustain success, not only from the economic perspective, but also to enhance their global reputation as business partner and ethical corporate citizen. Manufacturers (and others) realize that decisions made that could impact organizational trust could impact not only company risk, but also personal, career risk. These organizations are willing to substitute their departmental focus to an enterprise wide one when they realize that their decisions impact the ROI and shareholder value of their company.
In my next post, I’ll explore in greater depth what steps can be done to help address the five points above as a way to help promote brand integrity by elevating the level of trust that your organization attains across manufacturing operations.