New iPad Tests Manufacturers’ Flexibility

To wait or not to wait. That is the question for many manufacturers that are eager to profit off product accessories. Jumping the gun is dangerous for any business, but so is acting too slowly.

Risks and Rewards for iPad Case Manufacturers

Tortoise and the Hare signs, Fishbowl BlogFor example, manufacturers of iPad cases aren’t given any advanced warning about the timing of a new iPad release or the new dimensions and button placements they have to work with. But some manufacturers hope to get a big advantage over their competition by making an educated guess weeks before the official announcement comes from Apple. If they’re wrong even by a couple of millimeters, they could wind up with a lot of unsellable products. But if they’re right, they’ll be in a perfect position to sell their cases on Day 1 of the new iPad’s release.

Other manufacturers are more cautious. They wait until they are able to purchase a new iPad and redesign their case to fit it exactly. However, waiting has its own risks. Manufacturers who delay will likely miss out on a lot of initial buyers who want to get an iPad case right when they buy the new device. They need to act quickly to make up for this handicap and get their cases in stores. Despite these disadvantages, this strategy could help these manufacturers in the long run because they could earn a reputation for high quality and craftsmanship while other brands are mainly trying to be faster.

Which Strategy Is Better?

So which of these manufacturers is using the smarter strategy? On the one hand, the greater the risk, the greater the reward. On the other hand, slow and steady wins the race. No matter how good you are at guessing, you’re bound to make mistakes from time to time. And those mistakes could cost a lot of money and time.

Probably a more reliable business strategy is to be flexible enough to jump on opportunities when you have all the facts you need. If you can get that information before your competitors, then more power to you. You can still use intuition, but you need to temper it with facts. Businesses often enjoy long-lasting success by finding a happy balance between these two things.

The Tortoise and the Hare

It comes down to Aesop’s old fable “The Tortoise and the Hare.” If you want to be more like the Tortoise (steady and successful) and less like the Hare (fast but sporadic), you should definitely use manufacturing inventory software. With this software, you’ll be able to speed up your production lines and make sure that when you make a design decision, you can put it into production quickly. Learn more by clicking the link above.

About Robert Lockard

Robert Lockard is a copywriter with Fishbowl. He writes for several blogs about inventory management, manufacturing, QuickBooks and small business. Fishbowl Inventory is the #1-requested inventory management software for QuickBooks users. Robert enjoys running, reading, writing, spending time with his wife and children, and watching movies. His favorite movies include Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Fiddler on the Roof, Back to the Future and Lawrence of Arabia.
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3 Responses to New iPad Tests Manufacturers’ Flexibility

  1. Dear Robert,

    Great post, as usual.

    Another factor to consider also is mark up / profit margin. On a product such as an iPad case, this is probably a short-term, high mark up product. After all, the case design will change soon and continuously. As a rubber products manufacturer, I would say this is a relatively low-cost, high-priced product, like Otter Boxes.

    Claudius Jaeger, Artemis Rubber

    • Claudius,

      Thank you for your comment. You’re absolutely right. Product life cycles, pricing and durability are very important to take into consideration. I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog. Take care!

      Robert Lockard

  2. The manufacturing industry is continual evolving due to globalization, technological changes, desire for more profitability, and efficiency in competition. These changes have created the need to review how manufacturing companies manage their employees. The traditional approach was concerned with only three aspects with linear relationships: Acquire, Engage, and Retain. The current generation of workers and the evolving manufacturing industry trend has made the tradition approach of talent management become less effective.

    For example, many manufacturing companies have downsized their workforce through voluntary exits, but at the same time they continue the difficult task of hiring very skilled labor. As technology improves and the manufacturing process becomes more complex, more and more highly skill workers are needed. Since they are in high demand, the good ones will tend to possess certain qualifications that will enable them excel in their career. These workers are usually well trained, highly skilled, capable of complex trouble shooting, flexible and able to solving problems under minimal supervision.

    After the competitive task of acquiring these people is complete, many manufacturing companies are faced with the dilemma of how to manage them. Many graduates who possess the above qualities belong to Generation Y. These are people born in early 1980s to early 1990s. They tend to be technologically savvy, versatile and would work in a company for only a few years before moving on to another. This is due to their life experiences and aspirations in life e.g. rise to senior level within a short time. This is unlike the traditional workers who are mostly content with their positions and can work for many years expecting a promotion.

    Manufacturing companies are seeing the need to shift their style of talent management. One of the new approaches to talent management that should embraced to ensure their survival in the highly competitive world is the “holistic model”. This model encompasses three major interlocked aspects in addition to the previous three. These are Develop, Deploy and Connect with a strong emphasis on capability, commitment, performance, and alignment. The aspect of connect is important because the Generation Y employees want to work beyond the functional boundaries, they need to be involved in initiatives such as Total Production Maintenance, lean manufacturing , six sigma, supply chain optimization , global sourcing and complex product launches. These initiatives may go far outside the scope of the job description they were hired to do initially. To attract and retain the required talent, the work schedule need to be flexible, concepts such as telecommuting should be embraced so that some functions can be done at home, and the work environment needs to be tech- savvy.

    In conclusion, as the manufacturing industries aim for global expansion, profitability growth, and productivity improvement; the significance of talent management will continue to increase in future because of the scarcity of the talents and aggressive competition among the manufacturing industries globally and within your tightening competitive sphere.

    Have you noticed any generational differences in employees that you’ve found interesting or enlightening?

    Anjela Mangrum, the co-owner of Mangrum Career Solutions, partners with manufacturing businesses to assist in their executive placement, onboarding, retention and outplacement needs. She also works to empower individual job seekers by helping them gain a competitive edge in their job search.

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