Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 09:49 AM CDT

How to Develop Business Opportunities

Strategies for finding new prospects in difficult times
Dynamis AB
Bin Picking is one of the most interesting opportunities in visionbased automation. In 2008, for example, Karlskoga, Sweden-based Dynamis AB, successfully introduced SensActive ™ technology for bin-picking applications.
Hofmann AMC
The goal of realizing additional business can be achieved in many different ways depending on your core business, customer base, competition and available budgets & resources. Opportunities can be grouped into three categories: Existing customer/new product, existing product/new customer and new product/new customer.
Baumer Gige camera
National Instruments module for camera link imaging processing
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By Holger Hofmann
AMC Hofmann

There have been times in the automation business when customers actively looked for possible suppliers, asking for help and solutions. This has changed within the last years, for the automation business as well as for many other industries, with sometimes dramatic implications. That’s especially true for companies that did not start to invest in sales, marketing and business development in time.

More and sometimes much bigger and global players entered into the business that had been dominated by small innovative engineering driven companies for years. Applications became standardized, standard products replaced formerly customized solutions. These changes did not make the former business go away—it simply changed. Market data from organizations for robotics, automation and machine vision confirm that on a global view, business is still growing and there is business for standard products and customized automation solutions as well.

WHY ‘STRATEGIC’ BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT?

The challenge, especially in difficult economic times like now, is to find these business opportunities. How much do you know about aerospace, logistics, food processing, security or renewable energies? Ever dreamt of automated harvesting machines and mining equipment? What about medical engineering and service robotics? Ten years ago we envisioned every car being equipped with a camera. Today there are a lot of sensors and assist systems standard in cars, but who supplies these systems? Strategic business development (SBD) can take over the responsibility of finding these opportunities, preparing information as a basis for decisions, and leading the process until it becomes a successful business.

So business development can help with short- and mid-term projects based on your core business as well as finding new opportunities for long term.

People use the same terms differently. This can become quite confusing, especially when sitting together and discussing the same company. The scope of work, as well as the understanding of marketing, sales and business development, can be different, too. Sometimes by adding the phrase “strategic,” companies show the importance and future orientation of a department, but not the real strategic element.

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