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

Existing customers offer short- and mid-term potential for services, spare parts, updates and other products. Probably there are also additional plants, divisions or daughter companies you haven´t contacted yet.

Addressing new industries and regions with existing products can offer short- and mid-term potential as well. The easiest way to find these opportunities is to look for your customer´s competitors and your competitor´s customers, especially when they are active in other industries.

Opportunities with new products and new customers might be the highest risk, the biggest challenge and the longest run. Many aspects have to be considered and evaluated: market potential, customers and their budgets, competitors, investments and technical risks, time to market and how your organization can handle this future business.

HOW TO DEVELOP NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Implementing SBD by defining projects helps to stay on top of the process and keep track and direction. Project orientated work has proven valuable for many processes in automation. Any project should start with a clear definition, specifying all typical project related points, such as goal(s), timeline, milestones, budget. To make sure that there will be a positive result, more than one potential market can be selected for evaluation. To be efficient, the research can be divided into phases to get a first overview on a market fast. Especially in the automation business, offering so many opportunities, it is recommended to take a look at several markets and choose the best options for further detailed investigation. This helps to save resources or to improve output.

The steps recommended for an SBD project can be summarized as

• Project definition

• Internal market intelligence

• Research (external market intelligence)

• Evaluation

• Strategy definition

STEP BY STEP TO SUCCESS

Project definition: Let´s assume our core competencies are solutions based on robots and smart sensors. The goal of our project is to enter into a new industry or a new application, to get first projects within the first 12 months and a significant market share within three years. Necessary R&D should be minimal to meet “time to market” goals. The project ends with the definition of the market strategy.



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