There's Nothing Artificial About This Intelligence: How to Get the Facts You Need to Know



While “artificial intelligence” is a trendy buzz term in manufacturing today, there’s another type of intelligence that offers you a valuable strategic advantage: competitive intelligence. This method of market research is based on using tactics to continuously monitor the market and gather information to help your company keep up with the latest innovations, trends, competitor news, potential customers and a wide range of information that is meaningful to your operation.

Regardless of company size, type or budget, your business will benefit from an increased focus on what's happening in your industry and its potential impact on your growth and success. This is now more true and important than ever as newly introduced technologies and practices continue to change the manufacturing landscape at a rapid pace.

When faced with the daunting task of monitoring and implementing the latest innovations in the industry, many manufacturers choose to postpone their own implementations and instead watch competitors adopt technologies first. However, those who choose to take this “safer” route risk falling permanently behind as the market continues to advance without them. Fortunately for manufacturers, there are a few basic options that can streamline the process of continuous monitoring and make such improvements possible for companies of any size.

MYTH: Competitive Intelligence is Too Expensive for Me
With the right tools, competitive intelligence can be catered to your needs, your schedule and your budget. For example, setting up a “listening post,” or an email alert that gathers online content related to certain keywords, is one easy and free way to monitor the market. These keywords can be aimed toward something as broad as market news, or as specific as finding project proposals to connect with potential clients. You have the flexibility to decide how to use these alerts to boost your performance.

MYTH: Competitive Intelligence is Too Time-Consuming for Me
An added dimension of flexibility comes with deciding how often to receive these emails. When setting up your alerts, you are given the option to decide how often or infrequently the emails should be sent out so as not to overwhelm your inbox. This allows you to manage how much time your competitive intelligence research will take up each week, tailoring it to your own schedule.

It should be noted that your monitoring should not end after just one day of research. While it can be beneficial to gain a single snapshot of the industry, your company will get the most valuable information and insight from engaging in continuous monitoring of the market. After all, new technologies are introduced to the market each day. Although your company does not have to change as quickly as the industry itself, it would be helpful to start taking steps toward better and more competitive business practices with methods such as these – before the industry leaves you behind.

Monitoring the market using competitive intelligence should be a tactic that is as common as monitoring your machinery, inventory levels and budget. As noted above, it does not have to be overwhelmingly time-consuming or expensive. Simple tools can help your company gain a competitive advantage, identify opportunities and threats, and generate new business opportunities. All it takes is the desire to improve.

To learn more about how to empower your business with competitive intelligence, contact The Center at or call 888.414.6682.


Shelly Stobierski, Director of Research Services
Shelly Stobierski is the Director of Research Services for the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center. She has more than 15 years of market research experience, the first 10 years with a primary focus on automotive-related manufacturing businesses. Shelly has extensive skills in survey research (phone, internet, focus groups) and in the use of proprietary industry databases. Prior to joining The Center, Shelly spent five years as a research analyst for a turnaround firm conducting secondary research with databases such as LexisNexis, Capital IQ, and IHS Automotive forecasts. That was preceded by seven years working in various levels of project management at leading primary research firms.

Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

Categories: Growth