Disruptive Technology Key to Growth for Manufacturers in Competitive Markets
January 13, 2015 (PRLEAP.COM) Business NewsJanuary 13, 2015 - As manufacturers continue to make slow but steady progress toward re-growing the nation's factory sector, some companies will likely be left in the wake of those that capitalize on innovation. However, innovation in the pure sense of the word may not be enough to gain market dominance or even simply keep up with innovative competitors according to a respected Inland Southern California-based manufacturer.
Roy Paulson, owner and president of Paulson Manufacturing, a maker of industrial safety equipment in Temecula, believes that disruptive technology can be the driving force for the long-term success of any manufacturer. In an interview on the premiere Studiocast of "Manufacturers Corner," presented by California CEO online video business magazine, Mr. Paulson said, "Disruptive technology is something that changes the marketplace, but while all disruptive technology is innovative, not all innovation is disruptive." He went on to say that disruptive technology requires innovators to anticipate needs that may not yet even exist yet. "You have to be able to take A, B and C and make the leap to G."
Mr. Paulson, who conducts business internationally, says American-based manufacturers are the most innovative in the world thanks to the broad education that students receive in school. He says a broader education-unlike the narrow, more focused instruction students receive in some foreign countries-is conducive to the outside-the-box thinking that innovative companies value today.
Paulson attended a talk on the subject of disruptive technology at a seminar he participated in six years ago, which inspired him to implement a new forward-thinking approach in the successful design and development of a new electrical safety device. The life-saving product is now being used by his company's industrial customers all over the world; however, before he could begin the development process, Paulson, who is also chairman of the National District Export Council, said every member of his team had to be on board. "One of the things I said to my team is we are no longer going to feel constrained with our new projects as to how we're going to build them. Don't worry about how we're going to make it. Let yourself go!" he said.
Even after getting his employees to buy-in to the new mindset, Paulson had to deal with a tremendous amount of skepticism from clients, prospects, sales people and distributors, who said his idea wouldn't work or would be too expensive.
"You need to have good contact with the end-user. Listen to the customers. You also need to be able to develop products within your area of expertise." Paulson continued, "It was once we had the test lab results in hand that I started to get the buy in, and when we built the prototypes and tested them in the field and began to receive feed back from the end-users, that's when we got the ball rolling."
But no new design should go unprotected he says, particularly in this day with the increasing number of legal challenges to intellectual property rights. According to Paulson, "We need to protect our inventions, and I strongly suggest to our audience to trademark (your invention), have a design patent for the look and then have multiple utility patents on the way it works, so you're covered in 3 different ways."
Whether anyone can develop disruptive technology may be questionable, but Paulson's experience in bringing game-changing safety products from Paulson Manufacturing to market has made him an advocate of education on the subject.
"I think it should be a university course that opens the mind up to teach people that it can be done. I think it's teachable. I believe it applies to every discipline."