Innovation: the act or process of inventing or introducing something new
We Are ALL Innovators!
Accuform has 300 employees. So, we have 300 innovators. Yes, YOU are an innovator. Sure, your job description may be “Purchasing Agent” or “Finisher”, or “Shipping Clerk”… but that doesn’t change the fact that you are a force of innovation, change, and progress.
As human beings, we have been created to be creative. Everyone, and again, I stress - EVERYONE is creative. Some of us are more creative than others, just as some of us are better with numbers, machines, or people.
Nevertheless, human beings are natural problem solvers. Throughout our history we have designed tools and systems that have made our lives more productive, safer, and more enriched.
When we are talking about New Product Innovation, what we’re talking about is the art of being human.
As you go about your day, think about ways in which a process can be made smoother. Can this save money? Will this make my job easier? Also, you can think of ways our products can be improved. Could we make this product in a less costly way? Is there something we could do to enrich the customer’s job, or even make their life easier? If you figure that out, then you’ve got a golden goose!
It’s not JUST about making money, though – it’s about making the world a better, safer place.
The Economics of Innovation
While our mission is to Inform, Protect, and Motivate the global workforce, we recognize that if we are going to accomplish that mission – particularly the “global” aspect – we must be about the business of making new products, selling those products, manufacturing those products, and ultimately turning a profit!
A profit is like a dirty word, isn’t it? Nobody likes to talk about it. We tend to associate it with corporate power and uncharitable shareholders who like to hoard their vast wealth.
I can assure that’s not the case with Accuform. In fact, profit should be our FAVORITE word, because the owners of Accuform have consistently (and often extravagantly) invested their profits BACK INTO the company.
This means two things that are AWESOME for us… (1) More Jobs for our local community, and (2) Better jobs, better benefits, and a better place to work!
Profits are what keep this ship afloat, and they continue to fund our journey to becoming to the world’s greatest safety identification supplier.
Profits from increased sales and increased production have allowed us to be generous in our community. They have also afforded us the opportunity to build a state-of-the-art, 280,000 sq. ft. manufacturing and world headquarters – scheduled to break ground this year!
It’s very exciting to think about how ALL of our jobs and lives will be enriched by the formation of this new building. New products (created by you) will help fund this venture. The profits gained are invested back into the company. That’s why it’s OUR responsibility to keep the engine of innovation turning.
The mission is clear – make new products that Inform, Protect, and Motivate the global workforce – and in turn, make the world a better, safer place. However, there is a very real temptation that awaits us.
You see, we’ve had a little success. We’ve won some awards. We’ve grown a lot. At this point, we might begin to think that we’ve pretty much got this whole “safety sign thing” down.
I would encourage us to never lose the competitive spirit. Every sign we ship put of this building with Accuform’s trademark customer service and attention-to-detail production quality, is a sign of our own job security. It means that nobody else is going to do it like us. But there are other company’s out there waiting for us to slip (some are ankle biters and some are real threats)… waiting for our shipping time to sink… waiting for our quality to become rushed and flawed… waiting for our customer service to become impatient and rude.
Those are obvious temptations and I’m sure we think about them every day. However, less obvious temptations would be to assume that every new idea has been explored… every new product has been tried… every new process has been examined. We must not hesitate to speak-up when inspiration strikes. We must press-on and continue to be the leaders in innovation that our customers have expected from us for more than 30 years.
In closing, I just want to remind that you that many of our most-popular products were at one time just ideas scribbled on a piece of paper, by people just like you. In fact, sometimes the ones who are closest to the products have the best ideas.
Maybe you’ve seen a special order that you think could be sold in the catalog. Maybe you were asked to quote a special material or custom project that could be turned into a new product. Maybe a customer has asked you for something, but you had to say, “sorry, we do not make/sell those”.
There are new product ideas all around us. Often though, we get so wrapped up in our day-to-day tasks that we forget to make a note or pass along this information to the people who can run with it. If you are unsure how to share your idea, here are a couple of tips:
- Write it down. Post-It note. Email to someone. Describe your new idea in a few words.
- Draw it, sketch it, photograph it, whatever… as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”
- Drop your idea into the Accuform “feedback” box.
- I promise that these boxes are checked frequently. Your recommendations are taken seriously and get sent to the right people. If the idea is for a new product, that person will be me. You can also call, email, or visit me in person and we can sketch your idea on the white board in my office.
Thanks for reading. Remember, when it comes to innovation… YES WE CAN!
About Accuform Signs
Accuform Signs, located in Brooksville, FL, is the leading manufacturer of facility safety identification products. Founded in 1976, Accuform Signs sells products to a network of distributors throughout North America, South America and Asia. From personalized safety signs, safety tags and labels, to traffic safety and lockout/tag out products, Accuform Signs provides the products and sales support for the distributors that define the safety industry.