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24 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JULY 2023 well served by your competitors. You can achieve this by tailoring your products or services to meet the specific needs of your niche customers, or by offering specialized expertise or knowledge in a particular domain. • Avoid being stuck in the middle. You can lose your competitive advantage if you try to pursue multiple strategies at once, without being able to excel at any of them. You need to choose one strat- egy that aligns with your core competencies and resources and stick to it consistently. • Plan with a competitive advantage in mind. You need to have a clear vision of what your competitive advantage is and how you will sustain it over time. You need to monitor your performance and feedback from your customers and competitors and adjust your strategy accordingly. You also need to anticipate potential changes in the industry or customer preferences and be ready to adapt or innovate. "These are some general guidelines on how to set up a company strategy for com- petitive advantage. However, each industry and company may have different challenges and oppor- tunities that require specific solutions. Therefore, it is important to conduct a thor- ough research and analysis of your situation before implementing any strategy." 1. Identify your unique strengths: Look at your business and identify what differentiates it from your competitors. 2. Understand your target market: Analyze your target market and identify their needs and preferences. 3. Identify your competition. 4. Develop a strong value proposition. 5. Invest in innovation. 6. Focus on quality and customer service. 7. Build brand awareness. In general, this is good advice, though I see it more applicable for the OEM looking to create a great product. In electronics manufacturing, we own the process that builds other people's products, so smart manufacturing should be our focus. SMT007 AI and the Company Strategy Feature Article by Happy Holden Any long-term business strategy is the respon- sibility of the stakeholders for an enterprise, espe- cially now, when the problems, opportunities, and stakes are high. But what is the process? How do you get started? What tasks and data are important? How do such topics as machine learning, automa- tion, and artificial intelligence fit into this process? To test the effectiveness of today's AI search engines, I asked, "How do I set up a company strat- egy to gain a competitive advantage?" This is what the AI engine returned for results: Setting up a company strategy for competitive advantage is a complex and challenging task that requires a thorough analysis of the target industry, the customer needs, and the compet- itor actions. According to Michael E. Porter, t h e author of Competi- tive Advantage, there are six strat- egies that can help you build a com- petitive advantage: • Analyze the attractiveness o f t h e t a r g e t i n d u s t r y. Yo u need to understand the rules and forces that govern the industry, such as the entry barri- ers, the rivalry among existing competi- tors, the bargaining power of suppliers and buyers, the threat of substitutes, and the role of complementors. • Lower the costs. You can gain a competitive advantage by offering your products or services at a lower price than your competitors, while main- taining quality and profitability. You can achieve this by improving your operational efficiency, reducing waste, optimizing your supply chain, or leveraging economies of scale. • Be different. You can gain a competitive advan- tage by differentiating your products or services from those of your competitors, by offering unique features, benefits, or experiences that create value for your customers. You can achieve this by innovat- ing your product design, enhancing your customer service, building a strong brand identity, or creating a loyal community. • Be focused. You can gain a competitive advan- tage by targeting a specific segment of the market that has distinct needs or preferences that are not

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