Today’s small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) face many challenges—and many opportunities. And while there are a wealth of resources out there, sometimes it can still seem like you’re operating in a vacuum, cut off from the rest of the manufacturing world outside of the occasional networking event. To remedy this situation for California’s SMMs, Peer Council groups were created.
What Are Peer Council Groups?
Peer Council groups consist of 8-12 C-level executives from non-competing manufacturers. Each member represents their particular industry (e.g. food industry, aerospace, plastics, fabricated metals, etc.). The goal is to give manufacturing executives the ability to collaborate with like-minded, high-caliber individuals in their industry to discuss strategies and tactics available to overcome many of the hard-pressing issues facing California's manufacturers today. By joining Peer Council, manufacturing executives can connect monthly with other leaders in the industry to share successes, discuss obstacles, and gain insights into solutions and strategies used by their peers.
Benefits of Peer Council Groups
The Balance: Small Business states that the best way to increase the overall success of your business is to join face-to-face networking groups. They write, “By joining these groups, you’re able to interact with like-minded people who can be invaluable sources of information and support, and send customers your way.” Aside from the aforementioned benefits, here are some other reasons California SMMs should consider joining a Peer Council group.
- New contact and referrals. Although you will be meeting with manufacturers in different industries, you may still be able to create partnerships and joint ventures. Peers may also be able to refer your business to someone else, and aid in your recruitment efforts. “[Peer Council members] have really developed support for each other, they have each other’s back,” says Hilary Kraft, a Peer Council facilitator.
- Keeping current. Manufacturing is going through many changes today, and meeting with others in the industry can keep you on top of trends and emerging technologies, and help you identify new opportunities. “Our company, being 45 years old... it’s very difficult for us to change,” says Gilbert Martinez, President of Able Industrial Products, Inc. “This peer group has helped me to learn that change is important.”
- Problem solving. Meeting with peers can help you find solutions to challenges you may be facing. It’s likely another member of the group will have been through similar pains in the past, and they can show you how they got through it. “Week in, week out, I found I was fighting the same battles,” says David VanVoorhis, CEO of Precision Molded Plastics, Inc. “Joining the Peer Council enabled me to absorb some of the best practices other owners were using and apply them to my own business.”
- Knowledge sharing. Peers come from diverse backgrounds and different demographics, and they can offer you new viewpoints and outlooks. For example, say you’re not too tech savvy; one of your peers is sure to be and can get you up to speed. “I’m one of the youngest in the group, and I’m learning from all these people that have more wisdom than I do,” says Curtis McPherson, Manager of Sea-Lap, LLC. “But I also have a different perspective because of my age, so I can offer some opinions of my own.”
- Boosting confidence. Meeting with others who are optimistic about the industry can be a real morale-booster. No one demonstrates this more than Adam Freres, President of MANPROLAB, Inc. “I was given the support and encouragement to start my own company,” he says. “I’m grateful for the support Peer Council has given me.”
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Join a Peer Group Today
Interested in joining a Peer Council group? Find out where monthly Peer Council meetings are already underway, which areas are seeking to develop Peer Councils, and what your commitments are as a member of a Peer Council by clicking below. If you’re ready now, you can also apply today!