Those of us who have endured a snowy winter living somewhere other than Minnesota come to appreciate the smooth precision with which our teams of snowplow operators can systematically clean our streets. They work in short order, no matter whether the snow accumulation is one inch or 20 inches. Nothing rattles them. They have their action plans as they have been through everything.

We should think of those snowplow operators when we consider how Minnesota’s manufacturers are reacting to the peculiar marketplace turbulence they’ve had to confront as a result of the government’s response to COVID-19.

I talk to numerous manufacturers every day. In some ways, their response has been a discreet wonder to behold. As they did when the Great Recession of 2009 unexpectedly plummeted their companies into all sorts of economic chaos, most of them survey the terrain with calm resolve. We’ve been through this all before, they say (well, not exactly this); they look for opportunities to strengthen their operations to help them compete in the inevitable emergence of a stronger, more predictable economy.

Manufacturers that embrace ISO as a business management system know their entire organization will benefit from the effort. They know their companies will be well run through specific and measurable objectives.

This preparation increasingly revolves around the management efficiencies required by their ISO certifications. The in-house professionals at Enterprise Minnesota help a lot of companies achieve and implement ISO, including—perhaps especially including—audits. We’re so pleased with the way our clients have integrated the assets of ISO into their companies that we have dedicated most of this issue of Enterprise Minnesota magazine to tell their stories.

Our clients regularly testify that the benefits of ISO help them improve the efficiency of their operations, which results in reduced costs, quicker product turnaround and an overall competitive advantage. Improved communications across the board lead to happier customers and smoother relationships along the supply chain.

And this does not mention how improved communications enable employees to see how their efforts tangibly contribute to a better company. They appreciate their role and maybe see a clearer career path within the company along the way. ISO enables all of its participants to feel a better sense of teamwork and an enhanced loyalty to the organization.

We’re especially proud of the team of ISO experts here at Enterprise Minnesota. We’ve never been better. They’ll tell you that their expertise deepens with every ISO assignment. They might say, too, that their work with Minnesota’s manufacturers has helped them adopt that same sense of calm, big-picture resolution that sidesteps blips along the way and focuses on the long-term big picture.

Just don’t ask them to plow your driveway.

Featured story in the Summer 2020 issue of Enterprise Minnesota magazine. 

Return to Summer 2020 magazine