Despite the credit crunch and economic downturn - or perhaps because of it - there are still plenty of things happening in the world of quality. Take metrology, for instance. This month Hexagon Metrology has announced the takeover of another metrology company, Mahr Multisensor, and thus adds to its impressive roll call of leading metrology brands.
Expansion through acquisition is clearly a major route to market for a company like Hexagon. But it is not alone. Nikon too has been active and has purchased of Metris, itself, a fast paced technology company with a track record of innovation in metrology. These are fairly significant events in the world of dimensional metrology and represent a consolidation and development of market share by leading players.
This acquisition activity takes place within a severe cost cutting environment, with budget cuts and de-staffing prevalent industry-wide. But clearly, some companies are taking a strategic view of where to put their constrained resources, seizing opportunities thrown up by the economic turbulence. When the credit crunch storm finally blows itself out, there will probably be fewer companies left, each with bigger market shares than before.
Its not just strategic opportunism that characterises these companies. They are also continuing to invest in new product development, keeping their R&D investment levels up. We are likely to see a continuing stream of technology innovation in metrology products by these companies. There will be no let up in this area.
It is a principle of quality improvement that a crisis - of markets, resources, personnel etc - is often the spur to innovation, improvement and growth. Indeed without a crisis, a company, even an entire industry, may fail to innovate and disappear. The automotive industry, for one, is a classic example with the story of Toyota being the perfect illustration. However along the way, I’m sure its seems by no means inevitable that one will survive let along dominate - It’s white water rafting till we get to the other side.