Uncertainty never fades

April 13, 2022
For those enjoying success despite the challenges, the pandemic spotlighted diligence, agility, and the ability to pivot when needed to capitalize on opportunities to remain stable and in some instances thrive.

Having owned and operated successful manufacturing operations throughout my career, I have always known strategically dealing with uncertainty is a crucial part of the puzzle. Businesses need to balance lean philosophies with redundancy.

Of course, when the pandemic surfaced, it took the challenges associated with uncertainty to a new level—dealing with mandates, workforce fluxes, and supply chain issues. The pandemic put business strategies to the ultimate test. For those enjoying success, the pandemic spotlighted diligence, agility, and the ability to pivot when needed to capitalize on opportunities to remain stable and in some instances thrive.

As the pandemic becomes an endemic, face-to-face events have resurfaced with LASER World of PHOTONICS taking place this month in Munich, Germany. While not quite “business as usual,” most organizations have seemingly figured out how to effectively operate within the new norm.

Photonics companies will undoubtedly leverage the Munich show as a powerful chance to interact with customers and prospects alike. And many companies will use the show floor as an opportunity spotlight innovations and recent successes. The inspiring story of TRUMPF Photonics and SICK’s successful collaboration in this issue is a prime example (see article).

Unfortunately, even as business is ramping up, the war in Ukraine has once again ushered in a new layer of uncertainty. Beyond the undeniable humanitarian implications, the ongoing battles coupled with an array of sanctions have further crippled already stressed supply chains.

While neither Russia nor Ukraine are big exporters nor importers of photonics components, the turmoil has changed trade routes resulting in the suspension of various logistical services, as well as rapidly escalating costs for air freight that routinely travels over Russia airspace.

With the ongoing restructuring of traditional trade routes not part of the new norm, ING anticipates, “delivery of crucial preliminary products to European manufacturers will be delayed, if they arrive at all. On top of that, scarcity and delays mean further price pressures, resulting in rising prices for producers and consumers.”

How the war will impact trade long-term is unknown, but one thing is clear: those businesses keenly focused on innovation will navigate through whatever uncertainties arise.

About the Author

Peter Fretty | Market Leader/Group Editorial Director, Laser & Military

Peter Fretty began his role as the Market Leader, Laser & Military in June 2023; the group encompasses the Laser Focus World, Military & Aerospace Electronics, and Vision Systems Design brands. He also serves as Group Editorial Director, Laser & Military (effective spring 2023) and served as Editor in Chief of Laser Focus World since October 2021. Prior to that, he was Technology Editor for IndustryWeek for two years.

As a highly experienced journalist, he has regularly covered advances in manufacturing, information technology, and software. He has written thousands of feature articles, cover stories, and white papers for an assortment of trade journals, business publications, and consumer magazines.

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