Composites companies are being tasked perhaps now more than ever to adapt their strategic plans accordingly.

I’ve found that the most successful ­companies tend to take one of two ­strategic approaches in times like this. Some will look to launch a long-term ­investment in core or closely related products and technologies that will hopefully be mature and ready for insertion when the next big batch of ­opportunities comes along (typically five to ten years down the road).

We see the next wave of investment being focused on technologies with lower system processing costs such as faster cycle times, non-autoclave curing techniques, lower cost tooling, and alternative forms of ­high-performance materials (i.e. long fibre thermoplastics and innovative woven forms like braids and uni-fabrics). These ­technologies are also the avenue that will open up non-aerospace markets to broader adoption of composite materials.

Sustainability and material recyclability will also be important strategic initiatives to consider.

Alternatively, we expect the most forward thinking companies to focus their strategic plans on acquiring new capabilities, new technologies, and avenues for new market success. 

It is not to say that one of these ­strategies is more right (or wrong) than the other. In fact a balanced strategic plan should incorporate a healthy dose of all the above.

This article is an excerpt from the feature The importance of strategic planning. Read the complete feature here.