Be Careful What You Wish For

June 12, 2018

Our local newspaper, the Reading Eagle, has a weekly supplement, Business Weekly.

I want to dissect a piece there (without mentioning the name of the firm because that is not relevant) to show you what can sometimes be found on private companies in local newspapers.

This piece focuses on a private local company that has moved into new quarters.[1] Here is what it disclosed:

  • The size of its former manufacturing facility.
  • The location of the new space for the firm’s factory and office.
  • The size of that new facility and how much space is dedicated to production there.
  • The cost of renovating the new facility, as well as the source of a public loan for that work. Often the files associated with such loans can contain other competitively sensitive data.
  • Data on a solar power, including what percentage of the plant’s total energy the 50 thousand watt array provides (which lets you calculate its total power consumption).
  • What kind of injection molding equipment the plant uses.
  • A statement that an additional machine is on order to join to the current (specified) number already on site.
  • What its customer surveys show about the reasons customers pay a significant premium for the firm’s products.
  • Year over year sales increase percentages for the past 7 years. Fortunately, the base amount is not specified, but one year might be available from other sources. That would allow you to calculate the current sales levels.
  • The company’s plans to change all its packaging.

Think of this as a research suggestion as well as a warning to companies to be careful about what they reveal to get local media coverage.[2]

[1] Jeff McGaw, “Brush with success”, Reading Eagle Business Weekly, June 12, 2018, pp. 8-11.

[2] Interestingly, our new book, Competitive Intelligence Rescue: Getting It Right, contain a case where a private firm finds that a published interview with the CEO is the source of leaked competitively sensitive data.

One Comment on “Be Careful What You Wish For”

  1. […] In the past, I have written about the benefits of making sure that your secondary CI research includes digging into local newspapers, including “Locally Sourced and Organic” and “Be Careful What You Wish For”. […]

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