My Rival, My Partner

Like many small companies, ours has been forging alliances with competitors to win more business

Earlier this year I decided our family-owned printing company needed some help to straighten out operations. Production waste had climbed faster than sales growth over the previous six months, cutting into profits, and productivity wasn't what it should have been. We could have hired a manufacturing manager and added $150,000 to our overhead or brought in a consultant for $150 an hour. Instead, a local competitor agreed to lend us their operations manager. The reason was simply that they didn't want to lose him. He had helped turn around their operation, and now he was bored. They figured that if he took on the challenge of helping us part-time, he would stay put.

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