Your company should have a process for identifying, evaluating, and following emerging competitors. But what should the level of resources be for this effort since most of the emerging competitors will fade away with no damage to your market position?
Cement makers may need to increase their resources in this area to follow a quick-drying cement manufacturing operating currently in stealth mode, according to an article in the Aug 21, 2007 Wall Street Journal, “Hardened in Battle, This Company Sets Its Goals in Cement.”
“Over the past four years, a small Baltimore company lead by a 23-year Army veteran has quietly made its mark in combat zones with an unlikely weapon: fast-drying cement…But CeraTech’s repair work to date has mostly gone under the radar of industry observers—and that’s been intentional.”
CeraTech’s CEO Jon Hyman explains why, “We had issues with technology to perfect. We needed to establish intellectual property. We needed to fly under the radar and get some brand equity.”
The current dominant cement formula, called Portland cement, can take up to days to fully cure while CeraTech’s product dries in one to four hours. Like many new technologies, CeraTech’s product is more expensive and less of a track record—Portland cement has been used for at least 100 years.
CeraTech is now preparing to tackle the huge infrastructure market in the US. How much should Portland cement makers have spent on watching CeraTech and how much should they be spending now? What do you think?