As a woman leader in manufacturing, Southfield, Mich.-based Harbour Results Inc. President and CEO Laurie Harbour said she has experienced her fair share of bias, but her desire to help the industry has driven her to succeed.
"I feel like I am breaking the mold because I [am] always challenging the status quo. Both with my clients and within the HRI team, I continuously challenge people to think differently. … It is HRI's mission to make North American manufacturing globally competitive and to do this, HRI needs to be bold in its thinking," Harbour said.
Laurie Harbour, 50, founded Harbour Results to help manufacturers be globally competitive. She leads a team of analysts and consultants to aid small- and medium-sized companies in cultivating strategies, improving operations, reducing risks and optimizing business.
"I have been an advocate for the manufacturing industry since I was a young girl when I used to visit the manufacturing floor with my father, Jim Harbour," she said.
Prior to HRI, she was vice president and company officer of Harbour Consulting.
Her father introduced the Harbour Report, a study in labor efficiency for automotive original equipment manufacturers, and Laurie Harbour was responsible for its development and management.
At HRI, she worked with her team to develop a first-of-its-kind intelligence tool called Harbour IQ to provide data and real-time access critical for companies to better understand the marketplace and make better, more informed business decisions. As the company enters its third year of Harbour IQ, it has seen customers improve operational efficiencies and business strategies. As well, it has generated more than $1 million in revenue for the company.
"I have been instrumental in the firm's growth, both personnel and revenue," Harbour said. "Everything from developing new products to helping manufacturers improve business to annual industry [automotive and manufacturing] benchmarking studies that collect and analyze data critical to developing future strategies for manufacturers. Since 2013, HRI has grown revenue 57 percent and its team of experts doubled."
Harbour said the best advice she has ever received came from her father: "Make sure your clients know you care, and do the right thing for them."
"In fact, this is a critical part of our core values," she said. "HRI was built with the foundation of helping small manufacturers. We care so much about our clients and their business that it is not uncommon for the team to provide extra services and/or go the extra mile. We try to do the right thing every time to ensure client success and trust that this will lead the business [to] success."
If she didn't have her hands full with HRI, she said she would love to lead a nonprofit association forward on developing talent and skilled trades for the manufacturing industry or she would like to support women in manufacturing.
"Helping them navigate the challenges the industry poses: How can they go after jobs that are traditionally [for] men? How can they behave when dealing with those tough challenges? And how can they do skilled trades in the mold, die [and] plastics manufacturing industry and be respected?" she said. "We are missing a huge population of young people both men and women that think manufacturing isn't cool. I would like to start something that could influence change and work with government and industry leaders to help teach young people the benefits of working in manufacturing."