Today’s equipment manufacturers are experiencing the all too real challenges of competing in a tough economy and an increasingly crowded marketplace. With reduced component pricing lowering the barrier to entry, competitive espionage and theft of trade secrets, and declining product differentiation, it is no surprise that many equipment manufacturers are facing commoditization and price erosion. If that is not enough, the down economy has companies around the globe searching for new ways to increase revenue and at the same time, reduce headcount, inventory and operational costs. So how do today’s equipment manufacturers stay competitive and differentiate their products in a crowded market? How do they avoid competitive threats and still provide innovative products with added value for their customers?