Imagine you've shipped a package via UPS, and you want to check its status. You go to their Web site, and you find the following information instead:
- We’ve improved mpg of our trucks by 27% over the past 3 years
- Many of our trucks today run on clean-burning natural gas
- Our drivers average 7.2 years accumulative experience
- Our tires are checked each week for road-worthiness
- Our headlights are now 16% more luminous than our competitors’
Would you care? I know I wouldn't. I mean, all that is just great and I'm sure UPS is proud, but ...
I JUST WANT MY !@^$%@*& PACKAGE DELIVERED! I DON'T CARE IF YOU CARRY IT IN A RICKSHAW! JUST GET IT THERE! ON TIME! IN ONE PIECE!
Now, imagine a sourcing professional or buyer visiting your Web site. He's in stealth mode, and he's researching acceptable sources for work to replace a supplier that for whatever reason has failed to deliver. He needs a solution, and he needs it now. He's looking at your site along-side 4 other businesses that perform the same services and processes ...
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And when he looks at capabilities, he finds an equipment list.
I have news for you, from a senior sourcing manager Boeing that knows a thing or two about this process:
"Machining capability can be bought," he says. What cannot be bought is the organization, discipline, sophistication and culture necessary to make that machining capability work seamlessly in the service of the customer's needs.
All 4 of those hypothetical competitors' Web sites show that they have 6 Haas', 2 Mazaks, a Davenport and a Zeiss.
Your equipment and square footage do not differentiate you from your competitors. It's what you DO with it that distinguishes you, sets you apart, and gets you a phone call and a visit. "Getting on the short list," for all you old-timers.
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So then, why are equipment lists featured so prominently on small- and medium-sized manufacturers' sites? I think it's because it used to matter more to buyers when they were closer to manufacturing and engineering processes in their own plants.
But these days, buyers and sourcing professionals are looking to manage total landed costs, logistics, dependability and quality rather than determining the correct feed rate for a part. That's your job.
So what should you do? Give 'em what they want. But don't TELL them that you're dependable and good at what you do - SHOW them that you're the go-to technology source.
Use vignettes. Brief, informative examples of work you've done, improvements you've made and the experiences that actually differentiate you to researching prospects. Select the images above and at right for some example vignettes.
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Add or update vignettes to your site anytime you complete or upgrade or augment or improve a project. Link to them contextually - by industry, material, and process. Oh, and you most certainly can - and SHOULD - apply this method to your MFG.com profile.
No one is suggesting that you divulge the names of your customers. And everyone understands that some stuff you've done or are doing is proprietary or confidential. And your equipment, facility and longevity are still important. But none of that should stop you from showing enough of what you've done for others.
Because that's what defines you, it's what your true value is and it's what buyers want to know.
It's much more about what you DO, not what you do it with.