Another tremendous benefit for manufacturers embracing eCommerce: eCommerce allows you to stay in your wheelhouse.
As a manufacturer, ever find yourself stumbling out of your wheelhouse?
Drifting down a path that falls outside of your strengths and core capabilities.
Especially for custom manufacturers.
If you do not know what I am referring to, God bless you!
Otherwise, for the rest of us, let’s further discuss.
Many manufacturers have built a nice business and made a comfortable living for years relying on a handful of customers.
Unfortunately, the world keeps changing. Global competition becomes more fierce every year.
The internet, digital marketing, and eCommerce have opened doors that previously never existed.
However, manufacturers still struggle with embracing these new technologies.
Especially since phone book ads have vanished (my daughter, “What is a phone book?”). Trade shows are expensive.
Word of mouth is now a Google search and social media.
Consulting with dozens of custom manufacturers and job shops over the years, these small business owners consistently share a frustration of finding new leads.
Let alone quality leads.
In particular, manufacturers frequently receive a request for a quote on a product or process that falls outside of their wheelhouse.
In other words, projects beyond their current capabilities or specific area of expertise.
So what happens?
As we all know, a rudderless ship drifts off course quickly.
This is a big problem so let’s dig deeper.
Related Article: Hey Manufacturer, What’s on Your Menu? Perhaps a Plate of eCommerce?
Stepping Outside of Your Wheelhouse
Let’s paint a picture. This story may sound familiar.
A new lead arrives. This potential client sends in a request for quote.
Yet, after you evaluate the job, you know this particular project falls outside of your wheelhouse.
You lack the experience and expertise to truly tackle this project effectively.
However, you know next quarter looks soft. Actually, softer than you prefer.
Machines need to keep running while the staff also needs to keep working.
On top of it all, you are currently blessed with an amazing team that you would hate to break up.
In addition, layoffs just crush morale as well as cost you valuable talent.
Therefore, you decide to pursue this new lead.
Even though you know this project has the potential to drain time, energy, and resources.
Who wants to pass up on a sale?
Unfortunately, you know how this story frequently ends.
Your quote comes in below the competition. You are the cheapest.
As a result, you win the bid.
You stepped outside of your wheelhouse.
Due to your inexperience, you accidentally misquote the job.
Parts, procedures, and steps in the process were overlooked (or simply not understood).
Labor units that you were certain would take seconds actually amount to minutes.
As you know, minutes certainly add up quickly…..in the wrong direction.
Especially when the customer ordered thousands of parts.
Believe it or not, I have actually heard clients state, “what are we going to do if we actually land this bid?”
Embracing eCommerce helps to prevent as well as avoid these costly catastrophes.
Related Article: Eliminate the Cumbersome RFQ Process with eCommerce
Definition of Wheelhouse
So, let’s back up a second here.
What is the definition of “Wheelhouse” anyway?
According to Merriam-Webster.com:
1: PILOTHOUSE– a deckhouse for a ship’s helmsman containing the steering wheel, compass, and navigating equipment
2: a place or center of control or leadership (as in an organization)
3: a. baseball: the section of the strike zone where it is easiest for the batter to hit the ball well. The home run came on a 3–2 pitch. The pitcher tried to get the batter with a sinker. “Except it was right in his wheelhouse.”b: an area that matches a person’s skills or expertise… It was right in their wheelhouse
So, take a moment and think about your strengths and core capabilities.
The processes that you are absolutely best at.
On the other side of the coin, think about any processes or customers that currently pull you OUTSIDE of your wheelhouse.
Slipping out of your wheelhouse causes serious harm and damage.
Draining time, energy, resources and most importantly, hurting profits.
Related Article: Top 13 Reasons Why Manufacturers Struggle with eCommerce
Be the Captain of Your Ship!
Embracing eCommerce keeps you in your wheelhouse while helping you enjoy the cruise.
Furthermore, establishing an eCommerce strategy allows you to predetermine your product line as opposed to pursuing bad leads.
My father always preached, “chase profits, not sales.”
Pursuing an eCommerce strategy reduces the temptation of chasing sales that fall outside of your expertise.
Therefore, narrow your target.
Stay in your lane.
Laser focus on what you are absolutely best at.
Capture each and every advantage available.
Strive to perfect your proprietary process.
Fixate on the products that you already manufacturer…. incredibly well. Efficient and profitably.
Then unleash your strengths with eCommerce.
Market these products as if your business and staff depend on it. Because they do.
Position yourself leaps ahead of the competition.
Thrive in your Wheelhouse and Be the Captain of Your Ship!
Wrapping It Up
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