A look at how the Internet is changing the Manufacturing Industry
Remember Blockbuster? A little-known fact is they had a chance to buy Netflix, yes THAT Netflix, all the way back in 2000. Needless to say, they passed. Netflix succeeded due to their willingness to change and adapt to the new online world, while Blockbuster crumbled due to a refusal to change. Now in 2020, many manufacturers find themselves in the exact same situation (the needing to change part, not the ability to buy a future titan of the entertainment industry part). Will they adapt to the new online world, or will they be left in the past?
Traditionally, the manufacturing industry has been one built on relationships. These relationships are started a variety of ways, but normally come about in face to face interactions. However, 2020 was anything but a traditional or normal year. Due to Covid-19, the trade shows and manufacturing events where these interactions take place went on hiatus, causing many manufacturers to scramble for a new way to grow or maintain their business.
Virtual meetings allow for more personalized communications
One of the new ways to communicate was found online, through the introduction of virtual meetings. Virtual meetings have become a necessity in 2020 and seem like they are here to stay. While nothing can replace face to face meetings, virtual meetings allow for more personalized and detailed interactions than other traditional communication methods such as emails and phone calls. With so many people working from home, these virtual meetings also have the benefit of allowing multiple members to participate in the meeting regardless of their location. Furthermore, manufacturers can demonstrate and show off new products, introduce new team members, and improve communication and relationship building activities, all without leaving the office. By embracing virtual meetings, manufacturers are able to update and communicate with their customers in meaningful ways.
Implementing virtual meetings is not the only way the manufacturing industry is adjusting. More and more, consumers would prefer to Google the answers to their problems instead of talking to someone at a company. Oftentimes, a Google search can be the very first impression a customer has of your company, with a website serving as the new “front door” to the business. Because of this, many manufacturers have had to hit the refresh button, either updating or creating webpages and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more to appeal to the modern consumer.
Superior updated their website in 2016 for a more user friendly design
For example, at Superior Aluminum we were proud of the fantastic products we offered. The problem? The company's web presences didn’t give an accurate presentation of who we are. We didn’t want to be Blockbuster, so the challenge in 2015 was to replace the old school, hastily designed website that no longer made sense in a modern age. The Superior team completely overhauled the customer experience online, added mobile functionality, and inserted valuable customer features.
While certain aspects of the manufacturing industry will return to a sense of normalcy, some of the changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic are here to stay. The web is a great tool for the industry, allowing companies to create tools such as the Superior Get a Railing Quote or Contact Us features on our current site. Tools like these, and the overall connectivity of the web allow for more rapid connections between manufacturers and their current and future customers. Everybody wanted to be Blockbuster in the 90s, but now everyone wants to be Netflix. To do that, evolution needs to take place.
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