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Gear Designs - OEM New Product Launch

Sun, May 21, 2017 @ 11:28 AM / by Lisa Eitel posted in Public Relations PR, Industrial Public Relations PR, Technical Writing, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Industrial Marketing Handbook, Business to Business Marketing

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The fundamental transmission of mechanical power hasn’t changed in several hundred years. “Coupled to most rotary electric motors is either a chain-sprocket drive, a belt-pulley drive, or a gear drive,” said Brian Dengel, general manager of KHK USA. "Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but none of them have become obsolete,” he added. Nevertheless, gear design has seen the recent rise of custom gearing; a trend towards manufacturing for better gearboxes and servogear sets; and industry migration towards helical gearing and other efficient choices.
 
4 ABM Drives Synchronous Motors and Drives 400.jpg


“Many things in power-transmission design for automation have changed over the past decade,” said Marc Halliburton, engineering manager at Motion Index Drives, manufacturer of precision indexing machinery and seventh-axis robot transfer systems. “We’ve seen a huge shift to smaller OEM and end-user designs and applications, which in turn allows use of smaller transmissions and servomotors in automation,” added Halliburton. For electric motors, many engineers specifying indexing machinery are concerned about motor efficiency and want to ensure the ac motors used are more than 90% efficient to conserve electricity. “Here, the power transmissions we use as gear reducers have improved integral designs for space savings as well as efficiency.” That’s just one example of the move to have motion-component suppliers do more integration and design work to meet user objectives such as efficiency — and one would be hard pressed to find a geared design not touched by the near-universal OEM and plant-engineer demand for upfront engineering to satisfy specific geometries as well.
 
So with more such requests, gear makers have devised ways to simplify gear integration. Case in point: Around 2000, GAM Enterprises was a cost leader on several motion components, but saw the rise of low-cost overseas manufacturing was going to change that. “So we shifted to offer mass customization, which lets engineers configure end product from a broad range of standard components — a new concept then,” said Craig Van den Avont, president at GAM Enterprises.”In fact, we took the concept a step further to design even custom motion components quickly.”
 
The company has its origins in the sale of bellows couplings, but is now known for its gear products, which it began making in 1998. Its customized gearboxes came to dominate the expansion into customized products; its latest suite of offerings addresses trouble in another area ... that of linear-actuator installation.
 
“A supplier could get a standard actuator in one or two weeks, but if they
needed a motor mount to go on that actuator, especially one that wasn’t part of a standard product line, it could take six or eight weeks,” explained Van den Avont.
 
“So we replicated what we were doing with gearboxes to offer motor-mount kits. Today, we can take anyone’s actuator, anyone’s motor, and anyone’s gearbox and we can custom-design that mount, machine it, and ship it in a week.” As a testament to how useful that is to industry, today myriad actuator companies source standard and unique motor mounts from GAM. Others also serve the uptick in demand for semi-standard products.
 
“Traditionally, we supplied a large selection of gears with minimum plain bores and oversized hubs to let end users modify our stock gears,” said Dengel.
“Users could turn the hub down, open the bore, add a keyway, tap threads
for set screws, or otherwise modify the stock gear to meet their design requirements. But with significant demand for finished-bore products, we established a line of value-added gears to meet this need. We looked at the most common bore and key sizes for each gear we offer and established a semi-standard product that we call our J series,” said Dengel. These just-in-time products are made-to-order items with standardized bores and keyways produced within two to three business days from stock gear product — so the specifying engineer doesn’t need to allocate shop time to that, and it goes directly into assembly.
 
1 ABM Drives Economical Custom Motors and Drives.jpg
 
“Many of our system designs are modular, and we sell less costly solutions to complex gearmotor integration — especially if the designer knows upfront what problems were solved in previous iterations and talks to us prior to finishing the design of their new machine or product. After all, why reinvent the wheel?” said Gabriel Venzin, president at Cincinnati-based ABM Drives. Expanded services are required for such in-house engineering support. “We reorganized our technical sales support to ensure maximum response time of 24 hours to customer or field-sales requests. Plus we expanded our global footprint with a technical center in China. It’s important to have a local presence, speak the language, and understand customers’ culture,” Venzin said.
 
“We believe to sell proper products to end users, a gear maker must have experienced engineering staff to support end users and confirm
the gears they select are suitable for the applications at hand. We let
design engineers download 3D CAD models from our website so
they can pick what they need and avoid designing something from
scratch — a great timesaver. We’re currently working on adding a
custom-gear CAD-model generator which will let end users view their
design before requesting a quote — which will shorten the time to
quote once we review their design,” said Dengel. Certain industries — including e-mobility, packaging, and offroad equipment — are currently prompting the newest gear design.
 
3 ABM Drives Custom Angular Drives and Motors 400.jpg
 
“Electric vehicles will continue to push the industry with the need for lightweight high-efficiency drives and motors. This applies to human-powered material handling and UTVs as well as autonomous in-plant vehicles and AGVs,” noted Venzin of ABM Drives. “We find the packaging-equipment industry is the most dynamic regarding custom-product requirements,” said Dengel. “Many machine builders have a standard design but customize every packaging line to their customers’ specifications. This results in a custom setup in almost every case. Although some of the components are interchangeable, design differences can require custom product for each machine.” One specific application showcases where engineers use myriad gear components to improve a given design. “Nobody likes noisy heating and cooling systems, and that goes for biomass systems incorporating auger.
 
(This article appeared in the April 2017 edition of Design World, featuring Lisa Eitel's Motion Control feature articles. In this article, our client Gabriel Venzin of ABM Drives was quoted extensively. Tom Lazar, Design World's sales representative, and Lisa stopped by ABM's booth at the Cleveland Advanced Manufacturing Design show and have helped ABM get their very successful 2017 public relations campaign launced.)
 
Here's another article by Lisa on motion control trends, "How online configuration tools are changing motion control system design."

Read this page on our website if you would like to learn more about how to establish good media relations for OEM new product launch campaigns.


 

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Sinochron® Encoderless Motor Saves Up To 35 Percent

Thu, May 18, 2017 @ 11:07 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Metalworking Equipment Marketing

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The SINOCHRON® Encoderless Motor design offers advantages in continuous duty applications. The efficiency is also better in partially loaded duty cycles, when compared to standard asynchronous motors. Drive units are virtually loss-free in no-load operation. This motor design offers advantages in powering conveying equipment; escalators, spooling machines, compressors and traction drive units amongst others. By substituting existing line powered three-phase drive units, energy savings of 20 to 35 percent can be expected.

4 ABM Drives Synchronous Motors and Drives 560 2.jpg



SINOCHRON® is a synchronous motor with high-performance permanent magnets with a sinusoidal flux distribution (EMF). The anisotropic rotor geometry provides a sinusoidal distribution of the magnetic flux with the result of eliminating cogging. Stator windings are identical to asynchronous motor windings allowing for a cost-efficient production of the stators in large batch sizes. The SINOCHRON® Motor operates without an encoder and can replace a stepper motor in some applications. This patented technology combines high output, minimal investment and low operating cost.

The characteristic profile of these drive units makes them well suited to drive pumps and fans that operate continuously, no additional components, like encoders, are needed. Up to 30 percent smaller footprint, allows machine designs to be more compact. The motors have excellent control behavior and combined with included control unit SDC, have excellent true running even at very low speeds and impressive dynamics at impulse load and speed variations.

Continuous duty pumps and fans are now required to meet new efficiency regulations which require line powered three-phase motors and geared-motors with rated outputs of  0.2 up to  9.0 kW operating continuously at rated load (duty cycle S1) to be a minimum of efficiency class IE3 (premium efficiency) or IE2-drive units to be equipped with electronic inverters. Inverter powered SINOCHRON® Motors from ABM Drives economically meet these requirements. 

About ABM DRIVES INC.

ABM DRIVES INC. engineers and manufacturers high-performance motor, gearbox, brake and frequency inverter solutions for machines, plants and mobile devices in hoisting technology, warehousing, material handling, electric vehicles, biomass heating systems, wind turbines and many other markets. Founded in 1927, the company belongs to the Senata Group with an annual turnover of nearly 400 million € and more than 2,000 employees. Approximately 300,000 drive units are produced annually. In-house manufacturing includes tool-and-die design, aluminum-casting foundry, CNC housing machining, manufacturer of shafts, cutting of gear teeth, motor development technology, assembly and final testing.


PRESS CONTACT
ABM DRIVES INC.
Gabriel Venzin, President
394 Wards Corner Road, Suite 110, Loveland, OH 45140
Phone: 513 576 1300
Mobile: 513 332 7256
E-mail: gabriel.venzin@abm-drives.com
Website: www.abm-drives.com

AGENCY
Lohre & Assoc., Inc., Marketing Communications
Chuck Lohre, President
126A West 14th Street, 2nd Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45202-7535
Phone: 877-608-1736, 513-961-1174, Fax 513-961-1192
Mobile: 513-260-9025
Email: chuck@lohre.com

Reprinting permitted - specimen copy requested

If you would like to learn more about writing a process equipment marketing news release or an application story "One key to good public relations is writing a case study."


 

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New Inbound Marketing Services Offered

Tue, Mar 28, 2017 @ 03:13 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Process Equipment Marketing, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Industrial Marketing Handbook

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inbound-marketing-cincinnati.pngDo you need help with your inbound marketing initiatives? We have just launched a new marketing services selection that will work with you and your team to help you develop and execute your projects and programs.

Here are a few product services to build and repurpose content:

Dynamic White Paper
Let us turn your existing white paper into a 10-minute audio/visual experience. Our editor will create a narrated visual presentation from your white paper, and then we will promote it to your target audience for 12 months.
 
White Paper Writing Service
Let us write, design, and host a technical paper for your target audience. Consult with our editorial director and then let our technical writer work with you to create the white paper. We can host and promote your new content or you can promote to your already existing customer base and prospects.
 
Build a Tech Talk
Our editor will consult with you, construct a presentation, prepare slides, and craft a script for your company's expert, who will provide the voiceover. Our moderator will introduce your expert and close the presentation.
 
Audience Engagement Quiz
Our editor will consult with you and then write an audience quiz based on your white paper or e-book. We design and then deploy the quiz to your target audience. You receive full contact leads as well as statistics on how each registrant did on the quiz and who downloaded your white paper or e-book.
 
Let us help you to define content strategy and to distribute your new and existing material to build your brand.

To schedule a free consultation to discuss your next project, contact Chuck Lohre at chuck@lohre.com or call 513-961-1174

 
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If you liked this you might like to learn more about how effective industrial press conferences are at major trades shows.
 
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Strategic Content Creation Handbook by Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Lohre & Associates
 
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Metal Working Equipment Marketing Plan

Fri, Mar 17, 2017 @ 05:04 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Marketing Communications, Marketing, Industrial Branding, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Industrial Marketing Handbook, Industrial Marketing Content

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To ThomasNet or not to ThomasNet, that is the question. Hmm, it means blogging to the rescue!

Industrial marketing communications directoryThomasNet, or Thomas Register as it was called years ago, has become a Platinum Hubspot resaler. It's not much of a directory any more since they couldn't compete with Google.  They are a good blogger as a good Hubspot dealer should be. A directory program with ThomasNet runs at least several thousands of dollars to start, but like our advice for purchasing search engine ad words, "Don't do it until you have optimized your web site first." We've found that ThomasNet's directory is only good in certain industries that have adopted it as a platform to generate quotes. But even those are going away and Thomas' attempts to teach newbes is a losing attempt.

You'd think a "large machine shop" would be easy enough to get ranked for, but that's not the case. If metal working equipment marketing was easy, everyone would be doing it. The industry is quite sophisticated and run by those who have been operating computers longer than any of us. The second use of computers was to run a machine tool, the first was to calculate ballistic information for a canon. 

ThomasNet wasn't such a problem several years ago, it kept its data secret from the search engines, plus it didn't have very many pages indexed. And the search engines wouldn't show their pages anyway. Then ThomasNet signed agreements with the search engines and they are ranking better. But Google is fundamentally against a directory since Google would rather serve the company's web site rather than a directory. ThomasNet is a very good media for increasing your page visitors. We have seen traffic double in several cases. And our studies show that visitors coming from ThomasNet are just as high quality as those coming from organic searches. If your site is fairly well written and has all the regular features of a good site, like fast loading speed, there may not be any other way to increase traffic. See the chart results on ThomasNet.com for yourself at Alexa.com.

Metal Working Equipment Marketing.jpg
But all of this wouldn't be needed if you just blogged a lot more. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Looking at the chart above, we added all of the client's technical bulletins in the middle and started bloggin three times a week in the last third. If your website traffic isn't growing like this, you aren't marketing using the internet to your advantage.

So if there is one take-away it's this -- Program your site to measure goals. For industrial sites it's not a sale, it's going to be a contact us or a request for quotation page. Then you will be able to measure a tangible result of your industrial marketing efforts.


If you liked this post, you may like, "How To Realign Your Marketing Communications with Sales."

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Industrial Marketing Plan

Fri, Feb 24, 2017 @ 12:39 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Marketing Communications, Industrial Advertising, Marketing, Industrial Branding, Green Building Marketing, Process Equipment Marketing, Industrial Website Design, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Business to Consumer Marketing, Industrial Marketing Handbook, Website Design, Business to Business Marketing, Industrial Marketing Content

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Here's a three-year industrial marketing plan. The goal of the plan is to generate new opportunities and markets to apply the client's technology. Existing markets will also be targeted for new applications.

Our proposal starts with basic educational publicity as the foundation for a modern internet marketing campaign. Marketing today is based on the fact that customers are educating themselves well in advance, before contacting any potential suppliers. They are doing this almost exclusively on the internet. Unless a company plays a role in the engineer’s education, they stand little chance of being the preferred supplier for a new product component. Traditional technical journals, many still in print, are the gate-keepers of the best technical content. Good publicity campaigns work with the editors and publishers of the trade journals as well as technical conferences. If your educational publicity campaigns are picked up by the technical press, you can be assured that it is worthy of investment, because of the long life the educational material will have, and the many ways it can be repurposed as video, audio, slide shows, demonstrations and presentations.

Industrial-Marketing-Plan.jpg

PART ONE - Publicity

The first part of the proposal is a publicity campaign that would publish information to markets that already use the client's technology as well as a broader audiences of manufacturing engineers. This publicity campaign would also include managing free listings in buyer’s guides across print and internet media. The estimated cost for the year-long campaign is $25,000, billable monthly. (The VALUE of the product information placement in print and internet media for the year is estimated to be $35,000.)

PART TWO - Advertising

The second part of the proposal is advertising in existing industry buyer’s guides and manufacturing engineering company capability listings in print and internet media. This modest campaign will reinforce the product publicity and provide introduction to the publishers and editors of our markets that we are a contributor to the news and education of the industry. Advertisement writing, design and production will be quoted separately. The estimated budget for the year-long campaign is approximately $25,000. We estimate this budget will include four of five placements, primarily in the media’s directories or special editorial focuses on our markets. High domain authority links to your site are on of the best ways to get Google to rank your pages higher. It's great that we can purchase such links at affordable rates.

PART THREE - Technical articles

The last part of the proposal is the educational publishing phase. The publicity and advertising phases need to be in place first. Strategic topics will be chosen, and articles pitched to the print and internet media editors to meet their needs. A series of blog posts for the client's site will be published and promoted to the internet channels manufacturing engineers use for product research and development. You can expect a THREE TIMES ROI VALUE on the yearly investment of $25,000. We estimate two articles could be published and approximately 24 blog posts written. This estimate for articles and blogging doesn’t include 100 percent of the writing of the articles and blogs. Blog and article topics will be estimated based on content. If sufficient educational material is available for Lohre to edit, the majority of the cost can be included. The primary article and blog topics will educate manufacturing engineers about designing and selecting your product or service for their application. They will not be specifically about the client's company. This is a requirement of the print and internet media editors. Here is an example of an article we wrote for Stedman Machine Company. The editor, Darren Constantino, uses it as an example of appropriate writing for feature articles in PIT & QUARRY.

PART FOUR - Feedback and Improvement

Continual improvement will be the focus in the following years of the continued publicity, advertising and educational publishing program. After the first year, enough data from website traffic and company contact information should be gathered to estimate the investment required to meet marketing goals.

In summary, the industrial marketing plan focuses on promoting the educational material developed. The web site will need to be front and center for promotion and also used as a tool to gather prospects' email contact information for nurturing with material suitable for the consideration and decision stages of the buying cycle.


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Industrial Social Media for Quarries

Fri, Jul 29, 2016 @ 04:13 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Branding, Process Equipment Marketing, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Industrial Marketing Content

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 (Thanks to Trevor Hall, Founder, Clear Creek Digital, for this great article in the July/August 2016 STONE SAND & GRAVEL REVIEW. We thought it was just going to be another marketer that was selling industrial social media to accounts that didn't use it industrially themselves let alone actually have experience working in a quarry, but Trevor is the real deal and has some good tips for quarries to improve their community relations.)


Social Media Can Help Improve an Operation

industrial-social-media.jpgOUR ONLINE NEWS FEEDS and social media accounts are more and more filled with websites and articles with catchy titles like "Top 5 Amazing Survivor Stories," "10 Apps for your iPhone," "8 Rocks That Look Like Celebrities." We all, myself included, get caught wanting to know more about these headlines. Many times we click and visit the information.

Called "listicles," these articles blend a list with short articles, and there are lessons to be learned from them. People read them because they appear - and typically are - quick to read, have an enthusiastic tone and spur creative disruption in our own minds. Most importantly, though, they grab our attention.

Everyone online is hammered with copious amounts of information every second of the day. Figuring out how to grab people's attention, even just for a few seconds, is a very challenging task. What is most daunting, espe­cially for quarries, is understanding how to communicate a very complex process like aggregates production with many different internal func­tions and processes in a quick, eye­catching and engaging message.

Finding ways to incorporate the kind of content that catches the eye of our industry and our communities, including residents near stone, sand and gravel operations, is a vital part of any community relations plan.

Know the Social Networks

Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube pro­vide new tools for aggregates opera­tions to tell their story.

Twitter: Posts are 140 characters or less, so it's important to link back to blogs or information on a different website.

Facebook: Users can share photos, videos and updates about a quarry or company with a "page" that is dedi­cated to that company or operation.

LinkedIn: A professional social network where users post their work experience and look for jobs. Companies also create pages on LinkedIn to share content.

YouTube: Users can share and com­ment on videos, which is one of the most popular and engaging forms of media today. These digital tools can/enhance a company's ability to engage neighbors, lawmakers and regulators. Also, these networks can be used to inform a pub­lic of something they may not know much about, including quarrying.

Online media's reach is huge and increasing. A majority of the global population is on some type of social network. With the growth of mobile technologies reaching even to rural Africa, many more people are likely to join. Further, the data shows that online social dialogues and infor­mation sharing are not just for a younger crowd anymore. Social media users 65 years of age and older have more than tripled in the past five years.

Recognize and Use Social Media Trends

It is vital that aggregates opera­tions recognize the trends of the online audience and appreciate its huge and growing size. Notice, I did not suggest that companies become "masters" of digital marketing. But recognition of best digital commu­nication trends can lead you on a wonderful path to exploring how to tell the story of your operation or your products.

Online and mobile video will also play an important role for every busi­ness and operation. It is predicted that by 2020, 80 percent of people will rely on video content to form opinions and/or support for busi­nesses and organizations. Aggregates producers are not exempt from this trend, and can enhance traditional community outreach with videos and photos.

Print publications or text on a screen can be enhanced with multi­media content that is easy to share with people who both support or are critical of a quarry.

Short and Shareable is the Way to Go

Try to grab attention of an online audience by using powerful and quick information. This is especially true for social media networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram because they rely on images and photos in addition to text.

Photos and video play crucial roles in grabbing the attention of view­ers. The more engaging your con­tent is, the more likely you are to see an increase in viewers. YouTube, the popular video-sharing site, is the second largest social network­ing site behind Facebook. More people are turning to YouTube to share and gather information than ever before.

For example, every day people are watching YouTube to learn how gran­ite is quarried and crushed, and there are videos with thousands of views on how limestone is produced.

Stone, sand and gravel companies can connect the value of their opera­tions to the personal benefit of the reader and their community. Right now, there aren't many aggregates producers in the United States fully utilizing social and digital media to share company information. So there is a great opportunity for companies and quarries to produce quality and positive content about the industry.

Using Social Media to Build a Brand

In print and online communica­tions, the words we use matter a lot. The recent presidential campaign has shown how audiences react to words used in tweets and images shared on Facebook.

Some people on social networks may negatively respond to a com­pany's content, regardless of how informative and engaging posts may be. One of the best ways to safeguard one's messaging from these tribula­tions is to make your content fun. Allow your organization to pull the curtains back a bit and show the human and humanitarian aspects of your company. It is harder for posi­tive and educational content to be perceived as anything but, and using facts and information is also a great way to address negative comments you may receive.

Staying positive, engaging and edu­cational is a great way to highlight employees, the communities you work with and the dynamic ways that rocks are quarried and crushed and shipped to customers. After all, the adventures of quar­rying are wonderful stories. It's up to you to share them. •

Trevor Hall is the founder of Clear Creek Digital, LLC, a digital communications and marketing firm focused on provid­ing those resources to mining and engi­neering organizations. Visit his website at www.clearcreekdigital.com.


(Thanks Trevor, Having a high performance site is the number one industrial marketing challenge, get it right and your industrial social media will pay off big.)


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12 Questions Every Manufacturer Should Ask Themselves

Wed, Jul 20, 2016 @ 11:12 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Branding, Process Equipment Marketing, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Industrial Marketing Content

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 (Thanks to Ken Maisch for this great article in the July 15, 2016 Cincinnati Business Courier. If you don't know the competition and the marketplace, you won't be able to grow your business.)

Ken_Maisch.jpgRecently I attended an economic briefing session to get some insight into where the economists saw us heading over a period of time. After the meeting, while I was reviewing the data we received, I began to think about TechSolve’s client companies and how they were preparing for changes in their customer’s needs, based on changing economics, and how they were and should be planning for future changes.

Over the last year, I have seen the business of some of my clients slow as much as 30%. On the other hand, I saw some of those client companies serving, growing, and thriving markets. I asked myself how each of these client groups was dealing with their particular circumstance. Our experience shows that client companies in a rapid growth mode are usually behind the curve and have to take exceptional steps to deal with this growth. It also shows that companies who see a drop in business usually go into a full blown pull back, as if their future will never be there again.

There will always be changes in our business cycles. There will always be new products and there will always be products that become obsolete. The “key” to sustaining a viable manufacturing company is based on its ability to deal with these changing environments. How nimble these companies are in changing times determines their overall ability to grow and continue a pattern of profitability.

There are twelve questions manufacturing companies should constantly ask themselves as they examine the future. Those are:

1) Are we intimately familiar with the market we serve?

2) How well do we know our competition?

3) What are the changing aspects of that market?

4) Is there a consolidation of players within that market?

5) How much of our overall revenue is represented by our top five customers?

6) Are we getting downward pricing pressure from that customer base?

7) Do we see increasing raw material costs?

8) Are we experiencing annual increases in our manufacturing costs that we can’t pass on to our customer base?

9) Are we consistently upgrading our equipment to maintain productivity?

10) Is “lean” thinking a part of our company culture?

11) Are we having difficulty in finding and keeping capable workers?

12) Is “productivity improvement” a part of our overall plan?

If you don’t know the answers to a majority of these questions I believe you will find life in a manufacturing environment to be difficult at best. Let’s take these questions and boil them down into three groups.

1) Market knowledge and marketing capability

2) Equipment capability and utilization

3) Productivity and cost control

Now let’s take a look at each area as they pertain to today’s manufacturing environment.

Market Knowledge and Marketing Capability

A thorough knowledge of your targeted market is essential. Knowing all the players, the competitive pricing levels each offers, and at what level you are competitive within this market enables more accurate quotations leading to a higher hit rate. We find this an area of weakness within some of our client base. Some know the names of primary competition, but aren’t sure at what level their pricing must be to earn new business. In the absence of this knowledge, companies price their products on what they perceive are the prices their competitors charge without a relationship between their real costs and the profit margins available at that level of pricing.

In addition to these pricing issues, it is imperative that companies understand the best way to address their target market. What is the best way to attract new customers? Is the internet and other electronic media the best way to find and get new customers? Is a more traditional sales approach preferable? Is direct customer contact better than a less direct approach. Does your product have an engineering or sales element? In all cases it is a must that you understand the “who” within your market. It is important to know who is the sales leader within your market, who is the “price” leader within your market, and which competitor has the strongest reputation and the “why” that is. Simply selecting a market in the absence of this knowledge can be a recipe for disaster. Growth in a new market or customer base can be much more successful if the answers to these questions are understood and addressed in the early planning stages.

Equipment Capability and Utilization

Businesses evolve and change over time. When manufacturing companies begin they usually locate and use the most economical equipment they can afford. Not always the most productive, but it gets the job done. Then over time they begin to invest in new technology and equipment that offers significant productivity advantages. They realize this is the long term answer to better controlling their costs. If new equipment is good, more must be better. Not always the correct solution. It is imperative that this new more productive equipment reach full utilization as quickly as possible. Otherwise the cost of having that equipment becomes a draw against profitability as our employees scramble to get it fully utilized and still keep the old equipment running.

New technology is only an advantage when it increases capacity and lowers cost. Owning and underutilizing the newest equipment will only increase cost, not improve the situation. As a process improvement company we understand and agree with consistently improving productivity, and when equipment is the answer, do the necessary economic justification and purchase the new equipment. Making sure that you understand your productivity levels and how it relates to your overall cost, is a must. And once you understand the importance of long term productivity improvements, budget to upgrade your equipment as your depreciation schedule dictates. The most productive companies we serve are those that justify and utilize the most efficient systems available and continually upgrade them as needs dictate.

Productivity and Cost Control

One of the greatest challenges manufacturing companies face is “how do I deal with the price reduction requests I get from my customers?” It would seem simple. We have to eat the loss of margin to keep the revenue. Well, you can only do this for so long. Sooner or later you run out of margin and unless you have taken steps to further control cost, you are suddenly in trouble. Once your organization has a firm handle on your real “fully burdened manufacturing cost/hour”, then cost control through productivity improvement is the answer. New equipment, as mentioned earlier, is part of the answer, but real productivity comes when our employees are empowered by understanding the real basis for our cost and the role they play in changing that basis. If your company is not actively involved in a Lean initiative, if you have not established “metrics” that confirm success, and if your company culture is not one of consistently improving performance then daily struggles can become a way of life. Having a thorough understanding of your manufacturing costs, and then implementing a plan to address those areas that need improvement, will go a long way in strengthening profitability.

In summary, our country has always been involved in “making stuff”. Our manufacturing capability is second to none. I realize this as I see companies who have off shored their production only to realize they need to come home. Back to where real efficiency is understood and embraced. Back where “being the best” is not a bad term. And Yes, based on what our economists tell us, we will have ups and downs in our business cycles. But the best deterrent to down business cycles is productivity and the ability to cost your costs to be able to meet changing price demands. Our manufacturing future has always been bright. But now it more important than ever to continue to take those steps that will allow us to continue to be most productive nation in the world.


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The Breakdown of Trust in Manufacturing

Thu, Jun 23, 2016 @ 10:28 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Equipment Marketing and Advertising

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(Thanks to Reva Russell English of MakeTime "Buy & Sell Machine Tool Time Service Site" for some good thoughts on the state of manufacturing today. Go to their site. As part of the scavenger economy, buying and selling spare machine tool time is a great idea. At least there are no barriers to entry as AirBnB has. Every time I stay at someone's home, they tell me to say "I'm a friend" if anyone asks. My sister-in-law stopped making $1500 a month because their insurance company wouldn't insure their home if they continued.)

Manufacturng Marketing GraphicIf all you knew about U.S. manufacturing were gleaned from today’s pundits and presidential candidates, you’d think the entire sector was being fitted for its coffin. While it’s true challenges exist, things are not as grim as they’re made out to be.

No, American manufacturing does not directly employ 20 percent of the country’s labor force like it did during the late 1970s, but it’s output has never been higher. The planet is full of “Made in the USA” products, and if U.S. manufacturers and suppliers play their cards right, it will get fuller still. In order for that to happen in a sustainable way, however, the breakdown of trust between American manufacturers and suppliers must be addressed.

TRUST IS A PRACTICE …

Trust first began to falter between U.S. suppliers and manufacturers during the 1980s when offshoring went mainstream. While American companies had long engaged in foreign direct investment to be closer to foreign markets and materials sources, the ‘80s ushered in offshoring as a cost cutting measure. By outsourcing manufacturing to countries with cheap, unregulated and non-unionized labor, fatter bottom lines were almost immediately achieved.

Back stateside, U.S. machinists and factory line workers lost their jobs. Factories and shops closed. In some instances, whole towns were basically gutted and left for dead. The suppliers still standing funnelled their little remaining power into making the RFQ process even murkier in order to ensure they made as much money as possible when jobs did come their way. The breakdown in trust was well underway, and it would only get worse in the coming decades.

… SO PRACTICE IT WE MUST

Of course, believing U.S. corporations and suppliers should have — or could have — acted otherwise given the circumstances is to misunderstand the nature of business. The pursuit of revenue and the complementary cutting of costs are always a company’s first order of business, regardless of its mission statement or on which side of the manufacturing coin it finds itself.

Instead of expecting CEOs to choose lower profit margins by keeping costly shops and factories open across America’s heartland on principle, manufacturers and suppliers could have joined together to lobby for policies that incentivized the making of U.S. goods in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Instead of expecting shops and factories to willingly price themselves into the basement in order to get jobs they’d only lose money on, manufacturers and suppliers could have worked together to increase overall domestic competitiveness and productivity.

If that sounds like a pipedream, consider how high the costs of offshoring actually are.

Beyond the domestic job loss, as an executive from a large corporation put it in an article for the Harvard Business Review, “I don’t think people realize when they make the offshore decision that it is really a commitment to freeze the product. There is no way to make rapid design changes and product updates at a remote location.”

That’s a quote from 1988.

THE DISTRIBUTED DIFFERENCE

In today’s fractured, fast and just-in-time marketplace, offshoring as a cost cutting measure makes even less sense than it used to. Why cut costs making products in China today if the market you’re serving in the U.S. changes its mind about what it wants to buy tomorrow? From fluctuations in shipping expenses to a regional coup d’etat that disrupts your supply chain, offshoring can actually cost thousands — if not millions — of extra hours, dollars and customer complaints.

With a well-executed distributed manufacturing model that moves beyond the RFQ with visibly aligned prices and costs, both U.S. manufacturers and U.S. suppliers stand to win and win big. Thanks to America’s skilled and highly productive suppliers, manufacturers can bring products to market just-in-time, no matter how fickle the consumer gets. Thanks to that ongoing investment in real dollars and cents, the skills and productivity needed to keep bringing products to market just-in-time will keep being available, too.

At long last, it’s become clear that U.S. manufacturers’ and suppliers’ goals are in alignment. Today’s consumer wants it now, in slate gray or coral —no jade — with 20-inch rims and an already-charged battery. Without a network of suppliers able to handle that kind of quick and granular manufacturing on-demand, manufacturers will lose, and if that happens, they’ll take even more jobs with them.

It’s time to bring more manufacturing jobs home — not because of sentiment, but because it makes good business sense for everyone involved. What’s good for the goose is localized and distributed manufacturing. It also happens to be good for the gander. Finally, everyone is starting to realize it.

MakeTime is a distributed manufacturing platform for U.S. manufacturers and suppliers. To find out how MakeTime can benefit your manufacturing company, contact us today.


Here's an excerpt from another blog post about one of our clients that have also successfully navigated the tough times in manufacturing.Manufacturing Marketing Article

"Heinz Loosli, CEO of Feintool International Holding discusses the strategic advantage of Feintool in this interview for its customer magazine. In response to a question about the company's recovery from the automotive industry decline in 2009, he answers, "We brought new, innovative products to market, we have played more to our strengths and in doing so achieved some great successes in the market. We have also improved our ability to complete by implementing measures to increase efficiency. It is important to appreciate that it is not a case of one-off actions but ongoing commitment that will ensure our company has a successful future. The motto is: achieve more with less. We are constantly working on this..." This statement reflects both the company's equipment's strategic advantages but also good business practices. Feintool's metal part-making equipment takes plate steel and produces parts that are assembly ready without post machining. Their machines achieve more with less material and processing -- Loosli is using the same analogy for the company's management practises. You can download the entire Feintool magazine here. For the North American edition, Lohre & Associates wrote two articles, edited and printed the publication here in Cincinnati. We are honored to work with Feintool's Cincinnati offices and we feel the company's marketing communications are equal to Deloitte's." Read the entire post.

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6 Mistakes Exhibitors Make at Trade Shows

Fri, Apr 15, 2016 @ 08:15 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Equipment Marketing and Advertising

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Are you getting the most out of your trade show presence?

Jim Beckwith on Marketing, looking serious.By Jim Beckwith,
Metalcasting Design & Purchasing

Many metalcasters utilize trade show exhibits as part of their marketing plan. Trade shows are a proven source of tangible ROI in the form of leads, and they continue to grow in popularity. But exhibitors often fail to realize the full potential of trade shows.

Below are some of the key mistakes made by exhibitors at trade shows. See if you recognize any.

Substandard Visual Presence. There's nothing like the feeling that every other exhibitor simply looks better than you. This isn't usually an issue at Cast in North America, where there are always one or two booths staffed by one person with only a briefcase full of castings and pamphlets. Don't be that guy.

No Show-Specific Sales Strategy. Many of us have been to shows where a return visit to the same booth gets us completely different information. This confuses and irritates prospects. Coordinate with booth staff before and during the show to ensure everyone is staying on message.

Too much “Hard Sell”. If your company is indexed thoroughly in all show programs and related materials, potential customers will seek you out. You’re unlikely to pick up business from the kind of customers you want by getting out in the aisle and invading their personal space. Encourage booth staff to be approachable without being overly aggressive.

Wrong ROI Metrics. Leads are the most visible and important measure of ROI for your exhibit at the show, but don’t forget about the intangibles. You’re improving your visibility and branding, as well as providing your sales staff with valuable “face time” so they can fine tune their approach.

Exhibiting in a Vacuum. Shows are an important component of a marketing plan, but they can't be the only thing you do. Your comprehensive year-round marketing plan feeds into your successful trade show exhibit, and vice versa.

(Non-Exhibitors) Ignoring the Show. If you've made the decision not to exhibit this year, don't simply ignore this year's show floor. The best way to learn do's and don'ts for show exhibits is to see what your competitors are doing.

For more tips on how to get the most out of your trade show exhibit, take a look at this excellent article from Entrepreneur Magazine. As a veteran of many relevant industry trade shows, I’m always happy to provide feedback on anything from best practices to comprehensive marketing strategy. If I can be of assistance, feel free to reach out!

Jim Beckwith
jbeckwith@afsinc.org
847-803-2908

metalcasting design logo

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Director Industrial Marketing

Mon, Feb 15, 2016 @ 06:12 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Cincinnati Marketing Agencies, marketing agency, Industrial Marketing Agency

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(What's on our plate, any given day. Just saw this matched our internet news stream and found it matches our day to day work. Enjoy. The ad came from a review we did of Chemical Processing's ads for Baxter Research. Heard recently that Emerson just let go a bunch of engineers. My friend retired just in time. From the looks of the ad, I'm sorry to see they are trying to sell Artificial Intelligence. They're better at selling Real Intelligence.)
Director Industrial Marketing 
Link
Job ID EIA-00002511
Emerson Company ASCO Numatics
Country United States
State/Province New Jersey
City Florham Park
Publish Start Date Jan 13 2016
Job Level Supervisor / Manager
 

Emerson_process_equipment_marketing.png

Develops & implement marketing strategy for ASCO Numatics products in select markets and associated segments. Main focus is US. Coordination across multiple functions to drive Industrial Marketing / Segment responsibility, along with supporting business development and other strategic projects.

Responsibilities:

Essential Functions/Percentage of Time Spent on Each:

1. Marketing Strategy: 20% 

· Identifies opportunities for profitable growth through market segmentation & research within Industrial Marketing (primarily in Industrial Machinery, Combustion, Dust Collection Systems).

· Creates product line architecture plan (roadmap) for platform products

· Prioritizes product line development programs 

· Manages product and brand promotions

· Develops pricing strategies

2. Marketing Plan Tactical Implementation: 50%

· Identifies opportunities for new product development for a given market segment. Conducts market, product, competitor and customer research to determine unmet customer needs and translate into product requirements. 

· Manages existing product line by compiling and analyzing internal and external data on customers, products, and competitors and making strategic and tactical decisions. (i.e. segmentation analysis, product life cycle analysis, etc )

· Actively collaborates with Engineering, Operations, and Sales teams from development through all phased of the development process cycle, and occasionally leads as Project Manager

· Visits regularly customers to gain insight into market needs

· Generates market campaigns and tracks effectiveness

· Creates pricing structure proposals

· Directs promotional activities including Sales and Marketing Launch Packages, trade shows, advertising, and literature

· Develops a network of contacts internally and at end users, OEM’s and distributors.

3. Training and Sales Support: 30%

· Creates and conducts product and application training for target markets.

· Drives growth through the pursuit of new business using lead management, valve sales inquiry, and other processes

· Provides technical support to inside and outside sales groups as necessary

4. Other Functions:

· Introduces Asian and European products into the US and assisting in the promotion of US products abroad.

· Conducts ad hoc data analysis for sales/marketing

· Leads Strategic Projects based on Core business performance and required areas of focus for the business.

Qualifications

· MBA Required, Bachelors Degree in Engineering or Marketing/Business

· 5+ years experience in B2B marketing

· “Full Cycle” project management expertise (from conception through R & D, to manufacturing, to customer) needed for success in this role. 

· Technical acumen.

Additional Company Information

About Emerson

Emerson is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and consumer markets around the world. Founded in 1890 in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), Emerson delivers solutions through five business segments: Process Management, Industrial Automation, Network Power, Climate Technologies, and Commercial & Residential Solutions. With sales of $24.7B and more than 130,000 employees in over 150 countries, we have a customer-focused, results-driven culture where employee performance is recognized and rewarded.

ASCO Numatics offers comprehensive fluid automation solutions, including fluid control and fluid power products, for a wide range of industry-focused applications. From build materials to product designs, ASCO Numatics’ deep process expertise and unmatched reputation for durability and reliability deliver lower cost of ownership, greater asset availability, and improved productivity for life sciences, power generation, biofuels, food and beverage, air ride suspension, petroleum and chemical, water and wastewater, pulp and paper, packaging, commercial appliance, and HVAC applications.

Equal Opportunity Employer 

Emerson is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability or protected veteran status. We are committed to providing a workplace free of any discrimination or harassment.

If you have a disability and are having difficulty accessing or using this website to apply for a position, you can request help by calling 1-314-553-2544 (V/TTY/TDD) or by sending an email toidisability.administrator@emerson.com.

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