Tom's Blog

From industry’s leader in connecting buyers and suppliers

How To Optimize Your Website: 5 Quick Tips

Maintaining a helpful, informative website is critical for reaching your targeted audience and positioning yourself as a leader in your industry. But if your website is out of date or isn’t properly optimized for end users, you’re likely missing out on a lot of valuable lead opportunities.

To ensure your website stands out from the crowd, and helps you pull in the leads that you need, follow the five tips below for easy website optimization.

Read More

4 Tech Trends That Are Reshaping Inbound Marketing

A multifaceted approach focused on attracting customers through the dissemination of helpful, relevant content and thoughtful interaction, inbound marketing allows potential customers to find you through various channels, including blogs, social media, and search engines. While traditional outbound marketing aims to push products, inbound marketing allows potential clients to become aware of a company organically.

But technological innovations and general shifts in the B2B landscape are drastically changing the way inbound marketing campaigns are structured and implemented. Chances are, you’re no longer reading emails on a Blackberry or browsing the internet using a dial-up connection; with today’s technology, content can be accessed in countless ways, whether in the office or on the go.

Below are four major technology trends shaping the face of inbound marketing today and what they mean for your company’s marketing campaigns.

Read More

5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Website Is Out Of Date

For manufacturing and industrial companies, establishing a digital presence is no longer merely an option; it’s critical to staying relevant in today’s increasingly connected, online-focused B2B world. In the past, companies could get away with a one-shot process; once a website was designed and launched, it was done, and no changes were made thereafter. But today, users expect more. They want to know that a company is actively invested in keeping their processes, technologies — and their website — current and up to date, reflecting shifting trends and market changes.

Just like your manufacturing operations, websites shouldn’t be static entities; a focus on constant improvement requires consistent testing and analysis. Today’s technologies and software can easily track user activity, allowing companies to see how visitors are interacting with their sites, conduct A/B tests to determine which kinds of phrasing or designs are more appealing to visitors, and make ongoing updates based on collected data.

Worried that your website isn’t hitting the mark? Below are five easy ways to determine if your site is in need of an upgrade.

Read More

Don’t Get Left B2Behind: Why Product Manufacturers Need to Embrace A B2C Mentality

When industrial buyers aren’t at work, they behave as everyday consumers; they shop online, they compare products for deals that best balance quality and value, and they shop independently, relying on freely available resources rather than salespeople to help them in their decision-making processes.

These business-to-consumer (B2C) buying preferences and experiences are also influencing the way buyers shop for products and equipment in the business-to-business (B2B) marketplace; industrial specifiers and buyers now expect to have the same experience as they specify or source bearings as they have shopping for a camera. The lines between B2B and B2C — once considered disparate markets — are beginning to blur. And not only are end users’ habits changing and evolving, but so are distributors and original equipment manufacturers’ (OEMs).

To stay ahead of the curve, manufacturers should now be focusing on offering rich, discoverable, and manipulable product data. Below, we’ve outlined a few of the main reasons why this is so important.

Read More

What Makes A Great Social Media Campaign?

To successfully reach the buyers you’re targeting and garner the leads you’re looking for, inbound marketing campaigns should encompass a range of different methods and channels.

Social media, in particular, is playing an increasingly important role in industrial digital marketing, allowing companies to connect personally with fellow industry leaders and attract potential leads.

In the United States alone, organizations are spending $18 billion on social advertising, and this number is expected to reach $23.6 billion by 2019.

But establishing a social media presence means more than just creating a profile, adding some followers, and posting company updates every so often.

Below are a few key tips to keep in mind when creating an effective social media marketing campaign.

Read More

The 4 Biggest Industrial Marketing Challenges Of 2017

Now is an ideal time to check on your progress toward your 2017 marketing goals. Are you on track for lead generation? What about spending? More importantly, have your efforts shown signs of profitability?

According to a recent ENGINEERING.com Market Research Report on 2017 spending plans, marketing budgets are trending upward as more and more companies recognize the value of marketing for all aspects of their business. Businesses still face various challenges, however, when establishing and maintaining a successful marketing strategy, and as the bar for effective marketing continues to rise, so too do expectations for results.

To see how your team compares, here are some of the top challenges marketers have said they are facing this year.

Read More

HTTPS Vs HTTP: Why Your Industrial Website Needs To Be Secure

When you visit a web page, you naturally focus on what’s inside the browser window — the words, images, products and other elements on the page itself. However, when it comes to optimizing your own industrial website, you also need to pay attention to what’s happening up above in the address bar. That’s because the difference between having HTTP and HTTPS in your address can have big implications for your business.

Read More

Thomas Index Report: Hurricane Harvey

To help buyers and suppliers stay ahead of the latest shifts and emerging trends, we constantly analyze the industrial/B2B buying activity taking place at Thomasnet.com, where every 2 seconds a buyer evaluates a supplier. This powerful, proprietary data fuels our Thomas Industrial Index.

This week we take a look at sourcing in and around the Houston area in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, with our data adding some insight into the sheer magnitude of the disaster. Here’s what we’re seeing:

Read More

5 Digital Marketing Tips To Reach More Buyers

As technologies continue to advance and industrial buyers increasingly turn to the internet for the information they need to find suppliers and source products, digital marketing has become indispensable in the B2B manufacturing and industrial sphere. Sending out mailers or relying on word of mouth is no longer enough to attract and convert valuable leads; now, a multifaceted approach is necessary to stay relevant in today’s shifting B2B landscape. 

A successful, ongoing digital marketing campaign will encompass a few different digital marketing strategies and elements; a strong, interactive social media presence, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and use of SEO best practices are just a few of the many channels being used today to expand company awareness and gain leads.

But once you have a solid digital foundation in place, what are the best ways to stay ahead of the curve? Below, we’ll delve into five simple — but super-effective — ways to amp up your digital marketing presence.

Read More

Nearshoring Vs. Reshoring: What’s the Difference?

Over the past few years, there’s been increasing interest in bringing U.S. manufacturing back to American shores, or “reshoring.” But “nearshoring,” or moving operations to nearby countries, rather than very far away, is becoming increasingly popular as a more economical, practical alternative to offshoring.

It’s important to have a solid understanding of both concepts when deciding on the best strategy for your company. Below, we’ll take a deeper look at these two options and compare their benefits and drawbacks.

Read More

Thomas Index Report: Custom Injection Molding

To help buyers and suppliers stay ahead of the latest shifts and emerging trends in the digital industrial economy, we constantly analyze the industrial/B2B buying activity taking place at Thomasnet.com, where every 2 seconds a buyer evaluates a supplier on our platform. This powerful, proprietary data fuels our Thomas Industrial Index.

Here’s what we’re seeing in the Index this week:

Read More

How To Advertise Your Manufacturing Business Online

In today’s increasingly connected world, establishing a strong digital presence is crucial for effective brand exposure and lead generation. With more and more people accessing business and product information online, it’s no longer effective to rely solely on broadcast commercials, newspaper ads, or telephone campaigns for effective B2B marketing.

As technology and industrial marketing methods continue to evolve, implementing a comprehensive, multifaceted approach is critical for staying ahead of the curve and ensuring potential leads become aware of your company.

Below, we’ve outlined some of the many different ways to advertise your business online and generate valuable leads.

Read More

8 Content Marketing Ideas For Manufacturers (With Examples From Real Industrial Companies)

So you’ve realized that your old traditional and digital marketing business tactics just weren’t working, and you’ve taken steps to get your inbound marketing program off the ground.

Now what?

Well, now comes the hard part you’ll need to create content that your prospects actually want to read. Don’t panic. While this can seem like a big undertaking, understanding the inbound marketing funnel can make this process a lot more manageable — not to mention a lot more effective. Let’s take a look.

Read More

Cybersecurity In Today's Interconnected Supply Chain: Don't Build An Apartment. Build A House.

Take a moment to consider all of the components of your organization’s supply chain. Commonly, quite a few capital assets come to mind: raw materials, machinery, warehousing, logistics, distribution centers, brick and mortar sites, office locations, point of sales, and so much more.

Whether it’s keeping employees connected to one another, interacting with customers, or generally exchanging data from one system to another, interconnectivity is a crucial, but risky, component of supply chain management.

And, in a world where millions of cyberattacks happen each day, companies can no longer afford to approach cybersecurity with an “if this happens” mindset, rather establish the proper structure and protocol for when it does. 

Read More

The ROI Of Inbound Marketing

As the digital world reshapes the industrial world, marketing budgets are on the rise. According to ENGINEERING.com's annual survey of engineering marketers, twice as many respondents reported that their budgets were growing rather than shrinking in 2017.

As industrial marketing budgets continue to rise, more funds are being allocated to the creation of content — in the form of blogs, eBooks, email campaigns, videos, webinars, infographics, and so on — as good content is at the core of any successful inbound marketing program

Like with any investment, the marketers and manufacturing companies that are making them want to ensure that they are receiving a positive return. We’ve outlined two major areas of return on investment (ROI) that illustrate the effectiveness of inbound marketing. 

Read More

Left vs. Right Aligned Forms On Landing Pages

If you've ever wondered whether the forms on your landing pages should be on the left or right side of the page, you're not alone.

We decided to put this to the test on the contact page for one of our client's who specializes in custom metal stamping, Engineering Specialties, Inc. Now, you may be thinking that a small change such as which side of the page a form is on would have little difference in lead generation, but on the contrary, we've seen even simpler tweaks like adding an arrow above a form convert like crazy.±

So, are you ready to see which side of the page the form should go on?

Read More

Why You Need To Expand Your Business To New Markets

The manufacturing industry can be unpredictable. One minute you might be entering into a lucrative contract with a great new customer; the next, that customer could be going out of business – putting your own company at risk in the process.

The best way to guard against this risk is to diversify your business and expand into new markets. Here are three reasons why you should consider it in your shop:

Read More

Thomas Index Report: Private Label

More B2B buying activity takes place on THOMASNET.com than any other resource on the planet. In fact, a buyer evaluates a supplier every 2 seconds on our platform.

To help buyers and suppliers stay ahead of the latest shifts and emerging trends in the digital industrial economy, we constantly analyze all of the buying activity taking place on the platform. This powerful, proprietary data fuels the Thomas Industrial Index.

Here’s what we’re seeing on the Index this week:

Read More

5 Steps for Successful Industrial Marketing

Inbound marketing is the art of driving customers to your business’ products and services through a coordinated strategy of design, content, social media, and SEO tactics. Seems like something that would be more suited toward consumer goods and B2C rather than manufacturing and industrial companies, right? Wrong. 

In fact, most industrial manufacturers are practically already set up for an inbound marketing program — they just don’t know it yet.

Think about all the spec sheets, research, data, and product catalogs you have just lying around on a desk or in a drawer somewhere. These materials can be converted into valuable marketing tools to help drive your business forward — these materials just need to be set up the right way. 

We’re here to lay out some steps to turn the resources you already have into powerful tools for lead generation.

Read More

Video: Soldiers Will Get A Boost With Exoskeletons

Soldiers are about to get a big upgrade courtesy of engineers at the U.S. Army Research Lab. The engineers are creating a DARPA-funded exoskeleton suit that will help soldiers carry heavier equipment, march longer distances and improve mental acuity. 

Read More

Hyperloop One's First Pod Test Is A Success

The future of high-speed transportation blazed one step closer to reality last week. Hyperloop One, based in Los Angeles, just tested its pod for the first time, and the test was a big — and really fast — success.

The company launched its XP-1 passenger pod through a 1,600-foot-long, 11-foot-wide concrete tube in the Nevada desert. With the help of an electric propulsion system, the pod managed to hit 192 mph in about 5 seconds, producing 3,000 horsepower.

To accelerate the pod's speed, engineers pumped out nearly all of the air that was inside the tube, reducing the internal air pressure to levels that are common at altitudes of 200,000 feet. Once the pod was able to accelerate through the tube, its wheels retracted and magnetic levitation took over, reducing drag and giving the pod the energy required to reach near-supersonic speeds.  

The XP-1 stretches 28-feet in length, and it is made out of aluminum and carbon fiber. Its bus-like shape belies its impeccable top-end speeds, as well as the advanced motor that makes it possible. 

While this successful test was a huge step in the right direction for Hyperloop technology, it's just the first step. The company hopes to have their pods go as fast as 750 miles per hour, or around the speed of sound. Not only will Hyperloop One need to nail down faster pods, they'll also need to establish ways to make this mode of transportation practical for commuters in order for it to truly take off.  

Want to learn more about the Hyperloop One test? Check out the video below.

 

Read More

Takeaways from IMPACT Live 2017

The punchline of every presentation at the first annual IMPACT Live, a two-day conference for sales and marketing executives, this week seemed to be "If there's one thing you can takeaway from this to bring back to your own company..." Which, of course, means I have more than 15 "one things" as action items in my brain — in addition to the dozens of ideas I tweeted about and my boss logged in Trello.

But if you're reading this post, you probably weren't there or feeling as inspired as we all are (or maybe you did attend and you want to re-live the magic), and I think it's unfair for me to not share at least some of the knowledge I gained from: networking with 150 marketing, sales and business professionals; listening to presentations from big names such as Marcus Sheridan, Mike Volpe, David Meerman Scott and Mark Roberge; and bouncing ideas off of the Thomas team.

There were plenty of pointers on being genuine in your company and discussions on the importance of taking risks, but if I were to write out all of the takeaways from the event, this blog post would be about 25,000 words. So, I'll keep it short (but you can get a full recap on IMPACT's blog) — here are a few considerations for you:

Read More

The Cure For Ineffective Industrial Marketing

According to HubSpot, just 67% of companies in North America believe that their marketing strategy is effective. Even worse, 61% of marketing professionals — the very people responsible for implementing and executing these strategies agree. 

So if your current marketing strategy isn’t helping you reach your business goals, you’re clearly not alone.

The good news is that there is a cure for ineffective marketing — it’s called inbound. Organizations that adopt inbound marketing are 30% more likely to feel that their marketing strategy is effective.

Let’s take a look at how – and why – it works.

Read More

Video: Space Tourism Gets Closer To Becoming A Reality

Zero 2 Infinity, a space tourism company headquartered in Spain, just unveiled the final design of its Bloon pod, which will launch people to the edge of the Earth's atmosphere.  

Read More

Investments To Prepare Your Shop Floor For Growth

The American manufacturing industry is on the rise, with businesses expanding and hiring activity picking up. Now, shop owners must do all they can to manage, and maximize, their growth.  

CMTC suggested four investments manufacturers should consider when expanding their businesses. According to CMTC, two of the most important investments are equipment and warehousing:

Read More

Managing Total Cost Of Ownership In The Electrical Supplies Category

Although each category of purchasing that falls under Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO) poses its own unique challenges, electrical supplies stands out as one that appears to be tactical. However, it does grant the opportunity for significant cost savings and value enhancement when viewed from a strategic perspective. The “Electrical Supplies” umbrella covers a broad area of products, and depending on the needs of a particular organization, the level of complexity may vary particularly with wires and cables, automation supplies, lighting, and electrical distribution equipment. From a category perspective, there are opportunities to reduce costs when determining the preferred supplier base. These three strategies can help optimize the purchasing channels to achieve your category goals:

Read More

Thomas Index Report: Printed Circuit Board Sourcing Trends

More B2B buying activity takes place on THOMASNET.com than any other resource on the planet. In fact, a buyer evaluates a supplier every 2 seconds on our platform.

To help buyers and suppliers stay ahead of the latest shifts and emerging trends in the digital industrial economy, we constantly analyze all of the buying activity taking place on the platform. This powerful, proprietary data fuels the Thomas Industrial Index.

Here’s what we’re seeing on the Index this week:

Read More

4 Steps To Get Started With Social Selling

Looking to generate leads and connect with more customers? Of course you are!

All manufacturing and industrial companies want to grow. Unfortunately, many of them are missing out on an amazing resource that can make this goal a reality — social media.

If you don't have any social media profiles, or if you're just using them to share updates about the company softball team, then it's time to get started with social selling.

At Thomas Marketing Services, we've helped hundreds of companies just like yours turn social profiles into sales generators. Based on our experience, here are some first steps that can put you on the path to social success:

Read More

Digitizing Our Buildings & Facilities: How To Create Intelligent Environments

Businesses are transitioning to LED lighting in the 5.6 million commercial buildings in the United States. And, in many regions, the addition of solar solutions for energy independence is also underway.

The number of lighting fixtures that can be connected inside and around these buildings creates significant opportunities to impact and optimize the business occupying the space with the addition of sensors and data analytics.

While the immediate goal of LED retrofits is often energy efficiency and improved space appearance, there are long-term business productivity gains that result from creating connected intelligent environments.

Read More

Researchers 3D Print A Human Heart

3D printing is expected to revolutionize the medical industry. Not only are 3D printers creating medical devices, they are also creating organs for patients. Just recently, researchers expanded their 3D printing prototypes to include hearts that have the potential to work inside human beings. 

Read More

5 Ways To Turn A Lead Into A Customer

You worked hard to market your capabilities and nurture your prospects. Now your sales team has a healthy list of leads. However, research shows that 40-50% of these leads are ignored and never followed up on, which can add up to a lot of lost revenue for your business.

Developing an effective lead follow-up process can ensure that you don’t leave leads – and potential revenue – on the table. Here are five strategies that should be a part of your process.

Read More

7 Social Media Mistakes Industrial Companies Need To Avoid

When done right, maintaining an active social media presence can have a significant impact on your business, helping to increase web trafficestablish stronger relationships with customers, and, perhaps most importantly, increase revenue. Social media should therefore be a pivotal part of your inbound marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, when not done right, social media can still make an impact on your business — but not in a good way. One social snafu can cost you customers and do serious damage to your brand’s reputation, as you’ll see in the examples below.

Avoid these setbacks by steering clear of these seven common social media mistakes: 

Read More

Video: Fruit And Animals Will Pave The Way For Safer Industrial Equipment

Safety on the shop floor is about to get better, and you can thank fruits and animals for their help. Groundbreaking research from BMW's Bio-Inspired-Safety Systems (BISS) Consortium is leading the way to create new safety prototypes based off of natural models. 

Read More

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: June 2017

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for June 2017 (scroll down for previous releases):

Read More

Bringing Manufacturing Back To The U.S.: A Discussion With Thomas CEO Tony Uphoff

Manufacturing is essential to the American economy. Every 100 jobs in a manufacturing facility creates 250 jobs in other sectors. Unfortunately, however, many of these manufacturing jobs – as many as two million according to estimates – will go unfilled over the next ten years.

To combat the problem and close the skills gap, the federal government is investing in apprenticeship programs. 

Read More

Forklift Sourcing 101: Know Your Options, Save Money

Though they serve as critical elements in many material handling operations, forklifts can come with many potential hidden costs, such as maintenance and operator salary — in total, costs can reach as high as $250,000 annually per machine!

Despite these expenditures, more and more companies are making use of forklifts; a recent Peerless Research Group survey of material handling managers found that 69% of respondents planned to acquire a new forklift in the near future, with a per-respondent average of seven planned purchases, up from six the year prior.

When it’s time to add or replace a forklift at your facility, it’s important to not only consider these costs but to take into account usage, initial investment and equipment availability as you assess your different acquisition possibilities. With these factors and respondents' average forklift purchase quantities in mind, we’ve outlined the four best options for acquiring a new forklift for your facility.

Read More

The Shift To Electric Vehicles Is Accelerating – And Suppliers Should Take Notice

While electric vehicles (EVs) account for less than 1% of all vehicles sold in the United States today, two new forecasts show that this number will skyrocket in the years ahead. The shift will have a profound impact on automakers and their suppliers.

Read More

Should I Advertise On THOMASNET.com? Hear Reviews From Other Business Owners

Whether you are a product and component manufacturer, capital equipment manufacturer, custom manufacturer, service company or industrial distributor, advertising on THOMASNET can help you connect with the B2B buyers and engineers you need to grow your business. In fact, a supplier is evaluated by a buyer every 2 seconds on our platform!

We've helped hundreds of thousands of manufacturing and industrial companies like yours generate exposure, leads and new business, and we can help you do the same. 

If you're thinking about advertising on THOMASNET.com and wondering how it works, check out what some of our customers have to say. 

Read More

Three Ways You Can Help Close The Skills Gap

Manufacturing is one of the main contributors to economic growth in the U.S. and Americans know its value. In fact, 83% of Americans believe manufacturing is important to America’s prosperity. Unfortunately, young professionals are currently less interested in the manufacturing industry. 

According to Deloitte, two million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled in the next 10 years. This shortage will in turn create a void for many manufacturers as they struggle to find people with the right skills to keep their businesses alive.

So what can shop owners do to close the skills gap? Below are three ways to help:

Read More

Facebook vs. LinkedIn vs. Twitter: How Can Industrial Companies Get the Most Out of Social Media

Over 90% of companies, both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C), are currently making use of social media for marketing purposes. But with such a wide range of social networks to work with, and new ones popping up every day, navigating these options can often seem daunting.

Below, we’ll delve into three of the most popular social networks — Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter — and explore how industrial companies and manufacturers can make the most effective use of these versatile platforms, leading to more valuable prospects, increased leads, and, of course, boosted sales.

Read More

MIT's Drones Pave The Way For Flying Cars

For years, movies about the future have featured flying cars, and today we're closer to seeing them become reality. However, while the concept of flying cars is tremendously exciting, it could become a nightmare.

That's because, without the safety mechanisms we take for granted on the road today – traffic lights, stop signs, speed limits, etc. – the risk of crashes and collisions is very high. 

Fortunately, researchers from MIT are already working on ways to solve this futuristic safety problem.

Read More

Video: The Best Metro Areas For Manufacturing Jobs

Think it's tough to get a job in the manufacturing industry? While that may be the common perception, the truth is that the manufacturing job market offers more opportunities than you think. 

In fact, Forbes recently looked at the state of the hiring within the industry and found that all but 18 of the country’s 70 largest metropolitan regions have seen an uptick in industrial employment since 2011. They also ranked all 357 metropolitan areas to determine the locations with the best, most thriving manufacturing employment situations.

Read More

What Makes A Great Web Page?

Web pages are among the most important types of content in your inbound marketing arsenal. They serve as your company’s introduction to potential clients.

Making a good impression right out of the gate is key — you never get a second chance to make one, as my mother says — which is why I’m always surprised by the sheer volume of poorly put together web pages I come across in the industrial sector. 

To help give your web copy a bit of direction, here’s a breakdown of the main elements every page should have.

Read More

Thomas Sourcing Trends: Steel

Buyers and engineers evaluate a supplier on THOMASNET.com every 2 seconds. All of that sourcing activity gives us valuable insight on the movements of typical patterns in the industrial market place.

Over the past few months, we've been watching raw material sourcing closely and we've noticed some interesting trends:

—Over the last five weeks we have seen evaluations in "Steel" occur 18% more often than the 77 week average. 
—Last week's activity surged with buyers performing 38% more steel supplier evaluations than normal.
—Concurrently, "Metals" activity surged up over 100% for the last two weeks.

Source Steel Suppliers Now--->

It’s clear that raw material buyers are gearing up to find local sources of supply, but let’s take a look at some possible reasons for this.

Read More

5 Ways To Strengthen Your Communication Skills For Career Success

“Supply Chain is the linking of people, products and ideas around the globe. You need to be a connector.” Amanda Decook, Sourcing Associate, A.T. Kearney. Most supply chain professionals would agree. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Thomasnet.com showed that more than 90% of purchasing professionals believe communication is essential to their career and more so, 39.39% believe it is the most important skill for success.

However, mastering communication is not easy. For some, it’s not a natural skill, And even if it is, a third of respondents believe it is the one skill they consistently need to work on. “Communication is king. It’s the key to success, and it will make or break things on so many levels depending on if it’s there or not.” Sara Robichaux, Strategic Sourcing Category Lead – Services, Apache Corporation.

So how can supply chain professionals practice effective communication with colleagues, stakeholders and suppliers? These 5 tips could be a career game changer.

Read More

Reduce Costs in Product Design Through Raw Materials

It is often later in the product lifecycle that procurement teams are brought in to lead a competitive bid process and conduct negotiations accordingly. This might seem like a straightforward approach to reducing costs. However, taking a deeper look at your product design and raw materials before the manufacturing phase could be the best way to proactively optimize costs.

Read More

The BMW Supply Chain Breakdown: What Happened?

It's no secret that having transparency into your supply chain is essential to mitigating risk. In fact, companies are investing in supply chain visibility and collaboration tools at a faster rate than any other supply chain discipline, putting their money where their risk is. 

Clearly, companies are taking transparency seriously in an effort to stay plugged in to their suppliers. However, in order to ensure a strong, steady and productive supply chain, having visibility into your own suppliers isn't enough – you need to have visibility into their suppliers as well. This is especially true in industries that are driven by outsourcing in an effort to lower costs and shift production requirements. 

One major auto company recently learned this fact the hard way, which led to massive production delays, lots of unflattering headlines, and painful financial repercussions along the way. 

Read More

This Robot Uses AI To Write And Play Its Own Music

The next star hitting the Billboard charts might not be who or what you expect. It might just be an AI-powered robot.

According to WIRED, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology created a marimba-playing robot with four arms and eight sticks with the ability to write and play its own composition through artificial intelligence.

Read More

Video: Autonomous Airbus Helicopter Flies For The First Time

The latest aircraft from Airbus is hitting the skies, but in an unexpected way. The company recently announced at the 2017 Paris Air Show that it will begin flight trials on a helicopter that makes pilots optional. 

Read More

Web Design Methodologies: GDD vs. CRO

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, Growth-Driven Design (GDD) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) are two distinct methods.

While both involve A/B testing, CRO is essentially a tool under the GDD umbrella.

Read More

Meet The Man Who's Changing Train Travel – From His Backyard

89-year-old Max Schlienger has been obsessed with trains ever since he was a child. Now, as a retired engineer, Max is using his time and his knowledge to create a new and improved method of train travel, right in his Mendocino, California vineyard. 

Read More

TCO: Why Reshoring May Be The Smart Move For Your Supply Chain

Discussions about bringing manufacturing back to the United States are heating up as reshoring and U.S.-based manufacturing have become more lucrative. Many CEOs and CFOs are realizing that their businesses would have a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) with U.S.-based operations when potential steep tariff hikes and reshoring tax benefit programs come into play. Tech giants like Apple, Foxconn, and Offsite Networks are now looking to manufacture more affordably, locally, and, most importantly, with more integrity.

Read More

3 Tips To Sourcing Packaging

No matter what industry you are in, you most likely have to source packaging for your business to operate.

Your needs could be as simple as corrugated boxes to ship products or as complex as custom-designed, die-cut folding packaging made from a material selected for strength and flexibility due to volatile shipping environments.

As you navigate the complexities of selecting the best sourcing options for your packaging needs, always remember that you have options. Let’s take a look at three areas of sourcing flexibility to find best performance, price, and supplier.

Read More

Does THOMASNET.com Really Work?

THOMASNET.com connects active B2B buyers and engineers with 500K+ North American suppliers. If you tried to replicate all of the supplier evaluation activity on the platform that happens in a sinlge month, it would take you 7.5 years - without sleeping. In fact, every 2 seconds, a supplier is evaluated by a buyer on the platform.

So if you are thinking about advertising on THOMASNET.com and are wondering, "Does THOMASNET.com really work?" the answer is, unequivocally, yes!

Of course, we understand that you may still have questions about the results that THOMASNET.com delivers to manufacturers and industrial companies like yours. That's understandable. Let's see what THOMASNET.com customers have to say:

Read More

A Robocop Hits The Streets Of Dubai

If you hear the word "robocop," a 1980s cyborg may come to mind. That's all about to change with the help of the Dubai Police Department. To modernize their police force, Dubai has added an autonomous robotic officer to their ranks.

Read More

Video: How American Is Your Car?

The auto industry makes a massive contribution to the well-being of the U.S. economy, accounting for approximately 3.5% of the U.S. GDP and employing more than 2.5 million workers. To discover which auto companies make the biggest impact on the U.S. economy, American University's Kogod School of Business released their 2017 Made in America Auto Index

Read More

How Growth-Driven Design Is Changing The Web Design Process

Traditional web design can be a daunting endeavor; in fact, many industrial companies opt not to upgrade their sites at all when faced with this complex process.

However, a new approach, Growth-Driven Design (GDD), has significantly changed the landscape, allowing for intuitive, efficient website design that even novices can navigate with ease.

Read More

How Industry 4.0 Can Help Your Business

Industry 4.0 is becoming more important to the state of the manufacturing industry, but many people aren’t taking full advantage of the opportunity. Although 85% of businesses see the potential of Industry 4.0, only 15% have dedicated strategies in place.

Read More

Communicate Procurement's Worth With Your Stakeholders

Did you know that only 29% of procurement organizations are viewed as valued business partners? However, when the role of procurement is elevated, businesses realize ROI improvements of up to 250%?

So why are so many businesses forgetting, or ignoring, procurement as a valued business partner, and what can be done to address the issue?

Read More

The THOMASNET.com Team Chats With Manufacturing Talk Radio At ISM2017

ISM2017, The Institute For Supply Management (ISM) annual conference, just wrapped up in Orlando, Florida. The THOMASNET.com team was there, uncovering the latest trends and challenges impacting supply chain professionals every day

In addition to speaking with supply chain professionals, we also spoke with the duo Tim Grady and Lew Weiss of Manufacturing Talk Radio for a series of interviews. Listen to the podcasts below. 

Read More

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: May 2017

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for May 2017 (scroll down for previous releases):

Read More

Video: Stratasys Builds A Wall Of 3D Printers

The latest creation by Stratasys could change the additive manufacturing industry. The 3D Demonstrator, an automated, multi-cell 3D printing concept, is designed for low-volume production and mass customization. 

Read More

30 Under 30 Stars Share Their Perspective On Global Supply Chains

Supply chains are more global than ever before, and that's reflected in the supply chain workforce of today.

Our 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars include professionals that live and work around the world. We recently got to chat with two of those supply chain stars to get their perspective on working in the global supply chain. Here's what they had to say:

Read More

5 Supply Management Takeaways from ISM2017

Thousands of global procurement and supply chain professionals gather annually at ISM’s conference “learn, share and network with the best and brightest minds in supply management.”

Read More

4 Tips For Creating Irresistible Industrial Lead Generation Offers

To make sales, you need to generate leads. Generating leads in today’s industrial business-to-business (B2B) market necessitates a digital approach, as more and more industrial buyers are choosing to educate themselves and make purchases online, as opposed to talking to sales representatives.

With an inbound marketing strategy, you can position yourself to catch that internet traffic and convert faceless users into valuable leads. It’s not enough to simply have a strategy, though — you need to have a good one, and each of its many components must be optimized for your audience.

Here are four tips to boost your content offerings and elevate them to irresistible lead generation machines.

Read More

3D-Printed, Soft-Legged Robot Can Walk On Rough Terrains

Most soft robots can only shuffle or crawl due to their squishy bodies. This makes them great for getting into tight spaces but completely unreliable when navigating rough terrains. However, according to Endgaget, engineers from the University of San Diego have flipped the script, creating the very first soft robot that can walk on rough surfaces, climb over obstacles and wiggle into confined spaces.

Read More

Video: Tesla Is Shaking Up Its Manufacturing Process

Tesla's latest move on the shop floor is causing quite a stir in the industry. To adhere to their lofty production goals, the company is skipping the soft tooling stage and jumping straight into the production tooling stage for their Model 3 automobiles.

Read More

Why Should I Update To A Responsive Website?

Updating your old website to a responsive design will allow a user to easily access your website content from a single source on desktop, tablet, or mobile device as the design will adjust to the available screen size. This coding and design improvement will increase usability, load time, indexing, and user trust of your website.

Read More

THOMASNET.com Version 3 Is Now Live!

Business never shuts off — a supplier evaluation is performed every 2 seconds on THOMASNET.com! We are constantly developing new ways for engineers, procurement managers, and MROs to better access data on the platform. That's why we just launched THOMASNET.com Version 3. The following is an overview of the improvements included in this release:

Read More

Researchers Find A Way To 3D Print Organs To Save Lives

Organ transplant waiting lists are known to be very long. It can take anywhere from three to five years before an organ is even available. Fortunately, this might all change with the help of 3D printing. 

Read More

The 3 Causes Fueling Supply Chain Complexity

The concept of "less is more" does not so easily apply to supply chain management. As organizations look to increase revenues by expanding their product portfolos, they're also introducing complexity and risk into their supply chains. While it might seem like a good idea to just reduce your portfolio overall, that's not always an option. 

So what can you to to overcome the challenges posed by an increasingly complex supply chain? The first step is to identify what's causing the problem in the first place. According to the latest research from APICS and Michigan State University, there are three main sources of complexity in the supply chain: 

Read More

Infographic: Every Two Seconds On THOMASNET.com

There is more industrial and B2B buying activity taking place on THOMASNET.com than on any other platform on the planet. In fact, a buyer evaluates a supplier every two seconds! 

All those supplier evaluations can add up to a lot of things – including new business opportunities for the suppliers who are listed on the platform

Check out our infographic to see what else can happen while buyers are evaluating suppliers on THOMASNET.com.

Read More

Where Industrial Marketers Are Increasing Spending In 2017

As marketers, we know that the shift to digital is nothing new.

For years there has been a steady march from print media — brochures, newsletters, and direct mail pieces to online assets like emails, eBooks, and blog posts. According to ENGINEERING.com’s annual survey of engineering marketers’ plans for the 2017 calendar year, the fruits of our digital content labors have been confirmed.

Though the complete transition to digital still has a ways to go, it’s certainly being reflected in marketing budgets more and more. The survey, comprised of 85 engineering marketers across a range of industries (primarily manufacturing and design software), resoundingly showed that marketing budgets are on the upswing.

Twice as many respondents reported growing budgets than shrinking budgets, with software marketers landing the top spot at 41%.

The vast majority of these budgets? Content. When segmenting marketers out into Top Performers, Industry Average, and Laggards, the survey found that Digital Enthusiasts (those investing more than 70% of their budget into digital marketing efforts) comprised the bulk of Top Performers at 41%. Conversely, Digital Skeptics (those investing less than 30% and far outspending other groups on print and offline activities) were least likely to be Top Performers at 25%. 

So, what exactly is it they’re investing in? Let’s take a look at some of the details of the findings and where this money is going. 

Read More

Cobots Are Taking Over The Shop Floor

Collaborative robots, also known as cobots, are computer-controlled robotic devices designed to assist people in manufacturng facilities. They are hitting the shop floor at exponential rates. In fact, recent studies show that the number of cobots used in just the automotive industry is expected to grow by more than 40% each year over the next five years. 

What's fueling the adoption? Here are just a few of the reasons why cobots should make their mark on your shop floor, as covered in The Manufacturer

Read More

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: April 2017

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for April 2017 (scroll down for previous releases):

Read More

Industry 4.0's Arrival: 6 Steps You Need To Take Now

In 2009, there were 2.5 billion devices with unique IP addresses connected to the internet — most of these were cell phones and computers. By 2020, there will be up to 30 billion connected devices with unique IP addresses, and many of these will be industrial products. Driven by new digital technologies, cloud computing and the Internet of Everything, this new industrial connectivity is driving what’s referred to by some analysts as “Industry 4.0.”

Read More

An Investment In Marketing Is An Investment For Your Whole Business

Producing results without the right resources is a huge challenge, especially when you’re under extreme pressure to do so. When budgets get tight, it’s even more important to be able to prove your worth.

Luckily for industrial marketers, when it comes time for budget evaluations, we can produce quantifiable results demonstrating the value of our efforts. In fact, a 2017 ENGINEERING.com market research report found a direct connection between digital marketing investment and company revenue. As a result, the majority of respondents reported being rewarded with a boost in resources.

If you find that your marketing team is still fighting for funding, here are a few things you can take to your department heads to make the business case for it.

Read More

Students Will Get To Test Drive Self-Driving Technology

From GM to Google, technology companies and auto manufacturers alike are investing heavily in the development of self-driving cars. However, along with creating a new technology, they're also creating an entirely new industry  one that will need knowledgeable and technologically gifted professionals in order to drive it forward and ensure its success for years to come.

According to TechCrunch, StreetDrone's new StreetDrone ONE will help give students the skills necessary to work in budding the self-driving industry.

Read More

A Chat With Dan Kaskinen, Rising Supply Chain Star Megawatt Winner

In 2014, Dan Kaskinen sat in the audience of ISM2014 and learned about a brand new program launched by THOMASNET.com and ISM called the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program. Three years later, Dan has not only been named a Rising Star, he’s this year’s Megawatt winner.

“When I was chosen as a winner, I was really excited and so appreciative," he said. "I had the chance to meet a few of last year’s winners, so knowing how impressive they were made me really appreciate winning the award.”

We got the chance to catch up with Dan and learn more about his supply chain career, his advice for success and the future of the industry. Take a look at what he has to say:

Read More

Video: Amazon Patents A Clothing Manufacturing Process

It looks like Jeff Bezos and the team at Amazon are getting busier. According to recent reports, Amazon was awarded a patent for an on-demand clothing manufacturing warehouse.

Read More

5 Signs Your Website Is Outdated

It used to be that simply having a website would set you apart from the competition. You could create a handful of pages, add a little background about the company, sprinkle in some images, set it, and forget it. Unfortunately, a website that works for you requires a lot more upkeep than that.

As a key driver of new business, your website is the centerpiece of your digital marketing efforts.

It’s where many people will hear about your company for the first time, where you will build industry credibility and thought leadership, and where you will capture new leads. It’s therefore critical that your pages are optimized for conversions.

Even in the manufacturing industry, where some companies are still playing digital marketing catch up, having a website is not enough; it’s equally important to ensure you’re staying up to date on crucial best practices.

Read More

Manufacturing Organizations Set Augmented Reality Guidelines For The Industry

Augmented reality (AR) is not just a tool for video games like Pokemon Go. From shortening maintenance times on the shop floor to assisting with the operation of heavy machinery, AR has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry. In fact, the global AR market is expected to exceed $95 billion by 2023. That's why 65 major organizations, including industry leaders such as Lockheed Martin, Dow Chemical, Boeing and Caterpillar, met to develop the first set of guidelines for AR technology companies.

Read More

The 4 Technologies That Will Shake Up Your Supply Chain

The supply chain is going digital. In their annual industry report, Deloitte and MHI found that 80% of supply chain professionals believe that digital supply chains will overtake traditional supply chain models within the next five years.

To prepare for these changes, and to put their companies in the best position to succeed with a next-generation supply chain, industry professionals will have to fully understand the latest technologies.

So what's in store for supply chain folks? Here are a few of the technologies they'll need to know about:

Read More

Driving Compliance And Cleaning Up Your Tail


Tail spend optimization can be the key to reducing costs and increasing the overall performance of your supply chain. However, many organizations fail to properly analyze their tail spend, or they don't take the proper measures to clean it up and ensure compliance. 

Fortunately, there are some proven methods you can use to clean up your tail.

Read More

3 Characteristics Of Effective Content

The phrase “Content is king” has largely been dropped from the corporate lexicon — you hear it much less now than you did a year or even six months ago. Of course, this doesn’t make it any less true; content is still a foundational element of any inbound marketing scheme worth its salt.

If you’re thinking, Andrew, you’re a professional writer, you’re biased, well … you’re right. I am biased. That doesn’t make the phrase any less true, either. If a grocer told you “vegetables are good for you,” you wouldn’t respond that he’s biased and therefore his statement is untrue. Would you?

Luckily in this case, my bias carries with it some benefits.

When you are knee deep in content generation seven days a week, you tend to pick up on some things — things like the fact that not all content is created equal and even the most fool-proof content plans don’t work if the content isn’t spot on. 

Do you want spot on content? Of course you do. Let's take a look at three important characteristics:

Read More

Brain Implant Tech, A Transforming UAV & A Third Hand For Soldiers: March's Industrial Innovations

What’s new in the industrial marketplace? Our friends at Industrial Equipment News created a roundup of their favorite product developments this past month.

Here are some of their favorite products: 

Read More

How To Successfully Make A Career Change Into Supply Chain

Deciding what you want to do with your life can be overwhelming, especially when that decision is made early in your career. In fact, an astounding majority of people don’t find their calling right away, which is why 80% of workers are interested in making a career switch.

Making that switch can be daunting and confusing. There are so many options, and the wrong move can set you back in your career and in your finances.

However, switching to supply chain can be a great option. That's because the field is broad enough to be a fit for people with a variety of technical and soft skills. It's also a growing industry, with millions of new employees being added to the workforce.   

Read More

Predictive Modeling Can Unlock Logistics Optimization

Optimizing logistics is a priority for many procurement and supply chain professionals. However, due to a lack of visibility, it can also be a challenge.

A recent survey by Deloitte revealed that most supply chain professionals feel they do not have the visibility necessary into their own operations, their shippers, their providers and their customers – to improve pricing and flexibility in their supply chains. So how can this issue be resolved?

According to EBN, cloud-based analytics tools can be the answer.

Read More

What To Avoid In Your User Journey: Key Takeaways From ConversionXL Live 2017

ConversionXL Live is an annual conference that provides web designers, developers, and strategists a forum to learn from optimization experts. The event is also a fantastic networking opportunity, as it brings together more than 75,000 practitioners every year.  

This year’s conference agenda was broken into three themes:

  • Day 1: UX & Digital Analytics
  • Day 2: Optimization & Testing
  • Day 3: Growth & Success

Read More

Creating A Supply Chain Shortlist: What B2B Buyers Look For When Selecting Suppliers

Creating a shortlist is an essential component of the supplier discovery and selection process. But what, exactly, are supply chain professionals looking for when making their lists?

To find out, THOMASNET.com conducted an informal survey of our users – buyers, engineers and procurement professionals – to find out what factors they consider the most important when evaluating new suppliers.

Whether you are a buyer looking to improve your sourcing process or a supplier looking to connect with potential customers, the results could help you reach your goals. Here’s what we heard:

Read More

Choosing A Marketing Automation Platform: 3 Key Differences Between HubSpot & Pardot

Similar to how automation technology has helped to increase efficiency on shop floors, the same can be said within the world of marketing.

Marketing automation technologies help companies generate, educate, and re-engage leads by setting up a system that runs with customized rules, programs, and scoring systems.

As a digital marketing strategist, I’ve had the opportunity to work in a variety of marketing automation platforms, and I’ve seen advantages and disadvantages in each. There are dozens — maybe hundreds — of tools available, but since HubSpot and Pardot are the most prevalant in the manufacturing space, wanted to offer up an analysis to help you decide what's best for your business.

Read More

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: March 2017

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for March 2017 (scroll down for previous releases):

Read More

A Real Life Iron Man Suit Is In The Works

Move over Robert Downey, Jr. An inventor in Britain is trying to make the Iron Man suit a reality with his latest invention, the “Daedalus.”

Read More

3 Stages Of Industrial Digital Marketing: Where Are You Now?

Digital marketing continues to grow at an astounding rate — PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts the category will grow by almost 20 percent in the next five years, with spending hitting $720 billion by 2020.

Amidst the projections of growth, what gets lost is that not all markets have adopted digital marketing at the same pace. Industrial markets have begun to aggressively embrace the approach, and we can clearly see three distinct stages in their digital marketing evolution. 

As an industrial marketer, it’s essential that you identify which stage you’re in, and ensure that you are advancing toward what should be the ultimate goal of your digital marketing — generating customers and driving revenue.

Read More

NASA's New Robot Will Tackle Spots Rovers Can't Reach

The latest big invention from NASA might be smaller than you would imagine. Their Pop-Up Flat Folding Robot, or PUFFER, is designed to fold and contort in order to reach places that traditional roving robots cannot.  

Read More

The Training Manufacturers Need To Keep Their Skills Up To Date


Studies show that a well-trained staff is more productive and engaged. However, organizations tend to push training to the side when other pressing issues occur on the shop floor. So what can manufacturers do to ensure their employees receive the training necessary to maximize productivity and employee retention? 

Read More

5 Essential Capabilities For Automation Technology


Smart manufacturing facilities offer limitless possibilities for increasing efficiency and productivity. Unfortunately, without the right automation systems in place, the actual results can be disappointing. 

Read More

3 Steps To Be More Sustainable On The Shop Floor

April is Earth Month, and to celebrate we wanted to shine a light on the importance of sustainability in manufacturing. Fortunately, the manufacturing industry is embracing sustainability like never before. In fact, no other industry produces more "clean economy" jobs. 


Fueling the adoption is the fact that sustainability is not only good for the environment, it can be good for a business's bottom line. Procurement departments are becoming increasingly focused on finding environmentally friendly partners, and studies show that "green organizations" experience faster growth than their less eco-conscious counterparts.  

If you want to embrace sustainability and reap its benefits, it helps to know where to start. Here are three proven steps you can take to be more sustainable on the shop floor. 

Read More

Why It's Great To Work In The Supply Chain Industry As A Millennial

At THOMASNET.com, we know that there are variety of reasons to choose a career in supply chain. Unfortunately, however, many young professionals don't consider supply chain as a career option. Even worse, many don't even know it exists!

To spread the word and shed some light on why working in supply chain can be a great option, we asked the winners of our 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars contest to weigh in. Here's what some of them had to say: 

Read More

Custom Cold Head Fasteners Can Help Keep Costs Under Control


Costing is one of the most influential factors in our manufacturing world today. There is an ongoing trend among companies across the globe to become “cost driven.” By reducing expenditures in a manufacturing process, profit is therefore increased by spending less to produce a product.

But what happens when you’ve exhausted all other options, and those monthly numbers still aren’t reaching expectations? Cold headed fasteners and components have come a long way in the past 100 years, and now is the time to consider your options.

If you’re looking for an economical solution to an expensive fastener or component problem, custom cold headed parts could be the answer to increasing your bottom line.

Read More

Video: The Star Wars Fighter Jet Comes To Life

One of the coolest and most iconic vehicles from the Star Wars universe has come to life thanks Gerlinger Steel & Supply, a Northern California company. They just built a life-sized version of the TIE fighter, the symbol of the imperial fleet in the original trilogy. 

Read More

You Can Now 3D Print A House In 24 Hours

Looking to buy a new home but have a limited budget? The folks at the San Francisco-based startup Apis Cor might be able to help you. They just built an entire house within 24 hours using 3D printing. 

Read More

8 Valuable Resources for Industrial Business Leaders

Every day, we use 2.5 quintillion bytes of data posting on social media, pinging GPS signals, downloading music — essentially, just living in the digital world. Do you know what a quintillion is? It’s one million, raised to the power of five. It’s one thousand, raised to the power of six. It’s a one followed by 18 zeros. It’s a big number. Suffice to say, we’re making heavy use of the digital resources at our disposal.

Read More

3 Tips to Getting Your Dream Customer's Attention With Content

If there’s one thing better than leads, it's leads from dream customers — those perfectly ideal potential clients with perfectly ideal potential orders. The problem is that dream customers probably seem more like unicorns or Bigfoot to you than actual, achievable contacts.

Your dream customer surely does exist. That said, I can’t offer any one secret trick for finding them, unfortunately. There is no magic bullet for hooking a dream customer, just as there are no magic creatures.

You’re probably asking: How do I find them, then? 

Well, it takes some work and a dedicated, well thought out plan, but it comes down to targeting. If you target your content the right way and to the right audiences — the audiences that your dream customers are in — you can start to pull in those big-ticket leads you want.

Read More

A New Platform Will Strengthen The Health Care Supply Chain

While building a strong and risk-free supply chain is essential for buyers in all industries, when it comes to health care, the stakes couldn't be higher. Even the slightest hiccup can lead to a catastrophic loss of human life. That's why the United Nations World Food Programme and NEC Corporation joined together to help streamline and strengthen the supply chain. 

Read More

A Drone Demolition Derby

Last month, a drone took center stage at the NBA dunk competition. Now, drones are poised to compete with one another in DroneClash, the most competitive drone demolition derby ever. 

Read More

This Robot Will Fold Your Laundry In Less Than Five Minutes

Doing the laundry may get a little bit easier thanks to inventor Gal Rozov. After six years of hard work, he created the FoldiMate, a robot that can fold, soften and even infuse fragrance into your newly washed clothes. 

Read More

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: February 2017

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for February 2017 (scroll down for previous releases):

Read More

Insight on the Top Marketing Challenges for Manufacturing Companies

While most industries jumped into using social media, email marketing, SEO and other digital marketing tactics almost a decade ago, manufacturing is finally coming around.

Unlike traditional print placement and ads, we all know that creating an online presence isn't a "one and done" mentality. More and more companies in the industrial space are building up their websites and traffic — the marketplace is quickly getting crowded, so marketing is now more important than ever.

Read More

How Industrial Companies Can Spend Their Marketing Dollars

Industrial manufacturing has been a driving force behind the U.S. economy for decades, but when it comes to digital B2B marketing, it's typically behind the curve.

The reliance on word-of-mouth recommendations and cold calling is no longer the only option for companies, and marketers have been slowly stepping up their game in the past few years.

With new techniques and platforms emerging every day, it can be hard to keep up with it all — or even know where to begin.

We've recently published an eBook called "10 Ways Manufacturers Can Spend Their Marketing Dollars," but to help get you started, let's dive right in to a few of them:

Read More

Introducing The 2016 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars

At THOMASNET.com, we understand the vital role that supply chain professionals play in the success of their businesses and today's economy. We also want to raise awareness of the profession to ensure that it's is in good hands for years to come.

That's why we partnered with the Institute for Supply Management to create the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Star Program. The program recognizes young professionals making an impact on the supply chain industry. This year, for the first time ever, our search for the most accomplished young supply chain professionals went global, and we received nominations from all around the world. 

Want to meet the winners? Click through the slides below.  

Read More

Video: Electric Motorcycles Are Hitting The Road

Electric cars are more popular than ever and now, with the help from the motorcycle maker Polaris, electric motorcycles will be hitting the road, too. Polaris recently announced the revitalization of their legendary Indian brand with an electric bike set for production in 2020. 

Read More

A Smart Workforce For Smart Manufacturing


While Smart Manufacturing is changing the industrial landscape and rapidly changing the way business is implemented and conducted, an equally smart workforce is necessary in order to take advantage of the new technologies.  

Read More

Thomas Publishing CEO Tony Uphoff Talks Supply Chain Risk, Trends And Tools With Procurement Insights

It’s no secret that managing supply chain risk is paramount to procurement and supply chain professionals. In fact, our survey of more than 1,000 buyers and suppliers revealed that 84% of buyers in decision-making roles assess a supplier’s financial stability before contacting potential supplier partners.

Read More

Why SEO Is So Important for Manufacturing Companies

We talk a lot about SEO. Whether Google is making updates to its search results page and algorithms, we're keeping an eye on new search trends and sharing industrial SEO best practices — there's no shortage of discussion points.

Since we've covered optimization techniques, tips, and trends extensively in the past few months, we thought it would be helpful for you to take a step back and address what makes good SEO so particularly important for manufacturing companies. 

Let's start at the beginning. 

Read More

Self-Driving Cars Head To The Race Track

From Tesla to Google, organizations have been working hard to make self-driving cars a reality on major roads and highways. Now with the help from the company Roborace, these autonomous cars are heading to the race track with the world's first driverless race car.  

Read More

On The Cutting Edge Of Jet Engine Technology

 

While Connecticut may not be known as a hotbed of manufacturing, the truth is that the state is home to some of the largest players in the industry, including Kaman, Praxair, Sikorsky, Gerber Scientific and many others.

One of those companies – Pratt & Whitney – recently unveiled a groundbreaking family of jet engines.   

Read More

Infographic: The Disconnect Over Financial Risk In The Supply Chain

Mitigating risk is among the most critical priorities for any procurement professional, and one of the ways they do that is by assessing a supplier’s financial and operational stability during the supplier evaluation process.

In fact, THOMASNET.com, in partnership with Dun & Bradstreet, recently conducted a survey of more than 1,000 buyers and suppliers, and we found that 89% of buyers believe that a potential supplier’s financial stability is important when evaluating potential partners.

Clearly, monitoring a supplier’s credit profile is important to buyers. But are suppliers making sure their profiles are in order? Perhaps not, since just 40% of suppliers who took our survey stated that they knew the current status of their own company’s credit profiles.

Check out our infographic to learn more about this disconnect and to see how, if you are a supplier, it may be costing you customers.

Read More

Advice From Women Leaders In Manufacturing

There are many organizations working to bring more women into the manufacturing field. And while these efforts are making an impact on the makeup of the manufacturing workforce overall, the C-suite has not seen much of a change. According to a recent survey of women working in manufacturingwomen believe they are underrepresented in their organizations' leadership teams. 

Fortunately, there are already a few women who are making their mark as leaders in their manufacturing organizations. We spoke with two of them: Natalie Menke, president of Universal Blower Pac; and Paige D Bowen, President of Seelye Acquisitions, Inc., to get their insights on leading the way in manufacturing organizations and their advice for women looking to move into leadership roles. 

Read More

4 Ways Industrial Companies Can Get More Leads

The beauty of inbound marketing strategy is that it draws customers to you, instead of sending you on a seemingly endless search for them and blowing your entire budget without being able to gauge ROI.

That doesn’t mean we get to sit back and relax in the marketing department, though. It takes a lot of planning, trial, and error. From creating personas and content to promoting through email blasts and social media, you have a lot of opportunity to reach your prospects.

There are a number ways to kick start your strategy and begin harnessing the power of inbound to drive more leads for your business. To begin, let's talk about four tactics you can jump on right now.

Read More

3D-Printed Modular Satellites Are In The Works

Although it only takes Boeing 11 days to build a 737, it takes the company much longer to build a satellite. In fact, less than 10 satellites are made a year using their customized manual assembly practices. So what can be done to combat the issue? The answer lies in a solution many manufacturers and engineers are turning to 3D printing.

Read More

Video: Flying Taxis Will Take To The Skies This Summer

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ... a flying taxi? If you are in Dubai this summer, there's a chance you may see one in flight.

Flying cars have been on the minds of researchers and engineers for years as a means of alleviating traffic and congestion in cities. Recently, Dubai’s Roads and Transportation Agency brought that concept one step closer to reality. The agency announced that, starting July 2017, the Ehang 184 drone will be able to carry people and fly them to their destinations. 

Read More

How To Take An Employee-Centric Approach To Change Management

In today’s increasingly dynamic and ever-changing market, organizational change isn’t only to be expected; it’s essential. However, change isn’t always easy, and it’s important to understand how different employees will respond in order to implement and manage change effectively.

Read More

What's The Right Speed For Adopting New Digital Manufacturing Technology?

The Digital Industrial Revolution is upon us, with new technologies and trends emerging every day. Keeping up with the rapid pace of innovation can be difficult for some companies. Fortunately, a new study reveals that taking a staged and approach to adoption will prove successful.  

Read More

Women In Manufacturing — Q&A With Sheila LaMothe

We sat down with Sheila LaMothe, a board member of WiM, to learn more about the organization's initiatives. Read on to find out how WiM is working towards building a stronger community for women in the manufacturing industry.  With more than 500 members, Women in Manufacturing (WiM) is dedicated to closing this gap by supporting, promoting and inspiring women who pursue or chose a career in the manufacturing industry.

Read More

2016 Breaks Records For Robotics Sales

North American robotics orders totaled $1.9 billion in 2016, a rise of 10% compared to the previous year, according to a report from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA). The report underscores the increasingly prominent role that automation is playing in American manufacturing – and the economy in general.

Read More

How Can Procurement Teams Prepare For Cognitive Technology?

Cognitive technology, which can extend the power of information technology to tasks traditionally performed by humans, is poised to disrupt the supply chain in the near future. While the technology is only in its infancy, procurement teams need to understand it in order to be prepared to leverage it in the years to come. If they don't, they may fall behind the competition. So what skills should procurement teams focus on to prepare for this disruption?

Read More

This Supersonic Jet Could Fly From NYC To Paris In 3 Hours

Want to travel the world but only have a limited amount of time? Your problems might be solved with the supersonic commerical jet from Boom Technology. 

Read More

Does Your Industrial Company Need a Marketing Agency?

With all of the uncertainties that exist in today's manufacturing climate, there's one thing that's guaranteed: Marketing agencies will cold call and email you to try and sell you their marketing services. And it makes sense — industrial companies are set up for successful marketing programs and typically don't even know it.

After decades of relying on word-of-mouth referrals to bring in new business, you might be hesitant to bring in someone new to your process. But marketing agencies can be very helpful in generating massive amounts of leads and helping your sales team close your dream customers, but if you don't have certain goals or a budget to put behind their services, it might not be worth it in the end.

Any business owner or person in charge of industrial marketing and sales has to do some reflection and planning to see what's right for the company, but we wanted to help get your thoughts rolling. Take a look at the below infographic to get help on answering a very important question.

Read More

How Much of Your Industrial Marketing Budget Should You Allocate to Print Media?

Maybe you’ve been buying print advertisements for years and you are trying to decide how much budget to allocate this year. Or perhaps you have seen your competitors running print advertisements and wonder whether you should try it. Both are common in the industrial marketing space.

In recent research, we found that for 2017, 46% of all engineering marketers plan to dedicate zero budget to print.

In this post, we'll provide some data to help you with your decision on whether to use print advertising. The data comes from:

  • A survey of engineers on where they get work-related information
  • A survey of industrial marketers about their success with print
  • Advertising industry data

We'll also unveil a critical piece of information courtesy of the top performing engineering marketers. 

Read More

Video: The U.S. Army Looks To SIG Sauer For Modular Weaponry

As the U.S. Army looks for more customizable weaponry, they have turned to firearms manufacturer SIG Sauer for modular guns. These P320/M17 guns will be tailor-made for each soldier, with only the trigger as the uniform part of the gun. All other parts can be customized, allowing soldiers to choose different pistol grip sizes, longer or shorter barrels, type of ammunition and location of the safety. 

Read More

Do College Grads Have The Right Degrees For Today's Manufacturing Workforce?

The manufacturing industry is growing increasingly complex. As a result, entry-level manufacturing employees need more than just a high school diploma. However, there is a disconnect between the educational levels of those applying for manufacturing jobs and the educational levels required by employees. 

Read More

JAXA's Space Junk Cleanup Takes A Turn For The Worse


We reported on the efforts that space agencies around the world make to put an end to the growing space junk in our atmosphere. Most recently, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) designed an electrodynamic tether (EDT) to clean up the mess. We now have an update on the project, and it didn't go according to plan.  

Read More

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: January 2017

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for January 2017 (scroll down for previous releases):

Read More

7 Books Every Web Designer Should Read

Anyone in the world of web design and development knows it’s a constantly changing field. From coding with mobile in mind to catching an eye with parallax scrolling, there’s always a new feature rolling out to enhance user experience. 

To stay ahead of what’s coming next, designers have to read about their industry voraciously — even when they’re off the clock. So, as a follow up to follow up Dayna's post on books for sales and Lauren's post on books for marketers, we on RPM's design and development team wanted to share what's on our bookshelves and recommend a few of our favorites.

Read More

What Can You Do To Create More Supply Chain Transparency?

Supply chain transparency is a high priority for many organizations. However, because of the fragmented nature of supply chains, creating efficient, end-to-end monitoring systems can be a challenge. 

Read More

Introducing The Bat Bot

Bruce Wayne would be proud. A team of scientists just built a flying, autonomous robot designed to look like a bat.

Read More

The American Inventions That Revolutionized Manufacturing

February 11 is National Inventors’ Day, which celebrates the tremendous impact that American inventors have had on the United States and people around the world.

The manufacturing industry has also felt the impact of these innovators who were willing to push the possibilities of their times and technologies.

In honor of National Inventors’ Day, we wanted to take a look back at a few of the awesome American inventions that have shaped the industry.

Read More

Top Tools For Sales & Marketing Collaboration

Love versus hate. Good versus evil. Heaven versus hell. Sales versus marketing?

If you’ve ever worked in or with a sales or marketing department, you know that the statement above might not be as ridiculous as it first seems.

It can be easy to get caught up in a constant back and forth of finger pointing: Typically, sales says that marketing doesn’t produce enough leads or, if there are leads coming in, complains that they’re not good quality. Marketing maintains that they produce plenty of high-quality leads and it’s sales that doesn’t know how to close them.

What seems like an insurmountable gap can actually be bridged quite easily, with a little transparency between the teams going a long way toward better understanding — and better transparency can be achieved with as little as a few carefully chosen collaboration tools.

Read More

Should You Go To Market? Strategies For 3 Common Sourcing Scenarios

Strategic sourcing is all about generating a return on investment for every sourcing initiative. However, different sourcing scenarios require different levels of investment – in terms of time, effort and resources. Therefore, it’s important to approach each situation differently as well in order to produce the best results.

Here are three common sourcing scenarios, along with proven advice you can use to ensure an optimal return.

Read More

Video: The Latest Engineering Innovations From January 2017

New products are being created every day, so what’s new in the marketplace? Our friends at Industrial Equipment News created a roundup of their favorite product developments so far in 2017.

Here are some of the products that topped the list: 

Read More

Making Smart Factories A Reality For Manufacturers

Smart factories are predicted to change the manufacturing industry in profound ways by leveraging technology and the ability to receive and react to data in real time. However, not all factories are equipped to take advantage of these smart capabilities, and adoption can be a tremendous challenge for some companies. 

Read More

RIT To Lead National Consortium For Cleaner Manufacturing

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to head up a national consortium that will be charged with developing sustainable manufacturing technologies. The Reducing Embodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions Institute (REMADE) is part of the DOE’s Manufacturing USA initiative and will be housed at RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, under the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance.

Read More

3 Industrial PPC Trends to Watch in 2017

The new year is always a time of both reflection and looking ahead, especially when it comes to search engine optimization and search engine marketing trends. This year, we expect to see the pay-per-click advertising trends established last year continue to grow.

It's no secret that 2016 was for PPC, with Google making a number of changes to AdWords. Notably, PPC ads were permanently moved from the sidebar to the main section of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), and the newly launched Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) dramatically increases potential ad real estate.

In the manufacturing and industrial space, where common and important keyword phrases can be competitive, this was a big adjustment for those who weren't prepared.

We don't want you do fall prey to a similar fate this year, too, so let's talk about some PPC shifts can we expect in 2017. We've got our eyes on a few key trends:

Read More

Can Worker Training Programs Solve The Skills Gap In Manufacturing?

The skills gap is a major roadblock to the growth of the manufacturing industry. While training programs could be the solution, they raise the question of who should be leading the training initiatives and who should be paying for them.

The U.S. government has the money to put into manufacturing training programs but doesn’t have the expertise to train workers. On the other hand, manufacturing companies have the expertise to teach new students but don't have the funding necessary to launch these programs.

A new approach, introduced by the Aspen Institute, might be able to bridge the gap.

Read More

How Boeing Transports Their 100-Foot Wings Through Washington

A lot of work goes into building large products. But it takes quite a lot of work to transport those projects as well.

Take, for example, Boeing’s massive, 100-foot wings, which much be transported from Frederickson to Everett, Washington, which is 70 miles away.  

Read More

A Boon For Manufacturers As U.S. Navy Upgrades Fleet

On January 4, the Pentagon announced plans to build a fleet of 12 new Columbia-class submarines in an effort to update America’s ballistic missile submarine fleet.

The Columbia fleet is to replace 24 aging subs, some of which have been in service since the mid-1970s. The long-awaited Columbia class is just one part of the Pentagon's 30-year, trillion-dollar plan to upgrade the sea-air-land nuclear triad.

Preliminary cost estimates for the proposed Columbia fleet places $13 billion for R&D and $115 billion for procurement. The Navy is currently in talks with General Dynamics to head up the program, as well as with their top sub-contractor, Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Read More

The Evolution of 3D Printing

From reducing costs to increasing efficiency to spurring innovation, many people are excited about the impact that 3D printing will have on the future of manufacturing. However, the truth is, it already has made a significant impact on the industry.

Take a look back at the evolution of 3D printing to see how the phenomenon started and how it has helped the manufacturing industry evolve.

Read More

Advanced Manufacturing Will Shape American Manufacturing


While some people believe that the manufacturing industry is in a state of decline, the fact is that the industry isn't shrinking; it's shifting. Though some sectors are diminishing, others are experiencing tremendous growth.

Read More

Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Successful CPO?

It takes a lot of skill to become a successful CPO. Not only do procurement leaders need to understand how globalization affects their department, they also need to stay up to date on emerging procurement technologies and evolving business standards. But what makes the difference between an average CPO and a CPO that goes above and beyond? 

Read More

Video: Beer Pipeline Is A Sight To Behold In Bruges

The Belgian city of Bruges is well known for its historical sites, such as Belfry & Halle, Basilica of the Holy Blood and Markt. But beneath the city's cobblestone streets lies a spectacle that not too many tourists know about  a beer pipeline that stretches two miles long. 

De Halve Maan, or The Half Moon Brewery, created this pipeline to connect its historic 453-year old building to its modern-day bottling plant. With the help from experts in the oil and gas industry, the pipeline transports 1,000 gallons of beer (the equivalent of 12,000 bottles) every hour.

Want to learn the backstory of this beer behemoth? Our friends at Industrial Equipment News have the details. 

Read More

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: December 2016

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for December 2016 (scroll down for previous releases):

Read More

How to Increase Your SEO Traffic in 30 Days

"What’s the quickest way for me to improve my website’s SEO ranking?” 

This is a common question many SEO managers, including myself, get asked, and the honest answer is: "There isn’t one."

There is no magic bullet or quick fix for good SEO. The algorithms that search engines use to rank sites and pages — Google’s are particularly challenging — constantly change. This negates any possible SEO “hacks” you could try.

The true key to good SEO is a long-term strategy that makes use of proven best practices but remains flexible as situations change. It doesn't matter if you're well-seasoned in the search engine marketing field or are just wrapping your head around what's in store, you can start optimizing in just 30 days — it starts like this:

Read More

A Robot For The Elderly Is In The Works For The Aging Generation

If you're scared of living alone when you are older, you can now rest easy. Business Insider reports that IBM, in conjunction with Rice University, is creating a series of sensors that would eventually take form inside a robot to help senior citizens stay safe. The project is designed to help the growing aging population preserve their independence and their overall health with little disruption in their daily lives.

Read More

The Merger of Two Industrial Gas Giants

On Tuesday, December 20, Danbury Connecticut-based Praxair announced a merger with German rival Linde AG. Praxair and Linde are two of the world’s largest suppliers of industrial gas. Once the merger is complete, they will have a combined value of $66.6 billion with estimated annual revenue of $30 billion.  

Read More

Five Trends That Will Shape The Supply Chain In 2017

With the holiday parties and New Year’s celebrations in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to take a look ahead at what’s in store for supply chain in 2017. And while we don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future, there are some trends that will undoubtedly and irrevocably shift the supply chain in the year ahead.

Here they are:

Read More

Make 2017 Your Best Year For Industrial Marketing Yet

Throughout the holiday season, you probably saw a handful of end-of-year wrap-up blogs as well as some start-of-the-year prediction posts.

Well, now that 2017 is finally upon us and it’s time to get back to work, we wanted to bring you some actionable tips you could use to get a jump on turning it into your company’s biggest year yet.

Let’s take a look at some steps you can take right now to start generating better leads for your business.

Read More

Manufacturers Struggle To Find Skilled & Interested Workers

In light of the recent presidential election, there has been a renewed focus on the plight of blue collar workers and the lack of job opportunities in manufacturing and other industrial sectors.

However, while workers say they can't find jobs to support their families, at the same time companies are having trouble finding workers with the right skills to support their businesses. In fact, a study from Deloitte projects that the U.S. manufacturing industry faces a 2-million worker shortage over the next decade

But if so many workers want new jobs and so many companies want to hire new workers, what's causing the disconnect? A recent article in the Chicago Tribune may shed some light on the situation.

Read More

Cloud-Based Solutions Are The Future Of Manufacturing

Every facet of the manufacturing industry has evolved rapidly over the past two decades, and the way it is managed is no exception. The industry has gone from limited enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in the 1990s to today's intricate, cloud-based software solutions.

According to Supply & Demand Chain Executive, these cloud-based programs will be essential to the continued growth of the manufacturing and supply chain industry. 

Read More

Five Skills That Will Lead To Supply Chain Success In The New Year

Far from slowing down, the pace of change in the supply management profession continues to accelerate. It’s critical for supply managers and for the survival of the profession itself that practitioners continually update their skill-sets to avoid being left behind. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are – if you let your capabilities fall behind while the profession continually reinvents itself, you might as well hand in your resignation today.

A common discussion we see on Procurious revolves around the new skills required for today’s procurement and supply managers. The catch is that even the latest skills are likely to become outdated with a matter of months as new technology and unexpected shifts in the global economy change the game again and again. That’s why the list below is comprised of five skills that will see you through the next year and beyond, despite the galloping rate of change.  

Read More

Video: Saving Satellites And Spaceships From Space Junk

Ever since humans began exploring space, they've been leaving things behind. This includes the estimated half-million pieces of space junk that are currently being tracked by space programs around the world.

We know that space junk is an issue that's on the radar of NASA and other agencies. But now, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has designed an electrodynamic tether (EDT) to clean up the mess. 

The tether is a 2,300’ line that will use its own electric current and Earth’s magnetic field to detect debris, slow it down, drop the junk into a lower orbit, and then redirect it towards a harmless demise via re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere.

Want to learn more about the EDT? Our friends at Industrial Equipment News have the details. 

Read More

Video: Top 10 New Fabricating Technologies - Part 2

Our friends at Industrial Equipment News had a blast at Fabtech, the annual manufacturing conference focused on metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing.

We covered some of the technologies that they saw at the conference here. Now discover the other five tech trends that topped their list.  

Read More

Manufacturing and Supply Chain 2016: A Year In Review

From the rise of automation on the shop floor to foreign and domestic political changes impacting the status quo, 2016 has been a whirlwind year for the manufacturing and supply chain industries. Fortunately, at Tom’s Blog, we’ve been keeping a pulse on the industry throughout the year.

Want a recap of everything that happened? Here are 16 of our top stories from 2016.

Read More

5 Things Manufacturers Really Want For The Holidays

Between gearing up for the year-end at work and getting ready for celebrations at home, the holidays can be an especially stressful time for manufacturers.

That's why many manufacturers find themselves wishing for the same things this time of year – presents that could make the season, and the entire year, a little brighter and a whole lot easier.

Read More

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: November 2016

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for November 2016 (scroll down for previous releases):

Read More

12 Sourcing Tips To Connect With Quality Suppliers

When setting out to find a new supplier, you may be tempted to focus on the best price. However, concentrating only on low costs can hurt you in the long term. That's because shaving a few cents off the price of a product is no help if the quality is below standard and the component or material does not arrive when you need it.

So instead of cost, focus on quality by incorporating these 12 tips into your sourcing strategy:

Read More

2016 Industrial Marketing Year in Review

In the world of marketing, things are constantly changing.

From amorphous Google algorithms and updated UX designs to effective emailing and retargeting methods, there is no shortage of strategies to try — especially as the industrial space continues to catch up with the rest of the B2B marketing space.

As we begin preparing for what’s to come in 2017, we wanted to take a look back at some of the biggest trends we’ve seen over the past 12 months and their impact on your business.

Without further ado, here’s our 2016 year in review.

Read More

The Look South Export Initiative Could Be The Key To Unlocking New Markets


We’ve already discussed why U.S. small businesses should consider exporting. But while most organizations focus on exporting to Europe or Asia, there is a golden opportunity to expand into new markets and grow your revenues in Central and South America by taking advantage of the “Look South” export initiative.

Read More

The Men Behind The Maps: How Beer Cap Maps Became A Reality

At THOMASNET.com, we love helping to create connections between buyers and suppliers through our supplier discovery platform. A recent connection brought together two engineers in Wisconsin with Jonco Industries, Inc, a full-service industrial supplier.

Together, they created an awesome Made In America product –  The Beer Cap Map – which has been a huge hit for craft beer lovers and road trippers throughout the country.

We spoke with the men behind the maps to find out how Beer Cap Maps went from an idea to a thriving business thanks to a great partner in Jonco and a little help from THOMASNET.com.

Read More

Marketing & Sales Insight from a Former Honda Engineer

Many industrial companies don't trust outside marketing services because they don't believe they understand their business or audience. Honestly, that's a true assumption when it comes to most traditional marketing agencies.

But we do things differently at RPM. Our founder, a mechanical engineer with more than 15 years of marketing experience, leads the team of marketing experts and engineers to deliver record-breaking increases in lead generation and sales. (See how we drove a 113% increase in lead generation and 60% increase in sales for CJWinter here.)

We've recently hired a new application engineer, Ryan Singler, from Honda, and while we (and our clients) have been taking in all of his insight, we thought it might be helpful for you to get to know him as well.

Read More

Video: Top 10 New Fabricating Technologies - Part 1

If you are interested in the latest trends in metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing, you've probably heard of Fabtech, the annual conference that celebrates the strength of manufacturing.

If you weren't able to head to Vegas to see the show in person, no worries. Our friends at Industrial Equipment News have a recap of the top 10 trends they saw at the conference.

Check out the first five on their list: 

Read More

Is This Digital Marketing Approach The Secret To Connecting With More Buyers?

For many manufacturers and industrial companies, there’s no such thing as an “impulse” sale. That’s because the industrial buying cycle is a lengthy one, driven by a supplier evaluation and selection process that can take months or longer.

That’s why it is so important for manufacturers and industrial suppliers to stay top of mind with their prospects. Unfortunately, many companies fall short in their marketing efforts, focusing on metrics that don’t really matter in the industrial space (such as clicks and page views) when they should be focused on connecting with their best prospects where and when they are ready to become customers.

A strategic, industrial-focused digital retargeting program can be the solution.

Read More

5 Simple & Effective Industrial Lead Generation Tips

The internet is, increasingly, the place that things happen. Socializing, news, sales. Yes, even in industrial sectors — as the median age of engineers, design engineers, and facility and plant managers decreases, their use of the internet to find the parts, products, and services they need increases. 

To stay competitive, not to mention solvent, you need to tap into the digital realm for your lead generation. Not only is the venue different, but the methods must be as well. Passive methods no longer work — you can’t publish a website and wait for leads to roll in. You must be proactive, seeking and courting leads instead.

Lead generation was tough to begin with, and the evolving digital sales and marketing landscapes make it even more so. Luckily, there are a number of industrial lead generation tips you can use to kick start your efforts and get the ball rolling.

Read More

Video: Exoskeleton Technology Becomes A Reality For Industrial Workers

Mixing man with machine is now a reality thanks to the suitXa California-based robotics company. After five years of development, the company unveiled a Modular Agile Exoskeleton, or MAX, that can improve worker productivity and limit exposure to long-term health risks. MAX consists of three modules, backX, shoulderX, and legX, which are now available for purchase.

Interested in learning more about MAX? Find out more from our partner Industrial Equipment News

Read More

Easing The Supplier Transition Process Through Dual Sourcing

Bringing in a new supplier can be a challenge for any organization. However, adopting a dual sourcing strategy could make the process a lot more efficient and effective.  

Read More

When designing new architecture in seismically active regions, engineers must carefully consider the types of earthquake-resistant building materials necessary to create a safe and sturdy structure. The entire length of the West Coast, for example, experiences frequent tectonic shifts, so architects and engineers from Washington state to Baja California are commonly faced with this task. 

willshire-grand.jpgThough many engineers believe it’s possible, constructing an earthquake-proof building is a lofty and expensive goal. There are, however, several design considerations that engineers and architects can make to construct an earthquake-resistant building.

Read More

Why Mentorship Matters In Supply Chain … And How To Maximize It

Most people understand the value of finding a mentor. For young people or those new to an industry, a mentor can provide inspiration, guidance, a roadmap for success and the ability to expand their professional network.

However, being a mentor also offers several significant benefits for the mentors themselves and the organizations in which they work. That’s why it’s so important for experienced workers to become effective mentors.

Read More

Three Logistics Lessons Black Friday Can Teach Manufacturers And The Supply Chain

The shopping frenzy known as Black Friday is almost here, and while you will probably see lots of stories about long lines and huge crowds tussling over the latest toys, there is another story taking place behind the scenes – one of careful planning, lots of moving parts and plenty of risk. It’s a story of logistics.

The fact is that Black Friday is one of the biggest logistical challenges for retailers and their supply chains. Many companies spend all year analyzing data and building inventories to prepare for the holiday rush. And the stakes are incredibly high –  one mishap can throw off a company’s entire supply chain, leading to a major loss in sales for the day and the rest of the year.

While most B2B manufacturers, industrial companies and procurement teams aren’t directly impacted by Black Friday, there are certainly lessons to be learned from the retail world that can help improve efficiency, reduce risks and optimize their supply chains. Here are three of them:

Read More

3 Ways Manufacturers Can Give Back This Holiday Season

It's hard to believe, but the holiday season is already upon us. Even if your business is slowing down at this point in the year, it can still be quite hectic.

You're probably planning your first big industrial marketing campaign for 2017, tweaking your PPC strategy for the holidays, scheduling social media posts, writing plenty of content to generate leads — all while trying to squeeze in as much family time as you can.

Still, it's nice to pause and think of what we can do to help others this time of year, and we wanted to showcase a handful of manufacturers who have already taken the lead.

While there are so many manufacturers and industrial companies positively impacting their communities, the next generation and the environment, take a look at three examples of how companies can give back:

Read More

Video: Snakebots Could Be The Key To Safer Surgeries

The concept of snakebots is not new. These modular robots, which are comprised of connected-but-independent parts, are able to manipulate their shape according to their surroundings. This is extremely helpful for projects that require a closer view of areas that may be difficult to access or dangerous to enter. But Nabil Simaan, Vanderbilt University bioengineering professor, now wants to use the technology to make surgeries safer.

Interested in learning how this technology would work in the OR? Find out more from our partner Industrial Equipment News

Read More

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: October 2016

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for October 2016 (scroll down for previous releases):

Read More

While most manufacturers and industrial companies attend industry shows such as IMTS or FABTECH and some CEOs and presidents make their way to various networking events, very few in the industrial space make an effort to attend marketing-focused trade shows and conferences.

This is somewhat understandable, considering how different the industrial world is from other B2B areas; the same marketing tactics that work for many companies won’t always apply to you. (For example, while I love Snapchat and understand its value for marketing campaigns, I have yet to receive a buy-in by overlaying a “dog filter” on clients giving shop tours.) But there is still value in attending these more generalized events.

This week, 15 folks from Thomas spent the week at INBOUND — HubSpot’s annual conference, which brought together 19,000 marketers from 92 countries. And believe it or not, there were actually a few hundred of your fellow industrial companies — maybe even some of your competitors — in attendance.

Read More

A Veteran's Manufacturing Story

Over the next five years, one million service men and women will transition out of the military and into civilian life. So this Veterans Day, we should not only thank veterans for their service and dedication; we should also show our appreciation by making their transition as smooth and seamless as possible.

Seventy-one years ago, Richard McCarthy was in the middle of such a transition. After serving in the Pacific during World War II, the 21-year-old veteran headed back home to Pennsylvania, eager to start the next phase of his life. He not only did that; he started a career, a business, and a legacy for his family.  

Here is his story.

Click here to share yours, or post in the comments section. 

Read More

Industrial Buying Trends for 2016

So you want that $1,000,000 deal, right?

Your company's website is a conversion machine — you're doing SEO, PPC and email nurturing, and you're following all the inbound marketing best practices. Months go by, and you're seeing some really great prospects come through. You get a fair amount $10,000 or $50,000 contracts, but you're still searching for that dream contract that's going to pay for your kids' college.

Well, hate to be the one to tell you this, but you have about a 0.8% chance of getting that big million-dollar contract from a first-time customer. Think about your own business — do you give out big contracts to people you've never worked with before? Nope. You want someone you've vetted with a few smaller projects before you trust them with more of your business, and your customers are no different.

Read More

Manufacturing Vote Will Make The Difference On Election Day


If manufacturers have not already begun talking to employees and colleagues about the importance of casting their ballots on November 8, the time is now.

With so many close races from the top of the ticket to the bottom of the ballot, the 12 million manufacturing workers in the U.S. can play a huge role in electing our future leaders.

There is a great deal of frustration among voters, a majority of whom feel unhappy with the lack of discussion on policy differences and with the negative campaigns being run by candidates. Therefore, it is critical for all manufacturers to encourage voting participation the days before Election Day.

"Here's why U.S. #manufacturers need to encourage their employees to
vote on #electionday"

CLICK TO TWEET

Read More

How To Create Effective Content For Industrial Companies

You’ve likely heard it before, but we’ll say it again: Content is king.

Even in the manufacturing and industrial space — where relationships and word-of-mouth referrals kept companies going for so long — content marketing is the most effective way to drive high-quality leads and dream customers to your website.

Creating strong content and engaging prospects is so essential to businesses that there are numerous books, webinars and entire conferences dedicated to getting marketing and sales professionals from across the globe up to speed.

Read More

4 Steps to Expanding Your Industrial Network on LinkedIn

Chances are you’re already using LinkedIn to keep an up-to-date roster of contacts, check out what connections are up to, scout out potential hires, and send messages.

This powerful tool serves as much more than a social network or recruiting outlet, though — it can play a major role in generating leads and sales for your industrial company.

There are a few steps for you to take to benefit from using LinkedIn to connect with people in their industry, so we wanted to lay out a few tips on how to get started. 

(We do want to note that although there's a paid version of LinkedIn known as LinkedIn Sales, we know you’re as budget-conscious as you are business-savvy, so we’ll be solely focusing on harnessing the power of free LinkedIn in this post.)

Read More

Video: Did China Steal Wave Technology?

Pelamis Wave Power, a renewable energy manufacturer based in Scotland, was at the forefront of wave technology. In 2004, it became the first company capable of using the technology to generate electricity into the grid. 

However, in 2010, following a visit from Chinese investors, the company was robbed and five laptops went missing. A few years later, it went out of business.

Recently, a Chinese company unveiled similar technology. Was Pelamis targeted by these Chinese investors? Find out more from our partner Industrial Equipment News

Read More

Can A DDoS Attack Impact The Supply Chain?


Last week, an unprecedented cyberattack crippled many popular websites — including Twitter, Netflix, PayPal and Reddit. While the size and breadth of the attack made lots of headlines, the truth is that similar cyberattacks are waged every single day, and they could pose a risk to your business or your supply chain.

While there is no way to completely mitigate the risk of a cyberattack like the one carried out last week, understanding the nature of the attack and taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity, can prove helpful — especially as businesses (and even factories) become increasingly connected to, and reliant on, the web.  

Read More

There's a lot to keep track of if you're marketing in the industrial space: You need to send out regular email marketing campaigns, follow best practices on social media, keep your website up-to-date, push out paid advertising campaigns and make sure you're getting plenty of organic traffic.

We talk pretty regularly about all of the topics mentioned above, and as RPM’s Director of Search, I make a point to bring you important insight to search engine optimization and pay-per-click strategies in particular.

In the past, we’ve covered a bunch of different SEO and PPC topics: industrial SEO basics, what gets your site in the SEO penalty box and how to get out, and the interconnected relationships between SEO, AdWords, and PPC.

But in light of Google’s search result page and AdWords changes earlier this year, not to mention their constantly evolving search algorithm, this seemed like the ideal time to loop specific best practices into one post.

Read More

4 Lean Procurement Strategies For Small And Mid-Sized Businesses

Many small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) don't have dedicated procurement teams in place. In fact, thanks to limited resources and tight budgets, sourcing responsibilities often fall on the shoulders of one or two individuals – many of whom juggle responsibilities other than procurement. As a result, monitoring existing contracts and sourcing best-in-class agreements can be a tremendous challenge for these SMBs.  

So how can SMBs optimize their procurement efforts despite the lack of resources? The key is to be Lean.

Read More

As we bring you the latest SEO, PPC, social media and other industrial marketing news, we sometimes forget to mention other exciting industry happenings — what is happening at our very own company.

So, as we approach our four-year anniversary of being in business, we wanted to give you a quick rundown of what’s been happening at RPM over the past few months.

Read More

The Components of a Successful Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing can penetrate the internal politics of a potential customer and influence buyers at every stage of the buying cycle, so it's important to understand the essential elements that make up a successful strategy.

This isn't limited to the types of content or channels you use to promote — many other moving pieces like sales, traditional marketing tactics, and brand evangelists play into it. Everything works together, so it's time you connect the dots.

Let's jump right in:

Read More

Video: An Eco-Friendly Porsche That Reaches 172 mph

Porsche is extending their Panamera line of sports sedans to include an electric hybrid called the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. This plug-in hybrid can generate over 460 hp, a top speed of 172 mph, and a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds. 

Want to learn more about the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid? Our friends at Industrial Equipment News have the scoop:

Read More

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: September 2016

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for September 2016 (scroll down for previous releases):

Read More

3 Effective Ways to Advertise Your Business

It’s a never-ending quest in search engine marketing (SEM) to find the secret to driving traffic and generating leads. It all starts with your website — you need strong, original content, a logical user experience (UX), aesthetically pleasing design, and optimized product pages.

Read More

Celebrating Manufacturing Day

October 7 is Manufacturing Day, an annual celebration of the North American manufacturing industry and the accomplishments of the people who work within it.

At THOMASNET.com, we partner with thousands of manufacturers to help them reach their business goals, and we spoke with a few of them to find out why a career in manufacturing is cause for celebration:

Alan Jesiolowski is a moldmaker at The Rodon Group, a high volume, custom plastic injection molder. He’s worked at The Rodon Group for 24 years and has been in the industry for 35 years.

Matthew LaBar is the owner of Scalar Manufacturing, a circuit board manufacturing engineering firm and a manufacturer's representative to electronic manufacturers. He has worked in the industry for eight years.

 
Carl J. Stelly is the Business Development Manager at Precision Cutting Specialties, a manufacturer of precision parts. Carl has worked in manufacturing for more than 36 years.

Here’s what they had to say about the field, the trends shaping the industry, and the advice they would give to young and aspiring manufacturing professionals.   

Read More

Checklist: How Content Marketing Will Work For Your Business

Do you know where your expertise lies? How about the channels through which you want to communicate? Are you ready to execute a content marketing strategy?

If you answered yes to the first two questions then you're almost there! Even if you've familiarized yourself with the higher-level strategy through blogs and eBooks, it's important you don't miss a single step.

So, let's take a look at how to ensure success in promoting your business through content marketing:

Step 1: Set goals.

Don’t create content without laying out a strategy for success. Is the end result to get more customers to contact you, or to attract better qualified customers? Do you want to promote your core product line, or build your reputation in a new market? Determining these goals will help you better understand your audience and consequently strengthen your content.

Step 2: Develop a voice.

Do you want to be perceived as casual, formal, conversational, technical, or something else? Pick a tone and style that makes sense for your company and brand, and don't stray. 

Read More

5 Ways To Keep A Supplier Engaged And Build Supply Chain Partnerships

Whether you are looking to place an order, source something new, or just get an update on overall account status, businesses expect their suppliers to address these needs. But what do your suppliers expect from you?  

Read More

Video: A Laser Machine Gun For Your Cleaning Needs

Cleaning might actually become exciting for those that work in the industrial sector. The company P-laser released a new handheld laser cleaner that is able to remove rust and dirt from metals. 

Although the use of lasers to cut and clean equipment is nothing new, this particular laser is essentially a 1,000 watt laser machine gun that shoots light bullets at an incredibly high pulse rate. Want to see the handheld laser cleaner in action? Then check out the full video from our friends at Industrial Equipment News

Read More

3 Ways to Optimize Your Product Pages

All roads lead to your product pages. They are, arguably, the most important pages in your entire site.

You’ve already attracted and educated prospective buyers, you’ve had positive interactions with them — now they’re on your product page, on the verge of transitioning from “prospect” to “client.” But will your product page, as it is, secure the conversion?

Luckily, as with all things in the digital realm, your product pages can be optimized. There are a number of best practices for product pages that will help you to increase conversion rates — let's take a look at three key ones that will be easy for you to implement immediately:

Read More

15 Inspiring Facts About U.S. Manufacturing

The landscape of American manufacturing has experienced its fair share of ups and downs over the past several hundred years, from the development of the first interchangeable parts in 1801 to the first moving assembly line in 1913, and from the discovery of lean manufacturing principles in the 1930s to the offshoring trend that began in the 1970s.

Read More

Debunking 7 Common Exporting Myths & Misconceptions


Exporting can make a positive impact on your business. Unfortunately, there are several negative myths and misconceptions that could prevent you from taking advantage of the opportunity.

Don’t miss out due to misinformation. Learn the truth about exporting in today’s global economy.

Read More

Nominating A Rising Supply Chain Star: What's In It For You?

Two years ago, David Allen, who at the time was Functional Excellence Lead in Shell Oil's Downstream Contracting and Procurement Operational Excellence Group, nominated a young colleague, Katy Conrad, for the THOMASNET.com and ISM 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program. Katy was not only selected, she was also named the Megawatt Winner for 2014.

Now, David is encouraging other supply chain professionals to participate in the program, as it has proven a rewarding experience not only for Katy, but for David and the Shell organization overall. Here's what he had to say about the program, his experience and why it's important to recognize the next generation of supply chain professionals.

Read More

Asking The Right Questions: Advice For Sourcing Companies

When it comes to sourcing materials for a manufacturing project, vendor qualification is an important consideration that will leave a lasting impact. A precision metal stamping vendor, for example, is very different than a thermoforming vendor. To hone in on the best candidate for procurement, utilize custom, concise questionnaires specific to each vendor’s particular service area.

Read More

Everything You Need to Know About Manufacturing Day 2016

Manufacturing Day is an annual North American celebration of modern industrial manufacturing, intended to shake off the industry’s antiquated reputation by educating and inspiring the next generation of innovators and manufacturers.

While the official day is typically celebrated on the first Friday of October — this year’s MFG DAY is October 7 — companies and communities are encouraged to schedule events throughout the week or even the month to encourage maximum participation and insightful experience. (Last year’s event hosted more than 400,000 attendees!)

So whether you’re a seasoned engineer hosting an event or a curious student looking to explore what the industry has to offer, MFG DAY has something for you. Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s activities:

Read More

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: August 2016

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for August 2016:

Read More

Video: Army Helicopters Getting Big Upgrade

The United States Army's fleet of helicopters is about to get a major upgrade. After eight years of development, recent advancements and grants are about to culminate in the development of a new centerline engine for Black Hawk and Apache helicopters. The advanced design includes a 3,000 shaft horsepower turbine engine, which will mean big improvements longevity and fuel efficiency.  

Want to learn more about these engines? Industrial Equipment News has the full story.

Read More

How PPC's Latest Updates Impact SEO

Pay-per-click marketing and search engine optimization have an interesting relationship — the two tactics can be rivals, work together seamlessly or simply coexist. 

While many companies tend to treat them as completely separate entities, Google's most recent updates cemented tangible overlap between the two, which needs to be considered in every search engine marketing strategy.

Read More

What You Might've Missed in Marketing and Manufacturing This Summer

Well, folks, we’ve passed Labor Day Weekend, which means summer is officially over.

Amidst the craziness of July 4, summer vacations, and family barbecues, it can be hard to stay afloat of industry trends. As you settle back to the usual work routine, you’ll want to catch up on everything that’s been happening in marketing and manufacturing while you were away.

Here’s a roundup of the biggest industry trends you may have missed this summer.

Read More

Head Back To School With These Manufacturing And Supply Chain Online Courses

The manufacturing and supply-chain industry is going through a tranformation, with concepts like IoT, additive manufacturing and e-commerce quickly advancing the industry. With these new technologies come new skills that manufacturers and supply chain professionals need to learn.

Fortunately, many manufacturers and supply chain professionals can refresh their skill set from the convenience of their own homes with online courses. Whatever your career goals are, there are online course options to help you along your career path.

Below are a few manufacturing and supply chain courses to help elevate your career:  

Read More

Finding The Right Contract Manufacturer: Single- Versus Multi-Station Production Processes

It seems logical that when developing a product with multiple process requirements, you would search for multi-station equipment, and single-station equipment for a one-process operation. However, this common screening process can actually yield less than optimal results.

Read More

Why STEM Outreach Is Important

A strong manufacturing industry is critical to our economic success as a country: every dollar spent in manufacturing adds $1.37 to the US economy, while every 100 manufacturing jobs create 250 jobs in other sectors.

The Manufacturing Institute recently stated in a report this alarming fact: “Over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs likely need to be filled. The skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled.”

Manufacturers have reported a significant gap between the talent they need to keep their business growing and talent they can actually find.

Read More

5 Can’t-Miss Marketing Videos, Advertisements

With so many advertisements flooding our screens, it's tough to keep track of the ones worth rewatching. Since 2016 is still just getting started, we thought it was important to take a look at what has been successful in the past year, and one word comes to mind: emotional.

Read More

Why You Should Use Content Marketing

To understand why content marketing is important, let’s first take a look at the complete picture of the modern industrial buying process.

Industrial buying is an infinitely more complex process than it ever used to be. In the past, business relationships were forged over lunches, golf games, phone calls, and plant visits. Suppliers showcased their know-how by “talking shop” and establishing rapport.

Read More

Manufacturing At The US Open: How Tennis Rackets Are Made

The tennis rackets that you'll see on display at the US Open this week are nothing like the clunky, wooden rackets used years ago. That's because today's game is faster, with average serve speeds of 124 to 140 mph, and engineers are tasked with creating rackets that can not only accomodate these speeds, but can withstand forces as great as 50 kilos while being lighter and more aerodynamic than ever before. So what technologies do companies use to create these modern marvels of engineering? 

While different brands use their own distinct materials and techniques for creating tennis rackets, the manufacturing process is mostly consistent. Check out the step-by-step process of creating a tennis racket below:

Read More

5 Reasons Why U.S. Companies Should Consider Exporting

Exports are a growing and substantial part of the U.S. economy, with more than 304,000 U.S. companies exporting goods last year. Of those companies, nearly 98 percent were small- or medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with fewer than 500 employees1.

Exporting makes solid business sense for companies large and small, as more than 95 percent of the world’s purchasing power is located outside of the United States. Reaching this audience of potential customers is the main reason for U.S. companies to consider exporting; here are five more:

Read More

The Basics of Content Marketing

You ask, "What's content marketing?"

Joe Pulizzi, a content marketing evangelist and thought leader, answers, “[It's] the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling.”

Wait a second. If content marketing doesn’t “sell,” then how does it help my business? Here's your answer: Content marketing helps industrial companies’ bottom lines by building their brand image and forging meaningful connections with buyers.

Read More

5 Topics U.S. Procurement Professionals Are Talking About On Social Media Right Now

As you know, social media runs rings around traditional media in terms of early access to news, unadulterated commentary from all levels of the workforce, and providing an interactive forum for discussing, rather than just reading about, the biggest issues facing our profession.

THOMASNET.com reached out to Procurious, the world's first online business network for procurement and supply chain professionals, to provide a snapshot of the five biggest topics being discussed on social media by procurement professionals in the U.S. this month. This is the first of a series of articles bringing you the word straight from the community itself.

From enduring themes such as risk management to disruptive events such as Brexit, this list will give you an idea of what CPOs and their teams are discussing on social media.

Read More

Video: A New And Improved Corvette For A New Generation

The decade-old rumor of a new and improved Corvette is finally coming to fruition. A sleeker model of the classic American sports car will come out as early as 2018. The dramatically changed car will have a mid-engine design, allowing better handling and responsiveness and more flexibility while incorporating a potential plug-in hybrid powertrain or all-wheel drive. 

Read More

Dial Into Your Phone Calls When Measuring Industrial Marketing ROI

When it comes to measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing activities, it’s essential that you’re actually measuring all of it. Thanks to the increasing prevalence of digital marketing, most marketers look at things like clicks, open rates and conversions. But if you’re like many industrial suppliers, you could be overlooking an essential piece of the marketing metrics puzzle – phone inquiries.

Read More

Summer shutdown is upon us.

When production on the floor halts this season and all your machinist colleagues are off-the-grid, you can do so much more than kick back while your MRO manager cleans and evaluates the shop floor.

This is a great time to get introspective about what you've accomplished this year, how you can continue growing as a marketer and re-evaluate what's left to meet Q3 and Q4 goals. Let's take a look at your opportunities.

Read More

Video: U-Loop Could Let You Travel At Record Speeds

Are you sick of waiting in traffic while traveling this summer? With the latest hyperloop technology, long travel times may become a thing of the past.

A team of researchers in South Korea are currently working on a new form of futuristic transportation called the "U-Loop Project,” which could allow you to go 200 miles in 16 minutes flat.

Want to learn more about this technology? Industrial Equipment News has all of the details.  

Read More

Build Stronger Supply Chain Relationships With SMBs

Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are an essential and valuable part of the supply chain, offering levels of flexibility, cost competitiveness and responsiveness that larger suppliers often can't match.

However, while procurement teams want to engage SMBs, the feeling isn't always mutual. That's because larger buying organizations make it onerous for these smaller companies to participate in the bidding process. As a result, SMBs believe it takes too much time, effort and guesswork to respond to large buyers, all for a very slim chance of ultimately winning the business

So what's causing this disconnect, and how can procurement teams overcome it in order to build better relationships with SMBs? We spoke with multiple media outlets to lend our perspective and insight on the issue. Check out the coverage below, or download our Top 4 Tips For Working With SMBs for our recommendations. 

Read More

The Secret To Effective Sales Email Outreach

This is a heartfelt love note to all of the sales people out there that strap on the battle armor every day and ride out to find new opportunities that will help the business grow.

Your effort is the biggest driver to success, but style sure can improve results. Let’s take a look at an all too common challenge that all sales people face: the cold email fail.

We get them in our inbox all day and they largely do not incite a response other than to hit the “delete” button, right? Why is that? To begin, take a look at a few cold email openings that have hit my inbox lately:

Read More

5 Supply Chain Lessons We Can Learn From The Summer Games In Rio

More than 10,500 athletes from 200 countries will compete in front of the cameras at the Summer Games in Rio. But those numbers pale in comparison to what’s going on behind the scenes, where two warehouses spanning 105,000 square meters will store more than 30 million items. These items include 10,000 smartphones, 54 boats, 32,000 tennis balls, 250 golf carts and 70,000 tables. Making it all possible is a team of almost 7,000 employees and 70,000 volunteers who will handle everything from registering and recording the arrival of the goods to organizing their final delivery.

Clearly, the games are not just a showcase for athletic performance, they’re a showcase for logistics performance as well. To ensure everything goes smoothly, the organizing committee in Rio identified five pillars for their supply chain. Learn more about these strategies and how you can apply them to your own supply chain.

Read More

4 Reasons You’re Not Ranking on Page 1 in Google

Every business has different products and services, but they share the same marketing goal: to rank on Page 1 in Google.

So if you don’t see top spots for your business in organic searches, it can be frustrating — especially since Google will never reveal its search algorithm’s secret sauce. This algorithm contains more than 200 unique signals that factor into your website’s ranking.

Luckily, Google has shared clues to the algorithm signals in its own publications for SEO and marketing experts to leverage. Sharing these clues ensures a better Internet experience for all Google users and allows marketing agencies like RPM to develop content and website structuring strategies that deliver higher organic ranking performances.

Read More

4 Documents That Could Help You Win More Contracts

There’s no magic combination of things that will guarantee your business wins a contract bid, but there are some documents that many consider necessary to include with your bid. The important documents below may help you win contracts if you prepare them correctly.

Read More

Video: Brew Up Your Own Craft Beer At Home

You can now bring the bar to your house with the latest technology from Australia’s Coopers Brewery and their BrewArt offering. With the use of two pieces of equipment and your smartphone, you make your make favorite craft beers in the privacy of your own home.

Read More

Tips for Designing a Homepage that Converts

The importance of homepage design cannot be overstated.

It is, in most cases, the first page website visitors see, and consequently the determining factor of whether visitors will stay on the site, explore additional pages, and become a lead by submitting a form. It can be fun to design a homepage, but it’s also critically important to lead generation.

Read More

3 Roadblocks to IoT Adoption In The Supply Chain

Everywhere you look today, it seems as though the Internet of Things is becoming an increasingly prominent part of our everyday lives. However, there are a few challenges which are preventing the supply chain from taking full advantage of the technology. 

Read More

Is Twitter Worth it for Industrial Companies?

This might be a question you’ve wondered yourself — do you really need to invest time and money into social media? Are any of your customers or associates even online, anyway?

The answer to these questions is a definite YES. Your customers are online, and they’re eager to connect.

Even if you’ve set up a Twitter account, that doesn’t mean it will automatically be seen by the right people. Building up a strong following takes time, effort, and more than anything else — strategy.

So, where should you start?

Read More

Video: From 0 To 100 In Record Time

Engineering students at ETH Zurich and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts claimed a new world record while completing their latest motorsports project.

Read More

3 Ways To Cut Through The Marketing ROI Clutter

When it comes to measuring marketing ROI, there’s no shortage of data available. In fact, over the last five years, more than 3,600 martech vendors have entered the industry, giving business owners and marketing teams the ability to track every move their customers make, from opening emails to viewing pages to commenting on social media.

As a result, companies are armed with more data than ever before. Unfortunately, however, there’s so much information available that it can be easy to lose focus on the marketing metrics that really matter to your company. To help keep you from falling down the data rabbit hole, here are three things you can do to cut through the clutter:  

Read More

5 Tips for Revision and Self-Editing

Having trouble writing a blog post or can’t seem to create a piece that flows? Remember what comes after writing a first draft: revising and editing.

If you don’t consider yourself a natural writer, these steps are crucial for creating great content. It can be difficult to transform thoughts into intelligent, flowing sentences during the drafting process; however, revising and editing make this unnecessary. 

Don’t get caught up in writing the perfect sentences. Focus on transcribing your thoughts and ideas. You can always make it better during the revision process.

Transform your mediocre rough draft into a stellar final copy by following the tips below.

Read More

How to Successfully Grow Your Industrial Business

Periodically, we hear from you regarding industry-related issues, and we strive to answer your questions based on our decades of experience and exhaustive understanding of the manufacturing space.

Lately, your questions have centered around business growth and how you can achieve it.

We’re eager to share some good news: there’s more than one way, and sometimes it happens as an unintended result of excelling at what you already do. 

In other words, keep being a rock star, and you might achieve business growth through that alone.

There’s one particular success story that comes to mind, and will hopefully provide you with some additional context on what I just mentioned.

Read More

Celebrating The Independent American Manufacturer

In honor of the Fourth of July, THOMASNET.com is not only celebrating Independence Day, but also celebrating the independent American manufacturers that contribute so much to our country throughout the year. And while there are a multitude of reasons to appreciate these small and mid-sized businesses, we wanted to highlight two in particular – job creation and innovation.

Read More

How to See if Bad SEO is Causing a Drop in Website Traffic

If your content marketing strategy is progressing while your website traffic slumps, your reaction will surely be one of confusion. We've all been there.

With Google’s constant changes to its algorithm and the shifting nature of the internet, search engine optimization is, frankly, a phenomenon the masses don’t fully understand. This is especially true in the manufacturing and industrial space.

Don't get discouraged. There are a handful of individuals in our industry that have mastered SEO, and there are plenty of resources available for you to review to gain a better grasp.

Read More

Want To Help Grow Your Manufacturing Business?

The manufacturing industry is going through a revival, and now may be the perfect time to think about growing your business. There’s a lot to be considered when deciding whether or not to expand your business, like if you have enough employees to take on new work, if you can afford to hire more employees or pay current workers overtime, if you’re in a good position to get loans or credit, and where you can even find new clients. If you decide to take the leap, consider these tips to help you get started and tackle common challenges along the way.

Read More

Video: Laying Spacecrafts To Rest

Ever wonder what happens to a spacecraft when it can no longer be used? Our friends at Industrial Equipment News have the scoop on the safest place on Earth to bury decommissioned spacecrafts:

Read More

9 Books Every Marketer Should Read

As I’ve said beforemarketing is a busy career.

A characteristic of any good marketer is keeping yourself busy, especially in periods of downtime, by constantly working to improve your skills. One of the best ways to do this is to consume literature that will increase your understanding of the field.

If you have an Amazon account; are in possession of a library card; or can transport yourself by plane, train, or automobile to a bookstore, you should absolutely pick up one, or all, of the following books:

Read More

What's Missing From Your Online Marketing?

At THOMASNET.com, we speak with thousands of industrial and B2B buyers every year, and we are constantly asking them what they look for when evaluating new suppliers. Here’s what we found out: the list is growing.

Today’s buyers scour the web looking for as many details as they can find before creating their shortlists of potential partners. Unfortunately, many manufacturers and job shops leave out important information on their websites, or even in their profiles on THOMASNET.com, which can prevent them from making more shortlists.

Stop missing out on shortlists by ensuring that your online marketing isn't missing these key details: 

Read More

5 Awesome Made In America Products You Can Buy Right Now

At THOMASNET.com, we are big advocates of American manufacturing. The sector is constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation and technology, and that in turn is fueling the demand for local sourcing and reshoring. However, for U.S. manufacturing to continue its momentum, buyers must be able to purchase these awesome made-in-America products, and that's what THOMASNET.com is all about. Every day, we help buyers connect with qualified suppliers who can deliver exactly what they are looking for. Here are some of the amazing U.S.-made products that are being produced by suppliers on THOMASNET.com right now. Take a look; what is available may surprise you. 

Read More

Impressive Brand Awareness Campaigns from 3 Big Manufacturing Companies

As a manufacturing professional, you’re more than familiar with industrial companies large and small. But if you ask someone who isn’t intimately involved in the space which company he or she thinks of in relation to manufacturing, the results will surely be limited. Perhaps a couple of the biggest names — General Electric, John Deere, et cetera — will come to mind. The list, I can almost guarantee, will not go on long after.

These companies are well-known because they’ve created a name for themselves over the years. They’ve spread awareness about their products and services, and now they’re ubiquitous and prevalent on people’s minds. Marketers are constantly trying to achieve brand awareness  the El Dorado of our industry  through the tactics we employ.

Manufacturing is changing, as anyone in the space will tell you. The population of young people entering the industry is dwindling, automation is increasing, and the landscape is shifting with no end in sight. Marketing for this field has also had to change. The biggest names in the industry have been successful with this. Smaller companies need a bit of extra help

Read More

Video: 3D Printer Goes To The Dark Side

An ultra limited-edition, 3D-printed replica of Darth Vader's melted helmet is now available, making it possible for the force to awaken in your home or office. 

Read More

What's The Problem With Volume Commitments?

You just signed a contract that you feel will produce significant savings for your organization through category-level discounts. Across the table is a supplier who is excited about guaranteeing increased spend. It sounds like a win-win. However, there’s a catch – the contract includes a volume commitment – and it could potentially damage your relationship between you and your supplier irrevocably.

Read More

Top 6 Benefits Of Local Sourcing

It’s no secret that many of today’s businesses maintain global supply chains. However, what may be a secret is just how much procurement professionals would prefer to source locally instead.

Read More

6 Tips For Social Selling: How To Convert Connections Into Customers

Facebook? Check. Twitter? Check. LinkedIn? Check.

If you’ve already put in the work of building out profiles on these major platforms and have gained some followers, you’re off to a great start. But even more important than gaining followers, of course, is gaining customers — and simply having a social media presence isn’t enough to reliably convert connections into leads.

Below, we’ve outlined six easy, efficient ways to enhance your social media marketing strategy and successfully turn your connections into customers.

Read More

We’re officially halfway through 2016 — but no need to panic.

Gear.pngThere’s still plenty of time to revamp your marketing strategy (or just expand it) and work toward reaching your business goals.

Considering how much movement we’ve had in the industrial and digital marketing space in a mere six months, there’s a lot to jump on.

Not sure where you stand or what’s happening in the industry? Let’s talk through some of the updates and trends we’ve seen so far in 2016...

Read More

How Will Wearables Change Manufacturing?

It’s 2020. You’re looking out onto the shop floor, and everything seems normal.

Machines are running, people are working, widgets are being made and parts are being welded. There is just one thing that’s different from the shop floors of days past: wearables.

The days when having a computer on the shop floor to view CAD files meant your shop was cutting edge are way behind us, and we're looking ahead at future technology. Wearables are a hot topic for the consumer space, but the next wave of cutting-edge shops will surely incorporate them as well.

Let's take a deeper look at how this technology has changed our industry — and will continue to.

Read More

5 Things Industrial Buyers Are Evaluating You On Right Now

Today’s industrial buyers prefer to research suppliers online in order to create a shortlist of potential partners. If you want to have a chance of winning the business, you need to be sure you are on that shortlist. That's why it is so important to make the right first impression online. But how?

Start by focusing on these five things that buyers are evaluating you on right now.

Read More

The Oversight That’s Damaging Your Company Website

You think your website is great. You haven’t updated it in a year or two, but you’re getting decent traffic and a handful of RFQs each month. You’ve got products, a flashy video and a lot of text on the homepage.

Overall, it works, so no need to make any improvements, right? Wrong.

For years, manufacturers and industrial companies have insisted on bloating their homepages with product and certification information, part numbers and company insight — and then it just collects dust.

From an SEO standpoint, it’s a mess, and from a user experience standpoint, it’s even worse.

More content and design elements means it’s going to take your website longer to load on all platforms (desktop, tablet and mobile). It’s a huge turnoff for potential customers.

Read More

You’re Probably Making This Fatal Sales Mistake

Think about your current sales process: You probably get leads from marketing, the RFQ form on your website or referrals. You might give a prospect a call, ask a standard set of questions, set a price, send an email and hope your bid is selected. 

Sure, it seems straightforward to the rest of the world, but we all know there’s more we can do — that’s why you’re here, right?

There are plenty of sales methodologies to research and adopt in your company’s process, but there’s one rule that has become universal in today’s world of social selling: Never “cold” call.

To be clear, we’re not completely against picking up the phone and starting a conversation out of the blue, but in this regard, we’re applying “cold” to the idea of no research into the company or contact you’re trying to get in touch with.

Read More

5 Procurement Strategies For Small And Mid-Sized Businesses

Small business owners wear many hats, and a multitude of demands – staffing, financing, inventory management, marketing, and customer service – quickly consume their time, focus and daily operations. As a result, procurement tends to be an afterthought, when it should be approached strategically.  

Read More

Video: 3D Printer Goes Big

As 3D printing continues to advance, it's become possible to produce anything from life-sized clones to printed drones. These are big innovations, but they don't stack up in size to the new SLCOM 1, which is capable of building objects up to 24 feet tall and 30 feet wide.     

Read More

How to Grow Your Business Through Non-Traditional Hiring

When you’re building your team, you want to find the candidates that will contribute most to the company. Thinking “outside the box” will bring you to the most qualified and hardworking individuals. (The phrase may be cliché, but the resulting actions aren’t.)

Sure, you’re in the manufacturing space, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider applicants with a variety of backgrounds and skills. People have more talents and larger wheelhouses than you know (and are able to comprehend during a generic interview process).

Not only is it beneficial to recruit employees with a range of backgrounds, but necessary. A recent study by Deloitte shows that the skills gap in manufacturing will result in 2 million out of 3.5 million jobs in the industry remaining unfilled over the next ten years.

You need to start looking for people, and you’ll need to practice non-traditional hiring — so check out our list of dos and don’ts:

Read More

What Are The Industrial Applications Of Inline Heaters?

Inline heaters, sometimes referred to as circulation heaters, have a number of different industrial uses. 

Read More

5 Important Marketing Tactics To Fine Tune This Summer

Traditionally, activity slows way down in the industrial manufacturing sphere during the summer months; owners take time off to see their families and enjoy the nice weather, employees make use of vacation days, and plants shut down for weeks or even months at a time to complete scheduled maintenance and repairs. 

While it can be tempting to follow suit and kick back, industrial marketers should take advantage of this downtime. Use it as an opportunity to fine tune your marketing strategy and lead conversion tools in order to put your company in the best position to succeed when activity picks up in the fall.

Not sure where to begin? Here are five marketing tactics you can focus on improving this summer.

Read More

ISM2016 Recap: Day Four

Many procurement teams and large buying organizations want to engage with small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). However, just getting those businesses to respond to RFQs can be a big challenge. To help bridge the gap, THOMASNET.com hosted a presentation that provided insight into the mindset of SMBs. We were joined by Natalie Menke, President of Universal Blower Pac & INOHVA Pneumatics, a small original manufacturer of custom blower systems with headquarters in Indiana, who lent her unique perspective.

Read More

How Business Credit Affects Your Supply Chain


Your supply chain is similar to a line of standing dominos, if one piece goes down, it could cause a chain reaction and take all the other pieces down with it. If you have a supplier or manufacturer in your supply chain that goes bankrupt or consistently delivers late, you could have a serious disruption on your hands. It makes sense that you’d want to take the necessary precautions when choosing new businesses to add to your supply chain, in order to try and avoid the domino effect. But, you can’t exactly predict the future, so you’re often taking the risk that a key component to your operations may fall flat. There are a few ways, however, that you can assess a potential supplier or manufacturer and decide in advance if it seems stable enough to add to your supply chain. By analyzing a business’s credit report, you can use data and predictive scoring to help you decide which companies you want to partner with.

Read More

ISM2016 Recap: Day Three

From negotiating tactics to supply chain risk mitigation to recognizing underrepresented leaders, there was a lot to learn on day three at ISM2016. 

Read More

7 Educational STEM Videos from EngineerGuy

The estimated 2 million manufacturing jobs that will go unfilled in the next decade due to the skills gap is frightening to think about, but many in the industry are already being proactive about promoting STEM to spark interest at all ages.

Take Bill Hammack as an example. He's a tenured engineering professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In addition to his teaching, he has built up library of engineering videos on YouTube — all to detail the history, engineering and intricacy that goes into everyday objects.

Since half the fun of something is knowing how it works, we’ve pulled together a list of a few of our favorite videos — take a look and share to spread some STEM awareness with your networks.

Read More

ISM2016 Recap: Day Two

Day two really kicked ISM2016 into high gear, with learning sessions all day long, exciting presentations in the exhibit hall and a keynote address that brought everyone together. There was a lot to take in, and here is our recap to make sure you are plugged in.

Read More

ISM2016 Recap: Day One

Day one of ISM2016 is in the books. Check out the highlights from Indianapolis.

Read More

4 Ways to Grow Your Marketing Skills

A marketer’s job is never done. There’s always more content to create, more promotional material to advertise, and more ways that we can generate leads and funnel to sales. It’s a busy career.

In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, there’s no reason to let your marketing skills fall by the wayside. Just as there’s always more we can do strategically, there’s more we can do to sharpen our skills.

Maintaining your marketing prowess is as essential to your career as maintaining equipment is for manufacturers’. Here are actions I recommend to cultivate your marketing dexterity:

Read More

3 Questions to Ask a Turnkey Manufacturer

If you’ve heard the phrase “turnkey manufacturer” and you’re not entirely sure what it means, rest assured — you’re not alone. 

A turnkey manufacturer is a manufacturer who can perform every manufacturing process required to create a finished component or assembled part, from design assistance through to fulfilment. 

Using a turnkey manufacturer for parts or components offers a number of benefits. The variety of capabilities offered by a reliable turnkey manufacturer will help to strengthen your part. By avoiding contracting numerous companies, each performing a stage of the production process, you will also shave both costs and lead times off of your project.

Generating a high quality completed part with a turnkey manufacturer should be as simple as turning a single key.

Read More

7 Videos of Buildings Being Built

Design and construction processes can be quite intense. Along with community planning, assessment of environmental impacts, and a number of other steps that comprise best practice (as delineated by the United States’ General Services Administration) are material selection and company vetting.

We in the manufacturing space have to weigh the pros and cons of using corrugated metal for roofing, fiberglass or polystyrene for structural insulated panels, and more. We need to choose a crane company that uses machinery with quality motor systems that were made with superior products. The list goes on.  

Yet, even with all of the aforementioned steps, the fundamental process of erecting a building is the same across the board. What’s most important to remember is that each stage of this meticulous and detail-oriented course is a mean to a very specific end: the construction of a purposeful, impactful, beautiful building that will be inhabited and admired for centuries to come.

In our space, we often miss the forest for the trees. We get caught up in the details and forget to take a step back to appreciate what we’re adding to society. But we can change that.

Read More

Video: The Need For Speed

You know that the manufacturing industry innovates at a breakneck pace, but one project by the U.S. Air Force just pushed that pace to an entirely new level – 633 miles per hour, to be exact.   

Read More

What's It Really Like To Work In Manufacturing As A Millennial?

April 2016 marked a full year since I arrived at THOMASNET.com. Over that time, I have learned a lot about an industry that I, as a millennial, originally thought was complicated, outdated, and somewhat dull. Looking back 12 months later, I have been proven indisputably wrong.

Read More

Top Trends And Key Issues Impacting Supply Chain Professionals

ISM2016, the premier event for the supply chain industry, kicks off in Indianapolis on May 15. The three-day event will bring together thousands of supply chain and procurement professionals for learning and networking in Indianapolis, and THOMASNET.com will be at the center of it all, attending all the essential sessions and critical keynotes.   

Read More

The Best Days and Times to Call, Email & Post on Social Media

With B2B marketing, the adage “timing is everything” applies — well, maybe not “everything,” but it is certainly crucial to successful marketing campaigns.

Read More

I Think E-Commerce Is A No-Brainer, But Not Everyone Agrees.

These days, most of the items my family purchases are delivered to our doorstep. It’s simply become an easier way to keep us flush with household products, as two working parents juggling free time against patience (or impatience) with the in-store experience.

Read More

4 Contract Management Best Practices For Improving Supply Chain Performance & Quality

There is no question that technology has improved almost every aspect of the business process. In theory, this is particularly true within the procurement and supply chain sphere. Online e-sourcing tools make conducting sourcing events more effective and less costly than ever. Online ordering portals and spend management software cut down on the time necessary to complete the entire procurement cycle. 

Read More

5 Things to Consider When Creating a Water Reuse or Treatment Plan for Your Business

Water is critically important for daily business operations, but do you realize how vulnerable your company is without a process water reuse or discharge plan in place? Implementing an efficient treatment process will create value and growth for your business. No matter your industry there is a treatment technology for your effluent that is safe, reliable, cost effective and compliant.

The federal and state regulations mandate what and where we can dispose our process water. These regulations have caused an increase in sewer surcharges.

Depending on your location, your business may be faced with limited access to water creating a need for reuse. Due to these mandates and water limitations it is imperative to have a proper wastewater discharge and reuse system in place.

Read More

How to Find a Hire Through Social Media

Are you a job shop owner struggling to find a good fit for your company? You want to hire youthful, hard-working employees that are passionate about manufacturing — and you are painfully aware that this is a shrinking population. So the question becomes: what do you do to attract these elusive young professionals?

The answer: start recruiting candidates through social media. The numbers that prove this tactic works are pretty convincing.

In today’s society, social media is a comprehensive and powerful tool that’s especially pertinent if you want to attract hard-working, tech-savvy millennials. Here are a few of the steps to take to find the perfect candidate via social online tools.

Read More

5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Next Trade Show

It’s that time.

You’re registering for conferences and figuring out which ones will be worth exhibiting at. Crunch time has arrived and there are a lot of decisions to be made in a short window of time.

To make this the most productive trade show season ever, here are some tips to make the shows work for you while you’re workin’ the shows.

Read More

6 Mesmerizing Videos of Rube Goldberg Machines

Throughout the 1900s, millions of Americans read newspapers every day and flipped through to the funnies to find the latest from Rube Goldberg, a popular cartoonist.

While his work was somewhat political and controversial at times, he regularly drew complicated gadgets that would work together to complete a simple task — just to get a laugh. Over time, we’ve affectionately grown to call them “Rube Goldberg machines.”

Now, we see odes to the artist in popular culture — and they’ve evolved to become fascinating feats of engineering and manufacturing. Plus, they’re pretty awesome, so we rallied some of our favorite videos for you to see. Check them out below:

Read More

Video: Going For The Gold In Metal Production

With Mother's Day right around the corner, you may be thinking about picking up some gold in the form of jewelry. But one research team actually produced a new form of gold that may change the process of metal production and have far-reaching implications for manufacturers and engineers. 

Read More

The 7 Reasons It’s Great To Work In Manufacturing

Everyone who works in manufacturing knows that it’s one of the coolest industries to be in right now. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a millennial making an impact, there’s a lot to love about manufacturing. Here are some reasons why.

Read More

Easy Website Design Tips That Increase Clicks

Studies show that we have less than 15 seconds to leave a good first impression with our website visitors.

If your website’s headline, call-to-action, or even its color scheme doesn’t hit all the right notes, your prospects will simply find a website that does — which, unfortunately, could be your competitor’s.

While you may rely on your products or services to close the sale, you need to employ a website design that leads prospects to the beginning of that sales journey. Below are some effective and easy website design tips to begin leveraging to increase clicks and (ultimately) sales.

Read More

6 Strategies To Help You Overcome Supply Chain Disruption

Your supply chain is delicate. If just one link in the chain is disrupted, it can have a significant impact on multiple aspects of your business. In fact, supply chain disruption can lead to decreased productivity, increased costs, rising customer dissatisfaction and a host of other issues.

Don’t be caught by surprise when your chain is disrupted; be prepared to execute these six proven supply chain disruption strategies.

Read More

10 Kickstarter Projects You Should Consider Backing

The manufacturing industry includes builders of all kinds, and is extensive and inclusive in its reach. Manufacturing is metal fabrication, electric transformer development, plastic injection molding, industrial automation, equipment distribution, and more. We turn ideas into reality by designing a prototype and seeing it through to delivery.

When people have an idea, they come to manufacturers and rapid prototypers to walk away with something tangible. Unfortunately, this process is expensive. It requires funding which most people cannot obtain.

According to an article from mid-2014, venture capitalists (VC) accept up to 1% of the applications they receive. Another article suggests that over 99% of entrepreneurs should not bother applying for venture capital because of the microscopic likelihood that their project will be selected for funding.

Read More

What You Need to Know About Growth-Driven Design

It’s no secret the concept of growth-driven design has been shaking up digital marketing, but specifically in our manufacturing and industrial space, it has been a game-changer.

Early adopters have been excited to toss out the rigid, “one and done” process with web design in favor of flexibility, growth and changes based on data and performance.

We discussed the basics and the benefits in a blog titled “What Is Growth-Driven Design?” but thought it’d be good to bring some additional insight. So we thought: Who better to chat with than the person who literally wrote the book on growth-driven design?

Meet Luke Summerfield. He’s HubSpot’s Partner Program Manager and Growth-Driven Design Evangelist, and he’s here to chat about HubSpot principles, web design and his “light bulb” moment.

Read More

10 Must-Have SEO & Website Analysis Tools

You’re in the industrial marketing space, and you need the world (which, in 2016, means the internet) to know how great your company is.

You’ve got amazing content that should provide your visitors with enough incentive to offer up some basic information in order to access, but you can’t take any chances. You want to make sure your conversion rate is as high as possible.

When you have quality website design and content, paired with insight through a marketing automation tool such as HubSpot, you're already on the right track.

Read More

6 Technical Trends That Are Reshaping Manufacturing (Part 2)

Last week, we revealed the coolest new technology behind  additive manufacturing, wearables, and robots. But with so many examples of technical trends that are sweeping manufacturing and the supply chain in Frost & Sullivan's outline of the Top 50 Emerging Technologies that are expected to transform the world, we couldn't cram them all into one post. 
 
So without further adieu, here are three more tech trends in the manufacturing industry along with examples of the latest advancements in their respective fields.

Read More

Video: 3D Printing Comes To Life - Kind Of

3DP Unlimited, a leading manufacturer of large-scale, industrial-class 3D printers based in Illinois, recently took their 3D printing capabilities to the next level when they constructed a life-sized version of one of their employees.

Read More

Trend Watch: Connectivity and Digitalization in Automotive Manufacturing

The Trend

After years of focusing on growth in emerging markets, the automotive industry has finally seen a shift in a new direction: optimizing cars for connectivity and digitalization.

Read More

8 Books Every Salesperson Should Read

It doesn’t matter if your sales team is converting leads at a record rate or struggling to meet quotas — there’s always room for improvement. People at every level of your team from directors and managers to consultants and representatives can benefit from new insight and perspective.

There are so many great resources available for sales folks these days: webinars, podcasts, eBooks, white papers, Twitterchats and conferences — but I’ve gained so much knowledge by reading plain old books. 

Just last week I was flipping through my copy of SPIN Selling (for the twentieth time) and an idea popped into my head to write a blog post on what’s currently in my office bookcase.

Read More

Everything You Need to Know About MD&M East

Medical Design & Manufacturing East has been a trusted medical industry expo for more than 30 years, connecting suppliers with buyers and giving attendees the opportunity to bring their medical devices from paper to patent.

With the 2016 trade show just around the corner, here’s everything you need to know before signing up.

Read More

6 Technical Trends That Are Reshaping Manufacturing (Part 1)

Year after year, the manufacturing industry finds itself on the cutting edge of technology, and 2016 is no exception. The research team at Frost & Sullivan uncovered the Top 50 Emerging Technologies expected to transform the world and, not surprisingly, many of them will impact manufacturers and supply chain professionals. 
 
With so many different pieces of technology hitting the industry, we couldn't review them all in one post. So check out the first three technological trends that are changing the industry below, along with examples of how these trends are fueling innovation, and stay tuned for another three next week. 

Read More

11 Industrial Companies Worth Your Follow on Twitter

Manufacturing has changed and so has the way we market it.

We've seen a transition in the past few decades from "big green books" with company information and phone numbers to updated online presences and social media profiles. Reaching potential customers has never been easier — you can send out a tweet or direct message, ask questions and have a dialogue within minutes.

A recent study showed that 85% of B2B companies in the U.S. use Twitter. Although industrial companies have been late adopters compared to some industries, there are thousands of potential prospects sending out 140-character messages each day.

Read More

6 Ways to Make Your Industrial PPC Campaign More Effective

Getting started with pay-per-click is easy.

Google AdWords' tagline of "Get Started in Minutes" is no joke — in about 10 minutes, a business can go from no search engine presence to having its ads show on the first page of Google at the top of the paid search results.

However, this approach typically doesn’t lead to the best results — especially in the industrial and manufacturing space. Building out a well-organized and thoroughly researched PPC strategy can take anywhere from a few hours to a week, depending on the size of the account.

Read More

The Arrow That Increased Form Submissions By 76%

A cold-root rolling manufacturer wanted to increase leads on their website. A simple arrow made it happen.

The Idea

Our conversion experts came across studies which showed that directional cues are effective at drawing attention to different objects on a page. While these cues can take many forms – arrows, eyes, fingers, etc. – independent research by the folks over at ConversionXL showed that hand-drawn arrows were the most successful.

Read More

Standing Out From The Crowd: Why Your Job Shop Needs A Unique Selling Proposition

There are tens of thousands of job shops across the country. We should know, we list many of them on our supplier discovery platform. Chances are, some of those suppliers are producing the very same products you are. So how can you stand out from the crowd when customers are deciding between you and your competitors? Start by developing a compelling unique selling proposition.

Read More

3 Engineering Marketing Trends for 2016

We’re all guilty of getting caught up in 9-5 hustle and lost in the details of executing our marketing plans. With Q1 coming to a close, it’s helpful to take a step back and check in on where you stand with marketing calendars, goals, and lead generation.

This is a great time to evaluate how you're succeeding year-over-year, and if you're curious on how others in the industry are doing, we've got some insight for you. The team at ENGINEERING.com conducted a survey to compare campaign plans among industrial engineering marketers for 2015 and 2016.

John Hayes, CEO of ENGINEERING.com, recently gave a presentation on key findings, and from this information, we’ve compiled three major trends to help you keep up with the competition and guide your marketing strategy throughout the rest of the year.

Read More

5 Tips for Writing Effective Email Subject Lines

The subject line’s job is simple: Get the reader to open the email.

On average, 33 percent of recipients open emails based on subject line, so it’s incredibly important to get it right — because even the most enticing email in the world won’t matter if the reader ignores it.

There’s plenty of insight and data across the web on best practices for email marketing, but I wanted to highlight five key tips to help you write an attractive subject line that will draw in the reader.

Read More

Educating The Future Of Robotics

Millennials in the manufacturing and supply chain industries are garnering a lot of attention, not to mention a lot of headlines. From how milliennials search for jobs to their growing influence on the supply chain, millennials get people talking. 

However, we wanted to talk about the generation that will follow the millennials – Generation Z. Members of this generation are still in classes, developing their interests, and laying the foundations for their futures. For many, their futures will be in STEM fields. 

Read More

5 Promotional Products People Actually Want

Trade show season will be here before you know it, making now the perfect time to begin strategizing your plan of attack! The goal? Getting people to your trade show booth. The challenge? Getting people to your trade show booth.

Read More

How to Keep Up with Changing Technology & Trends

There's plenty of coverage and chatter on IoT trends, being replaced by robots, and legacy equipment vs. digital manufacturing in our industry. That's a good thing because technology becomes more integrated with every aspect of our lives each day.

Read More

3 Financial Pitfalls Every Manufacturer Should Avoid

The supply chain industry is made up of small businesses. Owned and operated by families, industry veterans, and close-knit communities, it’s a profession where every dollar counts. When we talk to suppliers around the country, they often share stories of neighbors, competitors, and friends who have had to shut their doors due to poor financial decisions. So whether you have your entire fiscal year planned to the penny or could use some financial guidance, here are three pitfalls to avoid when handling your job shop’s finances. 

Read More

2016 Trade Show Guide for Industrial Marketers

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to the field of manufacturing, you probably know about the benefits of attending trade shows. 

Networking, exposing your brand, scoping out the competition, generating new leads, and attending educational seminars are a handful of the potential ways you can prosper from these events.

Read More

Don’t Let The Purchase Of New Equipment Drag You Into A Sinkhole

A common misstep among less-seasoned manufacturers is overleveraging themselves on new equipment in the well-intentioned effort to increase capacity. As veteran shop owners know, investing in new equipment can actually be a risky move and be a hindrance to your goals if administered incorrectly.

Over the years, we’ve heard from thousands of suppliers about what they've seen when it comes to decisions that have put shops on a rocky path. Not understanding when to purchase equipment has come up a number of times. And when talking about equipment in the scope of increasing capacity, it’s important to note the differences between immediate and future capacity needs. The two situations should be compared; let's discuss why.

Read More

The Current State of Wearables in the Medical Industry

You’d be hard pressed to find someone today who isn’t wearing some form of technology. Think you’re bucking the trend? Go ahead and check the time – because even if you don’t have a smartphone in your hand, you probably have a watch on your wrist.

Read More

How Does Google’s Latest Adwords Update Impact SEO and PPC?

By now you’ve likely heard about the changes Google is making to its search results page, and if not, here’s your 15-second recap:

Up until recently, a standard search brought up a page of organic results with advertising slots on the top and side of the page. Now, they’re removing sidebar ads in favor of product listings and adding more paid slots on the top and bottom.

Read More

Introducing the Next Wave of Supply Chain Excellence

During the time you have spent in the industry, have you been able to deliver over $10 Million in cost savings? How about spearheading an entirely new global distribution model? Were you an integral component of a startup’s growth? It’s ok if you weren’t. 

Read More

I get any number of these questions on a daily basis: Is this headline good for SEO? Can you optimize this page? What’s the best practice for backlinks? How do I improve my rank for that? Does this type of content help drive traffic?

Read More

10 Videos Featuring Industrial Companies and Facilities You Should Watch

When’s the last time you were in a new manufacturing or industry facility? Maybe you toured a colleague's shop during a trade show a few years ago or had to do an audit for a new supplier recently.

Read More

24 Things Manufacturers Can Do With an Extra 24 Hours

I know how it is. Just this week I was clamoring on about how there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Maybe you’re short staffed. Or perhaps you took on too much work and are juggling production times. Whatever the reason, we’ve all wished for more hours to complete all of our tasks.

Read More

3 Social Media Profiles Manufacturing Marketers Should Have

Every supplier wants to be in front of as many buyers as possible. So how do you stand out from all the other suppliers vying for the same contacts and customers that you are?

Read More

9 Email Newsletters for Every Industrial, Manufacturing Marketer

 Yes, I’m really suggesting you sign up for email newsletters when you already get bombarded with sales notifications, internal back-and-forths and Did-I-really-sign-up-for-this? marketing emails in your inbox.

Read More

Making Manufacturing Cool Again

When people ask me what industry I work in, they’re usually surprised to learn that it’s manufacturing. Why? I’m a New York City native who never learned any sort of manufacturing skills. I went to school for publishing and print, and then received a job at a marketing agency. But then I found myself at THOMASNET, a company steeped in manufacturing and supply chain history. And it’s here, writing for all of you every week, where I discovered something.

Read More

How to Get A Job Using Social Media

Millennials have a lot of tools at their disposal — especially when it comes to job searching.

As a young professional determined to land a position in marketing, last year I became part of the 73 percent of 18-34 years olds who used a social network to find my current job (which, by the way, I love).

People are always curious about how I landed my current role (and took advantage of my social savviness) so I wanted to share the steps to take:

Read More

STEM Programs Gaining Support Throughout the Nation

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard about the skills gap impacting industrial companies  and the push for more STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) programs to close the gap.

But it’s one thing to recommend more STEM programs — it’s another thing to actually bring them to life in the classroom.

While there are always challenges when it comes to the adoption of new curricula, it’s clear that around the country, leaders are putting their money where their mouths are.

Read More

How to Innovate Without Blowing Your R&D Budget

Steve Jobs famously told Fortune “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have.” Jobs believed that throwing money at a problem should not be the answer. Creativity and genuine genius should win out. And whether you’re a pharmaceutical and software company with a large budget for research and development or a custom manufacturer with considerably less, a budget is still a budget. So here are a few tips to help you spearhead innovation without blowing your R&D budget.

Read More

5 Ways to Boost Traffic for Under $500

A metal fabricator has big news — they’ve just completed a partnership that will allow them to offer more manufacturing services at a better quality and a lower rate. 

This is a great opportunity for distributors and future prospects, so the business does everything right — writes a blog, posts content to social media, and updates their website’s homepage with the announcement.

The traffic comes — but not at the quantity the company was hoping for. What went wrong?

Read More

9 Tips to Break Through Writer’s Block

We’ve all experienced it; your fingertips are grazing the keyboard, lightly tapping in rhythmic motion, waiting for your brain to catch up.

Your eyes scan every object on your desk and the surrounding walls, desperately seeking inspiration.

After hours of banging out blog posts and crushing editorial calendar deadlines, you’ve simply run out of things to say.

Read More

What is Growth-Driven Design?

Take a moment and think about your company’s most recent website redesign.

I’m guessing it took months to get everyone on board with the change, find an agency to do the legwork and then get your internal team to agree on design, photos, copy and all the other elements.

Read More

Answers to 5 of your Burning Questions About Space Exploration

To infinity and beyond!

That was the mantra for everyone who grew up watching a bunch of ragtag toys explore a foreign world. The battle cry for the children who wanted to grow up and be astronauts. And over the last couple of years, the U.S. seems to be reinvesting in the same exploratory wonder we had when we landed on the moon.

Read More

SEO Basics for Manufacturers and Industrial Companies

You know you want more new customers, and you know your website is key to getting them to your company, so how can you connect the dots? You heard it here first: search engine optimization.

As the Director of Search at Thomas, I’ve blogged a few times about increasing web traffic, user experience and best practices.

Read More

5 Breakthroughs Manufacturing the Future of Medical Science

Medicine has come a long way from where it started. We have cured crippling diseases, eradicated plagues, and extended our average lifespan by decades. Pharmaceuticals are owed a lot for the medical breakthroughs that grant us these miracles, from development to distribution. 

But in the 21st century, we have the ability to meld science and technology to open up a new world of disease prevention. Just over the last couple of months promising developments have broken through. So let’s take a look at the medicine of the future.

Read More

Grow Your Business By Diversifying

Diversifying your business and expanding into new markets can open up new revenue streams while making you less dependent on a single customer or industry.

However, expanding into new markets often requires a lot of time and a lot of money, and many shop owners are reluctant to make that commitment. In addition, when business is good, expansion can seem like a luxury rather than a necessity, and it quickly drops to the last item on a to-do list.

Read More

Your Potential Customers Are on Twitter — So Where Are You?

In the industrial space, part of the hesitation that comes along with the social media arm of an in-depth digital marketing strategy is the belief that it’s ineffective in reaching buyers. “Does anyone actually use Twitter?” is a common question. The answer to which is a resounding, “Yes!”

Read More

Women in Manufacturing — Q&A with Wyoming Machine Co-Presidents Lori and Traci Tapani

A family business that has diversified their company to ensure long term success. A women-owned sheet metal fabrication manufacturer whose co-presidents are active in the community. Role models for men and women everywhere, operating in a changing industry while staying true to themselves.

Read More

Don’t Screw Up Your Company’s Next Inbound Marketing Campaign

Okay, so you’ve made the decision to invest in an inbound marketing strategy. Congratulations! You won’t be disappointed… unless you don’t really know what you’re doing or where to start. In that case, you might be a little disappointed — but don’t worry, that’s why we’re here!

Read More

Everything You Need to Know About the Value of Inbound Marketing


If you’ve been dragging your heels on implementing a robust, inbound marketing strategy, now’s the time to reevaluate your options.

Whereas traditional marketing has you actively seeking out the attention of buyers, inbound marketing has your target audience coming straight to you.

Read More

Top 3 U.S. Manufacturing Challenges (and Opportunities) in 2016

Is the glass half empty or half full? It’s an age old question, and there’s no right answer; it’s all about perspective. 

How about this question: Does the U.S. manufacturing industry have challenges or opportunities? Once again, there’s no right answer; it’s all about perspective.

Read More

From the THOMASNET Archives: Manufacturing Ads

 

The "big green books" of the Thomas Register connected b2b buyers and industrial suppliers for well over a century, before we went completely online as THOMASNET.com in 2006. I took a dive into some vintage editions to find ads from businesses that have stood the test of time, and still serve industry today. 

Read More

What You May Have Missed in Marketing in 2015


As the year comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on just how much the field of marketing has changed lately. With new search engine updates, social media tools, and apps being released, it’s understandable if at least one of these announcements slipped past you this year.

To make sure you’re up to speed and ready for the next round of updates, we’ve recapped the top marketing moments of 2015.

Read More

5 Reasons Why a Sales CRM is a Process Game-Changer


If your sales team is still sharing spreadsheets and documents to manage pipelines, monitor leads and drive sales, you might as well be sending up smoke signals across the office.

For years, marketers have been adopting automation tools to tie all of their campaigns and reporting together to better manage and prove ROI — and it’s about time that sales pros did the same.

Read More

Overhead Lifting Systems can Improve Safety and Efficiency with Crane

 

Efficiency and safety are two vital considerations when moving materials within a warehouse or manufacturing facility.

Overhead crane and gantry systems can improve the manufacturing process, saving time and avoiding potential accidents.

Read More

Talking Toys with K’NEX Product Designer Heather Croston

This holiday season, we hope that you’re considering gifting STEM toys to the children in your lives. Here at THOMASNET, we always admire toys that teach, but have you ever wondered how these wonderful toys were designed in the first place?

Read More

7 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016

New Year’s Day is fast approaching — what will your resolutions be?

Read More

Why Women Are Made for IoT

Internet of Things (IoT) and Women’s Intuition are not that different. The design of a woman includes a massive repository, heightened senses, and predictive analysis. And for that, maybe IoT should be changed to WIoT: Women's Intuition of Things.

Read More

How Will Millennials Influence the Future of Purchasing?

Whether you like it or not, millennials are coming into the supply chain and are beginning to be the employees in charge of purchasing. Millennial purchasing habits still present a challenge, but UPS recently released the Industrial Buyer Survey giving insight to the habits of the "buyers of the future.” 

Read More

The Top 9 STEM Toys for Each Kid on Your Holiday Shopping List

Happy first week of December! This weekend kicks off the holidays with Hanukkah beginning on Sunday night and marks the final countdown of shopping days left before Christmas.

If you still need some last-minute gift ideas, we’ve done the research for you and have come up with this definitive shopping list full of STEM-inspired gifts for curious kids. And in the spirit of the holidays, we’ve decided to make things even easier by segmenting the list according to each STEM interest and age group (we’re marketers —persona targeting is what we do).

Read More

A Look at the Top 10 Container Ports in the U.S.

 

The National Retail Federation predicted that November 2015 had an 8.3% increase in imports year-over-year, as reported by the Journal of Commerce. While the U.S. has been on a bit of a rollercoaster with congestion and hiccups, the industry is faring well overall.

Read More

5 Gifts That Should Be on Every Marketer’s Wish List


It’s that time again! As you start gearing up for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday deals for all the people on your shopping list, you might want to consider some options that will make your life better, too. Marketing in the industrial space presents its own unique challenges and opportunities, creating room for new products that can greatly improve your daily productivity.

Read More

Where is Your Thanksgiving Meal Coming From: A Look at US Food Manufacturing

It’s that time of year again — family comes together, entertainment is in abundance, and food is shared. 

Read More

Watch 8 Engineers Face Off in our ‪LEGO® Challenge‬

There were rumbling through the halls. Whispers among the engineers of a new presence at THOMASNET. A Master Builder had entered our ranks. 

Read More

Solving the Marketing Puzzle: Q&A with George Rubsam

Recently, ThomasNet RPM welcomed George Rubsam as our new Director of Strategy. George is settling well into his role, providing guidance and support to our entire team. His varied background and clear drive for continuous improvement are already helping move our company forward.

Read More

Can the Internet Of Things Solve the Talent Gap?

As an industry, we talk about the talent gap all the time. We talk about how to fill the gap with millennials. We cry out about how robots are stealing our jobs. And we go back and forth between our lack of people and metallic replacements that we don’t stop to find the solution needle in the proverbial haystack.

Read More

4 Keys to Creating Content That Converts

In our last post, The Pitfalls of Engagement, we discussed some basic storytelling techniques and what kinds of topics to avoid. Building off of those ideas, we co-hosted a webinar with Engineering.com that went deeper into the details of who you should be targeting and how to do so. Here, we’ve highlighted the top four tips discussed in the webinar.

Read More

The 4 Newest Material Innovations You Should Know About

We like to talk about innovation, but in an industry of builders and makers, we’re limited by one thing: to make something tangible, we need materials. 

Read More

The Rodon Group on How to Manufacture A Perfect Plastic Part

“Perfect” is not a word that is thrown around very often. It implies upmost precision, unyielding quality, and repeatable functionality. So when an industry expert such as The Rodon Group imparts knowledge on how to manufacture the perfect plastic part, it’s time to sit up and listen. And according to Rodon, the Pennsylvania-based high-volume plastic injection molder, the way to do this is by following these four factors.

Read More

The Pitfalls of Engagement – Turning Off Your Readers


When crafting a good story, we often start by coming up with a main character. We work on developing someone who is reliable and likeable overall. But as you focus all of your attention on the “who,” are you forgetting about the “why?” When telling an engineering story, this is especially important.

Read More

Technology That Can Improve Safety In Manufacturing and the Supply Chain

Whether you think technology is making our lives simpler or more dangerous, it is certainly pushing the capabilities of mankind forward, and in the right hands has been making the world a safer place to live in.

It would also behoove us to remember as we advance that not everything in technology has to do with business, military, or social media. Technology has the ability to keep us — and our industry — safe. 

Read More

Meet the Manufacturer Pioneering Sustainability, Green in Industry

Gage employees at the Rainbow Run in downtown Ferndale, Michigan. The company sponsors the event, which helps foster diversity and acceptance in the community, every year.

Many manufacturers are just now jumping on the chance to reduce waste and adopt “green” tendencies, but Gage Products has been doing so for decades.

Sustainability is a key part of Gage’s identity — employees not only develop products with recycling in mind, but they also highly value supporting the local community in Ferndale, Michigan. Not only is the company sponsoring snowmobile challenges and emphasizing fuel recycling, they’re having a lot of success in doing so.

Read More

When crafting an good story, we often start by coming up with a main character. We work on developing someone who is reliable and likeable overall. But as you focus all of your attention on the “who,” are you forgetting about the “why?” When telling an engineering story, this is especially important.

Read More

Are Robots Taking Our Jobs?

The short answer? No. 

The longer answer? They will most likely change your job, most likely for the better/simpler/safer/etc. How do I know this? Historically, that has always been the case. 

Change is scary. Doomsayers always predict the end of times when a new technology is coming out, forewarning the unravelling of society, possibly even revolts. This began at a time when the written word was seen as a detriment to memory. Since then, the same argument has been brought up time and again, most recently in the context of how the Internet is ruining our brains.

Read More

Boosting Manufacturing Efficiency with Kaizen Events

A manufacturing team gathers for a Kaizen Event. (Image courtesy Manor Tool.)

Experienced engineers may have heard the term “Kaizen” at some point. It’s a Japanese term meaning “continuous improvement.”

While the concept is relevant to businesses everywhere, it has caught on in the West primarily in manufacturing industries.

Read More

Optimizing Your Email Lists for Google Customer Match


Organically building a high quality email list for people in your target audience has been strategically important for decades. After all, email is one of the only channels that you have complete control over when communicating with your audience.

Read More

How Does Safety in Industrial Operations Optimize Productivity & Drive Revenue Growth?

Safety in the workplace is no joke. 

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows there were more than 4,500 fatal workplace injuries across all sectors in 2014, in addition to more than 3 million total recordable cases of non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses.

Read More

The Top 5 Stories from Manufacturing Day 2015

Every beginning of October, manufacturers across North America dust off their shops and open their doors to the world for Manufacturing Day. From grass root political efforts to educating students on the lifeblood of the country, the day also kicks off Manufacturing Month, which continues to celebrate everything the industry does for the country and the economy.

Read More

Where to Start with Factory Automation

To remain competitive in an evolving industry, manufacturers are turning to automation. But where should companies begin?

Chad Blair, president of RT Engineering Corporation, compares automating a facility to writing a book. “Manufacturers need to understand what the ultimate story looks like so that as they’re writing an individual chapter, it makes sense in the context of the rest of the book. You can’t solve any one problem without a way to integrate it with the total solution.”

Read More

Engineer Q & A – Schlumberger Engineer Among Women Fueling the Future of STEM

If you were on Twitter at all this week, you may have noticed a number of posts discussing the importance of women in STEM careers. And if you were online on Tuesday specifically, you likely saw that #AdaLovelaceDay was trending across the Twittersphere. The day is meant to celebrate a woman who is largely remembered as the first computer programmer. To further commemorate the advances women have made in technology and engineering, we’ve chosen to highlight a female engineer in our next Engineer Q & A series installment.