Many companies worry about how their business will fare in bad economic conditions, but sometimes opportune outcomes stem from times of economic uncertainty — especially for manufacturers.
With seemingly difficult economic conditions on the horizon, there are plenty of indicators that can seem at odds with one another. Recently, the stock market had its worst week since 2008 while sourcing activity for North American suppliers on Thomasnet.com saw record-breaking numbers. Based on a Coronavirus Impact survey conducted this month, over half of the manufacturers surveyed are ‘likely to extremely likely’ to bring production and sourcing back to North America and 47% of U.S manufacturers report they are now seeking domestic sources of supply — likely the reasons for sourcing surge.
As we’ve recently reported with opportunities in the private label manufacturing industry, economic recessions can be a driver for growth because shoppers are more conscious about their spending and will favor private labels. Even after the economy shifts, trends have shown that buyers’ habits remain unchanged. These sourcing surges and accelerated business trends can change entire industries. So during an economic downturn, how can manufacturers keep their business strong and continue to promote their products and services?
Reach Out To Current Customers
If your manufacturing business is experiencing changes due to the economic downturn, chances are that your customers are experiencing it too. Reach out to your customers and see how they’re doing (you should be doing this regularly though to keep them happy). Take the time to listen to their challenges and see how your business can help mitigate those issues. Your customers rely on the strength of your business and understanding how their needs are met with yours (in their own words) will help you get new customers.
Additionally, you should consider what types of support you can offer your customers outside of your normal services. With the shortages of critical products and components in the medical space at the time of this article’s posting, many companies are considering whether their business is in a position to shift resources towards manufacturing PPE, masks, gowns, or components for ventilators. If you have customers or contacts from other manufacturers and suppliers, it can be helpful to make introductions that can help all parties involved. See how you can be a better resource for your customers. If you or one of your contacts are willing and able to shift your production efforts to create needed products, click here to let us know and we'll help make these connections.
Strengthen Your Internal Teams And Supply Chain
The U.S. manufacturing industry is no stranger to change and smart business owners know that history tends to repeat itself, the economy is likely to shift, and supply chains can be vulnerable. When the economy takes a downturn, things can change drastically and steps to mitigate the changes can be overlooked. Avoid supply chain disruption by reviewing your emergency situation plan often and updating it regularly.
Have alternative supply sources and parts in place should you need to change your business model or production focus. You can make more strategic decisions by simply getting familiar with sourcing trends and reviewing the companies who are sourcing for the products and services you offer with a free in-market buyer report. And don’t forget to communicate any new initiatives or updated plans to relevant teams.
Top Resource: How To Expand Your Manufacturing Business To New Markets
The strength of your manufacturing business is based on the strength of your internal team. But the economic downturn could be affecting individuals in your organization personally. They may be feeling confused or worried. You’ll want them to take initiative in unanticipated situations and support your efforts, so it’s important to alleviate their concerns as best as possible with clear, regular communication.
Ramp Up Your Online Advertising Efforts
Every business has different degrees of preparedness and levels of contingency plan but advertising your manufacturing business during an economic downturn should not cease. Many manufacturers may be hesitant to invest in something new or allocate additional funds to specific efforts when the economy doesn’t look promising, but no one will see how you are leading your business during a crisis or economic downturn if you are not outwardly communicating those efforts.
Should the economic state shift your production focus, support your new efforts with an updated communication plan to reach new customers. Understand that big shifts in the economy will change businesses, buyers, and consumers in many ways. For example, growth in the online shopping industry during the coronavirus crisis is a signal for manufacturers to deliver the best digital customer service experience possible. Share videos touring your factory or showcasing your company products for customers unable to travel — you can have a video created by Thomas to help prospects get a look at your operation. If you sell complex industrial components, ensure your online product catalog has real-time functionality, supports your distribution partners, and reduces customer service and engineering hours.
Investing in marketing services from industrial experts ensures your brand continues to get seen by the right buyers. Their jobs still need to get done during economic shifts. Incorporate more diverse online advertising efforts in your digital marketing strategy — there are solutions that fit every manufacturing budget:
- A free company profile listing on Thomasnet.com where you can connect with more than a million buyers from a variety of industries and geographies to help expand to new markets
- An email newsletter sponsorship that gets read by the exact industries and job titles you want to do business with
- A display ad on Thomasnet.com search result pages where buyers are searching for your products or services
Stay Current On The News Daily
While staying up to date should be a common practice regardless of how the economy is faring, it is strongly recommended to rely on more than one resource for your information. Seek out reputable news outlets and regularly updated content online that share the big picture, rather than just speculation.
With the uncertainty of today’s global health concern, coronavirus, affecting all businesses and accelerating new business trends, it’s important to stay up to date on what’s going on specifically in your industry — our Coronavirus Resource Hub was created specifically for manufacturers and our Coronavirus shipping and logistics tracker is updated daily. Manufacturing email newsletters are another good resource and many outlets are able to be customized with content preferences and the frequency of emails — perfect to ensure you get the information that matters most to your business.
Whether you’re in Indiana or in the middle of New York or you’re an MRO professional or a CNC machining business owner, Thomas Industry Update (TIU) is a daily email newsletter on industry news and trends that resonate to every reader in the manufacturing industry. A daily subscription to TIU can help you stay up to date on how the economy can impact your business.
Ensure your leads continue to flow in while you focus on driving your business. If your manufacturing business needs help navigating the economic shifts and uncertainties of today, send us a message. The Thomas Team has been supporting U.S. manufacturing and industrial companies for more than 120 years and will get you through these recent economic shifts too.
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