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.
Here are priorities that could make the holiday season and the upcoming year a little brighter and a whole lot more successful for the manufacturing industry.
1. Skilled Talent
According to Deloitte, the skills gap may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028. Unfortunately, the problem seems to be getting worse over the next two years with many of these jobs taking longer to fill.
Manufacturers would be thrilled to find a supply of skilled workers wrapped up in a bow this holiday season. Instead of waiting for top talent to come to them, manufacturers should be proactive in filling the talent gap — both within their own companies by connecting with younger workers and within the industry as a whole.
While every manufacturing company has different needs, there's a general recommended plan for developing industry talent:
- Identify your talent gaps and long-term hiring needs
- Develop relationships with other manufacturers to see what initiatives are already being used
- Create a talent development system (i.e. in-house training, internships, and apprenticeships)
The millennial generation is more than 77 million strong. With proper training programs and recruitment efforts in place, this generation can help usher in a new era in the manufacturing industry.
2. More Solid Relationships With B2B Buyers
While many buying organizations insist on doing business on their terms, for manufacturers, it's important to focus on forging strong relationships.
At Thomasnet.com, we help manufacturers do just that by putting them in a position to be found and evaluated by serious buyers. In fact, the relationships started on our platform have led to some great partnerships — there are more than 1.3 million B2B buyers, procurement managers, and MROs looking for new suppliers every day! That's something that can make any manufacturer more jolly.
"We started our internet marketing with Thomasnet.com at the suggestion of our largest customer, Boeing. They assured me that Thomasnet.com was where their engineers went first to find information on suppliers. Our sales have gone up exponentially compared to our increases in our ad budget," said an executive at Tiodize, a leader in aluminum anodizing.
"Because we manufacture and sell specialty coatings and composites, we are always looking for ways to be in front of decision-makers when they need our products. Thomasnet.com is an efficient and effective way for us to do that. We have added customers every year and increased our sale per customer at the same time."
In addition to getting a free listing on Thomasnet.com to engage with B2B buyers, here are our top tips for creating a better relationship with your audience:
- Respond To Inquiries Within 24 Hours: Responding to inquiries in a timely manner is one of the most important ways to become a top supplier. If you currently don't have an organized system for managing requests, it's time to get one. If you don't follow up with a prospect quickly, you run the risk of having another supplier swoop in and steal that lead.
- Leverage Technology With Customer Needs: Speaking of systems, it's a good idea to leverage technologies in order to accommodate the varying business needs of your customers. Consider an ERP system that is robust and customizable so you can fulfill the needs of your customers. Don't fall victim to these pitfalls of industrial companies.
3. More Connected Devices On The Shop Floor
Sure, many people have TVs and computers high on their holiday wish lists, and others may be hoping for a robotic lawnmower. But for manufacturers, the hottest tech gifts come from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
This new technology is ushering in a new era of manufacturing, also known as Industry 4.0, which has the potential to transform the entire manufacturing field.
Having the latest IIoT technology can help manufacturers collect more data for their businesses in order to run more efficiently and profitably, and no shop wants to be left behind. However, before adopting IIoT, it's important to clear out any roadblocks that may get in your way.
4. Guaranteed Timely Shipments
Having a holiday gift arrive late can ruin your holiday. But a delayed incoming shipment or outgoing order? That can ruin your business... better known as supply chain disruption.
Supply chain disruption can entail just about any major breakdown in production or distribution of a supply chain like a shop floor fire, or even the breakdown of one of your machines. This kind of disruption can leave your business vulnerable and can bring on heavy costs.
With such high stakes, it's critical to have the right suppliers and shipping partners of your own. Incorporating local suppliers into your own supply chain could help reduce the risk of supply chain disruption and decrease supply chain costs while benefiting the environment as well. Here are four other ways sourcing locally can benefit your business.
5. A Little Appreciation
At the end of the day (and the end of the year), one of the best gifts you can receive is a thank you for a job well done. But a thank you won't come without customer delight.
Too often manufacturers deliver a great product and/or service which is great, but customer satisfaction goes beyond this. So how can you incorporate better communication with your customers while also providing excellent service? Here are three ways to delight your customer:
- Do the unexpected
- Be a good listener
- Personalize your efforts
At Thomasnet.com, we want to take this time to thank manufacturers for all that they do. They are the makers, the producers and the innovators that keep the economy running. And oftentimes, they are the people behind the toys and gifts that help put smiles on our faces during the holidays, and that make our day-to-day more productive.
Don't forget we're here to help your company grow all year round. We offer a free digital health check to assess your online presence with competitors and give you a head start on your new marketing plan for 2022.
Thank you for all that you do, and Happy Holidays from the team at Thomas!
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