Welding and fabrication company, Derbyshire May 2006
This case study shows how every single benefit of the Internet has been missed.
We approached this engineering comany and explained that a few free and simple changes on their website would make a positive difference to their business. As business was not good and they were facing closure, we seemed to get their attention and completed our free Internet business consultancy session.
During the session it emerged that they had an idea to diversify the business a little and construct a metal cabinet with radio frequency properties. This product had to be custom built and would be of definite interest to the UK and overseas market.
They told us that it was easily achievable within their skills, time and budget but they had to leave the idea alone until the company future was more predictable.
6 months later, we had the following conversation (shortened in the interests of brevity)
ICAM Ltd: So how is business at the momet?
Company:Great, we now have more than we know what to do with.
ICAM Ltd:Excellent news, what has changed since the last time we spoke to you?
Company: We don't know, business just started coming in, we didn't do anything to change that.
ICAM Ltd:Does your business cycle always do this?
Company:Yes, and we have noticed that slow periods are becoming longer, thats the reason we nearly closed last year.
ICAM Ltd:Maybe now is the time to make hay while the sun shines? While business is good, you could invest in promoting the radio cabinet on the Internet which would generate business to take you through future slow periods. Maybe even give you an opportunity to focus on a more profitable side to your business?
Company: We are not interested in using the Internet for that.
ICAM Ltd: What makes you think it would not work for you?
Company: We have been working the same way for over 30 years and never used or needed the Internet.
ICAM Ltd: How many times have you faced closing the business?
Company: We have survived until now without using the Internet and our website proves it. We have not had a single enquiry from it.
ICAM Ltd: Thats because its broken. The search engines don't know about you. How about I fix it for you free of charge and when you see the difference, lets talk about using the Internet for the whole of your business?
Company: No thanks, the Internet cannot help us. It didn't help us in the last 30 years, it won't help us now.
We suspect we would have a very different conversation if they were facing closure again. The point of showing these case studies is to see if you are making the same decisions about using the Internet for your business.
This is not an isolated incident in the engineering sector. Over 75% of engineering companies we speak to have similar entrenched views about using the Internet for business. They happily spend 1000's of pounds on equipment to use on customers that might contact them.
We hear the "no money in engineering" replies and agree that general engineering in UK is not great. However, niche markets, specialised skills and equipment are in great demand.
It is a cliche total quality management phrase but it applies in this instance:
"If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got"
Which leads nicely to one of my favourites:
"change or die"