Machining in the United States
Manufacturing is returning to the United States. The Washington Post has even claimed, “The U.S. is poised to be a rising star in manufacturing.” However, losing business continues for your machine shop. You have been doing what worked for years, but the results continually worsen. Losing business is a difficult question to face, but the sooner you do the better off you will be.
Looking at the numbers the machining industry has had an annual growth of 8.7% from 2010-2015. This growth is expected to continue for products produced by milling, turning, grinding, EDM and ECM. With a constant increase proven by nationally collected data, why are you losing business?
American business owner statistics
To answer this let’s take a look at the ownership of these rapidly growing machine shops, as well as the ownership of companies they provide services for. According to the census only 11% of business owners are over 65, and 53% are between the ages of 34-54. These owners are also highly educated with 64% of them having some college education. Numbers are great, but here is what they mean.
First we need to break machine shop owners and other business owners into separate categories:
Machine shop owners
- Tend to be on the older end of that spectrum. Many are set in their ways that once yielded tremendous results, and opposed to change, or taking risks. Even though they believe they are not taking risks they are still losing business. Not changing is arguably the greatest risk that they take.
Other business owners
- Tend to have the majority of the higher education. Generally speaking they are also younger, and more willing to take risks, and less set in their ways. Lastly, the youngest working generation is known for entrepreneurship, many opening up shops according to their learned trade.
Understanding your client
As a machine shop owner you need to market yourself in front of the right audience, the right way. This is common sense, but not executing this is why you are losing business. Younger generations had an easier time adapting to technology. Their higher education also forced them to become efficient with it. These owners are not getting news from the paper, nor reading the classifieds, they are using their smartphone. News is just the tip of the iceberg. They are finding everything via the Internet, and increasingly less by desktop computer. As younger and younger business owners emerge, the rate of technological fluency drastically increases.
Connecting with the new ownership
For simplicity purposes lets say John Smith loves to work on cars. He is 28-years-old and wants to focus primarily on custom work so he starts his own business. John Smith tells all of his friends on Facebook about his business, and they are all supportive.
When was the last time your machine shop gained this type of support on Facebook?
When was the last time your machine shop did any marketing on Facebook?
The late Steve Jobs gave a fantastic 6-minute presentation that should be used to guide your marketing efforts. His talk is especially applicable to your online efforts.
John Smith is now building a drag car; he needs to have his flywheel machined. John Smith is not going to look in the Yellow Pages or the local newspaper. John Smith immediately turns to the Internet, and finds exactly what he is looking for locally.
Would you have been his search result?
Lets call the Internet present machine shop “shop X” and the traditional machine shop “shop Y.” Shop X decided a while back that traditional methods of marketing were going to be revolutionized by the Internet. They embraced technology early and continually built upon their initial investment. Shop Y has been losing business even though the industry has been growing year-after-year. This has allowed companies like Shop X to grow exponentially faster than the market.
Turning the tables
I’m sure that you know a competitor that grew faster than everyone else, or it may have even been your own machine shop. However, if you are the shop losing business refocusing your marketing efforts digitally will make all the difference. The machining industry is going to continue to grow in the United States, make sure you are getting your piece of the pie.