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Need a Good New Year's Resolution?

By: Brad Kuvin

Wednesday, January 01, 2014
 

If so, I’ve got a suggestion. But before I spring it on you, why not a little history lesson as to the origin of such promises often made, but rarely kept. From Wikipedia we learn that:

• At the start of each year, the ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Sounds like a sound resolution to me.

• The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.

• And in Medieval times, knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to reaffirm their commitment to chivalry.

As the years go by, more and more Americans tend to make New Year’s resolutions—some 40 percent do so now, according to a recent survey, compared to just 25 percent a few decades ago. Unfortunately, while half of those who make resolutions do so with confidence of their success, 88 percent fail to execute. So, you might start by resolving to accomplish what you resolve to do!

I’ve written in this space before of suggested New Year’s resolutions befitting manufacturing companies. Common promises made at this time of the year, as noted on SupplyTimes.com:

1) Investing to improve quality.

2) Seeking s to reduce material-related costs, including reducing scrap.

3) Reviewing packaging costs and seeking more efficient solutions.

4) Beware of idle employees and reengineer processes to compensate.

5) Capital equipment older than 5 yr. may be so inefficient that replacing it with new technology could yield quick payback.

6) Make logistics tasks less labor intensive and more automated, by upgrading to new software that streamlines data entry and helps reduce material handling.

7) Foster teamwork and build a collaborative workplace.

While those are all great resolutions that deserve immediate attention at every metalforming and fabricating company, please allow me to suggest one more:

Make 2014 the year you invest in sales and marketing efforts focused on your current customers.

As noted in my interview with automotive-industry analyst Laurie Harbour (in an article beginning on page 40 of this issue), one of her keys to success for tool and die shops is establishing and reinforcing customer relationships via marketing and sales. Among the benefits: improved success rate on RFQs. Says Harbour:

“By strengthening relationships with their Tier One and OEM customers, first and foremost by investing in sales and marketing programs, tool shops can quote less and enjoy a quote-hit rate of 20 to 30 percent.” That would represent a significant improvement in an industry where the average tool shop, according to Harbour’s survey, sends 3000 to 6000 quotes per year.

Consider this comment from digital marketing executive Ashley Zeckman:

“(Companies) must consider the lifetime value of existing customers and how marketing communications can contribute to that relationship…a five-percent increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25 to 95 percent.”

Welcome to 2014—All of us here at MetalForming magazine and PMA extend to you and yours our sincere wishes for a joyous, healthy and prosperous New Year.

 


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