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Sheet Metal Fabricators Need Marketing Skills

In 1975 a sheet metal company was set by a great engineer and a businessman and in its first year had a turnover of £7,000.Today they have sales of £9 million, employ 110 people in a 65,000sq ft aerospace accredited facility. Throughout this time they would describe there core competencies as being a general sheet metal supplier, with capabilities in

  • laser,
  • punch,
  • cnc forming,
  • welding,
  • finishing and assembly.
  • Making aerospace cabinets, diagnostic cases and gen set cases for example.
Sheet Metal Fabricators Need Marketing Skills

The interesting for me was the comment made that “We were in among the pack and nothing special”. This typifies the issue that most sheet metal fabricators need marketing skills. Read how this company developed below.

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The “urgent”need for Business Development Skills

In 2005 the company realised it was naive and had to go through a management buy out. This was a whole new world for those running the company, and they realised the only way the business would move forward is if key members of staff had “personal development”

“It’s about being different”

  • Managing people
  • Operational issues
  • What services offered
  • management Information Systems
  • Financial Analysis
  • Strategies for Growth
  • Funding issues
  • and in their opinion Marketing and Customers is the most important

Making It In The UK

The company is passionate about having manufacture in the UK and even more so about making it in their local area. They realised they needed to adapt in order to survive and flourish. Key organisational characteristics

  • Become agile and responsive
    • can make a decision and make it quick
  • Ability to change
    • can make changes quick
  • Investment in the latest technology
  • Speed to market
  • Being truly competitive
    • overcoming the issue in what is the “true” cost in buying from China

How Did They Achieve Being Different

  • Open days
  • Total Project Management
  • Diversification – getting into CNC machining
  • Lean Approach
  • Running design workshops

About Design Workshops For Customers

  • Inform them in the options available (at the early stages its not a fate a comply)
  • If you can provide them with knowledge they can make better decisions
  • Identify where the cost is in a situation
  • See where cost has been added through
    • incorrect material selection
    • tight tolerances being applied (because the designer is lazy)
    • Tooling choices
    • Inappropriate joining methods
    • Finishing

What does the future hold

  • Re starting the Engineering Apprentice Programme
  • Continue to challenge perceptions
  • Continued development of the Alpha cell where they get all the best engineers together to solve problems / develop approaches
  • 3 D printing
  • Customer graduate work experience – whereby customers send their graduates to the company for a couple of weeks to experience the nuts and bolts of what a supplier does
  • A greater focus on Marketing

Sheet Metal Fabricators Need Marketing Skills

In summary: Sheet Metal Fabricators Need Marketing Skills, for more information on Manufacturing business development approaches click here 

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