Let me start by saying that I’m not a ‘lean’ expert. I’ve had the great privilege to meet or come to know some lean giants – people that not only know it, but have put it into practice, managed it, breathed it. I ain’t one of ‘em. I’m a student – they’re the teachers.
But I’ve lived in and served manufacturing long enough to have learned some fundamental truths regarding what lean is, and what it isn’t. I consider myself a sort of Justice Potter Stewart when it comes to the definition of lean: “I cannot intelligibly define it, but I know it when I see it.”
This morning, I read an article called “BMW Chooses Flexibility Over Lean Manufacturing” that astonished me on how much it seemed to get wrong with regard to what lean is, what it isn’t, and how BMW defines their own processes and manufacturing model.
Why do you think we have a shortage of qualified, capable, technically curious manufacturing workers in the US today?
I can’t figure out if we’re just ignorant (if we’ve become completely disassociated from manufacturing), if we’re purposely trying to mislead ourselves, or if we’re whistling in the dark. Regardless, there’s an elephant in the manufacturing labor living room that’s not being given enough credit for our lack of talent:
Our factories are (were) the classrooms that provide(d) inspiration, training, encouragement and growth to potential manufacturing professionals. And we’re killing them.
What does your Website say?
It’s a simple question. But one that leads to other more complex questions.
Does it say what you want? Or does it say what those that you want to work with need to hear about you? Does it give only a high-level, general description of your business – equipment lists, shopfloor pictures, and company history? Or does it take take prospects deeper into what makes you unique.
To paraphrase a friend of mine – you’d better be unique, or you’d better be cheap.
The second step of marketing a manufacturing business online today is your content – that is, what you say about your business to ‘stealth prospects’ that visit your site (and leave) without your knowledge. Here’s how to ensure you can get more business, more attention and give them what they REALLY want.
Here are some content examples for manufacturers’ Web sites that will help you do all that, and build effectively on your base (Step 1).