Friday, March 27, 2015

WEAVING THE WEB OF SUCCESS: 11 Things Hindering Your Website's Performance

We've all heard the buzz about what should be done with a website, but we often forget the simple things that actually drag websites down. Take a few minutes and pay close attention to the following Top 11 things you should NOT do as it relates to your own company website:
  1. Don't think your website just sits there. On too many occasions, MMTC has heard from clients, ‘My website doesn't do anything for us so I don't want to invest in it’. Have you ever considered your website doesn't do anything because YOU haven't invested in it? As your only 24/7 salesman, your website is always available, knowledgeable, and making the same lasting impression to viewers as they would get by stepping into the lobby of your business. Make sure it showcases your business the best it can!

  2. Don't ramble. Excessive webpage content is virtually useless and often ignored. Similar to how people read material, search engines get "tired" of reading never ending page content. They skip over the end of long paragraphs and sections just like most people do. As a result, your company’s website may be ranked lower on a search engine’s results page following a search. Break up content into separate landing pages.

  3. Don’t ignore the importance of headline tagging. Headlines (nicknamed H1s & H2s) are extremely important for search rankings. On your homepage, do you have the headline entitled, "Welcome to Our Website"? I hope not! This is the perfect example of a wasted opportunity. It’s not keyword specific and does not contain anything that is relevant to your website. Tailor it to highlight your company’s unique niche!

  4. Don’t put competitor names in your website Meta data. There is a major misconception out there that adding competitor names to the Meta data of your website helps you “pop up” in results when someone searches them. NEWSFLASH: This will most likely never happen. Search engines look for front-end relevance to back-end (Meta data) content. This means if the keywords you place in your Meta data are not found on your viewable website, search engines will “ding” your ranking. Don't put keywords in the back-end of your website that you wouldn't display to the viewer.

  5. Don't change SEO data too often. Changing search engine Meta tags too often can leave you spinning your wheels. Why? Search engines, on average, re-index an active site every two to four weeks. If a rewording or re-prioritizing of keywords is done between indexing intervals, your original efforts will never show up and you can never measure your efforts.

  6. Waiting to launch a new site until it's PERFECT. DON'T FORGET: The reason you started a new web project in the first place was most likely because your old website stunk. Consider launching a new site, even if all you have is the basics, and make changes as you go. Publishing a fresh company website will gain you search engine momentum.

  7. Don't put much effort into a "Related Links" page. Links you provide to your client as a resource are actually directing visitors away from your site. Be careful on how you use them. The links you GET, not give, are best for SEO.

  8. Don't make an equipment list your main feature. Your website should not only reflect your tangible capabilities, but also those that address customer pains. Showcase what sets you apart, besides machine types, from the shop down the street.

  9. Don't use “Under Construction” pages for unpublished content. If it's under construction, leave it that way. Remove the link, navigation item, button, and Under Construction notice.

  10. Don't link to inactive social media accounts. A button that takes a consumer to your company’s 2009 frozen-in-time Facebook page is a complete letdown. If your social media content isn't going to be reasonably maintained, it's better not to promote it. It turns the notion of social media from "everybody is doing it" to "we tried and we failed”.

  11. Don't be annoyed by SEO spammers. The more popular your website gets, the more spam you will receive, especially by those who claim to improve your SEO rankings. Delete them knowing your site is gaining importance along with the eye of various web crawlers.
MMTC provides web development services to all Michigan manufacturers. Businesses, whether big or small, are making their presence felt on the internet with an effective and optimized website. For more information on MMTC's Website Effectiveness and SEO program, call MMTC at 888.414.6682 or visit www.mmtc.org



Friday, March 20, 2015

Are you in a “Toxic Relationship” with your Current Supply Chain?


At some point in our lives, many of us have been in what’s called a “toxic relationship”. Like most relationships, toxic relationships typically start off pretty well with an infatuation period and a person who makes you very happy.

However, as time goes by, the “butterflies in the stomach” feeling is slowly replaced with bickering. After every fight and wrongdoing, the other person promises to change for the better…but it doesn’t happen. With little improvement to be seen, you’re unsure of why you remain with this person, other than the fact that you dread starting the whole dating process all over again.

Dating and Your Supply Chain
A toxic relationship isn’t just limited to your dating life. You may be stuck in one with your current supply chain. If your current partners aren’t addressing your needs and providing results, it’s time to make some changes. Like a healthy relationship, your supply chain should ultimately help you keep your customers engaged and satisfied. Thankfully, many of us are able to break out of toxic relationships and move on to greener pastures. So let’s do the same with our supply chain!

The Tell-Tale Signs
Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I often have to reschedule or alter deadlines and delivery dates because of delays from my suppliers?
  • Is it difficult to find the exact materials I need at a reasonable price point?
  • Are there various transportation options for my goods?
  • Do I have a back-up plan if there’s an emergency with a supplier?
  • How have my suppliers addressed mistakes or issues from the past?
  • Does your supply chain offer you flexibility?

If you answered any of these questions negatively, it’s time for a break-up!

You are Not Alone
If you’re struggling with your supply chain, you have nothing to feel ashamed about. Whether you’re a national original equipment manufacturer or a small or mid-sized manufacturer, you probably deal with supply chain challenges. In fact, a Next Generation Manufacturing study reported that only 25% of small manufacturers achieve a “near or at world-class supply-chain management” level. The bigger guys didn’t fare terribly better – only 41% are at the same level.

I’m Ready for a Breakup… What’s Next?
Like getting over a breakup, improving your supply chain doesn’t happen overnight. There are resources you can take advantage of:

Supply Chain Consulting Services: MMTC’s Supply Chain Optimization Program focuses on increasing alignment, visibility, and collaboration, resulting in reduced costs, increased quality and delivery, a trained workforce, and compliant processes. For more information about available supply chain consulting services, call MMTC at 888.414.6682.

matchmaking program by mmtc
Matchmaking Program: MMTC offers a Matchmaking Program to help Michigan manufacturers replace underperforming suppliers. The program is supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the search process is based on your unique needs and requirements. Click here for more information or e-mail matchmaking@mmtc.org.

Proud to Manufacture in Michigan Directory: Your dream supplier may have been down the street all along! Michigan manufacturers from various sectors have signed up to be a part of Proud to Manufacture in Michigan. Along with online social media promotion, matchmaking opportunities, and up-to-date industry news e-mail blasts, the Proud to Manufacture in Michigan Program offers access to an online directory displaying profiles of local manufacturers with pictures of their products. Think of it as online dating! Click here to access the directory.

With springtime right around the corner, now is the time to do some spring cleaning with your supply chain. Get out of your toxic relationships and good luck making new connections!

Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Food Safety Goes Global: Implications for Change with the Food Safety Modernization Act


As the world prepares for The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to officially roll out later this year, food processors are already preparing for the impact.

The FSMA and Your Business

The Food Safety Modernization Act represents the most significant expansion of food safety requirements and FDA food safety authorities since the original enactment of the FDCA in 1938. It identifies the need for a modern, global food safety system that focuses on tackling food safety issues before they arise.

The FSMA mandate is broad and includes an overhaul of the FDA food safety program by focusing on:
  • Prevention: For the first time, FDA has a legislative mandate to require comprehensive, prevention-based controls across the food supply.
  • Enhanced Partnerships: Leveraging and integrating state and local food safety systems with federal efforts to enhance nationwide quality, consistency, and efficiency.
  • Imported Food Safety: Implementing an entirely new import oversight program that relies on importers taking greater responsibility for the foods brought into the U.S.
  • Risk-Based Priority: Improving resource management to improve food safety through risk-based priority setting and resource allocation.
  • Increased, Targeted Inspections: Increasing the frequency and enhancing the targeting of inspections based on food safety risk and performance.
    (source www.fda.gov)

Initiators of Change

A recent survey in the March/April 2015 issue of Food Manufacturing Magazine revealed some interesting findings regarding what currently prompts safety changes at food processing facilities. Of those surveyed:
  • 69% will make a change when new products are being processed
  • 68.6% update their food safety plan when new equipment is purchased
  • 67% will make a change to their plan if they discover a better or more efficient way of doing things
  • Regulations changes are responsible for 63% of respondents changing their food safety plan
  • 58% make updates to their food safety plan when a new ingredient is used

Support in Numbers

So what is the overlying theme?  Most of these changes fall under the umbrella of having a good Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan. Your HACCP system is crucial for assessing risks and putting controls in place to minimize those risks. Once new factors or variables are introduced into your existing, verified and validated plan, the plan must then be updated. Nothing can doom a food processor faster than a food recall, or worse yet deaths, due to consumption of tainted food.

Get Ahead of the Game

While most companies tend to resist change and the increase of a regulatory presence, the food industry seems to be supportive and proactive in their efforts to produce the safest food possible, ahead of schedule.

Let MMTC assist you! To help navigate the uncertain waters ahead, MMTC offers Food Tools of the Trade, a comprehensive, three-day program covering food safety topics, process improvement techniques, and strategies for increasing efficiency. With more than two decades of experience in continuous process improvement, MMTC's expertise will prove vital when making changes and updating your procedures.

DON'T WAIT, REGISTER TODAY

Food Tools of the Trade Program
May 5-7, 2015   |   Plymouth, MI
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