Friday, February 27, 2015

Social Media: An Important Gear in the Manufacturing Marketing Machine

With much buzz circulating the business world about the advantages of social media, it may
(or may not) be surprising to hear that social media strategy has been slowly embraced as an effective marketing effort by manufacturers. Although the internet revolution has drastically changed the way companies do business, many manufacturers still believe client interaction via social media, especially business to business dialogue, is a virtually impossible task.

If done incorrectly or the proper effort isn’t put forward, this is emphatically and whole-heartedly TRUE. It is impossible and offers you no return. But, the truth is, social media can make a tremendous difference for your company if you know what you’re doing.
Social media can position you to gain an advantage over your competition. Many companies resort to social media only for the benefit of SEO, which definitely helps, but they are missing a great opportunity. Consider a different perspective with your social media activity by executing the following five ‘P’s:
  1. PICK – Choosing your social media avenue is very important. Being all things to all people is impossible. Don’t think your business has to have an account on every social platform. Strategically pick your outlets. Research what your competitors are doing online and where your customers may be engaging.  For example, if you find your customers and/or competitors aren’t on Facebook, your time and effort may be wasted on utilizing that specific site.
  2. PLACE – After researching client and competitor activity, place your accounts on those decided upon social media platforms, claiming your presence.
  3. POPULATE – Fill in all the required data and then some. Maximize the available fields unique to each social media platform. If there is a blank space, fill it in. If you are allowed 2500 characters, don’t settle for only typing in 145. This is your opportunity to shine and highlight what your company excels in. And, if you are ever considering paying for an account upgrade, ask yourself one question first: Have I maximized all the available free options to strengthen my account as much as possible?
  4. PLAN – Set a schedule of who will be posting, what content is to be shared, and how often.  Without a plan, it is easy for weeks to go by without activity.
  5. PERFORMANCE – Decide how your company is going to measure success. Is it by the number of followers? Is it by engagement quality? Measuring is easy with built in metrics available through most administration dashboards. If you measure the effectiveness of your posts, you can duplicate their success in the future.
Good luck!

If you find yourself in over your head and need help digging yourself out, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center can help discuss your specific situation with you. For more information, call 888.414.6682 or visit www.mmtc.org.
 

Friday, February 20, 2015

How Obtaining ISO Certification Helps When Exporting

Did you know that 95% of the world’s customers live outside the U.S.? If your company isn’t exporting – you’re missing out on a lot of potential business. Exporting is a great way for smaller manufacturers to increase sales, diversify their customer base and embrace new innovations and product developments.

Before You Start, Obtain ISO
Just like you do domestically, you’re going to have competition when you try to expand overseas. This shouldn’t deter Michigan’s manufacturers from exporting, but you should be prepared. A great way to begin planning your exporting process starts at home. Begin research into ISO 9000 and look into ISO certification as soon as possible.

Get to Know ISO
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a non-governmental organization that sets the international standards for industrial and commercial businesses and companies. These standards help businesses better comply with all markets, regardless of the country or region. Currently, there are more than 160 participating members of ISO, which presents a wealth of potential untapped markets for small businesses looking to expand. 

ISO provides a wide variety of standards, or specific guidelines, for companies and businesses to abide by in order to qualify for certification within a certain area. Although ISO doesn’t offer the actual certifications, they do provide ways to come into contact with local certifiers near your business. To date, one of the best and most utilized certifications available for manufacturers is ISO 9000.

ISO Updates Establish International Credibility
ISO 9000—or as it is sometimes referred, 9001, which is the latest update—is specifically designed for quality management. ISO 9000 sets the standards for the ideal management skills and styles to best suit a customer’s requirements, while still maintaining a consistent level of quality. By certifying your manufacturing business for ISO, international markets will be able to recognize your business’ commitment to maintaining the highest level of quality possible. 

MMTC recently published a blog entry about the updates. Click here to learn more!

Act Today
For Michigan’s manufacturers, obtaining ISO is critical. These certifications allow a business to build new client bases and open up the opportunity to expand to international markets.

MMTC provides training and on-site assistance in developing Quality Management Systems registration and compliance for ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949, ISO 13485, ISO 14001, and ISO 17025, among others. MMTC provides a cost-effective approach to prepare internal personnel in developing, managing and maintaining a quality system to comply with appropriate standards in preparation for formal registration. Training programs focus on required policies, procedures, and work instructions.

For more information, click here!


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, February 13, 2015

Looking Under the Hood, ISO 9001:2015 Changes

 

After looking over the Draft International Standard (DIS) for ISO 9001:2015, it appears that ISO did more than just move things around. ISO 9001, the world's leading quality management standard, is under revision, with an updated version due by the end of 2015.Listed below are some of the changes that were made.

Additions and Relabeling
ISO 9001:2015 will now have 10 clauses instead of eight. Items have also been relabeled to better describe what should be accomplished. For example, “Purchasing” is now called “Externally Provided Products and Services” and “Document Control” has changed to “Control of Documented Information”. The Document Control label change now addresses what we always wanted it to: To make sure the information was controlled not just the piece of paper.

Preventive Action
Expect a few other rather significant changes in ISO 9001:2015, with one being Preventive Actions. The current Preventive Action (8.5.3) has always been perceived as weak due to it being a basic rewording of Corrective Action. Now, it has moved forward to the Planning Area (6.1) and incorporates what used to be Quality System Planning (5.4.1). It is a logical pairing of the two and a welcome modification.

QMS Strengths
Your Quality Management System (QMS) gains some considerable horsepower with the strengthening of Risk Analysis in the planning process. Had a stronger emphasis been placed on Risk Analysis in product planning and design, QMS could have been enhanced a bit more. And, speaking of horsepower, management representatives should like clause 6.2, “Quality Objectives and Planning to Achieve Them”. At MMTC, we have been preaching for many years that Quality Policy and Quality Objectives need to cascade down to the floor level. Many of you see that disconnect on a daily basis. “Quality Objectives and Planning to Achieve Them” puts a bit more torque in your efforts to get a Quality Policy that actually works.

There are many more features, both major and minor, to discuss with ISO 9001:2015. As time progresses, we will cover more, dig a little deeper, kick the tires and peek into the interior.

For more information on ISO, tools and methodologies, contact MMTC at 888.414.6682 or via email at inquiry@mmtc.org. Find upcoming seminars at www.mmtc.org


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.