Archive for the ‘ Manufucturers ’ Category

Do you need a reference list of #Twitter #Hastags for #Mfg?

As more and more people join Twitter and other social media outlets they are finding a rather steep learning curve for all of the nomenclature used.  This is particularly true with regard to #Hashtags.

Short messages on services such as Twitter or may be tagged by including one or more hash tags: words or phrases prefixed with a hash symbol (#), with multiple words concatenated… These hash tags also show up in a number of trending topicswebsites, including Twitter’s own front page. One phenomenon specific to the Twitter ecosystem are micro-memes, which are emergent topics for which a hash tag is created, used widely for a few days, then disappears. – Wikipedia

Again, with the massive influx of people from the manufacturing sector entering Twitter, it’s become very hard to search for or decide what the various common hashtags mean. But never fear, there’s an app for that! Well, sort of, it’s actually a website called TagDef.  Short of going there, you can check out the following is a list of commonly used hastags in the twitterverse and, in particular, the manufacturing & metalcutting industry.

Common #hashtags:

#Aero – Topics related to the aerospace & defense industry

#Aerospace – Typically the term is used to refer to the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air and space. Aerospace is a very diverse field, with a multitude of commercial, industrial and military applications. This hashtag covers a great many topics. Please see the above hashtag “#aero” which appears to be more manufacturing industry specific.

#AMT – refers to Alternative Minimum Tax which has the most volume.  Although it has been used for The Association For Manufacturing Technology the larger population already on Twitter uses the first definition. Organizations should select Hastags and post their definitions sooner rather than later.

#AMTDA – American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association is a Trade Association dedicated to lead distributors of manufacturing technology. Found at and

#AutoMfg – Topics related to the automotive industry as it pertains to design & manufacture of automotive components.
Defined by the following NAICS codes:

  • 336111 Automobile Manufacturing
  • 336112 Light Truck and Utility Vehicle Mfg
  • 336120 Heavy Duty Truck Manufacturing
  • 336211 Motor Vehicle Body Manufacturing
  • 336212 Truck Trailer Manufacturing
  • 336213 Motor Home Manufacturing
  • 336214 Travel Trailer and Camper Manufacturing
  • 336311 Carburetor, Piston, Piston Ring, and Valve
  • 336312 Gasoline Engine and Engine Parts Mfg
  • 336321 Vehicular Lighting Equipment Mfg
  • 336322 Other Motor Vehicle Electrical and Electronic Equipment Manufacturing
  • 336330 Motor Vehicle Steering and Suspension Components (except Spring) Manufacturing
  • 336340 Motor Vehicle Brake System Mfg336350 Motor Vehicle Transmission &Power Train
  • 336360 Motor Vehicle Seating and Interior Trim
  • 336370 Motor Vehicle Metal Stamping
  • 336391 Motor Vehicle Air-Conditioning Mfg
  • 336399 All Other Motor Vehicle Parts Mfg

#cadcam – Topics related to CAD/CAM: Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing. Often associated with Computer-Aided technologies #CAx, Product Lifecycle Management #PLM

#CMTS – Although it does not appear as a hashtag per se, as it often appears in the form #CMTs as an alternative version of #CMT for what appears to be Country Music Television. It does not refer to Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show although, as that show gets closer, the folks  @SocMfgEng should select an appropriate hashtag

#CNC – Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machine tools. CNC-like systems are now used for any process that can be described as a series of movements and operations. These include laser cutting, welding, friction stir welding, ultrasonic welding, flame and plasma cutting, bending, spinning, pinning, gluing, fabric cutting, sewing, tape and fiber placement, routing, picking and placing (PnP), and sawing.

#CTD – Cutting Tool Distributor.

#defense – There is no definition for this category as it encompasses topics from defense in football, defense (#military) policy and economics.  For topics related to defense manufacturing please see the above hashtag #aero

#DOD – Tweets regarding the U.S. Department of Defense carry this tag. This tag is used by various gamers as well

#ERP – Topics about Enterprise Resource Planning, a system that is used to manage and coordinate all the resources, information, and functions of a business

#FB – This tag is used by people who have installed the Selective Twitter Update application on Facebook. Tweets ending in #fb are automatically imported to Facebook, all others are ignored. Just a note, if #fb appears anywhere other than at the end of the tweet, it will not sync with Facebook.

#FF – #ff is the same as (short for) #followfriday: Every friday you can use #followfriday (#FF) to suggest people to follow.

#green – Tweets related to sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of living.

#IMTS – International Manufacturing Technology Show found at

#inshoring = “#reshoring” and “#inshoring” may be thought of as the ‘opposite’ of Offshoring. It is the business process outsourcing work domestically within a given country

#ISO – Refers to the International Organization for Standardization

#ISO-P – An #ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining a variety of #steels.

#ISO-M – An #ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining ductile irons, harder steels, stainless steels, and high-temperature alloys.

#ISO-K – An #ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining cast irons.

#ISO-N – An #ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining a variety of Aluminum wrought and Aluminum cast alloys, copper, copper alloys, non metal materials

#ISO-S – An #ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining a variety heat-resistant alloys like Nickel/Cobalt-base alloys & Titanium alloys

#ISO-H – An #ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining a variety Hard materials such as Hardened steels (>35-45 HRC), chilled castings, hard cast irons

#JIMTOF – Topics related to the Japan International Machine Tool Fair. More details at

#JobShop – Topics that relate to Job shops which are typically small manufacturing businesses that handle job production, that is, custom/bespoke or semi-custom/bespoke manufacturing processes such as small to medium-size customer orders or batch jobs.

#Lathe – Topics related to lathe: a machine tool which spins the workpiece to perform various operations such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, or deformation with tools that are applied to the workpiece to create an object which has symmetry about an axis of rotation.Lathes are used in woodturning, metalworking, metal spinning, and glassworking.

#Lean – Noun: the name given to the philosophy of delivering maximum value to stakeholders with the least possible waste. Predominantly associated with the Toyota Production System and Toyota Product Development System, derived from the works of Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo amongst others.

#Logistics – Logistics topics are about the management of the flow of the goods, information and other resources in a repair cycle between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet the requirements of customers

#Materials – Topics related to Materials: anything made of matter, constituted of one or more substances. Metal, Wood, cement, etc. Sometimes the term “material” is used more narrowly to refer to substances or components with certain physical properties that are used as inputs to production or manufacturing.

#materialhandling – Topics in Material Handling are about the movement, storage, control and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal

#medicaldevice – A medical device is a product which is used for medical purposes in patients, in diagnosis, therapy or surgery.

#Milling – Topics related to milling machines, CNC milling, cutting tools, milling problems, milling products, End Mills, Face Mill, Shell Mills. etc

#Metalcutting – Topics related to the metalcutting manufacturing industry using lathes and mills in the production of components in SIC 33-39, NAICS 31-33

#Metrology – Topics related to the science of measurement.

#MFG – “MFG” is used to reference topics that relate to global manufacturing and the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale. Be aware that an alternative definition is posted from the folks at #NAM (see below)

#Moldmaking – Topics related to moldmaking: Anyone who produces molds for the injection molding (plastics), die casting (e.g. aluminium, magnesium) and ceramics industries.

#MTD – Machine Tool Dealer

#NAM – The NAM – Advocacy for U.S. Manufacturing. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers create jobs and growth, visit  Be aware that the more common usage of the hashtag “#NAM” is by Viet Nam veterans and National Adoption Month.

#Plastics – Topics related to plastic materials is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products

#reshoring – “#reshoring” and “#inshoring” may be thought of as the ‘opposite’ of Offshoring. It is the business process outsourcing work domestically within a given country

#SocialMedia – Social Media is an emerging form of news and information distribution that may soon replace traditional media like newspapers, magazines, tv and radio

#SM – Social Media

#SMD – Social Media Design

#SMI – Social Media Implementation

#SMM – Social Media Monitoring

#SMO – Social Media Optimization

#SMT – Social Media Training

#STEM – Refers to topics related to he acronym S.T.E.M. which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.In many forums (including political/governmental and academic) the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation’s ability to sustain itself.

#subtweet – It’s the shortening of “subliminal tweet” which is directly referring to a particular person without mentioning their name or directly mentioning them and it basically indicates that the tweet in which the hashtag is used is a subliminal tweet.

#sustainability – is in use by several different interest groups. Use at your own risk as it relates to manufacturing.

#USMTC – United States Manufacturing Technology Consumption found at Manufacturing Technology Market DataTimely, Comprehensive, ConfidentialAvailable to Builders and Distributors180 Manufacturing Technology Product CategoriesNational and State Time Series Orders DataGeographic Sales Territory Orders DataMachine Orders by End User Industry

#workforce – Topics related to the workforce: The labour pool in employment. It is generally used to describe those working for a single company or industry, but can also apply to a geographic region like a city, country, state, etc

#Workholding – Broad category of Topics related to workholding and fixturing in lathes & mills in the production of components in SIC 33-39; NIACS 31-33.

#WW – is either Worth Watching, Writing Wednesday, Wine Wednesday or Wedding Wednesday depending upon the context used.  A rather good example of why researching hastags is important in your business, organization or event.

#xmas (#cmas) – short for Christmas

For more definitions on hashtags be sure to visit TagDef

If you know of more hashtags that should be on the list be sure to leave a comment below and I’ll add them.

If you want to learn more about Social Media marketing in the industrial sector please contact us at:

Rapid Production Marketing

tel: 412.996.5700

Who leads the charge in Social Media? Marketing, PR, Sales, Customer Service?

Who leads the charge in Social Media? Marketing, PR, Sales, Customer Service?

Customer Service, Sales & Marketing; Who leads?

Social Media is a ‘new’ way to sell.  Selling is, after all, about relationships. People do business with people that they “like” and merely having a website, literature, advertising,etc. isn’t going to generate revenue.
What Social Media is doing is creating a new paradigm.  I know that that sounds cliché. But I believe that it’s creating a new “type” of business.  Traditional marketing adapted, very successfully in the 1980’s thru 1990’s, to creating websites after they had experience in graphics, advert buys, copywriting and literature development. It was a natural evolution.

However, Social Media has created an environment where front line sales and front line customer service people are directly affected.  Frankly, the people who tend to “get it” are the folks in the sales and CRM areas: It makes sense to them. It’s about one-on-one relationships. It’s what they already do.

I’ve spoken to a great deal of sales people who have expressed concerns about their “marketing” departments not “getting it”  Not that that “disconnect” is a new phenomenon, but now they are seeing how it can directly affect their income…. and they want more control so they can make more money, have better relationships and  sell more.

I read an article over twenty years ago that said “Small companies spend years trying to become big companies and big companies are constantly trying to figure out ways to become as responsive, nimble, and aggressive as small companies.”  The reality is that the people who are the best salespeople don’t always make the best managers and the best managers are not generally the best salespeople (Yes, there are always exceptions.)

As companies get bigger they create marketing, customer service and sales departments. Marketing management consults sales management and, in good faith, creates tools for the field.  Sometimes they get it right. Sometimes they don’t.  Sometimes sales management doesn’t always “get what the sales people need. In the new Social Media paradigm, marketing will work more closely with sales and customer service.  Marketing will create the tools and sales and customer service will USE them with and insight role for marketing.  Note, I said “insight” and not “oversight”. That loss of control could take some getting used to, but THAT is what is going to drive ROI.

So, I suspect we are going to see a “blending” of sales PR, CRM and marketing functions.  I also think we are going to see new leaders sprout up within this new paradigm. Their backgrounds could be in marketing, customer service and/or sales.  Social Media converges these traditionally separated business units and skill sets.

I have spoken to a number of traditional marketing people who have approached me to ask a variety of questions about social media.  More often than not I find that there is a certain level of discomfort: “I don’t know these products” “I don’t know these services in that level of detail”  In fact, I sat in on a marketing webinar recently and listened to the moderator say “We’re getting a lot of comments about how people are uncomfortable talking about budgets and ROI. If you’re not comfortable talking about budgets you should take a sales class, we can’t help you with that”  The marketing folks that “get” selling and understand that something has to be sold in this new paradigm will be successful.

Certainly delivering “analytics” is valuable but when it comes down to the brass tacks someone has to sell something and there has to be a demonstrated ROI for social media. You can’t just come in, build it, create graphics and say “Here’s how you measure it”.  You have to “DO IT” and/or

…. you have to train.  Unlike traditional marketing that would create a website and great landing pages, now marketing has to either become much more intimate with the products or services, they have to know how to “sell,” or they need to know how to “train” people how to use the new sales tools… and it is my belief that THAT is what Social Media tools are: Sales Tools.  Marketing need not learn the product or service nuances, they need to teach the right people how to use them…

man’s got to know his limitations Lieutenant Briggs

As a result of Social Media I think we will see marketing, sales, and customer service arrive in the space together, each bringing a “piece” of what they are good at to create something new. I think the tool has finally arrived that can make everyone more responsive, nimble, and aggressive. Now the trick is to get the tools in the right hands and the right leadership in place.


Successful implementation of Social Media tools gets everyone working together in the engagement


As always, your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.  If you would like to discuss this in more detail feel free to contact us at our website: Rapid Production Marketing

Image 1 from: Battalion Wars n-Europe

Image 2 from: Battalion Wars Gamespy

Battalion Wars is an integrated battle strategy game… You might be surprised what your kids are learning from “gaming”


UPDATE: March 7, 2011

Here’s a link to several articles on the same subject:

Social Media’s Little Image Problem (or how to work for fame and glory)

A Day in the Life of Your Friendly Community Manager

The Hectic Schedule of a Social Media Manager




Using Social Media Tools: LinkedIn as a Selling Tool

We’ve covered quite a bit of topics about how to set up Social Media accounts, demographics and details of how they work.

The question that seems to be arising now is “How do I use the tools?”

How to use LinkedIn for selling

Anyone who has been in sales for any amount of time has heard at some point the importance of developing “Rapport” with customers.  Selling, after all, is a process. There are various selling “systems” out there but all of them start with the first step: Rapport

Rapport is one of the most important features or characteristics of subconscious communication. It is commonality of perspective: being “in sync” with, or being “on the same wavelength” as the person with whom you are talking.

There are a number of techniques that are supposed to be beneficial in building rapport such as: matching your body language (i.e., posturegesture, etc.); maintaining eye contact; and matching breathing rhythm. Some of these techniques are explored in neuro-linguistic programming.

The first time a salesperson has a meeting with a new “prospect” they are looking for things that they might have in common with the person.  This could be a hobby, an interest, or even a discussion about something in the office.  The main idea of building rapport is to demonstrate that you are “human” and not just interested in taking someone’s money. It’s about developing a level of trust.

Often times this step in the selling process is one of the most difficult and can be very time-consuming.  LinkedIn offers a solution.  By inviting a new “prospect” to connect with you on LinkedIn you can accomplish several steps in rapport building all at the same time. IF your profile is complete.

With a complete LinkedIn Profile your new contact can find out more about you, your hobbies, your interests, the books you’ve read, the recommendations you have received, and potentially know some people whom you are already connected to whom they trust.

Sandler Sales Systems Submarine: Rapport is the 1st Step


It’s actually pretty simple.

However, that’s why it’s of critical importance to complete your LinkedIn profile.  If you can’t communicate your experience, your background, or don’t have any recommendations, then you’re not going to be able to use this social media tool effectively.

Here’s what you should complete:

  1. Summary – Complete your summary.  It’s really what it sounds like.  Tell everyone your background and skill sets so they know your strengths.
  2. Profile Picture – A picture is worth thousand words.  It’s also helpful if you are meeting someone for the first time.  Now they know what you look like and you’re not saying “I have a blue jacket and wear glasses” Here’s a LINK to an older article about profile pictures LinkedIn that I think you’ll find useful.
  3. Experience – Merely putting down the company name and a your job title isn’t going to cut it.  If  you want to build rapport, you’ll need to add details about your experience.  If you have been in sales for any amount of time you will dread meeting someone for the first time and their expectations and yours about the nature of the conversation are 180 degrees apart.  What you do, what your experience is, is NOT what they are looking for to begin with.
  4. References – At some point in a sales career you will be asked for references.  References and recommendations are sometimes seen as a stall tactic. More often than not, it’s because the salesperson hasn’t developed enough rapport or trust with a prospect.  LinkedIn provides you with a ready-made way to provide references before the meeting.  That’s just one reason why you should be asking your most trusted connections, those whom you have had professional experiences with, for a recommendation.

Essentially, by using LinkedIn as a sales tool you “shorten the cycle.”  That first meeting, whether it be on the phone or in-person, tends to move forward with much more ease as both parties are already familiar with each other, have some rapport built, and can get down to the business at hand quicker. This makes everyone much more efficient in the use of their time.

There are several other items on your LinkedIn profile you want to look at as well, but these were covered in an earlier posting entitled “Social Media 101 For Mfg, part 1: LinkedIn” You may want to take a quick peek at the article if you haven’t already.

As always, your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.  If you would like to discuss this in more detail feel free to contact us at our website: Rapid Production Marketing


Industrial Equipment Sales via Social Media

A shorter version of this article appeared in the American Machine Tool Distributor’s AssociationToolTalk” newsletter in October 2010 starting on Page 4

This article on social media is going to be a bit different than previous articles that have appeared in Tool Talk.  We’re going to address some of the core questions that the AMTDA membership has been asking:

  • “Is this just a fad? Should I just wait until the dust settles to get in?”
  • “What are the best Social Media places to be? Where are my customers?”
  • “I don’t have enough time to respond to emails, how am I going to manage these marketing efforts”
  • “How do I know what my ROI is? How do I measure it?”

Flashback 1993:

Q: “What’s your email address?”

A: “We don’t have one. We do everything by fax, That’s too new. We’re going to wait and see if people use it”

Is it a Fad?

Pew Study US Internet Users 2010

Social media is generating the same conversations today.  The big difference is that the “tools” to use and manage social media are expanding exponentially and will continue to expand.  The pace of change in the last 18 months in Social Media would be like moving from NC Tape Machines to full integration of MT Connect in the same time period.

“While social media use has grown dramatically across all age groups, older users have been especially enthusiastic over the past year about embracing new networking tools. Social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled—from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010.

  • Between April 2009 and May 2010, social networking use among internet users ages 50-64 grew by 88%–from 25% to 47%.
  • During the same period, use among those ages 65 and older grew 100%–from 13% to 26%.
  • By comparison, social networking use among users ages 18-29 grew by 13%—from 76% to 86%.”

-“Older Adults & Social Media”, Mary Madden, PEW Internet, August 27, 2010

….It’s not a fad.

Should I just wait to “get in?”

Customer: “Ok, So our first new 6 pallet Horizontal CNC hits my floor in 5 days, That’s going to be perfect. We want to move our two families of 10,000 parts/month onto them and ship 20,000 at the end of the month in 15 days before our competitor gets the work”

You already know that that is not realistic.  But that is the same kind of thinking that is taking place in Social Media.

“Hey, we can just set up a Twitter account in a few minutes”

Well, yes you can, but, just like the first time buyer of a machine tool, there’s still an awful lot to learn. The sooner you start learning, the farther in front of your competitors you’ll be.  This is a pro-active approach.  Too many b-to-b companies, particularly exhibitors at IMTS, took a reactive approach. They jumped in and created their “social media brand names” without first having personal accounts so they understood how it works.

So the best way to learn is to set up some social media personal accounts.

Start with your LinkedIn Profile.

  1. Does your profile web link say “My Company”  or contain your actual company name?
  2. Create a Company Page – it’s that little document icon next some people’s company name.

…get in now. Be Sure to read the article Social Media 101 for Mfg, part 1: LinkedIn for more details.

What are the best Social Media places to be as a Machine Tool Distributor?

  1. YouTube – It’s the simplest way to enable your sales force to have all of their product videos in one place.  You don’t need to re-create the wheel or even upload any videos.  You can go in and “favorite” your builder’s videos after you create your own channel.
  2. Twitter “Twitter’s like snack food: it tastes good, it’s fun to eat but there’s no nutritional value” In some sense, the above statement is true.  But with two  BIG caveats: It’s all in what you make of it, and, most importantly, it s FOUNDATION level application.  Without going into a lot of detail about API’s and tech jargon, what you need to know is that Twitter connects to almost everything. It’s like the junction box in an electrical system.
  3. 43% of U.S. companies will be blogging by 2012

    Blog“I don’t know what to write about, I don’t have content” Press releases, news articles, technical information…. Cut and paste.  There is lots of content available. Obviously, clear all of this with the content owners.  Actually a Blog is one of the very best things you can create. Think about this for a moment. When you type a search into Google, you don’t type just “CNC” you type what you are looking for: “cnc swiss screw machine multi axis.” You have learned over the years that by typing more information you are more likely to find exactly what you are looking for in a topic.  This is called a “long tail search.” That’s very important to know because it’s how your customers find out about your company and your products. It becomes even more important because the new algorithms used by search engines are location based.  You’ve probably noticed that when you use a “long tail search” and you’re in Chicago you don’t get listings for many places in Europe.  That’s not because there aren’t places in Europe it’s because they are NOT near Chicago.

  4. Facebook“That’s for kids.” Step back from any preconceived notions and think about this from a business standpoint.  There is a war going on.  Two data collection monoliths, Facebook & Google, are each trying to outdo each other.  In April 2010 Facebook announced at their annual “F8” conference the “Open Graph”: That’s why you are seeing the “LIKE” button appear everywhere. Here’s why that’s important:  If you recall the first time you got a day planner you learned that you should not only put your business appointments down but also soccer games, weddings and personal events. Time management 101. Your life is 24 hours a day. Facebook at it’s core is personal. But your personal life affects your business and vice-versa. Facebook collects personal data and associates it with your interests. If your title is “CNC machinist,” it permits advertisers to target that. Although Google has a massive database, they have not “aggregated” demographics as deep down as Facebook. They are both competing for ad space. If you were at IMTS in Chicago and logged into Facebook, you may have seen some ads running.  But you would have only seen them if you were with in 5 miles of McCormick Place, between 7pm -10pm, were male, between 35-55, and had some keyword in your profile indicating you were in our industry. The “pay-per-click” cost .60 cents each and had a cap on the amount spent by the advertiser. Yes, you can do that level of targeted advertising. Creating a Facebook Page is a way to become “engaged’ and be in front of your customer when they get home from work.  The busiest time on Facebook is Wednesday and Friday evening, but we’ll talk about that more later…

Where are my Customers?

They are “IN” all for the above digital spaces and probably another 1,000 more.

Have you ever purchased something online?  Have you looked down at the product reviews and decided against the purchase of something because of the reviews?  Then, did you think  “Wow, I wonder why that manufacturer isn’t reading that and fixing it? They’re getting really bad press”  The problem is that the manufacturer may not even know about the comments to address them. But B-to-B  consumers ARE researching and engaging each other.

There are a number of free products out there to use to search for who’s talking about what.  I would recommend going to Social Mention and type in your company name and brands and see what appears.  You will find that you can drill down and drill down more and then drill down even more into exactly who is talking about what where.

“How do I manage all of these marketing efforts?”

“There’s an APP for that!”  Well, actually, there are a multitude of application dashboards so that you can see ALL of your social media sites.

Realize that the heavy users of Social Media are NOT online every minute.  They have done several things, which are very important to be aware of, as you ponder social media marketing:

1. They have “wired” their social media sites together.  In all reality you can only be in one place at a time.  Different users will be using different channels at the same moment.  You notice that when you channel surf on TV that you see the same commercials sometimes?  It’s just like that. In order to maximize your exposure you “connect” the sites to each other so you don’t have to post the same thing over and over again.

Remember when I explained that Twitter was a “junction box”? This is how it “connects” Twitter

permits the sharing between sites better than most any other social media site.

Here are a couple of examples of dashboard app’s:

2. They have Pre-programmed “Tweets” and announcements. If you already do a newsletter email or product announcements electronically, you have content to use.

Two very good examples of how this can be done is to take a look at Criterion Machine Works or TechniksUSA Blog sites.  Once a blog is posted it is automatically tweeted, posted on their Facebook page and appears in a number of social media outlets.


The Blogs can be programmed to post at a given time and, once the switch is flipped on the timer, everything else happens seamlessly.

That however, is not where it ends.  Unlike just sending it out there and hoping people read it, now your customer can interact back with you.

Think of social media like your cell phone. You should check it a couple times a day with your dashboard application and see if you have messages, comments, or questions and then “engage” the customer in some “conversation.”

Measuring ROI

Just as there are a number of dashboard app’s there are an innumerable number of “analytics” to gage and measure success in real time.

In fact, some of the dashboard applications I mentioned earlier have the measurement tools built right into them. Measuring is actually pretty easy.

Without going into a tremendous amount of detail on measurement tools, be aware that the list of measurement tools practically exceeds the number of social media outlets that exist.  Just for Twitter there are sites like Analytic.lyTwifficiency and Twitteranalyzer. Facebook has built-in analysis tools for their Page.  Your ROI is really going to be determined by what you put into the effort.  Just like a salesperson, the more you engage, the more return.  If you sit in the office and just send out emails and don’t follow up to engage into the conversation not much is going to happen.  “Engaging” is the key to ROI and the analysis tool sets are all going to measure this kind of activity and report on it.

Where to Start

“I’ve gotta interpolate down and then ramp into this corner with a ½” tool at an 8 thou chip load and I need a 32 finish. Which is better Linear guides vs. box ways? How’s your look ahead on that?”

Learn by Doing (National Training Laboratories)

The first time you heard that it would have been like a foreign language.  Social Media also has it’s own language:

“I put the hashtag in the summary blog post & the metatag to increase my SEO”

So where do you start?  You can’t arrive in our industry green and expect to know everything. Same thing applies for social media.

Start with a personal account on:

  • Twitter –  Set up Twitter account and follow some people. You can follow @RPMconsultants where we tweet about social media or my personal Twitter account, @bernardtmartin where I tweet about Education, STEM, F1, Economics and Foreign Affairs. You can then check out who we follow, learn some basics, ask some questions.
  • Facebook – Set up a personal account, be sure to set your account settings to “friends only” across all categories and then search for “International Manufacturing Technology Show” or “AMTDA” on Facebook.  Look at whom they have made favorites on their Company page.  Hit the “LIKE” button.

The first step is really about “learning” about how to use these tools for your business.

What NOT to do & Where to begin

  • DON”T go out and set up accounts in YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook for your company right this minute! That’s would be like a customer saying “I want to buy the CNC with the Green Paint, I like that color.”
  • Set up your personal accounts and then go to “Knowem” Search for some available names.  I’ve talked to many machinery distributor owners and employees over the years and heard “Yea, our website name is WAY too long, but it’s what we’re stuck with.”

Unlike registering your web address, your URL, with a service that reports to one central agency for verification, called ICANN, there is no single service registration of your “Social Media Brand name”

Places like Knowem allow you to search for brand names.

You want to use the same Brand name in ALL of your social media spaces.

There are several considerations in the selection of THAT name:

  • Shorter is better. Remember Twitter on permits 140 characters in “tweets” You don’t want to eat up half of it with your company name and be limited on your message.
  • Use the same name in all social media spaces. That bears worth repeating. Remember that long tail search discussion?

Comments and questions are always welcome.  If you would like more information on what we do at Rapid Production Marketing be sure and check out our website or you can drop us an email

Twitter, QR Codes & Managing your Mobile Sales Force

What’s the next big thing? What should you be thinking about as Social Media explodes into a frenzy of evolution?

QR codes!

Scan the QR Code with your Smart Phone for the message

QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes like the one pictured at the right. It was created in the mid-1990’s by Denso-Wave to track component parts in the Toyota Manufacturing process.  QR codes are now being adapted to the tooling in the manufacturing process to track usage rates and life cycle.

However, with the increasing use of Twitter, several companies have created Twitter support applications that enable users to ‘check-in’ to, typically, retail facilities. These include products like Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt and SCVNGR with more and more coming onto the market rather quickly.  These “location based” applications allow users to send their location, via GPS enabled Smart Phones, out to Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.

It’s been a pretty big hit amongst the 18-25 demographic and has been growing in older demographic segments pretty quickly as well.  Retail chains and restaurants offer promotions like a free cup of coffee, discounts or special promotions to those people that “check-in”

But there’s a small small problem. Let’s pretend that you own a coffee shop and you want to reward the person who “checks-in” at your location the most with a free coffee. In theory, that would mean the person that is the best customer would be rewarded.  However, the problem is that you might never stop at that coffee shop, you and the owner despise each other from when you put his baseball glove in a pile of manure in 4th grade and he married your prom date.  But, every day you drive by his coffee shop, stop at the traffic signal and check in and then later go in and get your free coffee every once in a while and remind the owner that you NEVER spend money there, you just drive on by and check in.

The retailers on the one hand love this alternative method of marketing. But they want to insure that the their customers are actually in their facility.  That’s why you’re starting to see those ‘funny little codes’ show up in retail and on billboards, movie trailers and literally tons of other places.

Once QR codes have wide consumer recognition and acceptance there is going to be some very big management opportunities opening up to get more out of your field sales force, your service people and your customer service people.

Most don’t realize but QR code scanners are available as “Apps” and are even installed as a standard on many smart phones already.

What does all of this have to do with a mobile sales force?

Nothing. Yet. But I just gave you the cut of the final scene of the movie, let’s go back to the beginning.

One of the ongoing problems with managing a field sales force has been a managers ability to balance the need for detailed reporting vs. the need for the sales people to be “in-front-of” the customer. If they are writing reports they are not having face-to face time.  For years, the profession has been plagued by promotions for the people with the prettiest reports who lacked good sales skills thrust upon a talented sales force.  The balancing act has led to shorter call reports in the best cases, or longer call reports in worst cases, but with no real analysis of the data because of the lack of standardization and review: There really isn’t anyone who is doing in-depth data mining and cross referencing of the reams of field data that is available.

Another issue, that has worked itself out to some extent, first with beepers and then with cell phones, is knowing where the sales force is at any given moment to service a customer.  I’ve been in the position and listened to many a phone call from an inside support to a field salesperson that goes something like this:

“Wait a minute! Who Called?  Really! I was just there, when did they call? A hour ago!  I was right down the street and now I’m headed to my next call! I can’t get back to them until next week!  You shoulda called me when you talked to them!”

How to use Twitter & location based services for your sales force

Twitter permits users to set up “locked down” accounts.  That means that you can set up hierarchical private connections. Within Twitter a field salesperson could set up their account and only be connected to their immediate manager. The manager could be connected to all the field sales people within their operational control area.  The next level up could be connected to all below. Again, all on a private Twitter network.

Using a location based service like Foursquare, Gowalla, etc. field salespeople could check-in at an account. Again, within these specific services, they would only connect with people within their team or chain of command.  The check-ins would display for other people who also checked in at that location, but that is no different than looking through a registration log at the reception desk.

Why is this beneficial?

  1. A location and time & date stamp are provided to management
  2. A short 140 character “report” would be submitted. Companies could develop their own ‘shorthand’ for information that they wanted.
  3. Data could then be mined to create various reports and cross-referenced to known customer data.
  4. Customer service could have a “live feed” of where their field sales force is located to provide faster on-site customer support
  5. Since the reporting is done in short 140 character bursts, in real time, there may be no need for deeper reporting, or the data can be harvested to create even more detailed and robust reporting for later use.
  6. A “ticker” screen could be on display within customer support areas at a company’s HQ displaying where the mobile sales force was located at any given moment so that response time could be maximized.

QR Codes & the Future

QR codes have not yet been adopted by large consumer segments. Yet, being the operative word. As QR codes become more widely recognized, as we talked about at the beginning,  this private location based network could gather additional data on equipment, tooling, location, etc.  So a field sales force could literally be walking around scanning codes and inputting data for additional immediate support from the main office. These are all rather “forward-looking statements” but I’m hoping it gives you some things to ponder.

I would love to hear your thoughts or comments.

Don’t let attendees at #IMTS think your booth is just a lot of hot air!

What are your goals for the IMTS show?

As IMTS is rapidly approaching many exhibitors are scrambling to be prepared for and caught up in all of that necessary, last-minute minutia that we all tend to forget about. But, take a moment to sit back and think about the big picture of exhibiting at IMTS. Ask yourself some questions:

  • Getting ready for launch: IMTS 2010

    Introduce a New Brand?

  • Introduce a New Product?
  • Meet with key customers?
  • Meet with Key channel partners?
  • Get leads?
  • Get orders?

As you make your final preparations we’ve put together a checklist of things that you may want to think about, and perhaps review with all of the folks working in your booth, to make sure that everyone is on the same page and understands your objectives. Think of this as a pre-game checklist.


It almost goes without saying but, have you planned to use your exhibit to meet your objectives?

  • Based upon your location type (in-line, corner, end, island) and size have you considered which areas will get the most traffic? What will be the first thing attendees see when the see your booth?
  • Do attendees have the ability to “walk
in” your booth or have you created a “wall” of display to keep them out? The best booths don’t create a “wall” that creates the impression of “we” and “them”
  • What are your exhibitor neighbors doing in their booths that could affect traffic in yours? Many exhibitors don’t talk to their new neighbors until they get to the show only to find out that the booth plans that had been made get thrown out the door because the “lay of the land” has changed. It happens at every show and it’s forgotten about immediately after the show.
  • Where is your attendee card reader located? Many times during a pre show set up exhibitors tend to forget the space for the card reader. The last-minute decision is to put the card reader in a heavy traffic area. This leads to bottlenecks in the booth with someone trying to demonstrate a new product while another is pushing through to swipe a card.
  • Have you set up your booth in advance? Do you have so many products on display that it looks like a flea market? Do customers have too many choices?
  • Conversely, have you elected not to display products that have been out for 10 years because “everyone has seen them”? I’ve seen, on several occasions, older products that are completely NEW to a first time attendee. Don’t be afraid to display them and talk about them. What may be old news to you is new news to someone else. You know the saying about “never assume”
  • Are your products glued down or can customers touch them? We’re in a very tactile industry. Attendees want to touch, hold, and use the products. If your concern is about products getting “happy feet” perhaps re-evaluate what your competitors are doing. If you are the attendee, and in one booth you visit the products are all glued down, while in another they are not only available to hold and touch, but the competitors says “Will that work for you? Take it
and try it”. Who do you think gets the business?

PreShow Attendee planning & marketing

Have you been in contact with your channel partners to find out which days they will be attending? Will their customers be joining them?

The best time to make sure you see everyone you would like to is before the show. Create a list of whom you expect to see and when. Make sure that the key contact people are available to meet them. Check the list at different points during the show. If you see that someone has not 
visited when they said then give ’em a call them on their cell, text them, tweet them and tell them
 you’re looking forward to seeing them.


  • How are you going to engage people?
  • What do you say?
  • Have you developed a “talk track” for all booth workers?
  • Does everyone know the “game plan”?
  • Are all of your booth workers fluent in the products?

I’ve been in booth at times when booth workers have arrived at the show and immediately “went to work”. Unfortunately, they had not been trained or given any instructions. This has led to the “not that’s wrong” conversations and, as a result, ruined the momentum of the sales person. They “got egg on their face” and therefore aren’t going to be effective for the rest of the show.

If you have people coming in to be in the booth be sure and have a plan to take the time to review the “why’s & wherefore’s” of you booth, your products and any information that they are going to need to help attendees. Remember one “uninformed” can give the wrong information to 100 people in a matter of hours. Take some time to review your “game plan”.


How quickly are you getting the leads into the field? Do your people take good notes? If
 you have a plan to get out literature do you have a plan to visit the customer?

Remember attendees who have put you on their pre-show planner are stopping by for a reason. If they see something that they like then they have every right to expect literature, and follow-up immediately. They have every right to expect to be treated as your BEST and ONLY customer.

What happens in your booth?

Is there a standard set of guidelines for all booth workers?

  • All the things to make "it" happen

    Are you on the cell phone?

  • Are you on your laptop?
  • Are you sitting in the back of the booth waiting for someone to interrupt you?
  • Does your booth invite people into it?
  • Is it ok to call the factory for information while in the booth?
  • Is it ok to take a call from the factory to answer their questions while you’re in the booth?

What people seem to sometimes forget is that attendees have a limited amount of time to see everything that they would like to see at IMTS. Their time is valuable.

The most important person at your booth may be the one that never asks a question, never makes a comment, but listens. That person is probably the real decision-maker and they are looking at everything but the products. The are making observations about how organized your company is, will they be able to get support, will they be able to base their process and service their customers by using your products.

If your people are sitting down, finishing their conversation and then getting to the questions you are making a brand statement about your company. At different points during the show it’s a good idea to step into the aisle and put yourself in the attendees shoes and ask yourself a simple question: “What’s my initial impression of this company?”

I look forward to any additional comments or insight your might have….

Social Media 101 For Mfg, part 4: Facebook

If you recall in a posting not all that long ago I suggested that Facebook was probably not the best solution for industrial marketing.  Times change.

There are 3 things you can create on Facebook

….as of this moment.  Facebook is changing pretty quickly. If you have 10 minutes then click on THIS LINK and learn a bit about Facebook’s Social Graph.  Facebook  just turned 3 years old and, if you have a Facebook account, you probably realize that to call it a “moving target” is an understatement.  I’ve been noticing that many companies in the industrial marketplace have been creating a market presence on Facebook.  A word to the wise, take your time and learn more about your options.  You can do one of three things on Facebook:

  • Create a Personal page – You do need to do this first, if only to comply with the FB TOS (Terms of Service)
  • Create a Group – Discussed below
  • Create a “Page” – Discussed below and probably what you want 😉

Facebook requires that you have a personal page yourself in order to create a company page.  There are workarounds for this but you are actually better off creating a personal page as indicated in the link in this paragraph.

If you create a Personal Page that is actually a company page you are in violation of  the TOS at Facebook, which they are starting to take rather seriously with all of the privacy concerns raised about their recent changes.  It’s rather simple: People have created personal pages to reconnect with old friends and there may be some conversations that is “between them”  Unbeknownst to them though is that you have created a company page as a personal page… and they are now “friends” with you.  Which means that they are now sharing with industry colleagues information that they may not want to.  You can probably understand how this can very very quickly harm your brand. So don’t do it.  If you have already please feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to discuss how you transition your “Friends”.

The real decision is Page vs. Group:

Pages vs. Groups: How to know which to use

There are a number of factors you need to consider when choosing which is right for your project, a Page or a group.

Personal vs. Corporate:

Due to their security features, and size limitations (only groups under 5,000 members can send email blasts), Facebook Groups are set up for more personal interaction. Groups are also directly connected to the people who administer them, meaning that activities that go on there could reflect on you personally. Pages, on the other hand, don’t list the names of administrators, and are thought of as a person, almost like a corporate entity is considered a ‘person’ under the law.

Facebook considers groups to be an extension of your personal actions. When you post something as a group administrator, it appears to be coming from you and is attached to your personal profile. Alternately, Pages can create content that comes from the Page itself, so that content doesn’t have to be linked to you personally.

Update: Also one key difference is that Pages are indexed by external search engines such as GoogleGoogle, just like a public profile while Groups are not.

Email vs. Updates:

As long as a group is under 5,000 members, group admins can send messages to the group members that will appear in their inboxes. Page admins can send updates to fans through the Page, and these updates will appear in the “Updates” section of fans’ inboxes. There is no limit on how many fans you may send an update to, or how many total fans a Page can have.

User Control:

Groups offer far more control over who gets to participate. Permissions settings make it possible for group admins to restrict access to a group, so that new members have to be approved. Access to a Page, however, can only be restricted by certain ages and locations. Again, this makes groups more like a private club.


Pages can host applications, so a Page can essentially be more personalized and show more content. Groups can’t do this.


Neither Groups nor Pages have great moderation features. They can both be a little granular as to how things get posted, who can post, and what kind of media can be posted, but that’s about it.

If someone posts spam on your Group or your Page, you have to remove it manually, and you can also remove specific members

I think you can see why a “Page” is probably what you’re looking to create.  Watch the following video on how you can create your page.  Hubspot has some  great video’s so be sure and check out some of their other content.

You can take a peek at the Rapid Production Marketing Facebook page for ideas.

UNSPSC Should we embrace standardization?

If you could look into the future and correctly predict how your business and your markets would evolve you would become wealthy beyond your wildest dreams right?  Isn’t it amazing how some people are just in the right place at the right time? Perhaps they aren’t.  Perhaps they’ve been watching trends develop on a number of fronts and look at where those trend lines converge.


This article is about that convergence.

In essence this is a follow on article that will bring several previous articles and concepts together.

Here’s the bottom line on those:

  • Customers are looking for more and more competitive products
  • Manufacturers are trying to find out more and more about competitive products
  • Customers are using social media to seek out competitive information more and more

What’s missing? What happens?  How can anyone possibly find the best products to suit their needs?  How can anyone find a complete list of who their competitors are?

As we move more and more to developing efficiencies in the global market place there is an increasing demand from customers and competitors to be able to compare products side-by-side in their evaluations. As a result back in 1998 the UNSPSC Coding system was developed.

Previously, there was no standardized way to consolidate and analyze data across the companies or industries.  “But what is it?” you ask. If you recall from the High School rote learning of biology’s taxonomy: “Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species” that’s what it is, but for industry.

The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code®(UNSPSC®) provides an open, global multi-sector standard for efficient, accurate classification of products and services.  The UNSPSC system was jointly developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Dun & Bradstreet Corporation in 1998.

UNSPSC: A Hierarchical Structure for Analysis

The UNSPSC is a hierarchical classification, having five levels.  The levels allow users to search products more precisely (because searches will be confined to logical categories and eliminate irrelevant hits) and it allows managers to perform expenditure analysis on categories that are relevant to the company’s situation.

Each level contains a two-character numerical value and a textual description as follows:

XX Segment

The logical aggregation of families for analytical purposes

XX Family

A commonly recognized group of inter-related commodity categories

XX       Class

A group of commodities sharing a common use or function

XX       Commodity

A group of substitutable products or services

XX       Business Function

The function performed by an organization in support of the commodity

All UNSPSC entities are further identified with an 8-digit structured numeric code which both indicates its location in the taxonomy and uniquely classifies it. An additional 2-digit suffix indicates the business function identifier.

A structural view of the code set would look as follows:

Hierarchy Category Number and Name

Segment 43 Information Technology Broadcasting and Telecommunications Communications Devices and Accessories

Family 20 Components for information technology or broadcasting or telecommunications Computer Equipment and Accessories

Class 15 Computers Computer accessories

Commodity 01 Computer switch boxes Docking stations

Business Function 14 Retail

So while, keeping all of the previous articles in mind here’s some info from the UNSPSC website:

What does UNSPSC do for me?

By embedding UNSPSC classification standards into your management systems – purchase orders, invoices, electronic documents, product catalogues, websites – all parties throughout the extended supply chain benefit.
Here are some examples:

  • Procurement can keep an eye on how much is spent buying what. This information is readily available to them to analyze the specifics in the buying process at the level of detail that most suits the business needs in a timely and precise manner. They can cut in half or less the time it takes to find the products needed by searching by commodity code through brokers, on line exchanges, business partners, etc. across the globe. They can spot buying patterns across departments or business units to leverage better conditions from suppliers and realize overall savings.
  • Marketing is able to get field data fast for market research, product development, and sales analysis, ultimately delivering to the company’s bottom line, via customer satisfaction.
  • Sales can monitor sales channels and distribution all the way to the store shelf or end user. They can gather market intelligence quickly via electronic platforms for accurate sales analysis. They can extend the reach of their products to customers across the globe by publishing e-catalogues, registering with search engines or third-party market places

-from the Frequently Asked Questions page

If you watch trends, then it’s going to make sense to assign UNSPSC numbers to your products and component parts.  You may not have to do it today, or tomorrow, but at some point the system is going to pick up enough momentum that you will be forced to implement it.  As social media takes hold and more and more information is poured into the world, there is going to be an increasing demand for use of a global standard by not only companies but government agencies.

Other industries are already embracing the technology. In 2005 E-Biz Forum jointly hosted by the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED); the Industry Data Exchange Association (IDEA); the Electro-Federation Canada (EFC); the National Association of Electrical Manufacturers (NEMA); and the National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association (NEMRA) talked about it.  They brought together speakers from Jordan Colletta, Vice President of e-Commerce Marketing, UPS; Neil Gillespie, Principal, Channel Marketing Group; Peter Brandt, VP Industry Solutions Group, SAP America and John Stelzer, Director Business Development, Sterling Commerce. Experts from GS-1 US, Prophet 21, Infor Global Systems, Activant Solutions, Intuit Eclipse, EDM, Full Tilt Solutions and Sterling Commerce so this is not new news.  It’s just a matter of time before your this filters down to smaller companies and soon search engines will be be cataloging UNSPSC codes.

Then the made dash will begin.  Are you going to be ready?

For larger companies, SAP has a product called  SAP® BusinessObjects™ Spend Performance Management application, one of the SAP BusinessObjects EPM solutions, to provide its sourcing community with a consolidated view of its data that conforms to United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) standards, allowing companies to better analyze spend by category. With this insight, the procurement team is  able to identify opportunities for better contract management with vendors. And because this information is refreshed weekly, sourcing experts can evaluate their procurement on a continuous basis rather than periodically throughout the year

If you want to stay up to date on the development of the UNSPSC Code you can check out The UNSPSC Blog.

Getting the most out of IMTS

I have had the good fortune of attending IMTS as an exhibitor, a manufacturer’s agent and an industrial distributor since 1994.  In each role I’ve learned a few things about how different people approach the IMTS show and what they get out of it.  Here’s some ideas on how you can maximize your IMTS experience.

Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.

-Thomas Alva Edison

Pre Plan your visits

It goes without saying that you need to take advantage of the “My Show Planner” here on the IMTS website.  There are going to be some exhibitors whom you already want to see, reconnect with and /or check out their newest products.  Log-in now and get registered.  Start the list that you already have in mind.  By starting early you’ll be able to determine where you need to be and when.

As you get closer to the show give yourself plenty of extra time to stop and check out other booths.  I’ve seen people go to both ends of the spectrum: One one side they try to see too many people and not have enough time and on the other end give themselves plenty of time to look but rush at the end to get through the “list”.   Balance is the key.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Walk through ALL of the pavilions.  You might be surprised that the one pavilion that is NOT on your list has the keys to your success.  Here’s why.  An exhibitor has a core product that been around for a number of years.  But in the process of manufacturing they either discover a niche product at an international show somewhere in the world, develop a solution to a problem or have an “co-marketing arrangement” with some other exhibitor, or some manufacturer not even at the show.  The product may be a fixturing product sitting in the Quality area, and EDM product in the software area. The bottom line:  You might just see something in one of the other pavilions where products have been implemented or are just being introduced.  Keep your eyes open.  Many of the tooling & fixturing people put some very cutting edge technology on the machines on display and many don’t take a close look.


Make a list.  Start compiling problems and bottlenecks in your production.  Take a walk on your floor and take a look at which machines are running and which are not.  Why?  This is the very essence of “Lean”.  In the “Lean” process this is called Genchi Genbutsu: “Go out and see for yourself”.  Ask some questions. What’s holding the machine up.  Don’t take the answers at face value.  If the answer is “We’re waiting for the saw department” maybe you can move the parts into the milling department in larger sizes and smooth out the process.  The real key is to make a journal list of the problems.  If you don’t write them down you will forget them.  You don’t need to find a solution today and even if you do keep it on the list. It never hurts to look for better ideas. You DO want a list before IMTS. If you can get a list from several different people in your company with 3-4 items on it then you’ve succeeded. Why is this important?

Before you leave for the show create one final list and give everyone going a copy of the list. Make sure that they understand the problems.  The key to remember as you walk through the show is that the solution may not be the featured product in a booth. It may be a 20 year old product you have never seen. Or, it m it may be something else compeltely.  As an example, I was at the show several years ago and started looking at an exhibitors display.  I realized that the display was really the shipping crate and was mounted on hydraulic lift tables.  I brought a customer over to the booth and said “Here’s your solution”  The exhibitors products had nothing to do with the problem but someone in their facility figured out a way to make their life easier for shows and THAT necessitated an invention.  That invention was the solution to another problem. If you are aware of your bottlenecks you’ll be surprised where you might find solutions at IMTS.  Remember, there are an awful lot of very very talented people at the show. It’s a great place to learn.

One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?’”          -Rachel Carson

Don’t assume.

Don’t make foregone conclusions about any manufacturer.  I often hear “Oh, I saw their stuff a couple years ago, they don’t have anything we need.”  I’ve worked in a number of areas of North America and I’ll tell you from first hand experience that household names in California are completely unknown in North Jersey.  There are products used in Ontario that aren’t even distributed in Cleveland…. And vice-versa.  Why?  Because someone selling them either never penetrated the other market, an inferior portion of the product offering was shown which tarnished the company name, or the applications didn’t exist for the core product when it was first introduced.  Take a close look at what’s in the booths.  If you see some customer’s praising a company and you think  “Boy are they dumb, that stuff is junk” Maybe stop and give it a look.  You might be surprised.


At the end of the day everyone is ready to have dinner and enjoy some nightlife.  Having been to enough shows I’ve noticed how show participants many times avoid talking to exhibitors at night.  Exhibitors, on the other hand, are all talking amongst themselves.  In our industry many, many people know each other.  Take advantage of that.  Two people who used to work together are enjoying  a cold drink and “Say did you see that new product at such-n-such company?” “Yea, but Jim told me they can’t deliver for 6 months because of…”  Turns out both guys had worked at such-n-such and had the inside scoop.  Probably pretty good info to know if you where going to base a new production job around such-n-such’s products.

Talk to each other. “What do you do?” “What did you see?” “What’s cool?” can lead to “I’m looking for this and I found something at so-n-so’s booth”   “Oh well we saw this and it does it faster and it costs less” or “Hey, remember that thing we walked by and thought was great, but didn’t have a need,” turning to you, “You might want to check out…”

With all of the hype about social media these days you are in the hotbed of Social Media is all about.  Social Media is all about getting ideas and being in conversations.  IMTS is the best place in North America to have one-on-one, face-to-face conversations from people around the world.  You can learn new ideas, new ways of doing things…  I’ve been told “I get more out of talking to people at night sometimes than I do walking the show”  There are lots of eyes and ears out there. Take advantage of them.