Salespeople and business owners can learn how to “suck water out of rocks” in this tough economy by employing the profitable market attack strategy of Automated Industrial Machinery. Their story follows.
Managing a machinery manufacturing company through 2009 has been one of the toughest and most challenging propositions faced in the last thirty years. Innovating revenue streams for a capital equipment manufacturer when capital equipment sales are experiencing their worst slump since 1982 has every machinery company CEO digging for cash resources.
Automated Industrial Machinery or AIM Inc. was faced with the same challenge as every other machinery builder: How do you bring in revenue when your main income source- the wire bending market- experiences a severe economic down turn? Constantine Grapsas, founder and CEO was faced with this challenge and confronted it head on. While cutting costs required some downsizing of staff and reduction of expenses, a key component for revenue generation happened to be the investment AIM Inc. made in technical support capability.
Constantine realized that AIM Inc.’s differentiation in the marketplace was not just a leading-edge product, but also exceptional service. With competitors slashing personnel budgets, especially higher salaried technical personnel, AIM Inc. stayed the course and hung on to the technical service and training engineers. Their main goal was not just to handle phone support calls, but also to assist the wire bending industry- their customers- improve productivity.
Throughout 2009 AIM Inc. Technical Engineers engaged wire bending customers with on- site service and training sessions. This support became very popular and shored up the AIM Inc. bottom line with profitable revenue. While many businesses don’t have budgets for new machines, they always have budgets to keep their plants operational. By providing on- site technical assistance and thus solving customer productivity issues, the AIM Inc. techies became a service sought after by wire bending manufacturers. They provided customer up-time value, something more important than just building and delivering a machine within budget.
By paying attention to customers and providing value when competitors ignored them, AIM created a brand differentiator: customer service. This positive branding has already started showing significant results, as AIM Inc. has had one of its best quarters ever ending 2009 on a very high note.
Looking forward to 2010, AIM is positioned to rebound much quicker for several reasons. One, is they already have a positive brand differentiator with their service record- and are already in touch with the customer base. This puts them in a position of getting projects before they “hit the street”. Furthermore, by staying close to their customer base, they are able to innovate the next generation of capital equipment for the wire-bending industry.
Peter Zafiro, The Pease Group