Knowledge is Meant to be Shared
As consumers, how we engage with our suppliers has changed. The hallmark of that engagement used to be a phone call or even a handshake across the table. How we research products and solutions, evaluate options, engage and purchase from companies has evolved into a process whereby we are much more self-sufficient and take on more of the investigative process on our own and much earlier in the buying process.
There’s a clear expectation that this process should be simple, intuitive and immediate. As suppliers, how we engage with our customers, share information and sell to customers has also changed. Providing online tools and resources that are easily accessible, available 24/7, intuitive to navigate and incorporate supplier competence are vital in today’s business environment.
Having information on multiple platforms, both in print and online, provides the most balanced approach. We see this in the range and usage of printed literature, trade publications and catalogs, complemented with online efforts such as YouTube, website content, apps, e-catalogs and postings on social media channels. The availability of resources 24/7 is the expectation of today’s consumer. This expectation is no different in the metalworking industry.
Walter prides itself on its engineering competence and takes a leadership position in innovation. Our company offers not only the latest in cutting tool technology, but provides electronic tools for customers to quickly and easily access information. We endeavor to make it easy for customers to find the best products and solutions for the application, and we provide the mechanisms for online ordering such as our ToolShop application. It is only one of the ways in which we enable customers to conveniently connect with us and get the information and products they need to get the job done.
With collectively almost 100 years of cutting tool experience, our brands, Walter Valenite, Walter Prototyp and Walter Titex, are known globally for quality and performance. Providing customers with the latest technology and employing the highest level of engineering expertise and innovations has been branded “Engineering Kompetenz.” This represents value added service incorporated into our products, and more recently, into software products, which gives customers the freedom to use it at their convenience.
As part of our Engineering Kompetenz, Walter offers a variety of apps and software tools for customers to have the information they need while they are on the go. Machining calculators, e-Library and tool guides are some other on-hand, online elements that we provide.
Another example of this is our GPS Machining Navigation System. Walter GPS is an online software tool that allows customers to create their own virtual machines and decide on the most productive cutting tool solutions for their applications. A consultative, self-guided software program, this resource walks customers through the process step by step so that in the end, they know the product they need and which machining parameters to apply to it.
The demand for immediate access to information, cost savings and quick turnaround are what customers can expect. A case in point is the recently introduced Walter Xpress, an online quoting system for specials now in a test environment that enables customers to spec custom products in minutes, generating a quote, 3D model, 2D approval print and a simulation model, all in the convenience of their own office.
While not at the same level as other industries, the use of social media is increasing in the manufacturing industry, and we believe it will only continue to grow in our segment. With more than 1 billion active users on Facebook and more than 200 million on LinkedIn and Twitter each, connecting with our customers and sharing information via social media platforms gives them immediate, relevant, up-to-date information at their fingertips. Our younger customers will continue to use social media throughout their careers, and we intend to be visible in communicating with them through the means they use.
But when push comes to shove, it’s all about using current communication tools to help actuate the best way to bring the relationship of supplier and customer closer together. I’d like to think that our commitment to these tools will further enhance our leadership position.