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Branding an Aero Component Manufacturing Unit

Posted in Aerospace, and Bengaluru Aerospace

Is it possible to Brand an Aero Component Manufacturing Unit to attract International Customers?

Certainly. If a small eatery can have its own brand among its clientele, why can’t an Aero Component Manufacturing Unit?

Brand building as we all know takes effort, and time.

For an health drink a Mr. Dhoni or Mr. Sachin may be needed to build the health drink brand, whereas for an Aero Component Unit technology much more than an popular person is required to build the brand. Of course, if it is owned by a corporate such as Wipro or Reliance will help. Note, customers in the aerospace industry are not impulse buyers. So, brand building has to be done on visible, proven facts.

We all know the benefits of building a brand. However, we have to justify the efforts to build a brand and so let us see the benefits of having a brand.

Benefits

We all generally know the benefits of building a brand. The biggest benefit is obviously orders. So, marketing has to be integrated into your brand building efforts. Because, the case we are discussing is an Aero Component Manufacturing Unit, technology is also built into the branding effort.

Wiki has a comprehensive article on Branding in general. Take a minute and scan the article here – Brand Meaning and Various Aspects.

Now, let us dive deep on How to build a BRAND for an Aero Component Manufacturing unit?

Firstly, we have to understand the audience for building the brand. The companies (audience) who are the customers for an aero component manufacturing unit, are mostly high tech engineering companies, who value high standards of manufacturing.

So, brand building has to be fine tuned to such an audience.

Presentation

It is very important that the plant in charge of the aero manufacturing unit, has to be a person who means what he says and can demonstrate that he can stick to his timelines.

This forms the foundation of building a brand.

A dishonest Plant In Charge can collapse all what is painstakingly built, in a couple of minutes by presenting a false front to the customers.

So, if you have a bluffmaster or a haughty plant in charge who says something he cannot stick to, better forget about building a brand.

At the same time, to commit on deliverables and honor it, is not as easy as it seems.

Are the senior managers and plant in charge ready to pull together as a team?

A plant in charge has to be smart enough to focus on high value, high return orders for the company and accordingly manage the plant.

Quality Control

A strong QC can contribute immensely to building the brand of the manufacturing unit.

Most QC personnel imagine themselves to be Policemen in the unit.

They make their job easier by just pointing out all the mistakes.

A good QC in charge can make immense contribution by participating in all the branding exercises.

For example:

  • He can continuously educate the shop floor in charge, the SOP he will be following for a particular line item.
  • He can participate in key meetings to ensure wastage tends to zero.
  • Many a times engineers from customer’s firm specify unnecessary standards. QC in charge can work with customers to ensure such unnecessary specs are avoided.
  • When customers visit the unit for component inspection a smart QC in charge will ensure that the standards followed are very high, which results in discreet brand building.

These are just some of the points a QC in charge can adopt to build a brand for the unit.

Let us review:

  • Presentation at every stage to the customer – Progress visits, QC checks, final checks
  • Sticking to a timeline
  • QC in charge participation a must – QC in charge is not just an inspector
  • Role of Plant in charge

Finished Component Packaging

Branding is about managing and conveying a certain set of points every time a customer interfaces with the company.

When a customer receives a finished product, the packaging has to be unique and impressive so that it leaves a pleasant feeling with the customer.

There are many ways to impress the customer. A complete set of documentation can accompany the finished product making it very informative and encouraging the customer to remember the brand logo and color.

Presentation (Contd..)

Every opportunity has to be used to educate the customer on how the unit is the best in business.

One way is to, take the customer for a visit into the unit.

Let me narrate something I do every time I go to an impressive restaurant. I ask the manager whether they are willing to let me see their Kitchen.

I have a thumb rule, if they let me in to the kitchen, they are a confident lot. If not, better watch what they offer.

Taking the customer for a detailed visit in the unit is a good way to build the brand and to implement subtle marketing effort.

BTW: I have seen MTR the multi million dollar restaurant chain, headquartered in Bengaluru has no hesitation in taking customers for a visit inside the kitchen. Next time try visit MTR and see their Kitchen. You will see why their tables are always full.

Production Challenges

Do you think your customers know the production challenges you have overcome in the years gone by?

Absolutely NO.

Most of them are busy doing their own thing!

It will be worthwhile to create a video of the complicated components you have manufactured and other events and present them in an online video and a large screen TV presentation when customers visit the unit. Offer them something to eat and switch on the TV. See how the magic works. Want my support in creating the video? Just call me.

Appreciation Letters

Get appreciation letters from premium customers and display them at strategic places in your unit. Ensure, visitors spend a minute or two at such vantage spots.

Out of mind is out of sight

Never be out of sight. Send newsletters periodically to all your customers. Worth every penny.

Pay outstandings on Time

Pay your suppliers on the due date. Word spreads fast in small communities and aerospace component manufacturing network is relatively small. Pay your suppliers on time and see them do the hard work for you.

Introduce innovative practises and publicise them

Innovation can be as simple as offering a special green tea drink to all premium customers or as technical as flexi fixtures. Publicise them well.

A point to note here. The age of fixtures is going away.

The reasons why this is changing are many – one of them is customers want the shortest design to production time.

Let me now tell you the biggest branding secret very few people ever get to implement.

The idea among customers and suppliers that most wide ranging components can be manufactured a in a particular ACMU.

Most units I have seen in Bengaluru, do not know or realise the benefits of this branding point. If an unit can communicate that most wide ranging components can be done in house (very very important) then you can be rest assured orders will keep coming in. For this to happen, selection of machines and machine tools and accessories is very crucial.

All of us would have come across this situation in our own lives. For example, let us go to Ashoka Hotel, we get all – south, north, chinese and so on.

To build this aspect, a keen understanding of technology and trends is very important.

Take an expert’s opinion who understands technology and machining and is able to balance the two keeping in view profitability.

The question is how do you convey this to your customer? Is it an email or an SMS text blast or should it be done more smartly?

This is where the role of the shop floor executives, senior managers and the plant in charge becomes important.

A plant in charge who is seen by the shop as fair, who recognises merit and is not partial is a must to build a brand. This is a must because he has to take the team along. If the team does not participate the whole exercise falls flat and will be a waste of resources.

The shop team also has to be conscious of the fact that management values its brand image seriously. While, there should be a relaxed atmosphere, ethical behaviour is a must.

As you will see the brand objectives are no different from operational goals of an Aero Component Manufacturing unit. So, the question is if operational goals are achieved will a brand be built? Partly. It all depends on how the unit is able to package branding.

In comparison, a health drink company has to ensure the product is packaged well and has no impurities. Once, it has been taken in, the job of branding is over.

Whereas, branding an Aero Component Manufacturing Unit is more challenging as reality and claims are more directly linked.

Last but not the least color has an important role to play in branding. Make sure your Aero Unit runs an uniform color all across it interfaces with customer.

So, whenever, your customers see the color they are reminded of your company.

Right from correspondence, emails, updates and compliments everything should remind them of your brand.

Some examples of companies who have consistently used branding to their advantage over the last many years.

Burrufaldi

Schunk

HYFORE

Summary

Branding an aero component manufacturing unit is to be done at the shop level, plant in charge has to be aware of it, he should in fact drive the initiative, requires great interfacing with customers.

The biggest benefit is that this enables marketing section to attract both international and premium clients, and a steady flow of orders.

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