This is the most blatant example I’ve seen about how a traditional business can adapt the internet revolution to increase value.
I sat down with a high school buddy, who for the last 40 years has run a specialty instrument company. These instruments, which are globally famous, are used by labs, hospitals, and research facilities – they are the clear leader of biological/electronic devices world-wide.
In the past we rarely met in person due to her extensive travel schedule around the USA and Europe for business development and distributor recruiting and training.
When asking about the business, I was surprised by the changes since we last met – her travel is now almost nil while sales are steady.
Each instrument is showcased by a 5-minute video showing the features from the users viewpoint, how to do typical operations/tests, and a sample of output/report options.
The videos are incorporated into their website and available on demand at any time
There is an ‘anytime’ link to take the viewer directly to the pricing/purchase screen
She has become the entire sales force, supported by their website and videos
A global network of warehouses to provide immediate local delivery has been consolidated to single central national warehouse near an airline hub for overnight shipping.
She now spends time with customers by phone and video conference and uses their input to guide development of new features and products. As a result, her improvement cycle captures and responds to changes suggested by her users, who she admits, know more about the products than the maker.
Effective use of the internet, immediate shipping, collaboration with users, and a rapid development cycle has dramatically transformed this manufacturing business. A poster child of the trend for the future?