Archive for August, 2007

Can a manufacturer publish a blog? Would Sears?

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

After my initial report on the Sears saga (see post Sears customer service), I got busy and couldn’t write for a while (among other things, just became a new grandma). But okay, the refrigerator arrived (dented for sure) and was installed by a third party company. I noticed that every time I closed the bottom door, the freezer door would pop open. Spent a good time trying to get the service dept.–was told to put vaseline around the edge. I said, excuse me? This is a brand new refrigerator. Are you kidding? Had to ask for a supervisor, who told me in a slightly less offensive way that I should try vaseline–it works great for 8 year old units. ????

Then, after a day or so, suddenly the main door wouldn’t close. Literally stayed stuck open by about 2 inches. It was a good game trying to get hold of the right people, but finally a Sears repair department agreed to send someone out–5 days later.

So finally the repair guy shows up (during which time I had to haul the door up and push hard to get it closed) and found there were some washers missing when the door was installed.  The thing works now but I’m just holding my breath…

Well, manufacturers can blog, too. A couple of years ago I did a presentation on blogging for a group of highly skeptical computer-geek-entrepreneurial types recently. Questions came fast and furious. One was particularly interesting: what would a manufacturing company blog about?

I remember the stories I wrote for one of the annual Akron Business Conferences. One of my favorites was the one I wrote about how a small manufacturing division of a larger company did a complete revisioning of itself–and became a model for others who face the grinding realities of globalization on their ability to be competitive and thus, on their bottom lines.

Here’s the story of Neighborhood Manufacturing, a division of Superior Tool. Read that if you have a minute, then check out their website. There’s a place that’s learned to speak in its true voice.

If you had to guess, what do you think the people at Neighborhood Manufacturing could write in their corporate blog about–that their customers and prospects would love to hear–and that would make their employees even more proud to work there?

Recognizing employee contributions? Positive changes they’re making to the neighborhood they’re located in? How they overcome the challenges of meeting certain orders? Relationships with customers? And how much danger do you think they have of losing business to competitors from talking about those things?

Neighborhood Manufacturing is presenting itself as a company people will want to do business with, but not because they’re cheaper. Naturally, first is that they get the job done right, but my guess is their customers will stay with them because they obviously care–about their employees, about their neighborhood, about being good corporate citizens and–the implication is–they’ll care about their customers, too.

Couldn’t think of better topics for blogging. I wrote about this company originally in 2003 when blogging was just a trend for business… Notice how relevant it is today!

Wouldn’t it be interesting if Sears started blogging? I’m guessing they wouldn’t dare.