DIEMAKERS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS
How today's diemakers compete
The leading current business objective for diemakers is to expand their companies' customer bases—a goal shared by three-quarters of the respondents. One-third are striving to expand services to existing customers, and more than a quarter would like to expand into new markets.
Half of responding die shops are banking on service, whether customized, specialized, or value-added, to set them apart from competitors and lead them to their expansion goals. Another third believe quality will make their work consistently stand out from that of other shops.
Diemakers choose to market these competitive strengths in a wide variety of ways, led by developing a Web site (used by 46 percent), conducting onsite events/demonstrations (used by 35 percent), and exhibiting at trade shows (used by 31 percent). There was a definite undercurrent of renewed sales/marketing determination in diemakers' comments. "We are forced to be more aggressive by stronger selling and marketing," wrote one respondent. Commented another: "We have strong business strategies and are determined to succeed."
Diemakers see the strongest routes to new business this year as through technology investments (cited by 35 percent) and by diversification (cited by 15 percent). The biggest perceived barrier to expansion is price pressure, cited by nearly one third of respondents, and described disparagingly as "lowballing," "underquoting," "cut-throating," and "commoditizing." Other barriers included the slowing of the economy and absorbing the cost of new technologies.
Some diemakers, however, see a silver lining to these barriers, and are content to wait out the current "survival of the fittest" landscape. "The slowing of the economy will weed out weaker die shops," points out one respondent, "especially those who cut-throat their prices and lose the small margins of profit they had before." Another respondent says one of the biggest opportunities for his company will be "taking business from failing die shops."