The best approach to updating a manufacturing website

Updating a manufacturing website

Until recently, most American manufacturers didn’t have much use for a comprehensive web & brand strategy. The need just hasn’t been there – until now.

Manufacturers today are discovering that with the right strategy their previously underutilized, untouched and, unloved website can be transformed into a forward-reaching, powerhouse recruitment and service differentiation tool.

With the total costs of US manufacturing dropping (compared to Asia), US manufacturers are seeing revenue growth ahead. A different future than what was forecasted just a few years ago.That change however, exacerbates a problem that manufacturers have been increasingly struggling with over the last several years:

Finding, recruiting, hiring, and retaining good entry-level, career-minded people.

It’s not a secret that most manufacturers are in a constant struggle to find good, quality, career-focused, long-term employees. The resurgence of US manufacturing in the past 10 years has not only made finding the solution more urgent, it is exacerbated by the need for entry-level workers walking on the job with a higher set of skills compared to their counterparts from the previous decade.


The competition for that dwindling talent pool is fierce, and yet your manufacturing brand (website, internal/external communications strategy) hasn’t been touched since 2002 – if at all!

The most common way a prospective employee checks out the company is via the website (especially the computer/code savvy ones). The site and overall experience however, is old, out-of-date, unimpressive, and uninspiring, and creates more questions than answers, and oftentimes eliminates your business from serious contention before you ever knew you were being considered.

If your first impression was that the company in question was old and out-of-date, what would you think about the company culture, their ability to innovate, and subsequently your ability to be a part of something extraordinary, a place to start and develop your career? Not terribly encouraging. Maybe you apply, more than likely you’ll just move along to someplace more compelling.


Manufacturing Spotlight: UGN

Manufacturing Industry Website and Brand Development: A Case Study:


Our client, UGN had this challenge. CEO, Peter Anthony, recognized however that the solution wasn’t something that would be solved entirely by HR. This was at its core a marketing problem. Unfortunately, like the majority of medium-sized manufacturers, they didn’t have a marketing department, and as an OEM auto-parts manufacturer they didn’t need one.

Peter recognized the heaviest lift in the communications channel is the first impression and thiers needed a dramatic change.

First, we completely redesigned the website and brought it up to current web standards.

Second, the core messaging had to change. Even though UGN had an identifiable and proprietary logo, their Brand had not been thoroughly developed to support a focused web-based communications strategy. After weeks of interviews throughout the organization,  the brand strategy was reorganized to highlight the values of UGN as a cohesive team, the high quality of their products, and perhaps most importantly, emphasize the incredible work UGN does to develop the new hires into long-term employees.

Our proposed strategy sought to capture, engage, and elevate the conversation of employee value and their stories.

  • We developed an interactive 3D application that animated their products and how they work, to bring a much needed coolness factor to the site specifically to feel relevant and engage younger applicants.


UGN is unique that they are well ahead of the curve when it comes to manufacturing communications. That is a formidable position when outbound communications creates a significant advantage toward recruitment.  

The key to success in manufacturing communications is having a partner who understands digital design, brand development, employee/company culture and how it all ties together.

Revamping your website is a good start, but without a serious attention to how your business communicates and what it’s communicating, the solution is only skin deep.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Jon Schickedanz is the founder of The Alliance Labs, a full-service web development and digital communications firm specializing in communications strategy and execution for manufacturing and light industrial organizations. For information about how we can help call 312-278-3550 or contact us at[/author_info] [/author]
How do I update my website, Overwhelmed,

How to update my website: A guide for manufacturers

Manufacturer’s Website Maintenance 101

Does this sound familiar?:

Your boss says to you “ We need to get the website updated”.


How do you even know where to begin? 

You work for a manufacturing company. You’re not a web developer.  If they held a gun to your head, maybe, just maybe you could figure out how to login and change a setting or two, or on the best of all days, you could install a plugin.

But that’s about it.

The website was originally built years ago, before you or maybe even your boss were employed there. The original developer or agency is now a mystery, or long gone. Or (which is more common than you’d think) they’ve just stopped returning your calls.

What does a manufacturer need with a new or refreshed website anyway? It’s not like your company is spending a lot of time nurturing inbound web-leads, right?

Most manufacturers believe their site is mainly brochureware – a website built because your company needed one and someone’s brother’s cousin built the thing for cheap 10 years ago and there it sits…..untouched, unused….unloved.

Why now? Why have smart, forward-thinking manufacturers and their teams started to take a second look at their heretofore out-of-date online properties? 

Our manufacturing clients are telling us the biggest incentive they have to refocus and refresh their online experience and potentially impact nearly every aspect of the business and its ability to compete comes down to something most manufacturers have previously never really considered vital to their success – Brand.

The word has been all the rage of late and in many places misused and misunderstood.

Brand is more than about defining who you are, why you matter, your values, and the difference you make for your employees and customers, it’s about how those ideas live in the world outside your business in the minds of your potential clients, but also your potential manufacturing employees.

Manufacturing Spotlight: UGN

How can an updated website solve my recruitment challenges?

Here are some of the biggest complaints we’ve heard about manufacturing recruitment and how the conversation around brand creates can make a difference:

  • We’re not attracting the right talent – We need to attract better, more qualified candidates:
    • How do we define ourselves as a great place for young talent to start their careers?
    • How do we create a company culture that makes that true?
  • We’ve got no pipeline for executive advancement/legacy prep.
    • What are our values and how can we impart them to our team so they feel invested in the organization to stick with us for the long-term?
  • Too much turnover, we lack any cohesive plan for employee engagement – inspiration is lacking.
    • Does our team have a mission we can all get behind. Are we just cutting bricks or are we building a cathedral?
  • We’re seeing competition from Amazon/Alibaba so we need to promote what makes us different. Why should our customers stick with us?
    • Define the value beyond the lowest price. If you truly own what makes you unique then defending your value in the face of competition gets easier.

These are just a few of the issues manufacturers are telling us are the reasons that for the first time in their history they’re taking a serious look at their company’s brand and their forward facing digital efforts.

So if the boss is sick of the current state of the website, chances are they’re seeing the most visible part of the problem. The next step is helping them understand just how comprehensive and impactful the right approach can be.

Next Article: The Best Approach to Updating A Manufacturing Website

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Jon Schickedanz is the founder of The Alliance Labs, a full-service web development and digital communications firm specializing in comunications strategy and execution for manufacturing and light industrial organizations. For information about how we can help call 312-278-3550 or contact us at[/author_info] [/author]