The typical design engineer, in today's fast-paced manufacturing environment, is squeezed for time. He or she is looking for ways to save time at any level of product design. They need to be able to find product and component information quickly and easily, and most of the time design engineers go directly to a supplier's web site looking for the information they need.
"Many times design engineers don't know how to find the information they need," says Kevin Gingerich, Director of Marketing Services at Bosch Rexroth Linear Motion and Assembly Technologies, Buchanan, MI. "They really don't want sales people calling on them because they just can't afford to spend time away from their design tasks."
But what if the design engineer goes to a web site, and they still can't find what they need? How long will they search on a supplier's site before they get frustrated and go elsewhere -- and you've lost a customer?
"A company's web site needs to be 'engineer-friendly,' " Gingerich says. "A web site should make a strong impact on each individual user and offer the user easy search methods for finding products and services."
According to Gingerich most engineers know which companies can provide them with the design components they need, and when they are on a company's web site they want quick access to the information that will help them design their product.
As an example, Gingerich sites Bosch Rexroth's web site which recently was redesigned to be more engineer-friendly. "Our web site was receiving over 400,000 visitors per month to the homepage," says Gingerich. "Obviously we had the products that design engineers were looking for, but the top 20 most requested items were not even listed on the home page!"
This meant that the visitor to Bosch Rexroth's homepage had to continue searching on the site for these top 20 items. The homepage was redesigned to provide faster access to these 20 items, and now the design engineer can find the most requested products right away. All of the product pages were redesigned to provide the necessary information in a clear, concise form, allowing the design engineer to quickly get the information they need and order components.
"Most design engineers who go to a web site are usually only looking for four or five items," says Gingerich. "No matter how large your inventory, a web site should make it easy to find those four or five items. This will ensure that the design engineer will come back again when they need more information."
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