Global Inc. Redux
The past year was promising for Aptium Global.
The company has grown by nearly 30 percent, and we have
completed many challenging engagements, including some exciting
global sourcing projects. We were on the road with MFG.com
as part of their Fusion road show, and we were the first
to host a well-attended webinar
covering the recent VAT changes out of China. More important,
we continued identifying and implementing cost savings programs
for our clients. For those of you with whom we have had
the pleasure to work, we thank you for another great year!
Now that Aptium has been in operation for three and a half
years, we recently decided it was time to step back and
analyze the business to figure out effective ways to reach
more of you. We started by analyzing where our business
came from, who we sold projects to, and what types of inbound
calls we regularly received. What we discovered was quite
startling. We’ve listed these surprising findings
Reaching Purchasing Managers More Effectively
One hundred percent of our business comes from referrals.
It never came from cold calls, lead generation efforts,
or direct marketing … only from existing relationships.
While this fact may not be any great a-ha, it does have
ramifications for our business. After further thought and
analysis, we then acknowledged what we have known for some
time—that purchasing managers, buyers, sourcing specialists,
COO’s and most directors of sourcing are not the main
buyers of our services. However, as we analyze our database
of folks who read Gunpowder and individuals who contact
us, we realize that many of our readers are precisely these
people. This caused us to re-think both our service offerings
and how we can reach more of you.
We learned our final lesson from an analysis of our inbound
calls. Since Stuart and I were once non-ferrous metals traders,
it’s no surprise to see that nearly all of these calls
relate to metals. Aptium is known for helping companies
save money on the most mundane and the most complex metals-related
purchases. From heat treat services and grinding media to
complex medical device castings, forgings, and nuclear components,
we have sourced the gambit of metals products and services—and
our inbound calls continue to come from those who identify
us with metals-related sourcing.
So where does that leave us? It has made me scratch my
head, to be truthful. Why are we not reaching more folks
in the purchasing and procurement areas? I have my own hunches,
but let’s suffice it to say that I don’t want
to be selling only to the presidents or CEO’s of companies.
Thus, we launched a new blog this December dedicated to
metals sourcing, available online at www.agmetalminer.com.
Unlike other metals trade publications or online services,
MetalMiner is geared toward sourcing professionals tasked
with managing commodity volatility, global sourcing, cost
avoidance, and supplier continuity for any of their metals
and other metals-related services spend. Our goal with MetalMiner
is to provide more than the metals-related news that you
can continue to read on AMM. Instead, MetalMiner offers
the insight to make sourcing decisions based on our experience.
Low-Cost Web Based Sourcing Tools
In addition to the MetalMiner site, we also plan to offer
several sourcing tools as web services. Forget about ERP
and hosted software, because that is not where we are heading.
We intend to offer low-cost tools that any company sourcing
metals-related products or services can use. Some of these
tools relate to global pricing information that’s
not available anywhere on the web today—stay tuned
for our first offering in Q1 2008—and some tools will
be made available from our consultant’s tool belt.
Finally, and perhaps most interesting to some of you, we
are in the initial stages of putting together a buying group
for metals-related products for middle market firms. If
you are interested in learning more about this, drop us
Look for a survey tool on www.agmetalminer.com
in January with additional details.
Aptium will continue to offer core cost reduction services
across direct material spend categories in 2008, but our
primary focus will remain metals categories where we know
the results we can achieve our second to none. Quite often
in our cost reduction projects we find that the results
come from areas that include but also go beyond unit cost
savings and global sourcing. These include design re-engineering,
materials substitution, lean / inventory reduction, and
global trading and logistics. We will offer these services
on both a pay-as-you-save™ basis, allowing companies
to fund the costs for our services out of the savings they
generate, as well as fixed fee projects for those that want
to lock-in fees upfront.
As always, we welcome your input and feedback. We hope
to see more of you in the near future.
Until then, Happy New Year! ●
is Managing Director of Aptium
Global where he leads the firm's
in North America.