Responsive Web Design

Is your website mobile-friendly?

Responsive Web Design

If not, it needs to be — by April 21st. Why?

Google will begin penalizing your mobile search rankings if your site isn’t mobile-friendly.

Why is being mobile-friendly so important?

Because 25% of all search queries are now on mobile devices, according to BIA/Kelsey, eMarketer estimates — in 2014 — 129.9 million US consumers used a mobile phone to search the internet at least once per month, and Google states 9 out of 10 mobile search users have ‘taken action’ as a result of a mobile search, with over half leading to a purchase.  Read more

Business Life Transition Radio Show

Business Life Transition Radio Show Interview

Business Life Transition Radio Show

Jeff Klingberg discusses bringing ‘sexy’ back to U.S. manufacturing.

On Monday, March 17th, Jeff Klingberg, President/CEO of Mountain Stream Group, was on the BLT — Business Life Transition radio show on the Blog Talk Radio network talking with Jan Mariano and Brian Basilico about how to bring ‘sexy’ back to manufacturing through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Click here to listen in at Business Life Transition radio.

Marketing is an investment in your company’s future success, but knowledge and closing the loop are needed to maximize its efficiency and effectiveness.

future-success

Lately, we’ve received a lot of inquiries from trade publication writers asking for tips and tricks on how businesses can cut their marketing budgets and eliminate waste. While I applaud these writers in their quest to more efficiently and effectively utilize a business’ marketing expenditures, the premise of their articles assumes that marketing is a line item expense that can be cut like it were office supplies.

The reality is that marketing is an investment in the future success of your business, just like investing in the stock market — or investing in one’s education — goes towards the future success of an individual.

Is there waste in utilizing the marketing funds allocated?

Absolutely, but this is due to the fact that for most businesses’ marketing is an open-loop function.

An open loop is similar to driving your car to get from Point A to Point B at a specific time, but there are unknown elements like weather and traffic congestion that impact your ability to achieve your goal. While driving, you’re listening to the radio for traffic reports or using a smartphone app to spot problems and navigate around them. You’re occasionally glancing at the clock or your watch to check the time. And, you’re constantly glancing at the speedometer checking your speed, pressing or relaxing the accelerator based on the car’s current speed and your assumed time and distance from other vehicles.

Whew! Wiping my brow. Writing the last paragraph made me sweat. The same thing happens to businesses when using open-loop marketing.

Read more

William Butler Yeats
Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people. — William Butler Yeats

Shiro Nakamura, Nissan Design Chief
Design is communicating emotion from designer to customer. — Shiro Nakamura, Nissan design chief

Shiro Nakamura, Nissan Design Chief

315 Machine Design Logo

Portfoilo Update: 315 Machine Design Logo

315 Machine Design is a start-up designer and builder of custom machinery. The logo combines elements related to the design and construction of a machine: gear, shaft, wrench and bolt. Since they are located in the United States and want to promote ‘Made in the USA’ machinery we used red, white and blue colors and incorporated stars.[spacer]

315 Machine Design Logo

Bar graph showing science and engineering degree holders older than 50 by selected field

Fluid Power Fundamentals: More Educational Institutions Needed Now To Educate Workforce

The following article was first published in the December 2009 issue of the now defunct Today’s Fluid Power magazine.

In our previous article we discussed the need to develop programs to teach engineering, and specifically fluid power principles, to children starting in kindergarten or pre-K to spark interest in the profession and the industry. We briefly stated the reason for this need for new programs is the declining math and science scores of United States youth as they get older, and the shortage of people with fluid power skills.

Why is there a workforce shortage?

Bar graph showing science and engineering degree holders older than 50 by selected fieldThe American Baby Boomer generation is retiring or will be retiring over the next 20 years — taking with them their many skills. At the same time, Americans aged 25–34 today don’t possess higher skills than do their baby boomer parents according to The Accelerating Decline in America’s High-Skilled Workforce: Implications for Immigration Policy.

The US Census Bureau states the number of people aged 55 and older will increase to 73% of the total US population by 2020, while the number of younger workers will grow only 5%. Combine those statistics with the Hudson Institute’s estimates of nearly 40% of America’s skilled-labor force retiring in the next 5 years, and you have a massive skilled workforce shortage — one the US Bureau of Labor Statistics states will grow to 5.3 million by 2010 and to 14 million by 2015.

The National Science Board’s Science and Engineering (S&E) Indicators 2008 reports the problem is even more exaggerated in the science and engineering workforce where more than half of workers with S&E degrees are age 40 or older, and the 40–44 age group is more than two times as large as the 60–64 age group. Read more

Pie charts showing results of American Society for Quality/Harris Interactive 2008 study: only 20% of parents encouraging engineering and only 15% of kids (ages 8-17) interested in engineering

Introducing Fluid Power to Younger Students Is One Way to Stave Off Extinction

This article was first published in the September 2009 issue of the now defunct Today’s Fluid Power magazine.

Fluid power isn’t sexy.

American Society for Quality/Harris Interactive 2008 Study Pie Chart

Source: American Society for Quality/Harris Interactive 2008 Study

That’s the conclusion the international fluid power industry came to in 2007 as the reason why there is a shortage of people with fluid power skills influencing design decisions regarding which motion control technologies to use. The fluid power industry isn’t the only industry seeing this image problem. It’s a systemic crisis that permeates the entire US culture.

A 2008 Harris Interactive study for the American Society for Quality found that 44% of kids, ages 8-17, don’t know much about engineering, and 30% of the respondents want a more exciting profession than engineering. While 97% of parents stated they believe that knowledge of math and science will help their children have a successful career, only 20% encourage/will encourage their sons or daughters to become engineers.

The study further reports that kids don’t feel confident enough in their math or science skills (21%) to be good at engineering — despite the fact that the largest number of kids ranked math (22%) and science (17%) as their favorite subjects.

OK. We now know what the problem is so how do we fix it?

The US fluid power industry decided to develop alliances with FIRST (Foundation for the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), Project Lead The Way, and SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers) Education Foundation to promote fluid power education in middle schools and high schools. They’ve created a ‘key school’ program, the Fluid Power Challenge, and the Fluid Power: A force for change video among other initiatives. The Fluid Power Education Foundation has scholarships for college bound student who will study fluid power.

I commend the US fluid power industry for their efforts, but there is shortsightedness to these educational outreach initiatives that I don’t think many engineering and fluid power industry leaders understand. Read more

Industrial Marketing: Can Social Media Play a Role? Can Social Media Work?

Industrial Marketing: Can Social Media Play a Role? Can Social Media Work?

Industrial Marketing: Can Social Media Play a Role? Can Social Media Work?

These and many similar questions  are being asked and debated across the industrial marketing spectrum.  And, there is no clear consensus.

The following is a look at why the answer might be maybe.

1.  Fear is holding back adoption.

In general engineers don’t have a lot of spare time on their hands.  Part of the reason for the lack of time on their hands to engage in social networking can be attributed to their inability to get to social media. The SAE International’s Do mobility engineers use social media? study surveyed nearly 1200 members and found only 55% said they use social media for work and only 52% of companies permit social media use during business hours.

Additionally, MarketingProfs What Works in 2011: B2B Marketing report finds that the number of companies restricting social media use is growing. Facebook, while the most popular of the social networking channels, is also the most blocked by companies.

Security and over exposure of information are the Top 2 fears of companies according to McAfee Inc.’s Web 2.0: A Complex Balancing Act – The First Global Study on Web 2.0 Usage, Risks and Best Practices Report. The study found over 60% of the respondents stated their company suffered losses averaging of $2 million related to security issues.

Read more

Mountain Stream Group Illustration - White Hydraulics

Portfolio Update: White Hydraulics Ad Illustration

White Hydraulics Ad Illustration

Mountain Stream Group created this illustration for White Hydraulics (now known as White Drive Products) for use in an print advertisement.