Sometimes you have to remember your roots before moving forward.

This is a line that could have been on myriad posters for coming-of-age romantic comedies or dramatic movies over the last 35 years. It also sums up my February trip to The Westin in Denver for the AD buying group’s 2018 eCommerce Summit.

For new readers of my column, I got my start in the plumbing industry with pme’s sister publication, Supply House Times. The magazine’s editor, Mike Miazga, was on assignment and needed me to attend the event and provide a report. What I didn’t expect was to be able to use the information and advice from the event and provide it to you.

During an AD member panel discussion on best practices for developing an e-commerce platform, one of the participants remarked his company undertook a thorough review of its online ordering capabilities and potential before committing money to a new venture. He was shocked by what the investigation uncovered.

“It was eye opening to see the business we didn’t know we were losing,” he remarked.

Clearly, e-commerce is not a priority for your engineering firm, but making sure the company is not losing out on potential profits is a major factor. A couple speakers during the eCommerce Summit noted it was important to have someone on staff that knows the end game of e-commerce so he or she can clearly explain it to the higher-ups.

Analytics have been top of mind to me recently for a couple reasons. First, it’s spring training for Major League Baseball and my favorite team — the Milwaukee Brewers — has made some major moves in hopes of winning its first World Series in franchise history. There are other potential moves to be made to upgrade the starting pitching rotation, but are free-agent signings or trades worth it? What do the analytics such as WAR (wins above replacement), FIP (fielding independent pitching) and others say? That’s something for Brewers General Manager David Stearns and his team to figure out.

More importantly, here at pme analytics are playing a major role in some of our processes. We’re continually looking at Google Analytics to see how to best utilize our website and get the best stories front and center for you the reader. Additionally, what do the statistics about the pme eNewsletter show? Are we maximizing that resource to the highest degree? These are daily questions that need to be answered to improve both our readership and our business.

Google Analytics and other online statistics are just one option to enhance your firm’s reach and profits. Would it be wise to do a survey with your current, past and potential clients? What could you glean from those answers to improve your company’s standing in the marketplace? Maybe you learn that initial interview and planning stage was rocky and not what the client expected. Or maybe communication during the design process was underwhelming and you learn how to fix that process.

The answers are out there waiting for you. Be sure to find them.


This article was originally titled “Grab every penny” in the March 2018 print edition of PM Engineer.