William RDM's key strengths are its strong reputation and recognition awards from top clients, such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, as well as its focus on innovation. While there isn't much information available on its weaknesses, being a small business, William RDM may lack resources to realize its ambitious projects or convince customers that they are able to. The major opportunity lies in launching a B2B e-commerce site, though if it fails to do it in the near future, it faces a threat of lagging behind its competitors. Such an upgrade would majorly improve customer experience, allowing for automation of orders and payments, easier repurchases, faster and more effective support, and more personalized offer. Two e-commerce solutions that would be appropriate for Williams RDM are BigCommerce and LiveChat.
Williams RDM — The SWOT Analysis
- The company has been in the market for over 50 years and has a strong reputation, including multiple awards and recognition from top clients.
- For example, it won the Boeing Performance Excellence Award. In 2018, it was also recognized as one of Lockheed Martin's leading suppliers. Similarly, in 2019, Northrop Grumman gave it the World Class Team Award for the best small business suppliers.
- Another strength is the company's focus on innovation. Thanks to it, they won the Tibbetts Award.
- Also, one of their innovative projects, START Sensors Network, entails using computer technology and portable sensors to guard the US borders, which would detect illegal activities without the necessity of building a physical wall.
- The cost-efficient project brought publicity and recognition from the government bodies.
- The innovativeness and overall quality of WilliamsRDM's products are especially impressive for a company with only 100 employees.
- Williams RDM is a private company, which means they aren't required to publish annual reports. Also, the website doesn't include news or press release sections. With how little media coverage it gets, it is not possible to identify weaknesses without making assumptions.
- As mentioned above, the company is relatively small and has ambitious projects, as well as large businesses as clients. This means that they may lack the resources to fulfill some of their plans, or lose contracts to bigger companies that seem more reliable.
- One of the company's products, The StoveTop FireStop (STFS) Rangehood and Microhood Automatic Cooktop Fire Suppressors, was recently recalled. There was a risk that they wouldn't activate and suppress the fire.
- To identify additional weaknesses, we tried to analyze Williams RDM's reviews on Glassdoor, Indeed, and Facebook. Unfortunately, there is only one negative review available, which claims that the company treats full-time employees as contract ones. No job security allegedly results in a bad workplace atmosphere.
- There are plans for significant investments in border security in the US. For example, Trump's budget proposal includes $15.6 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (7% more than the current spending), with $2 billion allocated to border wall construction.
- Also, the Pentagon has recently taken $3.8 billion from the weapons program to fund the border wall.
- Those plans for extensive border protection spending, especially for the border wall, were met with critique from the Democrats.
- With a lot of public discussion around the current border protection plans, it is likely that solutions like the one proposed by Williams RMD will become more relevant.
- So far, B2B e-commerce has been dominated by enterprise and mid-sized businesses. However, software vendors are launching more intuitive, easy to implement and sustainable options for small businesses, which gives Williams RDM a chance to enhance its B2B customer experience by automating it.
- The US defense market is unstable due to fluctuations in government spending and unpredictability of its budgets, as well as the Budget Control Act.
- Because of the large variations in government expenditures on defense, each element of the supply chain, including businesses like Williams RMD, cannot effectively plan its investments and research & development activities.
- Also, one of the main challenges for cable harnesses manufacturers for aerospace is keeping up with increasing complexity of airplane electrical systems, with more connections and evolving wiring system regulations.
- Some current harnesses need as many as 6,000 connection points, which take up to 24 hours to test. Others are 40-feet long and have 60 branches. According to one manufacturer, producing such assembly takes eight specialists and 340 man-hours, which may be challenging for a small business like Williams RDM.
- According to Impact, searching through printed catalogs and talking to sales reps is becoming outdated. 72% of business-to-business customers expect "self-service access to orders and accounts."
- While 60.7% of U.S. manufacturers don't have e-commerce sites yet, 75% of them plan to launch one within the next two years.
- Also, 93% of B2B customers prefer to buy online, with 74% also researching their products online before deciding.
- Therefore, Williams RDM is facing the risk of becoming irrelevant if it doesn't tap into B2B e-commerce and doesn't enhance the content of its website. Currently, it doesn't offer automated purchases and payment options for its B2B products.
How E-Commerce Can Solve Williams RDM's Challenges
- The main William RDM's challenge that e-commerce can solve is launching a B2B e-commerce site to stay relevant in the current market and keep up with B2B clients' expectations.
- Adding e-commerce to its website would likely increase customer satisfaction, as it would make it easier to ask for quotes, speed up and automate the buying and payment process, as well as make it possible to receive personalized recommendations, and make repurchases without having to contact sales reps.
- The first major step for the company would be to decide between an in-house solution and one of the available e-commerce platforms. However, according to NetSolutions, the former tend to be disorganized and offer fewer features and integrations.
- Since the B2B part of the company currently doesn't use e-commerce, another essential element would be educating people within the organization and adjusting its internal processes.
Insights into Needed Features
- According to Impact, many B2B businesses that are family-owned (like Williams RDM) worry that their customer relationships will lose a personal touch. However, using live chat can solve this issue.
- Live chats are crucial for successful B2B e-commerce, as products are often more complex and the purchasing process requires more assistance than in the case of B2C.
- With this feature, B2B businesses can shorten the sales process and their response times, personalize communication, educate clients, and generate new leads.
- Also, in order to cater to most B2B customers' expectations, it is important to provide advanced search features, which are the top priority for 76% buyers from this category.
- It can also help to make the site SEO-friendly, considering that B2B researchers usually use Google for product research.
- Overall, B2B buyers are the most satisfied with a simple, intuitive experience, and a website that is easy to search for the needed information.
- Finally, it is important to use e-commerce to gather more customer data, which will make it easier to differentiate and come up with personalized offers. According to 42% of B2B companies, the most important metric to track is customer retention.
E-Commerce Solutions to Address the Challenges
- It is considered a top e-commerce platform for small businesses by Apruve, NetSolutions, Mindstick, and Magento.
- It is a cloud-based SaaS platform that provides businesses with advanced tools, integrations, and customization options needed to create a B2B shopping experience, while also remaining functional.
- BigCommerce would be appropriate for a company like Williams RDM, because it is affordable and offers small business plans. It also includes 24/7 customer support, and quote and bulk orders management options.
- Additionally, it is able to process returns and provides flexible shipping options.
- LiveChat is considered as one of the top e-commerce chat solutions by Ecommerce Platforms, Practical Ecommerce, and WPBeginner.
- The solution is appropriate for B2B e-commerce, as noted on its website.
- It is a customer service platform that suggests products, tracks sales, helps with upselling, provides comprehensive customer support, and collects feedback.
- It also enables companies to automate their customer support with a chatbot.
There was very little information available on Williams RDM's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats on the website, as well as on local media sites, and in industry media. Therefore, some of our findings are based on assumptions. Assumptions related to weaknesses are explained in the appropriate section. For opportunities and threats, we included those that were relevant for the industries that the company operates in, as well as for B2B small businesses in general.
Please also note that there was no information available about Williams RDM's e-commerce. Therefore, we assumed that the lack of a B2B e-commerce site is the major issue, considering that it is rapidly becoming a must for B2B companies.
Due to the company being niche and rarely appearing in the media, we also used one source from 2017, after verifying that the START Sensor Network is still a part of the company's services.