Sunday, January 18, 2009

The small things really do matter

I remember a college business class I took at the University at Albany that focused on a case study where Komatsu was grabbing incredible market share against the industry leader Caterpillar. (Both of these companies are heavy equipment manufacturers eg bulldozers).
The executives at Caterpillar were stunned and could not figure out why they were loosing market share. The pricing was relatively equal and Caterpillar had a stellar reputation.

The reason?

Well, the smart folks at Komatsu decided to put a soft cushion on the drivers seat of the vehicles. This gave relief to the drivers backside, who were bouncing around in the cockpit throughout the long day, moving dirt and other materials. When it came time to order new vehicles, the drivers would mention how they liked the Komatsu vehicles better than Caterpillar. To the purchasing agent, the price was pretty equal, and they were influenced by the drivers words.

So the moral to the story is that a little $25 cushion swayed thousands of dollars in business. Eventually, after hours and hours of research, the people at Caterpillar found out what was going on, and added the cushion to their vehicles as well.
What little things do you do different from your competitors? Some little things that may seem trivial to you could be the deciding factor that sways business your way. So the old saying "don't sweat the small stuff" does not always apply in business.

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