Rock West Composites is a Salt Lake City, Utah company that supplies composite materials like carbon fiber tubing, sheets, and prepregs. Their business model is similar to that of other distributors around the country. Further up the supply chain, there are dozens of manufacturers that transform carbon tow into the fabrics, sheets, and tubes sold by local distributors. What do all these entities have in common? The need for a unified voice, according to the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA).
The ACMA maintains that the composites industry in America has long suffered from the lack of a unified voice or message. As such, some industries that would greatly benefit from composite materials do not know enough about them. The ACMA says that providing a unified voice and messaging would go a long way toward addressing the problem. To that end, they have launched a new initiative geared toward educating various industries about the benefits of composites.
Create a Need through Education
The premise of the ACMA initiative is to create a need for composite materials through education. Simply put, certain industries have no idea how much they need composites because they know nothing about them. Tell them what they don’t know and they are likely to be more receptive to carbon fiber, fiberglass, and other composite materials.
ACMA proposes educating industry leaders in the following areas:
- Composites basics
- How composites are made
- How composites compare to all the materials
- Practical applications for composite materials
- Case studies proving the effectiveness and marketability of composites.
According to Composites World magazine, ACMA maintains that one of the biggest obstacles its members face is one of their target customers being completely unaware of the benefits of composite materials. Manufacturers and distributors could, and should, embark on efforts to educate potential customers in order to bring them into the composites fold.
Getting the Right Message Out
What the ACMA is advocating is essentially a concerted effort within the composites industry to get the right message out there. It is one thing for individual companies like Rock West Composites to tailor their messaging to the specific customers they are targeting; it’s a completely different matter for the entire industry to come together to present a series of unified messages to every industry that could benefit from composites.
There is plenty of precedent demonstrating that the ACMA knows what it’s talking about. Plenty of other industries have relied on industry trade groups to bring various members together for the purposes of creating a unified voice. In fact, unified messaging is one of the greatest strengths of industry trade groups. It is one of the things they do best.
A unified message can take the fear out of embracing composites. It can set the record straight regarding what composites can and cannot do. Most of all, it can raise awareness of the availability of composites for so many different applications. The world needs to know that there are wider applications for composites beyond aerospace and sporting goods.
Educate and They Will Come
The ACMA believes that a unified voice based on the principle of educating potential customers will ultimately pay off. It is hard to argue the point. So many other industries have proven that the strategy works. Educate them, and they will come. It is as simple as that.
It will be interesting to see what comes of the ACMA’s efforts over the next few months and years. The more people learn about the benefits of composites, the more likely it is that additional industries will get on the composites bandwagon.