Putting your company's catalog into software form may not be just a smart option -- it may be the best way to compete for customers who are doing more and more of their work with computers.
Two years ago Taco Inc., a 60-year-old Cranston, R.I., pump manufacturer, decided that the engineers who buy its products would have an easier time if the catalog were available as software -- the software's graphics capabilities would allow customers to figure out which pump configurations would best meet their needs without spending hours at their calculators.
"We felt engineers who were already using computers would jump at the option of avoiding a manual catalog," says John White, vice-president of sales and marketing. The cost of the program and its updates varies, but a typical package might go for around $100. With the new system, White says, not only are customers making their choices faster, but new customers are coming in as well.