Ulbrich // Case Study

Expanding Possibility for a Century-Old Manufacturer

For nearly a century, precision metals manufacturer Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, Inc. has embraced innovation, growing from a small-town supplier of military cutlery into a global development and supply chain partner with 12 locations in five countries – spanning the metallurgic aerospace, automotive, consumer electronics, industrial, and medical industries. Now looking to take their next step in innovation, they partnered with us to evolve their business and digitally transform it to better meet the needs of their customers and employees.

The Challenge

Despite being experts in manufacturing, Ulbrich was struggling to deliver a cohesive digital experience that supported the needs of their various sales teams and industry partners. This meant multiple platforms, fragmented domains, and a practically non-existent conversion funnel. Ulbrich needed a connected digital experience that could foster better lead generation, enable their sales force, and communicate their history-rich products and services portfolio so they could continue to shape the world for years to come.

Outcome

Our approach to customer immersion and stakeholder identification enabled us to define and prioritize the business objectives. This allowed us to design a brand and marketing roadmap that culminated in a fully refreshed CMS-powered digital experience. The new Ulbirch.com is now a connected CRM-led 24/7 sales vehicle build to help them to reach and engage with customers and prospects all over the world, any time of the day.

A visual language inspired by physical manufacturing.

Practically invisible to the everyday consumer, Ulbrich has been a part of some of the most monumental events in our recent history – from pivotal advances in medical technology to the materials used to build the Apollo spacecraft. Being able to help a century-old manufacturer undergo a Digital Transformation meant gaining a rapid understanding of their business first. 
True to the methodology of Design Thinking, we began by immersing ourselves in both the manufacturing and materials themselves – using that as the foundation for how we could 
ultimately shape an effective digital experience and visual language around the brand.

Crafting a scalable, product-powered digital experience.

Using our refreshed visual styles and UI components to more accurately reflect Ulbrich’s products and services, we engineered a new architecture and site strategy that would be built using a single Craft CMS. This gave Ulbrich a highly flexible system that could scale with ease as they continued to expand their products, services, and physical footprint to countries around the world. Launching the reimagined Ulbrich.com effectively transformed it, taking it from a portfolio website hampered by legacy systems and technical debt to a robust digital experience that could be used to manage, track, and measure a singular sales funnel. With a new website in hand, Ulbrich's employees could quickly drive conversions across all industries – regardless of their location or needs.

Unlocking new revenue streams through business model innovation.

Ulbrich knows their most valuable product isn’t their metals, but their expertise. Throughout our immersion process, we were able to help surface and design a new service offering that could bring that idea to life: The Ulbrich Development Partnership. In manufacturing, successful product development often starts with great ideas and greater risks. Ulbrich’s Development Partnership would allow manufacturers to minimize risk, by partnering with Ulbrich to develop and design innovative custom material solutions based on technical feasibility. Part of the new Ulbrich.com experience included adding a series of recursive customer journeys that led to additional awareness and interest for this new service.

Laying the foundation for Digital Merchandising with Ulbrich Direct

Inspired by the principles and technology that drive the commerce experience of many consumer-facing brands, we also developed a custom digital merchandising system for Ulbrich. This gave their internal team an order management system that seamlessly integrates into the CMS, enabling fast product inventory updates. For Ulbrich’s customers, products are sortable, searchable, and easy to navigate with a nearly frictionless experience when it comes to getting a quote for purchase.

Putting the new experience to the test.

To ensure the launch and sales adoption of the new Ulbrich.com was a success, our team took typical, antiquated testing to the next level. We invited members of every department within the company to participate in a progressive user-centered testing methodology to ensure that every aspect of our digital experience had been tested by the people and customers who know this business best. In addition, we were able to use this opportunity to provide 1-on-1 training for Ulbrich’s sales and marketing teams, which gave them a greater understanding of how to leverage the tools and resources they needed to keep driving the business forward.

“We’ve always had datasheets on our website? I’ve worked here for years and had no idea. When does the site launch? I can start using these immediately.” - Ulbrich Employee

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