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Blower builder uses LCD to build competitive advantage

How can a long-established midwestern manufacturing firm prosper in today’s globally competitive environment?

Philips 4600  is the LCD projector of choice at Chicago based New York BlowerOne way, according to Jim McGrath, vice president of New York Blower, a Chicago-based manufacturer of industrial fans founded in 1889, is to adopt modern presentation technology and use it to help build partnerships with customers.

The fan and blower industry today is mature and very competitive, with its industrial market segments shared among 30 manufacturers. While it might not be an industry an outsider would think of as high-tech, "we’ve moved into the computer age," says McGrath, who told me the firm has developed an internet site and an electronic catalog. Good presentations are critical, given the competitive climate, and management has emphasized the informational and educational side of customer communications. "We’ve gotten into video production," says McGrath, "where we’ve done videos on fan maintenance, sound, and how systems affect the performance of fans. Our salesmen give seminars to the engineering staff of their customers. We’ve been doing more and more training."

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LCD projection was a natural for the company’s program. "A few of us saw this type of projector and it seemed terrific for our purposes," McGrath says, and he came to United Visual’s Brian Sheridan for advice. "Brian was very helpful when we needed to decide which one to buy. He showed us the Philips and it was just what we wanted."

McGrath says the firm is using their new projector for sales training, staff and shareholder meetings, and sales conferences, as well as client presentations and seminars. "It’s so easy to work with it and so professional." He chose a Philips 4600. "It was a bit lower in price than the other projector we had considered, but we liked its features better." Once purchased, he says his main problem has been sharing the projector among the large number of people who want to use it.

McGrath says he was glad he bought the unit from United. "Brian has just been great," says McGrath. "He was very prompt at returning calls, at getting out here when we needed a demo, and, after we purchased, coming out to show us how something works. He makes it very easy to work with him."