PortaFab Modular Building Systems is an organization that specializes in the modern construction products and services, including design, shipping, and installation. The company is one of the market leaders and relies on the work and talent of numerous contractors and architects. The employees can deliver the best quality and provide practical solutions to any challenges in construction. It can be noted that as a company, whose business line is all about construction solutions, PortaFab is among the best players in the market since it instantly provides efficient solutions in the construction process. With such products as pre-engineered wall systems that provide any building with high-quality convenience, the company is in a position to claim the leadership in the construction industry. These facts place the company at a very significant stand; therefore, it is possible to learn not only about the company itself but also about the construction industry, as a whole, as well as how marketing is done within it. This paper focuses on the things I have learnt as an intern at PortaFab Corporation and the industry. The paper analyzes the marketing strategies, makes SWOT analysis, and studies some other factors that could improve the performance of PortaFab Corporation in the market. The idea is to use my understanding of marketing and my experience at PortaFab Corporation in order to establish the best practices that could improve the company’s market awareness and sales volume.
As a marketing student, my main subject of study at PortaFab was, as expected, marketing. Therefore, I was assigned to work closely with the company’s advertising associates, Captiva Marketing. Captiva Marketing is a somewhat independent organization that handles most of PortaFab’s marketing activities; mainly, I was working with them in the online department. My job involved the development and constant update of the company’s website content, as well as working closely with the company’s distributors, consultants, and other partners in order to ensure that the business marketing concepts are on the right track. In other words, it means that I had to follow the completion of the monthly newsletters and case studies, as well as organization of the trade shows, and ensure that the corporation remained visible and in a good light. From a general perspective, my work was mostly focused on presenting the company to the stakeholders, including customers, partners, and competitors among others.
Besides my duties in the Captiva Marketing unit, I was also actively involved in the operation of the engineering and accounting departments with the aim of improving my understanding of the organization. In order to market a company effectively, it is considerably important to understand its activities with regard to its products and position in terms of the financial performance. These details are especially important because there is a need to learn and understand the context of a company fully before presenting it to the market. In my case, I was able to learn that PortaFab was an exceptionally successful company with an impressive market share, especially in the US. The concept of the pre-engineered construction solutions has earned so much popularity over the past few decades; therefore, today, this company is a major player in the industry. This fact explains its impeccable fiscal health, as well as the distinctive efforts aimed at the customer satisfaction. During my work in the engineering department, I noticed how much attention the company paid to the product design. It seeks to abide by all the rules and safety standards in creating very attractive, safe, and long-lasting products while leaving some room for customization depending on the client’s specifications.
Primarily, PortaFab is a construction company, except that it does not directly engage in the construction sites. The company creates products, on which the contractors and architects can rely in their impressive work. In such a manner, in terms of marketing, it can be noted that the main targets are the professionals in the construction industry. It, however, does not mean that the company neglects the general public since they also could be interested in the construction of their homes, schools, churches, and offices, among other things. Within the company, I earned my experience in three departments as discussed below.
Captiva Marketing is the advertising partner of PortaFab that handles most of its marketing activities. While working here, I helped with the creation of content for the company’s website. It meant that I had to conduct regular research on the market trends within the construction industry in order to establish information that would be not only relevant but also interesting to the company’s customers (Rampton, 2014). It means that as a part of my working experience at PortaFab, I was able to learn a lot about the construction industry and its dynamic market. I was also responsible for updating the online content in order to ensure that the customers and partners would find the most accurate and current information when they visited the company website.
In such a manner, I consistently had to check the website in order to ensure that every piece of information was accurate. Moreover, I had to possess the latest information regarding the company’s every aspect. While working with the consultants and distributors, I studied the company in depth. The consultants draw me into the company’s philosophy, which revolved around doing the best and satisfying the customers without disregarding their safety and expectations. The distributors also taught me about the company’s business model, according to which distribution was of a great significance to the business. I learnt that PortaFab was able to excel mainly because it had an impressive working relationship with the distributors. The company greatly valued them; therefore, it sought their feedback on a regular basis and considered their criticisms in improving its activities and operation.
Engineering and Accounting Departments
My working experience in the engineering department mostly considered the importance of the product design to the company’s market performance. Based on how careful and keen the engineers were, it could be stated that PortaFab invested a lot in creating the right range of products in order to satisfy various needs of its customers. This fact explains the wide product range that the company already had and continued to increase. Here, the customization was mainly a marketing concept, aimed at ensuring that the company could meet the specific needs of any given client provided he or she shared these needs and expectations. From this department, I learnt the importance of a customer to the company especially considering how expensive an engineering process for the customized walls can be. The company did not look to cut on the operational costs at the expense of the client.
On the other hand, in the accounting department, I was mostly analyzing the company’s performance in the market. This task often meant considering how much the company is spending and how much returns it is getting. The idea was to give me an insight into the company from the balance sheet perspective. I noticed that as a company, the main operations of which are engineering and marketing, PortaFab barely had room for the cost cutting; thus, it had to ensure that everything it did would reflect positively on the balance sheet.
PortaFab in Marketing
Captiva Marketing has been managing PortaFab’s marketing very effectively for many years; therefore, the Corporation can focus on engineering and shipping among other significant activities that make it a leader in the construction industry within and beyond the US. When considering the company’s marketing situation, one can note that it has been successful in creating the market awareness especially amongst the concerned professionals, including the construction businesses, independent contractors, and architects (Makombe & Kachwamba, 2011). The company has an official website that is full of valuable content that covers numerous aspects of the construction industry, as well as provides descriptions of the company’s products, and offers advice from the consultants.
All this information is directed towards people within the construction industry, most of whom are very knowledgeable in the matters of construction and yet they often browse the website in order to learn something new or check out the latest products from this company, among other things. The company also has its distributors all over the world; they act as representatives of the company in their respective locations. PortaFab also has an online customer care service that allows its clients ask any questions and get quick responses from the staff. The idea is to bring the company closer to people in a bid to foster customer satisfaction and, eventually, customer loyalty. So far, this strategy has been very successful in that most of the company’s customers rely on it in the case they have an upcoming or ongoing construction project. It means that its marketing mix has been very effective in building the company’s reputation and keeping it ahead in terms of the market awareness and customer loyalty. As expected, the marketing mix at PortaFab is based on the 4Cs rather than 4Ps mainly because the company is customer oriented (Kotabe & Helsen, 2010).
A customer means any person or unit buying the pre-engineered construction parts. The company is especially keen in understanding the desires and needs of the customers in order to provide them with the best in terms of the products and services. For this strategy to be implemented, the company has had to come up with the effective and reliable customer care mechanisms, such as live chats, telephone conversations, and social media platforms, through which it can interact with the customers at a personal level (Rishika et al, 2013). It has enabled the company to understand the people that it serves; thus, it is now able to offer the very best to these customers. On the other hand, the cost is more about the value of the brand to the customer. PortaFab offers different construction solutions; thus, it allows its customers enjoy the best in quality without having to put in the additional effort or money.
It means that the company’s pricing strategy is mainly aimed to favor the customers so that they can afford to receive the best in quality at a reasonable price that they also will appreciate. On convenience, PortaFab not only designs and produces the pre-fabricated walls and partitions but also delivers them to the construction sites depending on the agreement with the customer. In such a manner, the company has ensured it can get the merchandise to the customer; thus, it is a very convenient choice for the construction industry, in general, as there are already too many logistics to worry about in it. Regarding the communication, it can be noted that the company has invested in and relied on the technology in driving most of its marketing communications. The company mainly reaches out to its customers through the Internet, using its website and social media platforms. So far, it has been able to attract a good following from the construction enthusiasts and architects (Rampton, 2014). The company has a very active and relevant online presence, with its website and other online platforms receiving frequent updates in order to ensure that the customers have the relevant information at all times.
PortaFab SWOT Analysis
So far, PortaFab has been exceptionally successful, and this achievement can be attributed to a number of factors that provide the company with a considerable advantage over the other players in the industry. First, the PortaFab brand is very strong in that it has been associated with the best in the construction industry. It means that, regardless of the needs, all customers are likely to associate a great construction project with this company (PortaFab Modular Building Systems, 2015). The strong brand name, in turn, has fostered the customer loyalty; thus, it has won the company an even larger market share. The company also has a very impressive research and development unit that focuses on creating the new products that would satisfy the customers’ needs and expectations. The company bases this process on the years of experience in the construction industry, as well as the knowledge of the highly skilled workforce in the engineering department. As such, PortaFab is always able to come up with the best products that are usually copied by its competitors.
Another considerable strength is that the company has created an extensive distribution network; thus, it has a presence in all the major markets. This achievement, along with the shipping activities, implies that the company is able to get to any consumer without having to worry about the location. All customers can get a PortaFab product, regardless of where they are. The other strength that this company uses to its advantage is the seemingly unending relevance of its products and services in the construction industry. People buy these products not only when they are constructing a new building but also when they have to order a wall for renovating or partitioning the space. Consequently, the company is likely to feature where any construction-related activities take place.
Just like any other company, PortaFab also has some weaknesses that prevent it from taking over the global construction industry completely. First, the company has to deal with significant competitors in the same line of business. The pre-fabricated construction parts are rather common in the construction industries; moreover, it can be noted that the industry is a little crowded. The company also has to endure some high operational costs in order to sustain the corporate culture, as well as organizational standards. On the one hand, the company mainly focuses on the engineering processes that are expensive in nature. It means that it cannot cut down its operational costs without compromising the quality of the products or ability to be innovative and create competitive solutions for the construction industry. On the other hand, the industry heavily depends on the creativity and innovation of the employees; thus, PortaFab must maintain an innovative corporate culture that. in most cases, is rather expensive. The company cannot compromise this point by no means since this creativity has propelled it to the leading positions ahead of the competition at all times. Moreover, the company has to meet the high standards of the construction industry, especially with regards to the safety of its products. In most cases, safety means additional costs; however, it cannot be avoided since the construction business greatly depends on the company’s ability to assure the customers that its products are safe.
The opportunities of the company are also quite significant. First, just like any company that expects to improve its organizational performance, PortaFab can significantly benefit from technology. With the credible management software like ERP (Enterprise Resource Program), CRM (Customer Relations Management), DSS (Decision Support System), and KM (Knowledge Management), among others, the company will be able to operate not only effectively but also seamlessly and very efficiently (Mount & Martinez, 2014). The company can also take advantage of the new emerging markets and develop into a well-represented international organization with the branches in all parts of the world. Considering that the company presently ships products to its customers, PortaFab can also expand into the logistics industry and diversify its sources of revenue rather than stick to the construction business only.
The only major threat, with which the construction industry has to deal, and thus the company as well, is the global economy. People need new buildings where they can live, work, socialize, pray, or study, for example. It means that the need for the new constructions is rather uncontrollable for as long as someone can afford it. When the global economy fails, however, there is the likelihood that all over the world, the constructions will come to a halt as the available funds will be redirected to other more important projects like health care and food. A bad global economy affects not only the construction industry but also all the aspects of human life; in other words, there is virtually nothing that can be done except seeking for the new ways of getting income by offering the basic commodities that can be sold even when the economy is extremely bad.
Recommendations and Conclusion
PortaFab is an exceptionally great and successful company that so far, has been very successful in its operations, especially in the central manufacturing concept that places all its engineering activities in one place. The company, however, needs to improve in terms of its market position and presence since the world is moving in the direction of general globalization, and businesses are following the trend through internationalization. According to the company’s SWOT Analysis and its marketing mix, the first recommendation for PortaFab is to branch out. The company has an opportunity for expanding in the emerging markets, but it cannot capitalize on it efficiently unless it opens the manufacturing plants elsewhere. A single manufacturing location may be sufficient for the US and the UK; however, once the company ventures out into the other distant locations overseas, it will not be able to earn much revenue with the steep shipping costs. On the other hand, with more manufacturing locations, the company will have a better chance for the market domination. Another important recommendation considers the company’s possible expansion. Today, logistics is an especially significant and expensive part of the company’s current operations. In order to lower its operational costs and take advantage of the unique position of expertise, PortaFab should consider developing a logistics department that will ship not only its products but also those of others. This step will make the company very effective and efficient in delivering own products to the customers in the market, as it will be able to oversee the whole process instead of relying on third parties. Most companies are limited in their activities by their own rigidity. PortaFab is a great company that is full of potential. It has the right customer oriented market mix, and its SWOT analysis indicates that the company has enough opportunities for keeping at the top of the industry for the years to come. The company, however, has currently limited itself to the US and UK with a central manufacturing unit and thus avoidable logistics. The company should consider expanding to a larger market, possibly by opening other manufacturing centers and a logistics company to do its shipping at a lower rate. The idea is to get the company out to the market without decreasing its operational expenses.