High Hopes For The Green Button

Try this: Look up a product category on www.4specs.com. (Make it a big one, like Steel Doors and Frames.) Now, scroll to the bottom of the page. There’s a green button there that says “Show these listings in Zip Code Order.” Click it.

Now, scroll to the part of the page nearest your zip code. See how the companies whose headquarters are closest to you are clumped near your zip code? If you looked up your own product category, does your headquarters location appear in the right place?

How might this function help you? Perhaps it will help design professionals in your area find you. Perhaps it will help you find fabricators who are interested in working with your raw material, or a company you can co-market your product with.

There’s an important thing to know about this button: what it wishes it could do. It can’t find manufacturers who can fulfill the LEED credit for products sourced and manufactured within 500 miles of the job site. Publisher Colin Gilboy’s disclaimer at the top of the page warns that it’s only a first step in a complex discovery process.

The bottom line lesson goes beyond the green button, though. It’s about transparency of information, and it’s about finding companies to form lasting relationships with. Design professionals are looking for companies that share information, like where their raw materials come from and where they manufacture their products. They also are looking for companies who speak their language, answer the phone in their time zones, and who can send someone to their job sites if problems arise.

These are high hopes for one little green button, but there are people out there pushing it. Do you show up?