Richard Ward and his family emigrated from Zimbabwe to the U.S. in 1991 with only two suitcases and a small bag of toys for the kids. The day after he received his Green Card in 1995, Richard founded a company that ultimately became WARDJet. He sold his car to finance the business and by 2003 was making advanced Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machines, specializing in waterjet cutting systems. “We're unique in our ability to offer CNC machinery of this magnitude, accuracy, and nature,” says Richard. With the Internet powering their customer acquisition and growth, the company is also unique in the way they do business. “There's nobody else who sells like us,” he adds.
“In our industry, companies spend a lot of money doing print advertising, attending trade shows, and sending salesmen everywhere,” Richard remarks. “I decided early on that we weren’t going to do any of those things, so I began looking for other ways to run the company.” WARDJet turned to online channels to grow their business, and AdWords, Google’s advertising program, is “the tip of the arrow.” It generates 30 percent of their leads, attracting customers who are in need of the exact services they provide. “It’s quality lead generation,” IT Manager Ken Carter explains. WARDJet also uses Google Analytics to make smart marketing decisions on a daily basis. They’ve integrated the Google Cloud Speech API with their customer relationship management system to transcribe phone calls and voicemails. And they communicate internally through Google Hangouts.
Today, WARDJet sees 25 percent annual growth and services customers worldwide. They proudly manufacture all of their equipment in a 220,000-square-foot plant in Northeast Ohio. They also buy from 200 vendors, over half of whom are in Ohio, attract top engineering talent from area universities, and support local math and science school programs. Richard is thankful for how far his company has come. “I wanted us to be different from everybody else," he says. “We've broken the mold in the capital goods industry and are now able to provide very high-tech solutions in ways many others can’t.”