Monday, February 27, 2012 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
Editor's Note: To listen to Dan's weekly column, as you've always done in the past, click here. For the written transcript, keep reading...
As IPC APEX EXPO 2012 kicks off this week, here are five ways to make a dent in the universe and become the best PCB company in the world.
Be the customer. Think about the customer all the time. What is his business? What does it take to be successful in his business? What does he need from a PCB supplier to help him to be successful? Think of this in terms of delivery, quality, and technology--those are the obvious things to think about first, but these things are only the beginning. Start thinking about other things that could make your customer a stand out: How about the way you package boards?
Go to your customer's facility and find out what happens to the board once it arrives. What is the receiving procedure? Does the board go to stock? If so, how long does it stay there? Or, does it go right to the production floor? If so, what kind of container or rack is it put in? Could you ship him the boards right on those racks? Talk to the people who are doing the work, the ones handling your boards, and find out how you can make their job easier. Figure out how you can make your customers’ life easier.
Your goal is to get to the point where your customer does not want to live without you. You have to be so good that their team would shudder at the thought of going to someone else--regardless of the price. Give them a reason to work with you. Better yet, give them a reason to want to work with you.
Find out where you customer is going. Where is her company headed? What technology do they need today, but, more importantly, what technology are they going to need tomorrow? You're supposed to be the expert--act like it. Why wait for your customers to tell you what they need when you can figure it out for yourself? Most of your customers today do not have PCB experts on board--they rely on you, as their vendor, to also be their expert and even their mentor when it comes to technology. It is up to you to fill that role. You have to be the expert and this means you have to educate your customers on the latest and greatest in PCB technology.
Educate your customers. Offer seminars, Webinars, lunch-and-learns--whatever it takes to let them be better informed about our technology. Right now, many of our customers don't know what is available to them. They don’t know all they should about our products and our capabilities. We have to teach them. It is our responsibility to make sure that they know all they need to know about our products. The better informed they are about what we do, and what we can do, the better our relationship with them will be. Offer a manual on how to lay out boards that will make them the most efficient and economical to manufacture. Think about that for a minute: What an edge you give yourself and your company if you can show your customer how to lay out boards in a way that will make your manufacturing process more efficient and better, yet more economical.
Change the world. It’s not just about your customers anymore; it’s also about the world. We all have to work to make the world a better place. No matter what our product is we have to look at it from a global perspective. More often than not we are being judged on how good a global citizen we are and this means we must make strides to not only provide the greenest products possible ,but also the most unique and useful products.