PCB007 Magazine

PCB-Apr2014

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68 The PCB Magazine • April 2014 by Steve Williams steVe williams consulting llc Customer Feedback: Perception is Reality c o l u m n poiNt of View "Perception is reality." —Tom Peters, best-selling author This quote from my favorite business au- thor, Tom Peters, hangs in my office as a con- stant reminder. The title "world-class" rings hollow if you are the only one saying it about your organization. Reality How many times do we see a company pro- moting themselves as being a world-class man- ufacturer of PCBs, or as having been voted best- in-class at customer service? Who voted? Again, we are faced with the truth in advertising di- lemma. It's a Dilbert cartoon in the making: a group of senior managers get together and declare "you know, we do a pretty respectable job in our business, let's begin calling ourselves world-class." What does it mean to be world-class? Break- ing it down into a single bullet point, it means being on par with the top performers globally in your chosen craft. There are, of course, nu- merous quantitative metrics used to measure this, such as turnover, quality certifications, productivity, and the requisite financial ratios. But perhaps the most important metric is qual- itative: How do your customers think you are doing? The Facts You may in fact be a world-class manufactur- er, but if your customers don't agree it doesn't really matter. It is surprising to find the high percentage of PCB organizations that have not formally incorporated an annual benchmark survey into their continuous improvement pro- cess. True world-class companies are no longer guessing what satisfies their customers; they are actively soliciting feedback and listening to their customers' expectations. A recent poll of over 2100 manufacturing respondents con- ducted by Industry Week Census supports this fact. It showed that 47% of respondents who say they've achieved a high level of world- class compliance use customer-satisfaction sur- veys extensively, while the proportion of peers claiming "no progress" in this area show only 6.4% as using them.

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