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PCBD-Nov2015

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November 2015 • The PCB Design Magazine 23 Matties: What do you attribute that to? is that new markets, or is it increase in the people that were using it? Paper: It's marketing. It's experience. Somebody who's tried it perhaps had a good experience, and now they're a repeat customer. We've been able to limit the amount of churn. We have custom- ers that continue to come back, and meanwhile we're continuing to add customers through marketing, content and word of mouth. Garcia: Even though we've been around for 40 years, since I took over the company's leader- ship six years ago, we've really tried to act more like an agile startup. Matties: so it's really been the last six years that there's been a lot of change in this organization? Garcia: Yes, absolutely. This company had and still has a very loyal customer base and was very niche when it was located on the peninsula. The company had to leverage various outside vendors to get by and that is not a long-term recipe for success. Matties: there have been pricing pressures. What do you guys feel out there? Garcia: The unfortunate part about this indus- try is the PCB is often considered a commodity. That's really where the pricing has been driven down. Matties: it's often called that, but we both know that it's not. Garcia: I completely agree. Paper: The word we use internally is value, and we try to provide customers with good value, meaning high-quality product at a fair price. Our pricing has to stay competitive but we're not always going to be the lowest. Sometimes customers are just so price sensitive they're simply going to take that lowest price. We try our best to educate them that the lowest price isn't always the lowest price, if you know what I mean. Matties: right. there's total cost. Paper: You pay for it. There's a total cost of ownership for that lowest price, and you may end up paying more in the long run for it. Some customers understand that, but others learn the hard way. Garcia: A lot of that relates back to what we've done on the automation side to be lean and keep our cost down. Brian and I have definitely set out for significant growth, and I didn't want to have to add lots of overhead to achieve that growth. Automation helps keep overhead down and as a result, pricing stays low. Paper: A customer asked us at our recent open house event what the upcharge was to run his board on the Camtek Gryphon soldermask ma- chine, expecting to be charged. "Hey, that's new technology. It's better. How much more are you going to charge me for that?" I said, "No, no, no. That's not the point of this machine. The point is we'll offer you a better quality product but keep the pricing the same." If anything, we're trying to keep pricing competitive while still im - proving the process and quality. It's not a new feature we're trying to upsell our customers on. Matties: You're streamlining your process. Garcia: Yes, we work on it continuously. Matties: i see you have your loyalty program. how did people respond to that? Paper: They've responded really well. You have to opt in to it and they really have nothing to lose by opting in. They start to earn points as they make purchases, and then they take those points and can apply them to get discounts on a future order. It's actually been pretty effective so far, and customers seem to respond well to it. It's one more thing that helps keep us a little sticky, and keeps those customers coming back. Matties: once they're here you have to have a lot of reasons for them to stay. doing it right, of course, is the baseline. particularly on the Web, where it can be so impersonal that you don't GOOD IN, GOOD OuT: BAY AREA CIRCuITS DISCuSSES DATA STRATEGIES feature interview

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