PCB007 Magazine

PCB-Feb2018

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12 PCB007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2018 Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Team Steve Williams, president of The Right Ap- proach Consulting LLC, and a veteran exec- utive in the PCB and EMS industries, speaks with the I-Connect007 team about customer- supplier relationships, and how you can en- sure customer satisfaction. Stephen Las Marias: From your many years of industry experience, what are some of the challenges that you have seen when it comes to dealing with customers? Steve Williams: Every company looks at their customers and they rank them, whether they use A, B, C, or the top 10 customers, whatever it is. They rank their customers based on reve- nue, ease of doing business, a whole bunch of attributes, and they do scale their service levels around where that customer falls in that rank- ing. The customers don't know about that. So, a lot of the challenge is keeping those custom- ers satisfied, but still staying within the con- straints of your organization and their expecta- tions of how much time and effort you put into the lower tier customers, if you will. A lot of times, everybody says, "Well, the customer's always right," which we know is not true, but sometimes you make business de- cisions on whether you're going to keep this long-term customer happy as opposed to doing what's right for your organization. So, balanc- ing that customer satisfaction versus what's in the best interest of the company, especial- ly when you're talking about problems, qual- ity issues, or product that may be suspect. If you're just watching out for your company, you think, "Well, the product is actually with- in specification." But knowing that this is an A customer or a top tier customer, you may treat that situation differently with those customers than you would a C level customer. Balancing that customer satisfaction versus keeping your business profitable is probably one of the big- gest challenges. Barry Matties: I think this analogy also applies to internal customers as well. Does the guy in the drill room realize he's a customer and is he going to the supplier proactively? And if they're not nice people in the drill room, the

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