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10 SMT007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2018 speaking with experts in our industry—commu- nication. Working together—whether you're in the design, fabrication, or assembly industry. In fact, a few of our respondents say communi- cation is among the top important attributes for customer service. Other key attributes include fast response, quality, transparency, and caring about the customers' needs. Speaking of caring about those needs, respondents in our survey say they are all in when it comes to ensur- ing customer satisfaction. Cross-functional resources are being channeled to ensure their customers' needs are being attended to. One respondent said, "Our entire quality department is constantly working on improving our customer satisfaction. Our office staff works hard on the front end to make sure our customers are happy and comfortable." Another one said it is an ongoing process, adding that all sales personnel should have the vision to respond to clients quickly on their quotes and follow up quickly if there is a qual- ity issue in the order. He said it takes the sales team, the technical team, as well as the logis- tics team working together to ship out qual- ity products on time, to reach 100% customer satisfaction. And how do they know they are doing a good job? Through feedback. And what is the most important feedback they could get? Repeat orders and being included in their customers' future design-ins. But of course, one respondent said any feed- back is good feedback, whether it is good or bad. "If we are told how we are doing, we can improve—and we are always looking to improve ourselves. The problem is, customers do not give us feedback," he said. In our survey, a quarter of the respondents echo the same sentiment, saying that only 25% of their customers provide them with feed- backs. They even noted that customers only give feedback when it is negative. Thus, the need for communications in the supply chain. This ensures that wherever the product is—be it in the design stage, fabrica- tion, or assembly—everyone knows what's happening in the process right now. Of course, there are already systems, including traceabil- ity, that provide visibility on the factory floor. But more often than not, the human touch, the human aspect of it—the physical pres- ence of the customer or supplier in the factory—can build stron- ger collaboration and higher- quality production outputs. Which brings me to this month's issue of SMT007 Magazine. We have Dan Beaulieu; Nolan Johnson of Sunstone Circuits; industry veteran Steve Williams; Chrys Shea; Greg Hebson of EMS firm Vexos; and Edward Hughes of Aculon, who provided their take on knowing your custom- ers and ensuring customer satisfaction. Ken Horky of Peterson Manufacturing, mean- while, provided his tips and tricks when deal- ing with machine assist time. We also have a case study about Rauland- Borg, a division of AMETEK Inc. and an inte- grated communications technology company, on how it was able to reduce its SMT-related defects by 50%, increase throughput by over 20%, and save $1 million per year for its three SMT lines. This month, we will again be at the IPC APEX Expo 2018 event in San Diego, Califor- nia. (If you haven't yet, please check out our Pre-Show Coverage of the IPC APEX Expo in the January 2018 issue of SMT007 Magazine to have an idea on exciting things to expect and developments to be announced at this year's show.) Please do drop by our booth to say hi or for a short interview. I look forward to seeing you at the event! SMT007 Stephen Las Marias is managing editor of SMT007 Magazine. He has been a technology editor for more than 14 years covering electronics, components, and industrial automation systems.

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